Alright it is New Years Eve and Im in Mexico City or as the locals call it D.F. I was updating yesterday for about two hours and wouldnt you know it. The computer crashes.
Following my stay in Gaunajuato I decided to head to the great city of Mexico. I was apprehensive at first considering the size of D.F. It is one of the 5 largest cities in the world with a population of 18 million and is defined as a Megatropolis.
Arriving on the bus I saw first hand how extensive the suburbs of the city extend. It is alot like driving around L.A. and O.C. back home. Urban sprawl. Arriving in the bus terminal is something like arriving in an airport.
The bus system in Mexico is extensive and widely used, Im guessing the buses are used more then planes and railways. It is actually quite great becuase there are so many bus companies too choose from when traveling and the buses are top of the line. Primera Plus is THE company. When you board the bus a stewardess hands every passenger a meal. It just a sandwich, cookies and a soda but hey its better then nothing. The captain of the bus takes everyones ticket. If the captain is busy then the co-captain does this. The guys that drive primera Plus buses are not bus drivers. They are Captains. The buses are always air-conditioned or heated depending on the climate and movies are playing at all times. Best of all the movies are almost always American and half the time they are in English with subtitles.
The bus terminals are crammed with people and are quite big. In Mexico city there are four terminals located at each point of the compass. When traveling in Mexico for some time it is inevitable to at least pass through one or more of the bus terminals in D.F. Traveling North to South or vice versa requires a stop in D.F. This is true for travel East to West. The good roads all extend out of D.F. and traveling any other route could take 3x longer.
Stepping onto the streets of the city is like stepping into one giant marketplace. The sidewalks are crammed with stalls, stands and people buying, selling and in my space gawking at all of the activity. I arrived late into the night and the streets were crowded with people. At times the sidewalks were so crammed with people I took the cue of the natives and began walking into the streets and not surprisinly at some points roadside vendors spilled into the streets. 18 million. It is definetely felt. One fact that kept me on my toes when breaking off the side walk was that despite having an incredible crime rate most deaths in the city are pedestrian related car accidents. Yup people in the city do drive like maniacs. Back home if someone is crossing the street I generally slow down even if said person is far ahead, not here. Drivers dont slow down one bit. Its up to the pedestrian to speed up. People are jogging across the streets here.
Walking along its hard not to get caught up in all of the excitement of the place. I was walking to my hostel I passed by food vendors, witch doctors, breakdancers, mimes, clowns, nuns, people selling everything from pirated movies (Babel, Apocalyto), video games, cologne & perfume, Porn (open and public) to toys, jewelry. Cops are on every street corner it seems and in front of the better stores are personal security with shotguns or pistols. As I was walking in the Center (Zocalo) I stopped for a few minutes to watch a witch give a woman a spiritual cleansing of the soul.
The man had a burning brazier in one hand in the other he had scissors. As he passed her body with the brazier and the smoke was crawling along her body his partner was using a little broom to brush her up and down. Subsequently the head witch doctoer would begin cutting his scissors into the air around the womens body while chanting some foriegn tongue. I had my camera out and was ready to take a photo but just as I was focusing the witch doctor swiveled his head and saw me. He gave me a look that gave me the willies. He kept staring at me until I put the camera in my pocket before he continued with the cleansing. Punked by a witch. Dude was scary though.
The Zocalo is the city center. Its a giant plaza surrounded by large buildings on all sides. One of the buildings is the Governors Palace. On another side is a gigantic church. Next to the church are ruins of an Aztec temple. During the day I visited the ruins. Basically the city was built on the old Aztec capitol. The ruins were discovered during the 1980s when another building was torn down. Since then the temple has been excavated and turned into part of the Anthropolgy museum. Standing amongst Aztec ruins with a Spanish Church in plain sight as well as modern buildings is really strange. Where else can we see that? The Anthropology is giant and full of so many artifacts of the various Indian civilizations it is a bit overwhelming. I love history but dang I got bored after a couple of hours in the place.
Speaking of these old Indian Civilizations I have a theory on why so many of them would rise to such great heights before mysteriosly declining. Toltecs, Olmecs, Maya. Dude it has to do with food production. The indians had no large livestock such as cows, oxen, horses, pigs goats etc. Not only are these animals a valuable food commodity but they are also invaluable in regards to increasing food production and work productivity. Allowing growing expansion. With increased food supplies comes more work specialization. Not as many farmers are needed to work the land. A horse does the work of 10 or more people so this surplus in people creates specialization in regards to priest, doctors, soldiers, engineers, teachers, astronomers etc. This in turn leads to more invention and creation of different sorts of tools. Some of these turn enhance farming techniques even more (Plow, Wheel, smelting). Furthermore societies need ever increasing amounts of food to sustain growing populations. If this is not done then famine, disease and decline begin. Humans increase exponentially and if the growning population cannot be fed then catastrophes occur, naturally cutting down the population to sustainable levels. Geographic Isolation, climate and Geography also played roles in the stunted advancement of the Indian civilizations as explained in <A HREF="http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/">Guns, Germs & Steel</A> by Jared Diamond. So there was a glass ceiling in place as far as continued expansion once reached the cultures would stagnant and grow to big for themselves leading to thier decline. But thats just my opinion.
Maybe Mel Gibson explains it better in his new movie or not.
At the hostel I was cursed yet again with a weirdo pervert <A HREF="http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/">Meghans law</A> offender. When I arrived in the hostel a man with a bad smell, too much facial hair and funny clothes was busy hitting on the receptionist. 10 minutes after I arrived I was able to check into the room, thats one Mr. Megans Law gave up and walked away. As I walked up to my room I was slightly annoyed about the guy and found myself pitying the poor saps that were stuck with the slime ball. So when I opened my door and said weirdo is sitting on the corner of his bed picking at his toes and hes in nothing but some blue bikini underwears I was not surprised in the least. I even looked straight up into the air and gave a little chuckle. The dude was not surprisingly from <A HREF="http://www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/images/hell.gif"> Paris, France </A>
I WILL UPDATE THIS LATER. THE PLACE IS CLOSING RIGHT NOW... SORRY FOLKS.