Bienvenidos de Mexico, espero que todo esta bien contigo, "que te vayan bien" dicen los Mexicanos.
I had some free time today so I thought I'd write you a letter. I don't know if I told you about my blog, of if you read it, but I'll probably put this put there as well.
I'm sitting in an artsy-alterno cafe in the hip part of town not far from Frida Kahlo's house. I decided not to go to Tuxpan, where I have other friends, as I learned that it's a 6 hour bus ride one way, and to go there today, come back tomorrow, and head out on Sunday would just be too much. Plus, my days here in el DF have been packed, and I could really use just hanging out. The decision was a tough one -I get the sense that in general, when a Mexican invites you to their home, the mean it with the utmost sincerity- but I just couldn't. It'll just make me come back down here sooner.
Everytime I come to Mexico, I'm impressed at the country and ashamed of mine, as the general consensus among the masses is that Mexico is... sweltering mass of teeming theives, or something of the sort. The friendliness of the people -here in the largest city in the world (I looked it up, and technically it's the "largest population of people, 8 million, under one mayor")- is shocking. My friend and host Adriana has absolutely no qualms of stopping and asking for directions -even from a police cop just after running a red light (it wasn't going to change, honestly). Did I tell you about New York? A mass of assholes, they could really learn something from Mexico City. And they're better drivers, too. Actually, that's been one of the main thoughts on my mind sense being here, how Mexicans are better Americans than Americans: they're politer, friendlier, more religious, better at raising kids and being a family. (They're also better cooks and thus consequentially, fatter. I would also joke that they're not as good as soccer players as us yanks, but I fear such joking, made even on the safety of my laptop in a cafe, would arouse violent reactions from passers-by).
Just to continue the list: the transit system is better (though traffic inconceivably horrific), the cars cleaner (LP gas-burning buses, for example), and thus the air is cleaner than many cities in the US.
Of course, I'm wearing rose-colored lenses and haven't seen the sea of slums, but come to think of it, I've seen less homeless than in Seattle. And no one drinks the water.
ANYWay, the other topic that's constantly at hand is: good Lord, this place is huge! It's hard to imagine a city of 8 million (or 20 million, as says Ricardo, my other co-host, in the greater area). I think I explained it to Adriana like this: though I know New York, LA, or San Francisco very little, I feel like I have a sense of direction there -i could be plopped down in the middle of either of those cities, and within five minutes figure out north from south and which way I want to go. Here... ha! Every time we've gone out, it's taken an hour driving, although we've gone less than 10 miles. When you look at the area I've covered on a map, it's a tiny spec. Unlike US cities, there's no pattern to streets -they grow and shrink randomly, turning from a major thorough-fare to a tiny alley in a matter of blocks. There are divisions and forks (and spoons and knives) in every road. It's a confusing mess, and the mass of people never, ever ends.
ANYway, I've finally found a cafe that has wifi and I'm using the most of the moment. It's been a while, but after a little warm-up like this, I remember the other stuff that I use to justify spending lots of time online for: sending out stories and articles to get published, working on my silly blog, some political work, etc etc. I should run off for now, but I'll try writing again soon (though I may not send it until I get home).
Hope you're doing well,