From the Rainy Megapolis

Whenever I would tell people at the day job that I would be spending two-weeks’ vacation in Mexico, they would invariably go on about how lucky I was to go laying on a beach and how I shouldn’t forget the sunscreen. What they didn’t realize is that I would be spending that time in the Mexico City area, which on average is much cooler than what most Canadians think of “typical Mexican weather” due to being so elevated and in the centre of the country. What’s more, summer in the tropics is the rainy season, so unlike my previous trip here last December when I didn’t see a drop of rain, this time there hasn’t been a day yet without rain — and often monsoon-worthy downpours. Apparently it hasn’t always been this cool and wet in July in Mexico City; many believe it’s yet another sign of climate change.

But we haven’t let the weather dampen our spirits. It’s actually difficult for me to list off all the places where we’ve been so far. Perhaps our most remarkable and discombobulating (for me) journey came yesterday as we travelled through the channels at Xochimilco, one of Mexico’s numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites. We had planned to visit another such site today, namely Teotihuacan which is some 40 km northeast of the City, but the weather and the fact Esposo stayed up late surfing the Web last night may bring us to postpone this trip.

Mexico — both the city and the country — is all about culture. Or, should I say for the sake of accuracy, a richness of cultures and history going back to the first millennium CE. While visiting the castillo at Chapultepec Park, which is in the centre of the City and much larger than New York City’s Central Park, a peculiar thought came to me: the history of Canada becoming a nation is pretty tame compared to Mexico’s. To be honest, this observation leaves me with mixed feelings. But, clearly in my mind, it must explain in part why patriotism among Canadians, especially anglophones, is such a comparatively muted sentiment.

And what can I say about Mexican cuisine! I hardly know where to begin, but I can assure you that most commercial “Tex-Mex” attempts in Canada have nothing to do with it. Since I’ve been here, Esposo and I have had consistently good, multi-course meals that would cost about $10 for both of us. But the affordability is secondary to the taste experience and the feeling that this is food for the soul as well as the body. Little wonder that home cuisine is perhaps what Mexicans miss most when they are away from their country.

Finally, totally unrelated: one of the best line I’ve heard all week came from the mouth of Jovana. Few of us would dispute that someone’s accent can make him or her even more sexy. Well, she argues that women are even more sensitive to accents, claiming that “women have a clit in their ear.” Which, of course, brought me to remark that I’ll look at her with a bemused smile if I ever catch her scratching her ear…