There are some days when Mexico just tests your patience.
And its always the days you’ve had class at 7am with little to no sleep the night before. For example, I’m usually able to have a bit of a laugh at the heinous bus trips we take every day. Sometimes, the buses don’t stop for you at all. Sometimes, they just decide take a random route here and there. Sometimes, they feel we would be more comfortable packing the bus like cattle, or salmon squashed in a can. Always, they slam on the breaks when parallel to the next stop. I never feel like saying thank you while disembarking, i feel like the finger would more rightly convey what i really feel; here you can pay off a cop to get off a drink driving/speeding/having 8 people in your back seat charge, but sure, don’t let me get on the bus until i show you my student ID that gives me a 25c discount to ride your devil wagon.
Occasionally, someone gets on the bus and just decides to play music for everyone. It’s usually just guitar and voice, sometimes a harmonica too. And that is not just music, that is salvation on these buses. And pure freaking genius that they manage to not only balance, but play and instrument and sing on a road bound roller coaster.
But there was one particular day, when once again my shoulder was in danger of being pulled out of its socket as the bus drove along (though would we really call it “driving”?) I watched with envy all the seated people, and saw them bounce so high their butts actually left the seat (though if i was sitting down i would face the crotch in face situation). And there i was, even with my wide stance and braced legs, being thrown side to side, guitar falling everywhere, no one moving over one to sit in the window seat and let someone else sit too.
I looked at the images of Christ and the Virgin Mary, which so often decorate the inside of the busses (95% catholic country). But these images which I’d grown accustomed to, started to make me angry….Why on EARTH are there religious symbols on this godforsaken bus– IT IS HELL ON WHEELS.
I slept for 14 hours that night.
They also like to pimp their rides…
Mexico has a way of taking your plans and stretching them in every direction, so that they are the most flexible things in the world. And this kind of feeling is new to me, but i love it.
So, at 12:30am when Anna and I still had no idea where we needed to get our bus from the next morning (we needed to leave at around 6am) I still had the feeling everything would work out ok.
Until we got there and the lady turned us away because we didn’t bring the credit card we paid with.
BUT, at 7:45am on the dot, Anna came sprinting victoriously back into the station, credit card in hand.
We made it. And we made it to San Miguel after watching a few favourites in spanish (Bridesmaids, just as great in español). San Miguel is a little town about 5-6 hours away from here, and it was right near there that the events of Méxican Independence took place- where else were we going to go for Independence Day?!
There were parades of horses and bands and gigantic weird people things.
The plaza was filled that night with red, green and white. There were fireworks and of course, El Grito. The shout. Where everyone screams VIVA!! in response to everything and VIVA MÉXICO a million times! It was magic.
Everyone stayed and danced in the plaza, which by the way- cobble stone-not so great for the old salsa feet.
And even though we slept on a concrete floor, it was AWESOME.
To be young at heart…
…Is such a great thing. I had almost forgotten the sickening feeling of stepping off a carnival ride that can only be compared to a human washing machine with seats. David, Natan and I (my host parents grand children) spent the night at the fair and it was the best money I’ve ever spent. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone to an actual fair and made my self green from dizziness.
I ditched the mechanical bull that night. Kids are so good for your soul… Until you put a 10 year old on a ride that hangs you upside down for a minute, to the point he actually believes he will slip and and die and starts screaming for his papa…
But i did hear he went back to the carnival and wanted to ride it again!
On Saturday there was a free music festival on Avenue Chapultepec. There were 4 stages with different kinds of music and I was actually so stoked to discover some awesome local artists!
My favourite was Hello Seahorse, a pop rock/indie band from Mexico city with a family tree consisting of Florence and the Machine, Foals, Kyu and maybe some great grandparents descendant of Phoenix. (http://helloseahorse.com/index2.html )
Another fun one to watch was Dan Solo…
There were fire twirlers and all sorts of random things up and down the street;
Being here made me realise just how much I have missed live music! I was overly happy to be there, and believe it or not, it was a totally sober night. Luckily we have Hot Chip, The XX and Corona Capital (The Black Keys, Mutemath, Snow Patrol, The Maccabees, Florence and the Machine, Hello Seahorse!, and many many more..) lined up in the next 2 months.