Thursday, 27 May 2010

Still in Mexico City




... or DF (Distrito Federal), as they call it here.

Still teaching, going well, enjoyable as long as people don't call me at 5.45am to cancel their class. We've moved into an apartment with Juan Diego and Rosalba, a really nice couple of young Mexicans. It's a bit like like being students again, although we honestly are out at work most of the time.

I'm doing some music with my Mexican friend Alejandro and we seem to be complementing each other's style quite successfully. Hoping to do some live sets, maybe in the Hostel Amigo, where we first stayed when we got here. Also I caught up with a guy who used to be in the year above at St Benedict's - Greg Brosnan - who is working as a freelance journalist out here and has completed a short film with his girlfriend Jennifer about Guatemalans being restricted from working in Postville, Iowa and the severe implications this had on both their village in Guatemala and Postville itself. "In the Shadow of the Raid" is a great piece of work - you can see trailers and learn more here.

We had a couple of mad nights with Alex Forde, a very nice mentalist I met on my friend Neil's stag a few years ago. Alex lives in the nice part of town, which has been a very pleasant culture shock. We've been to a few parties, we've seen how Mexicans move, we desperately need to learn how to dance so that we can effectively function in this society.

Above is what I look like at the moment, the beard is back again - although a trim is imminent, particularly if I want to find regular work in a school. The other pic is the beautiful Castillo de Chapultepec, where several Mexican presidents lived, now a museum. Chapultepec is from a NĂ¡huatl word meaning "at the grasshopper's hill".

We're living on about 12 US dollars a day each here. Here are some more INTERESTING facts about Mexico City:

1. The metro costs 3 pesos per journey. That's like 25 cents.
2. The blind people who pass through the trains, singing and begging aren't really blind (allegedly).
3. Some of the most desperately poor throw broken glass on the floor of the train and jump and roll around on it b4 asking for money. We haven't seen this yet, but Juan Diego tells us it's true.
4. Pulque, an alcoholic drink which comes from the same type of plant as mescal and tequila (agave), has the exact colour and consistency of semen.
5. The correct Aztec way pf pronouncing Coyoacan is Coyo-A-can with the accent on the cap A.

Food update - here are some of the things we eat regularly:

Quesadillas, sopes, gorditas, huaraches - these are corn tortillas of varying size and consistency with various toppings of your choice. Refried beans, onions and cream are often involved - other toppings include longaniza (chorizo), quesillo (wicked stringy cheese from Oaxaca), mushrooms, aubergine flowers, chicharron (softened pork crackling), potatoes, sesos (calve's brains) etc etc. Pig's brains are also popular.

You can have literally every cut of beef imaginable with your tacos - they love offal here. They also have big pork kebabs on rotating sticks, looking much like the turkish and leb stuff we have back home - but you have them with small tortillas (i.e. as tacos) and pineapple and the meat is called pastor.

Potzole is a meaty soup with bits of corn, served with tostadas (hardened tortillas) and cream, onions, lettuce and chilli. Caldo de gallina is a similar soup but made with chicken and with rice and chickpeas in. Tamales are meaty pasties served in plantain leaves. Some places do very nice camaron (prawn) tostadas and amazing fish soup.

They also really unhealthy but delicious tortas (fried sandwiches) and hamburguesas - Tania reckons they are the best in the world. Fortunately, there are also lots of fruit/juice stalls all over the place - my favourite is alfalfa leaves blended with lemon, pineapple and guava. And everything is really good value, you can totally pig out for 3 dollars and a single quesadilla can be found for 40 cents.