‘Aye, pinche weyyyyy, no falles me.’
The hip-hop keeps playing and the guy with the long hair starts asking the volunteers to lie on the ground. The muscly guy in the tank top is making the audience laugh and the girls giggle. He winks. The bald one, and the best dancer, is making a part in the circle, stepping back until we can’t see him.
Five people lie on the floor in the middle. The young guy in a purple top is squirming. The muscly guy laughs.
‘miedo?’ he faces the audience and does a little dance, as though he’s going to wet himself. He’s laughing and so does the audience and the young guy, nervously.
The group drag the tension out. The long haired guy comes around for tips in his baseball cap.
Anyone with a 20peso has to give it to the dance crew in a sexy way. Wooooo.
An old lady beside us, who’s been laughing very loud the whole time, waves her bill in the air. The muscly guy starts thrust dancing in her direction, she’s bright red, and slips it in his pants. Everybody roars. The guy says gracias.
The five girls, maybe 16, we can never tell ages here, beside the old lady have been holding out for this. They scream and shout, finding a bill amongst them and one of the guys comes over. No, no, no! Quiero el (they point). El guapo hombre en rojo. The youngest one, who looks like a Mexican back-street boy, blushes and almost self-consciously starts dancing suggestively towards them. The girls go wild. One in the front puts the bill in her teeth and slips it down his top. Everyone laughs and whistles, then the backstreet boy runs back in the middle.
One more bill, this time from a Chicagoan man. Where you from? Chicago. Oooooooh Chi-ca-go! Me gusta Chicago. The muscly guy starts making a performance but the Chicagoan freaks, Oh no. Not for me. Take your money. And he throws it to them. The biggest roar yet.
Back to the action and the audience is starting the countdown. Where’s that bald guy. The long haired one waits on the other side of the volunteers. It’s a big jump. We’ve seen it all before but you still get nervous.
Vamos! Vamos! The guy sprints through the gap, stops, then backflips, twists, all of that then lands perfectly on the other side. Woooooo! Everyone cheers, the volunteers, breathe and laugh together. The gang bows, then does one last stunt. They’ll be here again in the square this afternoon and again on Sunday.
Time to go. Back through the markets of tarot readers, jewellery, knock offs, and fake shamans.
Jill and I need a beer, it’s midday already and the upper level restaurants in the square look good.
There’s about 20 guys on the street, all holding signs. Hambre? You hungry ladies? First one we see and sold. We have to walk through tacky jewellers to get the lift upstairs.
Ceviche cocteles de camaron y Modelo y Pacifico cervezas. How can we need more than this in our lives? Why don’t we move to Mexico. We have a great view of downtown from our seats. The main square below, giant flag in the centre. Palacio de Moneda, Government buildings, the Cathedral, which we read is sinking, barely seen behind the church, the main Aztec ruins. And behind all of the buildings and infrastructure, the desert mountains.
Again, I always picture such places prior to modern day, prior to Spanish conquest. This square was believed by the Aztecs to be the centre of the world, where they saw the eagle catch the snake, the modern country symbol.
We feel tired after beers, again, and make our way on the train back to our hostel, in Condesa.
We’ve been in Mexico City three days, or maybe four, already. Our days have been spent eating beans, tortillas and beer in the hostel, going to daily bikram classes in the upmarket neighborhoods of Condesa, drinking at sports bars, getting culture in the World Cultural Festival after our daily EL TERCER LUGAR coffees.
Only yesterday we spent our day at Museo Frida Kahlo and Museo Leon Trotsky.
‘Que quieres?’ the lady behind the stand asks us.
‘Flautas con pollo, por favor y jamaica… gracias.’ We sit at the stools, bumped intermittently by people passing through the cramped food markets.
Jill has another thought, ‘You know if I lived here I would be loyal to my market person, you know, like at a bar. I did that a lot in San Diego. I’d come and see this lady every Wednesday.. hola tia! or hola abuela! Ask her about her grandkids, she’d ask me how my project is coming along… it’d be great.’
The markets in Mexico City are chaos. A patchwork of colours bursting in the streets. Food, clothing, produce, cheap technology. You can’t cut through, you have to walk to the end of the street to come back up the other side.
The flautas are ready, long thin and crispy, stuffed with cebolla and pollo. Douse it in salsa picante, there is no better salsa than what you find in the markets. Wash it all down with jamaica, it’s a red drink, and Jill says it’s made from a type of flower. Hibiscus?
These markets are like a mirage, they randomly appeared two days in our time in Mexico City, every other time we see a tent, we’re let down that the market chaos isn’t exploding behind it.
Museo de Antropologia. We make the same mistake as always. Spend two hours in the first section before we realise there’s another 6, and we haven’t even reached the Mayans. Mexico City is supposed to have the most museums in the world, even more than Paris. And Museo de Antropologia might contain enough history and artefacts to entertain an enthusiast for weeks. Sculptures, homewares, tapestry, idols, bones… it’s enough to blast my mind before noon. The gallery is ultra-modern and has enough information available to interest all types.
Condesa – tree lined streets, hip bars and fashion forward Mexicans
Centro – source of historical and political beginnings
Roma – for creatives, coffee shops and boutique galleries