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.
Traffic flies by a cyclist, proving that four wheels are at least faster than two. But this is no ordinary cyclist. This chap is a cardboard cyclist (just in case you couldn’t tell) put in place next to the new cycle lane along Reforma in the heart of Mexico City. I imagine this is to visually confirm to drivers of large 4×4 gas guzzlers that this 2 foot wide lane is in fact for cyclists, not for them. Something that should be obvious, what with the dimensions of the lane and the plastic bollards, but this is Mexico City, and people do crazy things under the guise of ignorance. Whilst I d appreciate all the cyclist friendly policies of Ebrard’s vote purchasing campaign, this has to be the ugliest cycle lane in cycle lane history. I also couldn’t help but notice that while the cardboard chap is sporting a safety conscious helmet, his bike has no lights, which is most thoughtless of him.
No, it’s not an Olympic year. Nor are the Olympics coming to Mexico again any time soon. But that didn’t stop the city government. Last weekend saw a huge length of Reforma closed off for an Olympics festival. Boxing, rugby, gymnastics, wrestling and so much more. Swimming, too. Yep, they actually built a temporary pool.
All this in aid of the Bicentenario celebrations. Which have been pretty controversial. Well, the cost of it all has been pretty controversial. How much got spent, who spent it, and who received it. And what was delivered in exchange. All these and more have big questions marks over them. Mostly big corruption sized question marks.
I generally support these sort of public events. Mexico City puts on plenty of them, and they’re generally fun and well attended. And I’d have liked to have spent longer walking around getting photos. But was this really the best way to celebrate the Bicentenario? It must have cost a fortune!
I’m giving this one the thumbs down. Not because it wasn’t fun to watch. But because it was just frivolous. A little pointless. A real waste of money. There are always better things to spend public money on, no matter how good the event. But you do need to balance out urgent needs and valuable social entertainment projects. This particular project had too little value for my sensibilities.
Along Reforma at the moment is a display of Jorge Marin statues. I’ve seen a few of these bizarre ManBird creations before, somewhere in the Alvaro Obregon area. They’re pretty impressive in the flesh. I’ll miss Reforma when I’m gone. It’s a continually evolving, renewing, reconstructing street of life, sounds, scenes and art. I’m not convinced London has anything quite like it. Click here to see a few of the statues on Flickr.
Now that the World Cup is done, for England and Mexico anyway, it’s back to the postcards. But not for long. I am going to revamp my blog a little in a week or so, and giving away postcards won’t be part of the new idea. I started giving away postcards because I saw someone else do it, and thought it was a nice idea. Then I thought it might help the image of Mexico, just a little, during the flu and narco crises last year. And then because I got recipients to click on a few advert links to make me a little bit of cash!
Just before the World Cup started, I came across a huge bundle of really old postcards at a street market near Alvaro Obregon. I snapped up four of them, including two which were past of my World Cup gifts – of the Estadio Azteca and the Olympic Stadium.
They were cool, but this one is cooler. The Carlos IV statue on Reforma, at night. Because it’s been an awfully long time since this statue was on Reforma. It has had several homes, making its way to Reforma in 1852, before being placed outside the MUNAL in 1979. That would make this a 1970’s postcard.
The question for the person who claims it is, do you want it addressed, stamped and posted, or placed in an envelope so that it remains ‘as new’? Your choice. Personally, I prefer postcards with stamps. If you want it, you can claim it by leaving a comment on this post to let everyone know it has been taken, and then send me the address you want it posted to using my Contact page. It’s free – no strings attached.
If you’ve been following my posts (here, here and here) showing the building of the Worlds Biggest Christmas Tree, here in Mexico City, then I’m sure you’ve been eagerly awaiting a photo to show the final result. I have something even better though. A video of the ceremony, with the lights being switched on. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, turned up to witness the event, which was broadcast live on television. Probably with better video quality that I’m giving you, but such is life.
