THE HEART (AND THE ANUS) OF THE CITY
Mexico City is a knockout. It is a ravishingly seductive body. Yet it is simultaneously overwhelming, scary as fuck. It is Saturday afternoon, you find yourself standing at the advent of Francisco I. Madero Avenue (near the intersection of Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas and Avenida Juárez), preparing to venture (even deeper) into one of Mexico City’s most intricate orifices: Centro Histórico. You have never seen, smelled, heard nor touched anything like it. The air is heavy: pollution, the hefty aroma of garnachas being fried nearby, the pungent odour of the not far off sewer (or is it the foamy puddle of stagnant water that you almost stepped into a minute earlier?). Families, couples and groups of friends on Saturday outings move about; a man carries what seems to be over thirty balloons; a quinceañera wears a dress that looks like cake frosting, her chambelanes speedily make their way through the crowd; a drunk man naps on the sidewalk. Salvador Dalí’s words come to mind: ‘I will not return to a country that is more surrealistic than my paintings.’ He was so right. You think about perhaps never returning yourself. What did you get into? You hear the simultaneously piercing and rhythmic clamour of more than a dozen vendors vigorously yelling catchy phrases in the hope of selling their diverse goods, the ever-present melody of the organillero in the distance. The sun burns your skin (you wonder why you didn’t bring sunblock with you). You hear ice cream bells, church bells. You feel a drop of sweat slowly making its way down your forehead. Unsure of what to do with all of this, you freeze. But before you know it, you are subsumed by the crowd and inevitably start to move with it. And so you begin navigating down a happy trail that promises to take you to the heart (and the anus) of the historic centre: the Zócalo.