More than half a million Brits are boarding flights this Easter. To anywhere but here. Spring has officially started, but the snow drifts burying half the country suggest that winter has decided to overstay her welcome this year. It is bleeding freezing. A few brave cherry trees are blossoming, but the flora remains in stubborn hibernation. I wish I were one of the six hundred thousand headed to the sun. Alas, I am not. I will have to make do with dreaming of the sun.
Anyone care to guess where in the world I’d rather like to be sunning myself? I’m offering no prizes. I have been consoling myself with a few videos of my favourite city and country. I’ve posted loads of them over the years. The Bicentenario series by Televisa. The wonderful rendition of Cielito Lindo for the Banamex advert. The very slick advert by the Mexico City government. There’s lots of old reels available on YouTube too. Remember the 1940′s video in colour that did the rounds a few years back? There’s a couple of black and white ones too. And one from the 1950′s too.
Or are you just after the hard facts? Perhaps this National Geographic video will be to your liking. But I found the video I’ve embedded below the most interesting. It’s a BBC documentary, made in 1999. I’m sure that’s Taxquena in the opening few minutes. This is a period that put most residents of DF, at least those that can remember it, in fear of their city. I knew so many people who had horror stories of crime in Mexico City. Nine out of ten of them came from the mid to late 90′s.
When I first arrived in 2003, things were calmer, but still edgier than they are now. The doors of the Hostel Cathedral which almost abuts the Zocalo would have its doors shut not long after dark, and a security guard or two toting shotguns. Those days are happily gone. The hostel has its doors open till late at night and you can walk three blocks from the Zocalo without getting robbed. Although, to be fair, there is still one direction you’re not best advised to stroll off in…