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Bésame, bésame mucho

“Have you been to the pyramids yet? No? This is a crime” declared my direct-speaking boss, with his sharp focus on what is and is not a crime (Hugo Chavez is a criminal, the banks are criminals, and I, in my negligence in travels have become a criminal, committing crimes against myself). However, I had made a pledge to refrain from the jaunt to the main archaeological zone to the north of the Distrito Federal until a special party was in attendance. This sets up the introduction of new recurring character, the lovely Naomi, who arrived in this rugged land two weeks ago and instantaneously fell prey to jet lag, crumbling pavement, Moctezuma's revenge (one lingers on the fact that if Moctezuma II showed the talent for leadership when it counted that he has since shown in spitefully tormenting travellers, this continent might not speak español), and altitude. Mexico City is at 2240 metres above the wet stuff, and I'm informed altitude sickness becomes an issue at 2400. Thus, new arrivals, after unbolting themselves from the toilet, tend to huff and puff when attempting the multi-task miracle of walking-and-talking that sets us above the lesser animals. Or, maybe that's proper opposable thumbs, the ability to alter our environs, art, upright skeletal structure, brain volume, war, memes (no, not internet memes, the proper Dawkins ones), or any of the other stuff they say in school.

Anyway, pyramids.

It didn't seem auspicious fo' Nae to climb the world's third largest pyramid until after recovering from these things, and my bout of singing Bésame Mucho ad infinitum (or at least the chorus bit) that was a complication of a case of free-public-Placido-Domingo-concert. Anyone who has heard that version must surely recognise that it could, nae should, nae must have been the theme to a tropically-set 1970s cop show. I think I have found my equivalent for my father's 'O Sole Mio.

So anyway, pyramids.

Paying 25 pesos each for the owt-o-boos to take us 65 kilometers from the north end of the metro to the site (divide by 10 to get a good metric for cost in USA, Australian or Canadian dollars), Nami and I moved past the rambling slums that roll like a bleak gray carpet halfway up hills and down valleys for incalculable distance. These are what give Mexico City its gargantuan sprawl, and their unrelenting monotony remind you of what life in the heart of the megalopolis makes you forget: this is a nation in places crippled by poverty. Even the nicer structures that stand out from those that hem them in, uncompleted, crumbling or just anonymous, naked, dead gray concrete and bricks; even these nicer ones, with their bright paint, stucco, multiple stories, and flourishes and fixtures, had something wrong with them it was not immediately easy to isolate. The walls all stop just above the windows. Coming from a life of 9, or even 12, foot ceilings, which has continued in the nicer part of Mexico City, encountering a life where the imperative to save materials is such that ceilings scarcely make 6 feet is a shock.

But anyways, pyramids. Actually, you know what, I'll save that for the next post.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Dec. 25th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
Hello nephew, your journal is as entertaining as usual thank you. However, I just wanted to wish you and Naomi A Merry Christmas and I don't have an e-mail address for you. Love Aunty. xxoo
paulfraser
Dec. 27th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Merry Christmas to yourselves too!

Whichever email address Jodie has should work fine; maybe easiest to grab it off of her.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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