Today marks the 70th birthday of the National Health Service. It’s a birthday worth celebrating, and it conveniently falls on Throwback Thursday. The NHS isn’t perfect, but what is? It’s something one easily takes for granted. Up until the point when it is needed, when it suddenly becomes a life saver that it worth every penny. Where it is found to be lacking, one will normally find a Tory ‘reform’ or cut-back at play.
I arrived in Mexico in mid 2005, just as Lopez Obrador’s tenure as Head of the DF government was coming to an end. But I’d spent a couple of weeks in the city a few years earlier, when his administration was just getting to grips with the job at hand. From my point of limited reference, there was a visible improvement in security and infrastructure. But as a presidential candidate in 2006 and 2012, he seemed to inspire fear and hope in equal measure. He inspired neither with me. Only my curiosity.
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.
Fifteen years ago today, I published my first post on my blog. How time flies. Oh, if I could only go back to being that 30 year old, just about to head off on a backpacking trip to Mexico, and do it all over again. But time is a funny thing, a one off deal. We are stuck in the moment, moving forever forward and never backward. Perhaps this is just as well. Had time moved backwards from my birth, the year would be 1927. I’d have lived through World War 2, the Great Depression and I’d currently be looking forward to (or backward to) the General Strike. I guess I would have lived to see the Moon Landing, but I’d have been too young to appreciate it. So it’s probably just as well that time does indeed move forward – I got the better part of the 20th century.
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.
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.
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