It strikes me that not too many foreign visitors ever think of exploring Mexico’s many mountains. Other than the handful who come here specifically to do so. I must confess, it didn’t really occur to me to try and climb one for the first few years. Probably due to the assumption that this is very much a specialist endeavor. I can pinpoint the moment I thought to look into it. We were driving to Oaxaca, and out of the window was Iztaccihuatl, looking large above the horizon. I stared at Izta a long while and wondered, ‘How hard can it be?’
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…
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.
Why do I like photography? Why that and not some other expression of creativity? The answer is simple. I can’t paint to save my life. See above. Yet I am better at painting than singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, acting or any other form of artistic creativity. So I take photographs. It’s easy. Let the camera and computer do the hard work, and then pass off its produce as my own.
The date? It’s the 27th June 2010. The place? The FIFA FanFest in the Zocalo, Mexico City. The time? Just before 10am in Mexico. Just before 4pm in South Africa. The model? Well, that’s me. Fully kitted out in my England top, waiting anxiously for the World Cup match between Germany and England to kick off. One of very few Englishmen or women there and well outnumbered by the Germans. As usual. But we are optimistic. You know. World War II, 1966 and all that. It’s the first knockout stage. Continue reading
Everytime a television program comes on about Mexico, Mrs P and I make a strict appointment to be seated in front of the screen at the annointed time. The latest show was a series by celebrity chef Rick Stein, The Road to Mexico. We enjoyed it greatly, particularly when the road crossed from the US into Mexico. If you can access the Beeb’s iPlayer from your part of the Continue reading
Earthquakes are part and parcel of Mexico City’s past, present and future. Some parts of the world wait for ‘the big one’. CDMX simply waits for another big one. The wait is never long. We did not have to worry much about relatives. The first we heard of the quake was just a couple of minutes after the event when Mrs P’s dad called to say he was ok. We had no reason till then to think he might not be. The remaining friends and Continue reading
Parts made in the United Kingdom and Mexico. Assembled in the United States of America. Hecho en 2008, in Bush’s presidency. In what transpired to be the good old days. A one of a kind product, many borders crossed and still going strong nine years later. The seven year itch was met and passed without incident. Only one more year till we reach double figures. Continue reading
Back in 2006, Mexicans went to the polls in what was a contentious, controversial and ultimately very close presidential election. The result wasn’t what roughly half the population wanted. And that half of the population were angry. Very angry. The protests went on for what seemed like years – possibly because it was years. There was even a protest outside my home, which Obrador once visitied to do a little anger-stirring Continue reading
Almost a full decade ago, December 19th 2007 to be precise, Steve Cotton wrote ‘starting the journey’. It was the opening post of his blog, detailing his long search for a home on the Pacific coast of Mexico. And other tales. Many, many other -excellent – tales. He finally planted Continue reading
In August 2006 I paid up for a Flickr Pro account. I’ve had a decade of use on the platform now, and still love it. Since 2006 I’ve swapped cameras multiple times, changed blogging platforms a half dozen times but I’ve never found anything that is an improvement on Flickr. It’s cheap, it’s reliable, it’s versatile and it looks great on any device.
A very happy Mexican Independence Day to all my amigos and amigas. Is it really five years since the Bicentenario? My, how time flies. I wish I were there to celebrate, but alas it is not to be. Still, I send greetings from the UK, which was, of course, the first European country to recognise Mexican independence from the Spanish. Admittedly, this probably had more to do with us wanting to antagonise the Spanish that any anti-colonial sentiment, but ce la vie.
I don’t dance. I can’t dance. I’m not really entirely sure that I understand dancing, by and large. Sure, Shakira can bust some moves, but I’m not sure that she’s really dancing. She’s teasing, the old flirt that she is. Besides, she’s not British, and that is an important point. I do know that we Brits can’t dance. There are many things we are good at, but dancing isn’t one of them. How can I really ram this point home? Well, allow me to introduce you to the world of Morris dancing. Or Victorian Ball Room dancing. Two atrocious forms of human movement that hardy groups of people try very hard to keep going into the 21st century.
There are just some things that we should let go. These should have been abolished at the same time as death by hanging, blood letting by leeches, punitive castration and other forms of unnecessary and painful activity. And then there is this, the most modern example of Brits being unable to dance. Which makes me wonder if we abolished hanging and castration too soon. Perhaps blood letting could be brought back too? By axe, rather than leeches. Where’s James Holmes when you need him? Lastly, I produce as evidence to finish the debate off, Peter Crouch. The Colombians can do this. And we get Peter Crouch. Enough said. I rest my case.
So, in a nut shell, I don’t agree with dancing. In much the same way many other people don’t agree with President Obama, or Israeli settlements. I have no idea what it’s all about but I just don’t like it. But, as with every issue of global importance, there are occasional meetings of the mind. Seeing eye to eye. An understanding. With dance, I have found some common ground.
