I came to Mexico City earlier than intended, with a sickness that forced me into some comfort.
The house I'm staying in is in Coyoacan, a beautiful, leafy, rather affluent suburb of the capital, that just happens to have been the suburb which Frida and Diego, and later Trotsky, inhabited.
Frida's house was a joyful place, a beautiful house and amazing garden, but very constructed as a museum now, feeling a little false in the end. But I went along as a small pilgrimage, Frida being my heroine and all; I've felt a certain affinity with Frida since suffering a serious accident and being able to identify with the physical pain that practically bleeds out of her canvases, as well as being a female artist and the fact that she's Mexican and I come from a family of Latinophiles (practically the same, yes?)
I walked into Trotsky's house, on the other hand, with a very heavy heart. I felt a palpable sadness there.
I don't need to blaze on about what a remarkable man he was (regardless of one's politics, this is fairly undeniable in my opinion, at the very least on an intellectual level). But to be there and know what happened in that house; that he was killed after having been exiled from Russia and having suffered the deaths of almost all his children at the hands of the Stalinites; and to know what died along with the man, I felt I was walking amongst a human tragedy.
I am aware of the morbid fascination that draws throngs of tourists to places of death and suffering, like Auschwitz and Seol Slang, photographing bullet holes and fascinating over blood (not that everyone goes there for that reason). I kept myself in check as moved through the rooms, making sure this wasn't my incentive for being there, but I found I was much more interested in his collection of books than the bullet holes in the walls.
Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Mexico is the land of murals, and Bellas Artes is a shrine to this fact.
Guadalajara: Mexico's second largest city and my first point of call. My strategy, in coming here first, was to ease myself in; I have been surrounded, for the last week-and-a-half by a band of Australian women who live here, none of whom I had met before arrival, but had various connections with just one
- (Just a small fun fact for the day: The names of my three best friends at home are Grace, Lauren and Zana. Here, in Guadalajara, I am staying with.. a Grace, a Lauren and a Xana. I love life's little coincidences. Even its big ones.) -
This first week was one of being whisked around to all the places worth seeing, drinking, eating and dancing at. And we danced. Oh, we danced. And drank.
I fear I may become addicted to salsa very quickly. I think I was meant. to salsa.
Mexican alcohol on the other hand, namely pulque, some sort of fermented (very fermented) fruit drink, is an acquired taste..
One of my favourite things to do is to wander the food markets, the likes of which we just don't have at home, to by my groceries or sit on a stool to eat whatever is being offered, and there is so much on offer... Mexico is culinary madness, and its only just begun.
I also always gravitate towards the bookshops in any city, regardless of whether or not the books are in my language. I just love the smell of old paper and ink, and the feeling that each book is rattling quietly, with ideas that want desperately to be realised and stories that need to be told. Every time I set foot in a bookshop, I feel like I'm surrounded by old friends.
I've left the tribe (for the time being) to make my own way and force myself into speaking what little Spanish I have. Slowly now, to Oaxaca.
Oh man. Its difficult sometimes to be restrained and considered in my writing when I just want to jump up and down like a bouncy ball and say "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck this life is just so stupidly exciting and amazing and wonderful and WHEN DO I GET TO THROW THE STREAMERS??!! And smash the piñata of life??!!" But I'll continue with the restraint.
In saying this, while I've done a write up on this first stop, I've decided I'm not going to try to recount the goings-on in each place I go, unless I feel a particular need to do so (y'know, like to analyse the bejesus out of something or other). Because it will become tedious, for you and for me. Yep.