Monday, March 12, 2007

Three beautiful things

Over the last week I have had some very ´Mexican´ experiences.

1. The horror adventure in Chapultepec - On Friday night I went for an adventure with a whole bunch of people from my class. I didnt really understand what the goal or mode of this night would be - I was just informed that we were out to 'horrify ourselves' by visiting an apparently haunted house in the middle of the forest of Chapultepec (think massive Central Park in the middle of the city).
I scoffed at my friend Arturo and said 'I'm not gonna be scared'.. but I have to admit that when he let out a huge wail in the middle of the darkness I couldnt help but jump and swear loudly.
So there we were, about 4 carloads of us, approaching in our vehicles up to the gate to the haunted house. we were jovial and excited, and we had brought muscly Diego to do any necessary scuffling.
But, of course, no surprise at all that there was a bunch of policeman blocking our way. The normal questioning began. The enormous amounts of discretion these guys have. The real clincher was that we had bottles of beer in our cars. which seemed apparently fine as no one was drink-driving, but technicalities dont matter with police. The threatening started... this and that, they were gonna bring a special judge dude to search all our vehicles, blah blah.. and before I knew it Arturo was sprinting back to our car, shouting and then throwing bottles of beer into the dark forest. And then it was all piling in, a strong foot on the accelerator and we sped out of there so fast that we spilled onto the large avenue outside of the park and right into crazy traffic beeping wildly at us.

Apparently what had actually happened (to pardon any more threats from the police), was that one of our fellow mates had an uncle who was a Commandante in the federal police.. so for this alone we got away scot free. I asked Arturo what was the worst that could have happened - he very matter of factly said that we could have spent a night in jail. Holy cow! (mum dont freak out! we didnt do anything wrong).

Suffice to say the experience was brilliantly energising and we were all wooping at our great escape afterwards.

2. Mariachis!!

Jess and I spent a quiet night in the other night, eating popcorn and watching Amadeus. Lo and behold, at 12 midnight, the tranquility was interrupted by the most raucous noise outside. ´¨Its just the bar next door¨, I said, and for a while we ignored whatever it was. But after a bit, we went out onto our roof, and below us across the road had assembled a band of 8 mariachis - trumpets, violins and loud singers. Around them was gathered a group of friends, among them a most ardent boyfriend who stood outside the balcony of our neighbour's house, waiting for his girlfriend to come down.
Our whole house woke up in the middle of the night - Mari screamed in a high pitched voice 'A, the mariachis!'.. Jess and I ran onto the street in pyjamas, and Lou Lou peered out the bathroom window at the spectacle.
Okay, so you do see mariachis quite often in Mexico - but in plazas, restaurants, tourist places... so to find them in our little residential street, wailing away - it was just brilliant!
we tried to divine what the cause of the serenade was - we were sure there had been a fight between the couple, as she took about 8 songs to descend from her balcony. Word has it that this girl is notoriously vain so she was probably occupied with doing her hair while the mariachis were singing their lungs out.
We spent the night on the roof, sighing down at the mariachis, wishing that some lovely man would bring a whole mariachi band for us.

3. I was delighted to find a 3 hr seminar on Human Rights in Mexico, given by experts at a nearby uni. I was even more delighted to find out that it is on every Tuesday until July! Brilliant! With plenty of free time on my hands, and starved for political shinanigans.. this motley group of empassioned citizens and academics is a great injection of liveliness every week. And its free!

Let's just say that I am in my 'happy place', when I alight at the metro station Zapata and go to listen to the parlous state of rights in this country.

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