This time last week Mexico City was a very different world. Flu was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Today 168 people are dead (although how many from Swine Flu seems uncertain) and it’s the only thing on anyone’s mind, and is having a severe effect of the city’s, and country’s, already struggling economy.
Today I even received a phone call from a big news organisation wanting to know what I’ve seen happening. One of the stories of the moment is that people are panic buying, something I haven’t noticed to be honest. We went to our local supermarket yesterday, and the shelves were full, with shoppers just doing their normal shop. That’s not to say there is no panic buying elsewhere, of course.
And whilst the city is quieter, it’s not dead. Life has to go on. Some restaurants that were closed on Monday and Tuesday, including McDonalds, have reopened with seating areas closed off – only take aways are allowed. Most restaurants though remain closed. Although where the street stalls fit into this I don’t know, but lots of them are still serving tacos to customers perched on little plastic stools.
Today was meant to be one of the big days in the Mexican calendar. It’s Children’s Day. Everyone here has a day, not just mothers and fathers. I hope the flu outbreak doesn’t interfere with Teachers Day. My photo of the day for my 365 project is of a little girl dressed up as Snow White, being treated to an ince cream in lieu of a party.
Tomorrow is May 1st, another public holiday, and the following Tuesday is Mayo de Cinco, a non official holiday usually. This week most people will get it off though, as the government continues the big shutdown and is urging everyone to spend the long weekend at home. We went into Coyoacan today, and I have to say there’s not enough going on to encourage anyone to disobey the instructions.
On the plus side, crime is apparently down and the reduced traffic has allowed the smog to clear and blue skies to appear. I didn’t look to be honest – I’ll have to check that out tomorrow! Or on Saturday, when I’m giving a class in the centre of the city from the 5th floor of an office building. It might be possible for me to see Popo and Izta the volcanos.
So we go into the second week of flu outbreak/hype/paranoia. Although it’s easy to fall victim to paranoia….I’ve managed to get a stonking headache this evening and a stiff neck!