Open Letter to Mexico City

Since not all of you read Spanish (in fact, my most dedicated readers do not) and you might use an internet translator only to find out that I have lost my passport (which is not the case) and then email me in a panic (that was my dad).

My dearest Mexico City:

I will never understand you. You are an illogical city. Ever time I leave my apartment, I have to fight you, even though I know that it’s a fight I cannot win. It’s like a lucha libre match without the choreography. I love you, but this love makes no sense. How can I explain this. About two weeks ago, some people in my hostel in San Cristobal asked me what to do if they had a day in Mexico City, and I couldn’t tell them anything. There is too much, and there is not enough.

There is enough inequality to be in a permanent state of shock. Gente fresa [a slang term to describe wealthy people, according to the internet] [and I regretfully include myself in their number] can easily live in another world. If the city turns off the water supply, my landlords had the facilities to store water so that I didn’t even notice it was gone. There are also places I don’t go. And people I can pay to do whatever I don’t want to do. Cooking, washing my clothes, ironing, cleaning, shining my shoes, and the list goes on. Sometimes I take advantage of these opportunities using the capitalist justification that they need work. But do they need this kind of work?

My beloved Mexico City, you confuse me greatly. Living here is like inhabiting a permanently liminal state. You have enough cultures to keep me in a permanent state of shock which I have to experience beneath my glasses because if I try to wear contacts here they will fall out or my eyes will be so red it will look like I was smoking something.There is a large group of intellectuals who produce events like the anti-awards show for most misogynist advertising and people who sell awful music on the metro. And people who buy it [here I also include myself]. There are religious people, devoted to the Virgin, San Judas, and who have a very different relationship with death and the dead. I don’t get that either.

There are people who will help you. For example, when I got out of the taxi on my way “home” from the airport, I lost my passport. I hadn’t even realized it until the owner of the restaurant across the street gave it to me when I went there for lunch, without asking for anything in exchange. At the same time, there are people who think that unwanted whistles and cat calls are the same thing as compliments when they are actually sexual harassment and are shocked and offended when I give them a rude gesture in response. At the same time, being a foreign woman saves me from dying in traffic: most drivers here are men, and since they are staring at me they are less likely to run me over. I hope.

At the end of the day, Mexico City, it has been an honour to spend these last few months with you. In spite of our complicated relationship, when I go home I might have to join the facebook group “soy chilango y comprendo tu envidia” [I am from Mexico City and I get your envy].



(I have adopted Mexico City’s misspelling of my time as if it were correct, because everyone always spells it like this).


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