Itinerant: Mexico City (part I)
Walking. That´s how I got intimate with this city, by walking it. I knew Mexico City since I was born but it wasn’t until I lived the city that I got to understand it.
Today I am not in the immense capital, but I trace my routes mentally to remember it. I'm trying to focus on my senses, how I feel Mexico City. It is not like any other city, I have known it for a long time and every moment of my life Mexico City has been lived differently by my feet. At first the city seemed too intense to me, every time I visited it made me tired so much and I felt that I needed to sleep days to recover my energy. It was always a relief to return to my divine town with its fresh air and mountains, with its perfect temperature and peaceful energy. I think I never understood Mexico City until I lived it.
"Reading a city, particularly the one where we’re born, is an act of love and knowledge; changing creature, unforeseen, lethal and bountiful. In deciphering its signs, we do not know if after such a daring approach will we ever get to know it, question it, reject it or love it unlike anything else" – Vicente Quirarte (Translated by me, again, I don’t do justice to his words).
I spent my Sundays rolling from the Estela de la Luz to the Alameda. I could visit the exhibitions at the Tamayo Museum, the Modern Art Museum, and the Franz Mayer. I could feel the fresh air on my face as I put more energy into my skates, dodging the tourists and families who rode bicycles and obstructed Madero Street. It was a real odyssey. My roller-skates and the organization of Mexico City on Sundays allowed me to lose the fear of the giant and chaotic city. Rolling down in Avenida de Reforma from the Petroleum’s Fountain to Bellas Artes also helped me understand the distances that many times in a car are distorted.
The skates became my allies in the outline of the city, although it often meant one or another fall through the cobbled and irregular downtown streets. My other ally was the Metro Bus. Despite the excellent route of the Metrobus and Metro in Mexico City that benefits the workers and general public, it was a real tedium to use it during peak hours, which forced me to enjoy the pavement and get lost for an hour or so from the San Rafael neighbourhood to the Condesa, or from Colonia del Valle to Coyoacán. The first route was a very political one going through the neighbourhoods, the Monumento a la Madre, Reforma with its manifestations and the Zona Rosa, which gave me an updated panorama of Mexican society; while the second was rather an aesthetic delight enjoyed by my feet. The little streets of Coyoacán, the stones, the trees at Viveros, little streets with cute names like "Truenecito" (little lightning), enormous wooden doors, and finish the tour in delicacies: a Michoacán style Pozole at the market followed by a coffee of my brew choice at Marabunta.
I learned to understand the city lost in the paths of Colonia Roma, in the Amsterdam Circuit (again and again, who hasn’t?), looking to rent an apartment in the Escandón and in the Napoles suburbs. I understood the city´s distances in 8 wheels and got to know it over time with the texts that my dad writes from time to time remembering his own recognitions of the City.
Mexico City - as it is now officially called - is difficult to describe in an entry for a Blog. Not only because of its size and chaos, but because it is a city that is too lively and changes with every event, government program, development, architectural design and its progress in infrastructure (that is often wrong and badly planned); but despite its disproportionate urbanization that has captured neighbouring towns converting them into colonies, this City is magnificent and totally enchanting. Now it does not tire me and rather fills me with colour and life, stress and a busy cultural agenda. And I'm still going back to my little town that stands firm in its mountains to have a break from the smog and the running clock.