Wednesday, December 04, 2013


Sancho Harranza turned on Don Pablo Quijote, and tried to convince Quijano to renounce his knight-errantry.  

You don't live in real world, you live in your own world.

Of course I do, and it is my La Mancha.

Our hero wondered what spell had been cast to cloud the mind of his faithful companion.  If spells were capable of turning ferocious monsters into the heedless windmills, such witchcraft could easily cloud the mind of his faithful lieutenant.  Especially as his lieutenant casually admitted that he had shirked off his readings of the works of famous knight-errants prior. 

You are an anomaly.

I know, and I both accept and relish my fate.  Knight-errantry is my dharma, I could not slough off that burden even if I tried.

Rather than retreat, Quijote pressed onward.  He mounted the tilt and tacked back on the offensive.

Swimming through a day of frustration, I headed south and south again on the winged rocinante.  From DC to Miami and on to Mexico City.  I arrived around 10:30pm, and once I had grabbed my stuff, cleared customs and taken out some pesos, it was 11:30, and I had to hurry to grab the metro into the city.  As I walking through the airport, little monarch butterflies fluttered through the terminal.

I was walking out of the airport and down the white neon path, a fellow backpacker bound past me.  He bought his ticket and asked for a map of the metro.  I thought that a good idea and did the same.  He stopped to ask a police officer for directions, but I just looked at my map and went one way.  I studied my map and debated if the other direction offered a better route with less transfers.  I saw the fellow on the other side, and it dawned on me that his route was with some official instruction.  I passed under and switched sides.

And I stepped into the D.F. metro train, and it was a world gone brown.  And I smiled wider than I had in a while.  I listened to the soft spanish murmurs on the night metro, and swam in my new contentedness.

I switched trains and bumped into the fellow.  His name was Norman, he was a Canadian from Montreal, who worked in Vancouver picking cherries.  He had been to Mexico many times, and loved the place.  He was on his way to the beach, with a brief sojourn in Mexico City.  We spoke of family, and how while parents always want whats best for us, they don't always want what's right for us.  He and I exited at Pino Suarez, and decided we were better served walking the five blocks to the Zocalo rather than running for another train.

We ascended into the quiet purple night.  The streets were almost empty and blissfully silent compared to the daily din.  I quickly recognized my environs, and we trudged through the central square filled with squads of riot police milling about.  As I have written before, Mexico is a bit of a benign police state, and it isn't always unwelcome.

We exchanged emails, and parted company as he headed towards his usual hotel and I to my usual hostel. I arrived around midnight, and the guard at the Mexico City Hostel let me in to the familiar location.  While I waited for the night manager to arrive, Norman appeared again.  His hotel and other hotels were all full, so he followed my lead to this one.  We checked in, and grabbed a Negro Modela to celebrate our arrival to Mexico.  We chatted for a while, then headed into the dorms.

The night was filled with bear-like snoring that caused for troubled sleep.  I awoke around 8 and got moving.  I grabbed some breakfast at the hostel (pancakes and papayas!) and headed out to my new apartment in Colonia Juarez, some 3 km away.  I debated walking but the backpack made me decide to take the metro.  It was only 4 stops, but it was tricky to maneuver in the full subway car with the giant bag on my back.

I soon found my place on Avenida Turin and connected with the landlord.  The building is an old colonial apartment complex.  I was welcomed to a faded white paint courtyard with plants lining the interior.  My landlord Memo led me to my room- a spartan but sufficient space that is well worth the price.  I unpacked and wandered out to grab a bite.

I sipped a vampiro (beet, carrot and orange juice) out of a plastic bag, while the purpleness stained my fingers. I munched a tlacoyo, a fat blue corn quesadilla filled with queso blanco, chopped onions and cilantro and covered in spicy green salsa that left my lips ablaze. All the while, the trabajadores march down Paseo a La Reforma, while the riot police look on.

Oh Mexico City, how I love thee.

I stopped for one last bite at a lunch counter.  The old woman made flattened the oblong masa huaraches as she spooned oil over top and drizzled salsa.  I had a gordita- a thick masa ball filled with biftek (steak), onions and cilantro, and covered in christmas green and red salsas, as I dreamed of Mexican gastrodiplomacy.  That article will come during this fair jaunt. 

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