Zocalo, Mexico City's central square – one of the largest public squares in the world – in a way, is the spiritual center of the whole country. When Cortez governed from the overlooking palace, it was the heart of New Spain. Before he marched upon it, it was the main square of the Aztec capital. Modern Mexico City is a city build upon cities, and physical fragments from each of its incarnations remain still.
The service men on the inside of the show were as well armed as those on the streets. The police and federal officers maintain a strong visible presence most places I went, armed with shotguns and imposing fully automatic weaponry. Given the numerous accounts of theft and violent crime prevalent in Mexico City I've taken in, I was usually happy to see them around.
I poured him a welcoming shot of tequila and led him on a walking tour of the Centro area (I went through the same motions on Monday, but everything in Mexico City – EVERYTHING – is closed on Mondays). We saw some of Diego Rivera's better known socialist murals in the Secretary of Public Eductation building and in the National Palace. We got a good look inside the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes, art noveau on the outside and 30s art deco on the inside. We took a stroll through Alemeda Park, which used to be the main market in the Aztec city, and is now a rare green space in a city that's somewhat monotone and grey compared to much elsewhere in Mexico. The green is occasionally cut with the flower blossoms all over jacaranda trees, which punctuate the city all over with an out-of-place seeming but still soothing purple hue. We finished our stroll at Opera Bar, a classy space where we sipped mezcal served with spiced orange slices, and which sports a bullet hole left by Pancho Villa.
My team of choice was composed of Diamante Azul, Titan, and Maximo. The first two were lucadores of classic pedigree: old fashioned masks and thick oily muscles. Maximo, on the other hand, was a flabby unmasked wrestler with a pink mohawk, effeminately floppy wrists, and his signature move was planting a smooch on his opponent's lips when he had him cornered. The crowed loved Maximo and pleadingly chanted “Beso! Beso!” if Maximo got ever close enough to lock lips.
My team was decimated in round one by Scorpion Rey and his cohorts, a villainous duo without masks dressed like cavemen. Given how wrecked my wrestlers were, it was truly unbelievable how they were able to recover so swiftly and with such strength that they were able to fight back with high flying kicks and throws enough to win the two final rounds and send those goons back home.
|Gigante Rojo y El Puno|
I didn't catch the names of the wrestlers in the final one on one round, but given the shouts from the spectators, I would guess their names were Puto and Cabron.
The next morning saw us on an early bus to Teotihuacan, a series of native ruins featuring the second largest pyramid in the Americas. Driving in the city's perimeter, you get a greater sense of just how enormous Mexico City really is, and then just how many of its people are impoverished. Once a native city of modest size built upon a lake set island, the lake has now been long since drained and the metropolitan area has swollen to over 20 million people. Far from the the classical architecture of the central zone, the hills are dense with small concrete boxes in a dull grey that mirrors that of the low hanging clouds. On the undulating hills, the houses almost seem as if they are growing organically but reduced to simple geometry, like some kind of sad grey coral that only grows in 90 degree angles. The density of population in these spaces is reportedly one person to every square meter. I was startled when it occurred to me these communities weren't structurally so dissimilar from those built up and down the hills of Guanajuato – these here were merely devoid of color. That simple element can paint the difference between a scene of joy and a scene of sorrow.
Eventually as we passed along the road, the houses thinned out into clay colored hills and patches of green cactus, and the stony tops of two great pyramid pierce their way into view.
The layout of Teotihuacan was planned cleverly in accordance with astral movements and the four cardinal directions. The two main pyramids are named after the sun and the moon and are each echoed by the mountains they foreground as seen from the area's central plaza. Running up the sides of several temples remain stone depictions of gods: the feathered serpent form of Quetzalcoatl and a stone god chiseled into right angles with binocular scopes for eyes.