Flying over Mexico City in the middle of the night is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. With its vast array of illuminated lights radiating into the night sky, it reminds me of a childhood fascination with Lite-Brite. There is something so mysterious about the incredible depth of the black sky at night and the twinkling fire balls so seemingly put in perfect places. It swallows me whole, and for a moment I forget that I am flying. The thud of the tires hitting the pavement as we land on the runway is enough to jolt me back to reality. I walk in to the airport groggy from the six hour plane ride, with other passengers zooming by me and I feel like I am in a whirlwind; it's a race to get through customs, and I finally make it through.
Greeted at the airport by a familiar face; I screech. "Hola, Nacho!!! Buenos noches!!" and he gives me a quick, strong hug. The expression on his face makes me believe he is as equally surprised to see me again as I am that he remembers me. The ride to the hotel is full of welcomed silence. I sit in the back of the van and once again, am fascinated by the world my eyes see around me. Mexico City is like a tiny world in itself. When you are here, everything about it captivates you; the sights, the smell, the sounds. We arrive at the hotel and I go up to my room on the 18th floor at the Hilton Reforma. I settle in and the first thing I notice is the size of the window. I get a panoramic view of the city from the large window that spreads from wall to wall. The view is just spectacular. I feel like I am on one hundred foot stilts, just more stable! I lay on the bed, in the cool air and stare out the window through the sheer curtains letting the city lights twinkle and dance among themselves as I drift off to sleep.
I wake the next morning, open the curtains to let the sunlight fill my room with a beautiful glow and get ready for work. I meet up with a few of my co-workers and we set out on foot towards the office. What an experience this is. The scent of fresh coffee and warm baked Mexican pastries fill the air along the sidewalks we are walking. There is much hustle and bustle of the people around us also on their way to make a peso. Cars and buses are honking, people are walking fast going past one another, but all the while smiling and saying hello. We cross the large intersection and start on Madero. Madero is a long road only built for pedestrian traffic. As we walk on, all the businesses lined up next to one another are just opening for business. You see them with the gate rolled half way, soapy water spilling out onto the side walk as they clean their stores and again, that incredible aroma of freshly made food. I could possibly consider trying the meat on a stick that even the locals advise to steer clear of. Street vendors are firing up their make-shift stoves and start cooking away. Breakfast is one of the largest meals here in Mexico. so it's no surprise when I see tamales being made at eight o' clock in the morning. They smell divine - I inhale deeply and take in the smells that are so unfamiliar to me. What a strange sensation this gives me. There is so much contained excitement, nervousness, and awe that surge through my body all at once.
On our way back to the hotel from work, it feels like I am experiencing the city all over again in a new light. New characters come out from all walks of life and it's hard not to appreciate whatever it is they are doing. People gather around street performers and encourage them, clapping and chanting. On one side of me there is a man dressed as robo-cop moving his limbs like he is an actual robot. To the right of me, there is another man standing on a stool covered in silver paint an wearing a mask that looks like a skeleton; which is also painted silver. I witness him take a boy's hat off in a playful manner and hand it back to him by holding it against the boy's chest. He then grabs the boy's hair and they pose for a picture. He looks like a statue, and I just have to giggle. In the background there is a steady techno beat seeping from the bar three stories up and I fall into the moment and do a small wiggle to the beat as I walk.
As we continue walking and the music fades, you can't help but notice the large divide in the socioeconomic status of the people around you. On the stairs just a few feet ahead, there is a homeless woman cradling her child, holding an empty cup hoping someone will be kind enough to spare some money. I walk over and drop in some pesos. I walk on holding back tears and I feel for her. I look back and stare at the woman as more people just walk past her like she doesn't exist and it makes my heart ache. I want to run back and give her and her child what they need. It truly makes me appreciate every single thing that I have. We take for granted the every day luxuries that we so casually enjoy and complain about when we don't have them.
Closer to the hotel, the sidewalk widens and off to the side roller skaters have set up mini obstacles. They glide in and out of the made up course like they are Olympian ice skaters. They can move with such precision and it makes me wonder how they make this look so easy. Immediately I am distracted by the giant half Colosseum across the street. I turn my attention to it and just gawk. The architecture of this place is breath taking! I stop and take a picture and vow to myself that this time, I really am going to make that scrap book. Up in the distance is the faint drum of a jackhammer gutting up the damaged concrete sidewalk. We walk past them, so hard at work, all the while we are heading back to the hotel. I ponder for a brief moment if they have a warm bed to sleep in.
Love and Wellness to all!