Sunday, September 18, 2016

Viva Mexico

"You can come up with all these great phrases, and great quotes and aphorisms. But if you're not applying them to yourself, if you're not living those things, if you're not putting them into action, then they're not really helping you." -- Bruce Lee


September 16th is Mexico's Independence Day and they take is very serious here. Like most countries who celebrate their independence from an occupying foreign power there is a huge national party with fireworks and speeches. Yes Canada (July 1st), USA (July 4th) and Australia (Jan 26th) to name a few, you were once under the control of a foreign power which oddly enough for each of you was England.

Here in Tehuacan there were lots of options however the Zocalo (main square) was the place to be. There was a huge carnival type atmosphere with vendors selling anything possible. The rains had kept many people away and it almost kept me home. FU** IT, this was Mexican Independence and a bit of rain was not going to keep me away. The one nagging thought that kept creeping into my brain was the words of so many of the students when I asked about the party at the Zocolo. "Teacher, don't go there, it is so dangerous". When I pressed to explain why they all seemed confused at the question like I was an idiot and it should be obvious. Stupid Gringo. It boiled down to drunks and thieves with a possibility of knives and gun play. Who would want to miss that?

The rumor de joir, I mean de facebook, was that there will be riots because the President let Donald Trump visit and Trump was not destroyed or tossed in prison. I love the modern fear machine that is Facebook. Off I went alone as my posse stayed home as it was raining but I move faster when I am alone. The rains slowed and then stopped just as I arrived and the Zocalo did not let me down. There were people everywhere but this was not the drunk and dangerous abyss I was warned about. There were families everywhere plus people young and old smiling and having a great time.

There was a huge stage with live bands playing great Regaton and other Mexican music that even had me dancing a bit with the friendly locals who "wanted to dance with a gringo to show them how nice Mexico and Mexicans were".  At 10:30 came the speech of the mayor which quickly killed the fun vibe of the party and became somewhat dystopian in it's delivery. Starting with celebrating the army and the police he asked for a round of applause for all the security forces. There was nothing and a huge hush fell over the crowd to which I could feel the tension creep in from all directions. The speaker (who again I think was the Mayor of Tehucan) repeated himself but a bit more forceful to a small scattering of applause. I guess the abuse of security forces in Mexico is very real.  I took notice that the small groups of security personnel that were in the park had formed into units and made their way to the front of the crowd in front of the balcony from where the mayor was speaking. There were absolutely noticed as again the mayor asked for a round of applause and the crowed cheered before he could get the words out the third time. I was time for me to take my naive Canadian butt out of that predicament and find a cold beer, better yet leave the park at the quickstep.

"I am catching the 8:00 am bus to Puebla with 6 other teachers so I do not want to sleep in" where what I kept telling myself as I heading home. I hate traveling in a pack where the herd mentality is usually rule. I have way to many issues with a herd because there is to much time standing around going "where should we go", "I need food", I want to.." so inevitable that the herd will split at times which is a great thing and regroup at a later time,  otherwise the herd will run right off a cliff.
I am staying at the same hotel I stayed at a few months ago when I was here, Hotel Rio. A proper hotel that is safe and clean with a great staff for $20 a night. A bit of a splurge for a guy making Mexican wages. The others are staying at a hostel in the dorms for $9 a night. I will always spend less on booze and sleep well with some privacy when I can. Dorms are great (for me) when I am on the road. This is a 3 day vacation so that requires a little comfort and the ability to have some alone time away from the masses, a healthy option any day of the week.

Indio has the most beautiful beer labels I have ever seen

How many more good days do I have? How many more interesting times will I have? I do not know the answer to those questions but I should remember to ask them to myself once in a while to keep myself sharp. Next up for me is Mexican Independence Day in Puebla Mexico where the beer will be cold and the people will be smiling. A great thing to look forward to. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

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