The Independence Day countdown clock in Mexico City shows that there are 366 days till the big one. The 200th anniversary of freedom from Spain. But there’s still the matter of Independence Day 199 to get through first. That happens tomorrow evening. I always look forward to Independence Day. We usually pack our bags and go off to Huichapan in Hidalgo State, a couple of hours outside of the city. Where we feast on Barbacoa, Carnitas, Chicharron and other meaty goodies.
Unfortunately, this Independence Day falls on a Wednesday, which means we’ll just get one day off. If it’s on a Tuesday or Thursday, the powers that be are normally gracious enough to give us the Monday or Friday off too, to make it an extra long weekend. But not this year. So I had rather thought this year would be something of an anti-climax.
We went up to the Zocalo yesterday, where the main activities in the city will take place. We looked around the restaurants hoping, but really not expecting, to find somewhere with a terrace which still had tickets available. And tickets available at less that the 1,000 pesos plus. Nope. And nope. And nope. And again, nope. Until…yes!
The youth hostel behind the huge Cathedral that dominates the square is having a party on their small terrace. Tickets were just 200 pesos. Mariachis would be playing, tacos cooking, tequila sloshing. We booked a pair of those tickets immediately. I’ve always wanted to be in the Zocalo, or within spitting distance, for Independence Day. It has to be said, the terrace of the youth hostel won’t have much of a view of the National Palace, where President Calderon will yell the Grito. But we’ll be able to hear, see, smell and feel everything else around the Zocalo from our perch. And I’m sure they will have a big screen up for us to see Felipe’s annual big moment. And for the price of those tickets, we really can’t complain. At all.
Tickets in hand, we set off to complete the preparations. A big painted sombrero and fake moustache for me. A glittery red, silver and green tiara for her. The zocalo and surrounding area was alive with activity yesterday. Big trucks parked up, delivering sound stages and other equipment. Vendors peddling everything and anything you can think of, so long as it comes in red, white and green. And street artists miming, roaring, singing or frozen into statues, keeping everyone entertained.