Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tales From The Road: Hanging in DF

Arriving into DF (for districto federal, the federal district, Mexico City the capital of the country) we are fresh, hungry, excited, and curious making for extensive exploration by foot and sharp minds easily absorbing everything around us.

Excerpt from travel diary for that day:

"We pass a string of lunch stands and pausing one calls out to us.  We buy three tacos de suadero ($12/MXN), grape soda and tamarindo ($20/MXN).  Now in the sun writing.  The day so far has consisted of long treks , Paseo de la Reforma through neighborhood of Juarez.  DF is stunning we feel like we are in a more arid tropical Manhattan.  With the upper class comes heavier guns and the policia presence is very noticeable .  In business district there are more food stands but more crowded and full of people in business suits.  Juarez on the border of Roma develops a more middle class but liberal feel.  High end salons next door to theaters showing "Las monlogos de la Vagina". The streets are tree lined and peacefully bustling .  We stop to take a break getting our fixes of cigarettes and sugary beverages.  Watching employees rest from the day, the occassional other tourist, and the middles class mexican teens linger in the quiet shade of this other Washington Square in the neighborhood labeled with foreign names running its streets.  Young Mexican couple with baby on the way, wife inspecting husbands hands...Other street vendors hawking the usual snacks and patriotic gear in preparation for next week's grito.  Throughout the day the threads begin to show.  We are emotionally affected by a street  child wearily playing his accordion and the police presence in the locked down Zocalo*.  A street local comes up and hands us a flyer on the history of the centro and lunges into an impromptu lecture I know will ease GA and I drift in and out of his words, staring at a model of DF as it originally existed as I try to center myself in the dreamlike state that is Mexico City."

Here is my travel partner GA and myself enjoying our first street stand taco on our very first full day of our trip.  It was a lunch counter we came across in a row of many, at the very beginning of the day.  The afternoon was hot and we took shelter in this row of food stands amongst defeños who had started their day much earlier than ourselves and were already having their mid day meal.  Amongst our lunch time banter and traffic sounds, catch the crackling of meat cooking on the flat grill, the chopping of condiments, and the radio playing love songs... *The Zocalo was locked down due to increasing protests at the time by activists and citizens who saw  the election of Mexico's current president, Enrique Peña Nieto as fradulent.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

People to Hang Out With: Roommates

I am happily back in the belly of the beast, New York City. Slowly getting my feet wet, un/willingly participating in its rampant capitalism and light schmoozing.  My time back in New York has proven to be much different this year as by a series of blessings, I am being given the opportunity to cohabitate in the dream location of China Town. After months of a level of social activity of my favorite sort (hanging out while trying to survive - eat,sleep,fuck)-I couldn't imagine once again residing alone. Returning home to a lovely yet lonely apartment that was filled with no other energy than my own. Thus far have had the pleasantness of sharing in life's little moments, meals, movies, various chores and tasks, etc with roommates. But most importantly being able to feed off each other for inspiration and support, for they are all wonderfully creative people as well as compassionate.

I had spent two years in New York living on my own, in adorable, warm, small apartments where the most important things were controlled by me- the decorum and the cleanliness of the bathroom.  But more importantly I had to face my own short comings with no distractions. From the more deeply profound soul related to the "Fuck look at that, I am the one that sucks at washing dishes", conceding to roommate teasing I have received over the last decade.  After this time period of introspection and improved dish washing skills I decided to rejoin the world of living with other humans.  Slowly by opening my apartment to constant guests and now being committed to more communal living situations for the indefinite future.  In it I am not losing privacy or solitude but extending myself to be a part of other people and for them to be a part of me.  When you become comfortable in the blurred boundary that is created in the joining of you and others, will truly be when you have mastered the art of hanging out.