Monday, September 7, 2009

i am finding what i'm looking for

on the morning of my first full day in mexico, i decide to keep my walking local and focus on zona rosa and maybe la condesa and la roma. my friend laura gives me the number of one of her friends who lives in condesa. she suggest i call him, since he is free that day and could show me around. he's from london and has been in mexico city for three years. i call him and think we will have to converse in english, but his spanish is almost perfect and i don't see the need. he tells me where he lives and we agree on a time. i walk out of laura's apartment and feel just wonderful. it's my first walk in mexico city in four years.

i walk to parque espana, taking pictures along the way, and meet my new friend at the neveria under his building. he's having a conversation with the man behind the counter, something about how getting a free pizza from someone doesn't mean he's your friend. pretty random and a bit uncomfortable. he introduces us and they continue talking for a minute or two. we go up to his place and of course it's awesome. everyone's place in mexico city seems to be that way - always in an interesting building, with great furniture and great art on the walls. we start walking and decide not to have a real agenda, just see where things take us. we go have some tea at a local spot and sit facing an open area with view to the park. now more comfortable with each other, we have discussions about life, relationships, work, traveling, etc. plenty of vendors stop and offer their goods, including an older man blowing on his harmonica. we stop at his place and i ask to use the bathroom. he stops to pick up a sweater and a jacket. i was fine in a t-shirt, so i gave him a hard time for that, wondering how he used to dress in london.

after the tea and more walking, we proceed to get some comida corrida. i choose the consome, rice and enchiladas. the meal came with a pitcher of guayaba water. he told me he normally won't drink water like that, hinting that it's unsafe, i presumed. the water was delicious and without noticing it, i drank most of the pitcher. we continue walking and stop at his place on the way, to pick up a couple of umbrellas in case it rains. i had told him i didn't bring one and he offered to lend me one, but said it was not in the greatest conditions (i would find out exactly what he meant a couple of days later). i feel the urge to pee and use his bathroom. he has a laugh because that was the second time i pee that day.

we head to a hand-craft fair at a park, and by the time we get there, i need to pee again. i prolong it as long as i can, knowing he would laugh at me again. i end up buying a t-shirt and we start walking again. he wants to stop at sears, so i go use the bathroom there, much to his amusement. we go have more tea later and then say goodbye. i felt a slight need to use the bathroom, but decide to wait until i get home. of course when i get to my friend's place i really needed to pee. dang that water!

i relax in the evening and that night we went to a bar called mojito place, i believe. it was far from exciting. i wasn't too happy that it was a salsa bar, and that we needed to buy a bottle of rum to get a table. we leave at midnight, thankfully. i was excited to hear the salsa version of u2's "i still haven't found what i'm looking for" and the classic "pedro navaja".

we walk back and eat some quesadillas along the way. they had a tv there and were watching a show called decisiones extremas (extreme decisions). i guess it's a different case each time. this time it was about a guy making some tough decisions in prison in order to survive. pretty brutal stuff. not the show you want to see when you're walking around at midnight in a strange city. somehow after that meal, i still had the energy to go to a bar solo and have a few drinks. it's in a very nice area, but the street is lined up with young male prostitutes. i wasn't about to make any decisiones extremas with any of these guys, so i walk straight to the bar and have a few drinks. the atmosphere at the bar was nice and i felt right at home. it was a great place to end the night.

that was my first full day in the city, and i can say it was a great one, full of pleasant surprises. as the pedro navaja song goes "la vida te da sorpresas, sorpresas te da la vida..."

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