Chapultepec is loud tonight. I’m not sure exactly what is going on, but at a guess it’s a potato chip festival. Piles and piles of chips, gallons of chile sauce, and buckets of limes are in almost every stall down the blocked off streets. There is also a Red Bull tent, and one for Corona. I’m guessing so you can get drunk, but still stay awake to eat potato chips.
Judging by the day, I’m guessing they’re celebrating independence, but with the tone of the country these days it’s hard to tell. The whole mess with the forty-three students being tortured and executed by the police is still very much a topic of conversation here. There was another student found dead after being taken into custody by the police. No evidence yet, but also not the first incident recently.
That’s all though, no word of violence here. No burning of the stores, or protest closing the airport. I hear that the protest marched on the airport in Michoacan last week. This is how it begins, protest from the people who are finally done with what has been happening for decades. Or it’s just a bump in the road for the status quo. Hard to tell which it will be yet.
This place is strange sometimes. My mom and I went to a parade on the morning of the 17th of November, the day people got off for the holiday. There was a bit of a crowd, but not like I’d see in the United States. There were a lot of cops, more of a show of force than anything. They had assault rifles and ballistic armor on. They were also concentrated in groups of 6. It was unusual to say the least. I know some people have good reason to fear the police in the states, but here everyone is wary, including the police. Not exactly fear, but close.
During the parade, there was a lot of applause. Of course it was all prerecorded and played over a loud speaker. The crowd was very quiet. Back home when the soldiers and police march, everyone cheers. Here, not even the firefighters were applauded. The only people that were celebrated were the athletes, Olympians, I think. There were a lot of medals and people marching, but even then, it wasn’t the cacophony that I’m used to.
The parade itself was interesting, in a dangerous sort of way. It began with a deceptively safe dance of parents and very young children. Mostly mothers, but a few fathers as well. Then police standing in a pyramid on several motorcycles, with a paramedic following behind. Very impressive, the kind of thing that was banned in the States thirty years ago. There were kids in R.O.T.C. programs doing suicide rolls over a bed of nails. People rappelling head first from a nearby building. Some bad martial arts techniques. Beyond the fact that it was a moving parade and you can only do so much, you should never start a technique with a rear spinning backhand. It’s dangerous to say the least.
My mom said it was her number one favorite parade, knocking the festival of lights out of position. She laughed almost the whole time. She said the danger was what made it great. Then a truck passed with an a-frame covered in kids holding on and a firetruck with a man doing a headstand on the front bumper. It was great.
We wound up walking thirty miles according to her phone. It’s possible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her phone counted the shaking on the bus as steps on occasion. We traveled from Glorietta de la Minerva to Tlaquepaque and everywhere in between. We walked most of it. She wanted to see where I lived and worked. I offered to take her to Lake Chapala, but she wasn’t interested, so we had an adventure.
The Tequila Hostel was very nice, by the way. Clean, spacious, and safe. It was also busy and extraordinarily loud between the younger generation staying there and the traffic outside. I knew my mom could sleep through the noise and the pool was a nice addition, even if it did need cleaning.
We walked the streets, and to her credit my mom only fell once. She was looking through the camera while walking on Avenida Mexico, never a smart plan. She was just a bit scraped though, nothing serious. It was much funnier when she fell on the bus. The driver surprised her by accelerating faster than she expected. No damage, but the look on her face was priceless. Oh those wacky, psychotic, cell phone addicted bus drivers. It’s amazing they even move without hitting anything.
In the end she may have gotten a small scar and a few really good days. I think all your best days should leave scars. I think this is what she was looking for when she was so disappointed by Ensenada. They got off the cruise ship and walked into the worst, most touristy part of the city. The food is terrible there, and all they do is try and sell you poorly made clothes and bad tequila. I wish she had a better first impression, but I think I helped balance that a bit.
Other than that, everything is going fine. I still hate my English class in college, and I still love my Sociology class. It’s still basic though, so I’m looking toward the next semester. Hopefully that will be more interesting. I may have found someone to teach me Tai Chi privately out here too. His description of the style as “Standard Beijing Style” makes me wary, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. If he can help my fluidity and strength at all, I can get my other teachers to correct what me later.
I was talking to a friend at work, discussing time. He’s twenty-two, and was just beginning to notice that time is passing faster these days. I told him it only gets worse. Time just keeps accelerating. I’m not sure if it’s just the busy lifestyle or the difference of having that much more memory to reference. I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall thirty years ago, but it feels like just a few months ago. Like the Buddha said, “the trouble is, you think you have time.”