An awful lot of people pass through our lives, disappearing as quickly as they entered it. This is particularly so when you are travelling the world with a rucksack on your back, flitting whimsically from one town to the next. They leave a few memories, and hopefully you’ll learn a little something from each encounter. But by and large, the only permanent reminder of their presence in my life is a face in a photograph I’ve taken. Continue reading
I recently popped back home. Define home? We can have several places we think of as home, can’t we? But I think that the place you grew up will always register as ‘home proper’. For me, that’s a small town in the far north western suburbs of London. It’s right on the border, with a small part of the town actually seeping into Hertfordshire. The rest of the town, that part sitting within the borders of Greater London, still has a county address though. Middlesex, which was abolished in 1965, lives on today only in Continue reading
Everytime that I am unfortunate to have to see Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ugly mug, I am left with the feeling that I’ve seen the Right Hononourable Member for the 19th Century somewhere before. Somewhere different. And this week, it came to me. I saw it first in Mexico City, the crushed head of the Angel of Independence. The original head, that fell to earth in a quake in the 50s. The resemblance is uncanny. That they are both icons of independence is almost a little eerie. Now, if someone could just give Rees-Mogg a gentle shove and knock him off his pedestal, we’d have a full set of similarities.
We have just gone past the half way point of the World Cup. Two weeks left of the greatest show on earth. A fortnight more of socially acceptable xenophobia – please do, by all means, mention the war. Thus far, it is familiar fare that leaves one with a certain sense of de ja vu. The Hun have been sent packing short of Moscow. The Mexicans, in keeping with history, have been beaten but survive to fight another day. The English threaten to surprise, but their limitations are all too apparent. Disappointment, once again, beckons. But at least it won’t be at the hands of Jerry.
I have been to watch a day of sports at the Olympics. I’ve seen Liverpool FC play at Wembley. I’ve cheered on Mexico at the Estadio Azteca. But there are still a few more sporting events that I want to see in the flesh. I must see Liverpool play at Anfield. Hopefully next season. I have long wanted to watch a session of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield – I have a ticket for the next tournament in April 2019. And my life won’t be complete unless I watch a World Cup game. And today, that may have just become possible. Mexico will host the 2026 World Cup, along with the US and Canada.
There is a special magic to be found in the Arabic world. It’s in the architecture, the sounds, the smells, the language and the people. It is other wordly. There is a sense of a history more ancient than elsewhere. For the most part I guess that this is simply a matter of fact. I love hearing the call to prayer. I love listening to conversations on the street, despite not understanding a word. I love the hospitality that is shown by almost everyone you meet. I pity those who have allowed themselves to be convinced that the Arabic world is a dangerous place inhabited by animals. They’re missing out.
Britain has no shortage of castles. There’s a huge range in size, fame and condition for castle fans to choose from. Some, such as the Queen’s favourite abode at Windsor, are superbly preserved, with well appointed interiors. Others, such as my local – Corfe Castle – is in a somewhat lesser state of repair. Indeed, Corfe is just a small collapse or two away from having its status altered from ‘castle ruins’ to ‘pile of medieval blocks’. But it’s a popular and well maintained set of ruins, run by the National Trust, so I suspect any intervention by Mother Nature would be put right soon after. It’s even just had mainline train services restored to its accompanying train station for the first time since the 1970s
The photo is from 2006, and Lopez Obrador’s first attempt to win the office of president. This protest occurred at the IFE building across the road from our home. Obrador came and gave a speech to a sizeable and noisy crowd there. Voto por voto! I think I took this photo on that very day. In just a couple months time, Mexico will go to the polls to decide which political crook gets to screw them over for the next six years. Obrador has his hat in the ring again. And he looks to be in with a realistic chance of finally realising his dream.
Well, of course it’s Mexico. Where else do you get a cathedral like that, with skies so blue and faces so brown? Well, I guess quite a few places in Latin America. But this blog is called the Mexile, so of course it’s Mexico. The photo is just a little over eighteen months old. And full of wonderful memories. The filter I used would try and convince you that it’s a few decades older than that. It’s a con, but I liked how it turned out. The town? Answers on a postcard, please.
Once upon a time, I walked the entire length of Avenida Reforma, including the Calzada de los Misterios. I took a photo every 8 steps or so and created a video out of the hundreds of snaps when I got back home. To be honest, the final product did not meet my hopes or expectations. But never mind. I still managed to photograph all the monuments along Calzada de los Misterios. From memory, I think they were something to do with pilgrimages to the Basilica de Guadaloupe. Probably. That was a mighty long walk. Too long for one day. I had to split it into two. It became even longer when I wandered off the the other end of Reforma for a good couple of kilometres, unaware that the road had actually ended some time back.
This is me, returning from my night of triumph at the annual awards night of Northwood Boys Club. So many certificates, cups and shields, huh? To be honest the two cups were for winning the clubs snooker tournament. The big one has my name etched on it. The little one was to keep. I must have been about 12 or 13 years old. I did pretty well with a cue. Be it snooker or pool.
Today, my photo takes us back exactly 15 years, to March 2003. I had not long turned 30, still worked at Texaco, and was enjoying the wonders of travelling as a single guy. There’s an awful lot to be said of travelling solo, all positive. I loved the ability to roam, dine and generally spend my time without compromise. Did I ever get lonely? Not once. You always meet people on the trail. On the odd occasion that it is just you, then there is always a good book waiting to be read.
When I left Mexico in 2011, the city was making some effort to spruce up a few of its landmarks, historic streets and monuments, The Revolution monument perhaps being the best example. I rather hope they got around, or will get around, to fixing up the La Raza monument. It was looking very much the worse for wear the last time I ventured past. It had certainly seen better days, as shown in the photo below…
How long ago was this taken? Well, I guess I’m 5ish in this shot. Minus my current age, 45. So about 40 years ago. Give or take a year or two. My grandparents used to take my younger brother and I on caravaning holidays in Kent during the summer. This photo pushes my memory to its limit. I have only the most vague recollection of that white Renault, but I know that I liked it. Not long after this holiday, my grandad bought a green Vauxhall Cavalier. That was the first car he ever bought from new, and would see him through to the end, which came in the summer of 1994.
If I’m asked what to do, where to eat, and where to go in Mexico City then I’ll waffle on forever with a billion suggestions. If I have to narrow down my response to a single sentence with no more than five words? Go and see Lucha Libre. Is there anything more ‘Mexico City‘ than Lucha Libre? Methinks not. Food recommendations are all well and good, but the truth is you’re never more than a ten minute walk from a dozen damn fine places to eat. And the guide books and leaflets in hotels will list all the main tourist sites – there’ll be more than you can ever hope to visit. Sheesh, I spent six years trying and still have places to go.