In Pictures: Mexico’s Cuban Embassy

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I don’t understand why Cuba’s embassy in Mexico in planted at one end of Avenida Presidente Masaryk, one of the most exclusive and expensive streets in all of Mexico City. The socialist principles of Fidel Castro and the Cuban regime couldn’t be further removed than the designer stores planted along this main thoroughfare, which hosts Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ferrari and Tiffany’s.

I was walking along Masaryk this sunday, on my way to eat lunch and have a walk in the park when I stumbled across a rally and vigil celebrating the life of Fidel Castro. I was surprised not to see an anti-Castro counter protest, but I guess those people were busy.

There must have been around 200 people when I arrived. Most carrying banners, pictures and flowers. Some were dressed in T-Shirts with socialists slogans and many were wearing green petrol caps made popular by Fidel. There were speeches, chants and songs. Messages of solidarity were sent to the people of Venezuela and Palestine. I’m sure if I’d stuck around longer the Irish, tibetans, Angolans, South-Africans and others would have been mentioned to.

I’m not writing my own opinion here because 1) I can’t be arsed and 2) I can’t be arsed, but here are the pictures I took.

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“If you can’t fight for others, you’ll never be able to fight for yourself”

dictator

“Dictatorship? The murdering dictatorships belonged to Batista, Pinochet, R Vide, Romeo Lucar, Ríos Montt, Leonida Trujillo, Somaza, Castela Branco, A Straessner, Hugs Banzer… They’re all responsible for murders and disappearances in our America backed by the USA and CIA.”

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fidel-vs-trump

“Fidel would go hard on Trump”

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Trump Out!

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messages

some-revellers

thank-you

“Thank you Fidel for defending your people. Your actions live on today in many of us, just like Che’s actions before you…”

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A certain US President Elect was not a popular figure… 

you-havent-died

You haven’t died Commander, you’ve only gone to be reunited with Che, to complete the revolution and topple dictatorships in heaven, and to free the political prisoners in hell”. 

 

Groundhog Day

I haven’t seen the movie Groundhog Day but I sure have bloody lived through the experience. I’m certain lots of other people who have moved abroad have been frustrated by the same thing. Since I’m fairly new here to Mexico, I’ve been meeting a lot of new people; colleagues, customers, taxi drivers, waiters & waitresses, people at social groups and in bars. It’s nice to meet lots of different people from various parts of the world and nobody ever has the same story. It’s a real privilege to be lucky enough to hear some of the fantastic anecdotes & experiences people have. Here in Mexico I’ve met a civil engineer who gave up his job to drive for Uber so he could spend more time with his family; an American who works from home so decided her home could be Mexico, a Brit who speaks absolutely no Spanish and collected their absolutely massive bloody balls to impulsively accept a job here. And many more.

What’s not interesting though, is the other 60% of conversations I’m having. Groundhog Day. Every conversation the same questions are trotted out in an order that only ever varies slightly. I try to be polite and friendly, but often when I’m tired the answers are abrupt. It’s frigging frustrating having to explain that no, Ireland is not in the USA. It’s tiresome every time somebody responds to my country of origin with, “Oh that’s fantastic, I went to France once!” (France? Are we similar now?) And it’s just plain awkward when someone I’ve just met minutes ago starts prodding (in a bad way hahaha) into my sex life. Why am I single? How many girlfriends did I leave behind I Ireland? Have I slept with one of the fiery hot (ardiente) Mexican women yet? Am I interested in meeting the single cousin who loves gringos? Seriously… I get asked all of these regularly.

I’m really tempted to write out all of my answers, print them, laminate them and hand them out to curious acquaintances. I’ve had a better idea though. I’m just gonna tell them to read my blog. Here’s the answers, no prizes for guessing what the questions are.