The vital statistics of the tree – it’s 295 ft tall, 114 ft wide, with 72 kilometres worth of small lights, 2 kilometres of neon lighting and 600 strobe lights. Which kicks the previous record set in Brazil into last year. Or into 2007, to be more precise. On one of my previous posts someone commented that the red, white and blue colours of the tree looked a bit like an American company’s branding, and he was spot on. The fact that it is now ringed with Pepsi barriers suggests so anyway. Coca Cola isn’t being entirely outdone though – they’ve whacjed up 50 Christmas Trees in Chapultepec Park. I guess I’ll have to go check them out next. Anyway, enjoy the video.
Just for those who have been so engrossed by my series of photos showing the construction of the worlds biggest Christmas Tree….here’s the latest installment. A crane is adding the final piece, and the lights will surely be flicked on soon. I don’t normally travel this road after dark, because it’s just not anywhere near my neighbourhood. But I guess I’m going to have to make the effort!
Ciclothon again. With a twist. This weekend the Japanese had Reforma turned into an oriental fiesta, of sorts. Of course, sales are the primary drivers of these sort of events. Tourism, cars, restaurants, origami classes. That sort of thing. It’s all good fun though. I didn’t get an awful many photos, but I managed to capture a few Japanese Latinas (a brand new race I believe!) and some shots of the wrestling match.
I like Japan and Japanese things. I’ve never been there, but I suspect the cold, formal society would suit me. Perhaps the hours of work they like to put in less so. Along with Argentina, Cambodia and Tanzania, Japan is one of the countries at the top of my ‘must visit’ list. The language would be a confusing barrier, but I am often confused anyway, and enjoy jumping over barriers. Or going round them, as needs dictate. The handful of photo I did take are here.
I noticed work begin on this roundabout on Reforma a couple of weeks ago. It looks temporary. Actually, it looks a little dangerous too. It looks like a pretty large construction though, whatever it is going to be. The first thing that springs to mind is a Christmas Tree. We have been promised the worlds biggest ever tree this year. Does anyone know, or am I going to have to wait and see?
I’ve completed my photo set of the wild animals currently residing on Reforma, one of the main avenues through Mexico City. Easily the most fun and funky avenue. These painted beasts won’t be there for much longer I imagine, as the Alebrijes are coming in late October. Click here to see the photos.
I’ve cycled, walked, driven and otherwise passed this particular property on Reforma for years. And I’ve always looked at it and wondered what, exactly, the story behind it is. Reforma is, after all, one of the most famous, expensive and developed streets in the country. It’s home to the biggest museums, the zoo, the Angel, international banks, hotels of prestige and status, the tallest sktscraper in Latin America, and of course the hideously wealthy.
And yet amongst all this money lies this vacant old building, vandalised and forgotten about. It would need a fair bit of money to bring it up to date. Or more likely, to plant a nice shiny new building in its place. Yet it sits there, decaying more and more with each passing year. a sore thumb in the middle of a very bejewelled hand. Someone must own it. Someone must have claim to this gold mine in disguise. I’d just like to know…
We hadn’t been along to the ciclothon since…well, it must be weeks and weeks now. The last time we went was before the Swine Flu outbreak anyway. We went later than planned, as usual, which was a bit unfortunate as Reforma had something special planned. A huge Culture Fair all along the road from the Angel to Chapultepec. The Vietnam stall sat snugly next to the US stall, athough distance was kept between the Israeli and Palestinian stalls. Sensible, perhaps.
A bit of a disappointment for the British ex-pats – the UK decided not to participate. Or weren’t invited. What have we done now? But we weren’t as disappointed as the Hungarians, who had a stall, but forgot to turn up. Still, there was a boxing ring available for people to vent their frustrations. And plenty of street performers to put a smile back on a miserable face.
But for me it was all about the ciclothon. It was nice to get back on my bike and pedalling again after such a long break. And photographing as well. You can see all my photos by clicking here.