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¡El mariachi loco quiere bailar!

Once this topic is down, and photos done, I'll be pretty much up to date before the onslaught of touristic adventures in the months to come.

Lake Xochimilco is one of the last remnants of the greater Lake Texcoco complex that was in the middle of the Valley of Mexico before being drained in fits and starts between the 13th century and 1967. Before the Spanish, it was used as a kind of farming bread-basket for the Aztecs, once they stole it from the guys who set it up. Thus, it is a series of islands and canals, and owing to its long history, Xochimilco is a UNESCO world heritage site.

These days, trajineras, little boats steered by guys with poles, make their way around the canals, forging the inescapable comparison that the whole place is something of a crude mud-and-grass Venice. The trajineras are much more rough-cut than the traghetti and gondola of Venice, but possess a kind of ostentatious charm stemming from the fluorescent paint jobs they possess. Similarly, the Mexican trajinera captains are more rough-cut than the conceited northern Italians (for example, you would never hear a gondolier say “¡Mira las chicas! ¡Oye! ¡Una gordita!”, being “Look at the chicks! Ah! A little fat one!”). While the tourists in Venice are amongst the poorest examples of affluent effluent one encounters out in the world, they can't hold a flame to drunken Mexican teenagers out for an evening of boating, eating, drinking, Mariachi-listening, and near public fornication. The boat of myself and my companions passed one such crew from which I received the usual

“¡Hey gringo!”

replied to with
“¡No soy gringo! ¡Soy Australiano!”

which elicited the unexpected
“Ah! Kangaroo! I had sex with kangaroo!”

Good for you kid. Just watch the claws.

The above list of activities is serviced by smaller boats that come up to your boat, selling beers from ice-buckets, selling hot food preparing on-board on little burners or in little ovens, or shipping full Mariachi-bands that rock their boats perilously back and forth while singing my favourite, “El Mariachi Loco”. As we learnt, and have learnt repeatedly in Mexico, one must negotiate price before taking beer, food, or music, or one pays the ubiquitous güero tax. This also goes for the hiring of the boat in the first place – some targeted walking off to be chased down the peer is in order.

This lunar cycle

April 2015
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