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Week 4 – Mexico Dispatches

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I always find myself on the same street regardless of how many left and right turnsI take. Here I am again on Lazaro Cardenas. I say hola to the family with the colourful woven bags. I am relieved to see that someone is caring for la ninas and ninos so they don’t have to tough it out on the cement in the heat. How uncomfortable must that be. I’m happy the bags don’t scream destination, even though they really rather do. I just want one that’s bigger but I’m beginning to think anything would be better than my backpack. Kicking myself for forgetting my practically theft proof roomy shoulder bag at home. 
It is a holiday. Something to do with the revolution. I’m try to find new accommodation for the end of December (not staying at the Cactus which was my original plan) My background noise is punctuated with a regular series of what sound like explosions. Every one of them stops me for a moment. I would blame that for ruining my flow, but I’ve just been hanging out with that old friend ‘lack of motivation and discipline’.

Stomach tells me it is time to make my way out. Nice breeze. Temperature cooler? Here I am again, walking past familiar buildings, businesses and landmarks. Hola to the hat guy. I end up buying another, a white one, a totally impractical. Now I own 5 summer hats, all of which I scarcely wear. Still, it’s polite to say hi. The 80 pesos ($4) isn’t a great expense. Really would like a coffee…thinking about Panino’s, beginning to think of a ham and cheese croissant. Really, how N. American can you get? A girl and I exchange Holas and then she gestures me into a place I’ve passed many times before. I’m credulous about whether there is a restaurant in there or not because the most prominently stated business on the signage is ‘Yoga’ being the business conducted inside. I am led through, past some tables, through the shop…keep going. Around a juice bar, oh here is where they must do yoga. It’s a big empty space, but there are two discrete small dividers and I’m seated at the lone table in the “top” of the restaurant. I am the only person in the place. It is airy, with smatterings of filtered sunlight creating dancing patterns around me. I get a satisfying cup of coffee (and it’s free!) and a delicious meal of Chicken Tinga. 

I check into hostel early so I can get the bus to SPCA. My luggage and other stuff stowed away. Sense of relief washes over me. Professional! 1464 pesos for 9 nights. A kitchen, tick; a cozy sofa, a place to relax, tick. No pool. Didn’t use pool at Hotel Cactus anyway, and it’s the reason I’m here, having cut short my stay.  It wasn’t an inviting pool anyway. It had that concrete compound feel, even with the funky slide. Methinks the place has fallen a bit into disrepair and only the bare minimum is being done to maintain it. It is more shower and bed sort of place, for cheap. Only one of my roommates has arrived to the hostel and apparently he and I are the only two there just yet. He’s a young guy, 21, from Mexico City working at a local restaurant. I didn’t ask him why but I am curious. Could he not have gotten this kind of job in Mexico City? The conversation turns a bit extentialist, him thinking that he should be in university and further along in his life and he’s already looking back at the choices he’s made. The coulda, woulda, shoulda, road not taken and all of that. I am a bit envious at how self-aware he is and also feeling a bit like if he tries to hurry up and speed his life forward to where he thinks he needs be, he may find himself regretting himself not savouring important moments.I told him about ‘Waking Life’ which was heavy on the existentialist theory, or at least so it was in my brain. That’s how I remember it but I could be wrong of course. I recommended the movie with this caveat. It also reminded me that I wanted to see this one again myself. My other roomies arrive but they aren’t English speaking, all Mexican. It seems they are working as well. Our small room is packed. Perhaps I should have booked sooner to get a semi-private one. At any rate, it’s all good.

Coffee Au lait & a version Jamon y queso croissant at the Frenchly named cafe right next door, handy. I hoover it up. I’m starving. The last night’s dinner at the Cactus was microwave popcorn. The view is hardly pastoral 8 lanes of morning traffic hurtle to and fro. But I am satisfied with my stiff caffe. Who cares!! I sip my coffee reading storefront signs and attempting translations; trying to work at developing some kind of Spanish muscle. I get one right away ‘barato’. Cheap…I heard this one shouted at me at the beach yesterday and one other occasion. I suppose it was in response to the fact that I would’nt buy what was being offered, a massage. I now only patronize Nikko’s tent and I tell every massage hawker this. There is one who ignores this and massages my shoulders as he talks to me; half flirting and half soliciting. 

I observe the obviously American and Canadian people go about their regular lives consisting of yoga, fancy dinners etc. with one simple difference: Constant sunshine. I can hear the barking instructions of the spinning instructor at the fitness place next door. Everyone calls it the Marilyn Monroe fitness club, there’s a giant colour Marilyn Monroe statue in front of it, dress flaring up in that famous image of her over the sewer grate; only in their depiction it is a red dress. It is a great landmark. I always look for it when I’m on the bus. I know this is where I need to get off.

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About d.

a practical dreamer, a wanna be artist, a dabbler in writing, photography and whatever other shiny thing catches my fancy

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