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On assignment in Mexico City: Post 4

I plunked down three pesos and hopped on the Metro, resurfacing a bit later at the Zocalo.

Of course, it was the worst possible time to show up to take photos of the ice skating rink; the rink, in fact, was closed to skaters, as “monitores” shoveled ice into little pyramids and the pool in the center of the rink expanded a bit in the intense sun. I didn’t ask when it would reopen. I took photos of kids tubing down some artificial snowpack, a very frustrated boy whose snowmobile kept getting stuck in ice melt, and an ultra-goth guy who kept mumbling to himself “I’ve gotta get in the shade.”

I stopped by the culinary museum to ogle the collection of CONACULTA regional cookbooks that I covet (a whole other story) and by MUMEDI (the design museum). And then, I happened to see the word “GRATIS,” which lures most poor travel writers, which led me into the Palacio Iturbide and an exhibit that would have made me cry with pride if I were Mexican (and almost made me cry anyway.).  No photos, of course, and I realized one of my potential errors in planning this trip– very few museums allow photos without prior approval, and I hadn’t made any museum contacts at all. I thought trying to do so would be logistically impossible because I’d have to adhere to an even stricter schedule. My error is duly noted.

The sky here has been unusually clear this week, and so I walked up Calle Madero to the Torre Latinoamericana and bought a ticket to go up to the observation deck. So touristy, I know, but I was glad I did it–seeing DF desde arriba was, pues, otra cosa. I could see all the way out to the volcanoes. “Es padre,” said a woman standing next to me, shaking her head. (Insider tip: The observation tower is definitely the best place for photos of Palacio de Bellas Artes. Don’t take a telephoto lens, though. If your camera looks “professional” or if you’re carrying multiple lenses, you won’t be allowed to take it with you).

I was set to go back to the hotel and get ready to meet up with Carmen, when I quite literally stumbled into the middle of a demonstration of women and children, who were marching to call for an end to domestic violence. I shot lots of photos and talked with the organizers and took their contact information… potential photo essay? I don’t know yet, since I haven’t looked at the photos, but that’s what I was thinking as I stood on the periphery.

There were other things that caught my eye today: a free wheelchair rental program (!) in front of Libreria Gandhi on Avenida Juarez and waaay too many John Lennon live music rendition tributes, to name just two.

The days are passing quickly and I know (well, I knew anyway) I won’t finish 1/3 of what I need to do. Should I have scheduled fewer meetings? I don’t think so; they’ve laid some valuable foundations and have given me information and insight about current events that are difficult to develop when you’re not living in a place. It’s a tough balance, though, trying to figure out the best way to allot my time.

There’s so much more I want to do.

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2 responses »

  1. jules,

    i read through all four posts. i love the way you’re sharing your experience down there in this context. the work and the pace really comes through.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Dahveed. There’s a whole subnarrative (well, several) here I can’t dig into yet- Mexico City evokes really intense emotions in me, but I’ll get there. Really, I just wanted these to be useful “as I go” posts for U students, in particular.

      Reply

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