The Mexican Folklore Ballet. Or more properly know as the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, de Amalia Hernandez. They have just performed a run of five days at the London Coliseum, which Mrs P and I were lucky enough to be able to go and see. It was their first trip to the UK for more than twenty years, although we have both seen the performance before, at their home in the Palacio de Belles Artes in Mexico City. It’s a story as much of a dance. The story of Mexico through the ages, from the Aztecs, through Revolutionaries and Conquistadors, all accompanied with a fabulous mariachi band.
And as far as dancing goes, this is much more Riverdance than Swan Lake. It’s a two hour riot of colour, cacophony of noise and whir of movement that seems to pass in half the time. You become quite involved in the epic telling of Mexico’s history, quite literally if you’re one of the lucky souls who gets a dance with one of the pretty ladies when they take their act to the theatre aisles.
Photography was forbidden in the theatre. Although towards the end, a fair few people starting getting a few shots for posterity with their phones. I joined in and have a set of fairly poor quality snaps on Flickr. Which you can see if you click here. But for a taste of this particularly exquisite flavour of Mexico, it would be best if I left you with something a little better. A promotional video.
This post was not sponsored by Fox News. Although, having included capital punishment, terrorism, torture, sexism, anti Obama rant and the middle east in a single post about dancing, I expect an interview soon. Crap, I forgot immigration….
This year will be different things to different people. And different organisations, nations and other entities. According to the UN, 2015 is the Year of Light. The Chinese are convinced that this is the year of the sheep. Or goats. One or the other. What sort of offspring do you get from a papa sheep and a mama goat? The Chinese should have picked that, whatever it is. The Russians and the North Koreans have decided that it is the year of friendship between Russia and North Korea. Hey, don’t mock. Everyone needs at least one friend.
So what about the UK? We have the best ‘Year Of’ of them all. Here in Blighty, 2015 is the Year of Mexico. Which makes me happy. In Mexico, they are having the Year of the United Kingdom. Which also makes me happy. There are events galore, and I’m pleased to say that Mrs P and I will be participating. We have our tickets booked for the Lucha Libre at the Royal Albert Hall and for the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez. Both events are in July, and we’re looking forward to both. Myself, more the former than the latter. If you’re there, give us a shout. I will be Mistico and she will be Blue Demon.
I have, for many years, publicised the many links between the UK and Mexico. Some of them are best left alone. Ok, so we may have syphoned off a bit of oil in the early parts of the last century. Possibly quite a lot of oil. We may also have enforced borders between Belize and Mexico that was more in our favour than Mexico’s. But still. We gave you football and pastes. And that counts for a lot, right? Although the best common bond between these great nations? Well that would be myself and Mrs P, of course. and this blog. Alas, the video below gives none of us a mention. Pft.
There are dates that stick in the memory. Birthdays. Deathdays*. Terrorist attacks. Anniversaries. February 16th is a date that sticks in my memory. In 2011, on that date, I got on a plane and flew back to the UK. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. Have I made myself clear? I hope so.
Life in Mexico was fun. Every day was an adventure. Every single day. Without exception. In the UK, every day is either a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Preferably one of the latter two, which might turn out to have an adventure of sorts in store. Sometimes. True, there are benefits to living in the UK. There are no doubts about that. I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to turn on a tap and not really be certain whether any water would come out. But certain that if it did, you shouldn’t really drink it. Although I did drink it on more than one occasion without any noticeable side effect. Tis all but part of the adventure.
Since returning to the UK, I’ve droned on about Mexico City to anyone who will listen. I’ve also droned on to anyone who won’t listen. That’s one of the benefits of droning on. It doesn’t really matter if anyone listens or not. It’s a pitiful form of self therapy, but it relieves the withdrawal pangs.
It doesn’t, I fear, give anyone a real idea about why Mexico is such a fabulous little patch of planet Earth. I’ve shared videos over the years on this blog, and I watch some of them sometimes. I sometimes think that opening YouTube and entering Mexico City in the search box is the equivalent of a smoker having a sneaky cigarette when he’s trying to quit. Naughty but nice.
Sadly, most videos show only one facet of the city. It either dwells on the poverty or crime, or on the history and developed parts of the city. If ever there has been one video that almost, almost, captures the Mexico City I lived in, it’s the one I’ve embedded below. Perhaps you’ve seen it before. But it’s so well done, it’s nice to see again, isn’t it. It’s a government sponsored creation. Who’d have thunk that a political/tourist motivated bit of work would best capture the Mexico City that I lived in? No, it misses out a lot of the warts. But truth be told, I did my best to miss out on the warts too, when I lived there.
- Deathdays. Why does no one use this word? It’s such a logical choice. I claim copyright.