There’s a new troupe of Aztec dancers in the Zocalo. These ones are prettier, more colourful and generally hipper – I hope it doesn’t start a turf war! It’s great to see ancient culture living in the present though, even though I’m sure it’s not quite the same. And the definition of culture is open to question too.
Last year a Mexican gentleman took humbrage at my ‘Shhhhing’ the Aztec dancers. He was being far, far, far too sensitive! They were blowing their horn every few minutes drowning out all other sounds in the Zocalo, and interrupted me just at the important part of my little speech to a friend! My very little ‘shhh’ however drowned out nothing, and certainly wasn’t heard by the dancers themselves who were literally at the very other side of the square – remember, this is the largest town square in the world. To have made them hear me….well, I’d have needed to borrow their horn!
Really, he just wanted to moan at an American tourist, and insisted I should not ‘shhhh’ them because they were part of Mexican culture. He pointed to my bottle of Coke and told me, in a very disparaging way, that Coca Cola was my culture. As if I were an ignorant…!
I couldn’t let that lie! I pointed out that, as a Briton, my ‘culture’ was actually a hot cup of milky tea, not Coke. Not that I actually like the stuff, but still. I went on to say my ‘shhh’ was said with a smile on my face, in jest, and that I love Mexican culture. So much so, that I’d been living here for several years. Which placated him.
What I didn’t mention, is that even if I has been a US citizen, his cultural observations were still not quite right. Coke is more a part of Mexican culture, if it even can be culture in this sense, than it is of US culture. They drink more of the stuff per head here than anywhere else in the world! Indeed, its a greater part of Mexican culture now than the Aztec dancers he was defending. But I didn’t mention it, because sometimes it’s best to leave a person believeing the other is the ignorant one!