  1. No I’m not Mexican
  2. I’m Irish
  3. It’s the island beside England
  4. No, I haven’t seen Braveheart
  5. Yes, France is lovely
  6. The northern part
  7. Yes, the other part is independent
  8. (Bored at this stage)
  9. Yes, we do like a drink
  10. 3 months
  11. In University
  12. Also Colombia
  13. Because I’ve worked bloody hard at learning it
  14. Yes it is a difficult language to learn
  15. No, I’m not a tourist
  16. I came here to work
  17. Because there was a job here
  18. Software.
  19. No you can’t buy a new laptop off me
  20. (Wishing they could buy something off me)
  21. No, not Microsoft
  22. Yes, It’s interesting and every day is different
  23. No I do not have a family. I want a dog
  24. No I do not want to meet your cousin/daughter/aunt/sister/friend
  25. Yes Mexican food is nice
  26. … and the list goes on.

This list could go on. It’s basically a script of my life. Whenever I die and somebody wants to make a movie of my life starring some ridiculously attractive young man they are officially allowed to use this in their screenplay.

The worst thing about this list is that nearly every time I meet someone new, I ASK THE SAME FLIPPING TYPE OF QUESTIONS! I am such a hypocrite. I bet there are people around the globe writing this same blog except they’ve got me in mind as the unimaginative questioner.

 

 

Turibus Sur: Coyoacán

Today was my birthday so after a phone call from Mum and Dad I headed off to Mexico’s premiere British restaurant for a nice Sunday dinner.

It was closed.

So anyway I headed off to Fuente de Cibeles and got a delicious and LARGE lunch there, sitting outside by the fountain and watching all the people go by with their adorable dogs of all sizes. I got the tour bus again today and it brought me round to Coyoacán, where I strolled through the park and wandered around the market for a good bit. I stopped at a stall in the market to do some PAINTING and left with a beautiful Mexican mask.

I saw 4 clowns today. FOUR! I understand the comedy and tricks they do can be funny, but do they have to wear the creepy costumes?

All my pictures are in this video 🙂

 

I’ve been in Mexico City for almost a month now and all this time I’ve been saying to colleagues, acquantances and customers, “me gustaría coger el turibus” and “sería bueno saber coger los buses acá” and lots of other phrases using the word coger to express that it would be nice not to catch an uber, but get a bus instead.

Using the verb coger in speech comes naturally to me. I used it frequently at school and university when learning Spanish, and when in Colombia I used it without thinking twice. I was extremely aware that in some places you should avoid saying coger, because it isn’t used to take the bus, or grab something. It’s a rude word. A rude word we might use in English that begins with F and rhymes with duck.

Anyway. After numerous conversations somebody finally told me to stop saying it AFTER THREE WEEKS IN THIS DUCKING CITY!!! 3 weeks. I’ve said it to customers. Jeez.

So yesterday I finally got the chance to go out and catch the turibus. It’s one of those tour buses with recorded audio that you can hop on and off all day. What a blast! I had a lovely stroll round a Plaza al Servicio a la Patria and got told off for wandering into a military base. Whoops. The bus had a great recorded track with information about the stops along the way. It was a bit like a theme park ride, ducking and dodging the branches from trees covering the streets.

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Palacio de Bellas Artes

I got off at the Palacio de Bellas Artes and couldn’t believe how huge and impressive the marble building was. I walked through the park and paused to watch a beat-box battle on a bandstand, watched a large group of Mexicans dancing to salsa and cumbia music, and grabbed a bite to eat. I also encountered a creepy clown who stopped his act to talk to me and welcome me to Mexico. I hate clowns. Scary bastards people.

It was a perfect day weather wise, so when I came across a fountain with kids running through it, I figured I’d join in. More fun than it should have been for someone who is now in their mid twenties. I sat down and played Pokemon (along with a few other hundred people) to dry off. My favourite person in this park was the elderly lady selling bits and pieces to the visitors. Her chant was a bit more original than the other Vendedores Ambulantes, “This is the PokéShop, here you can buy PokéSweets and PokéCigarettes. Come and get your PokéChewingGums”. Hahaha. Hilarious woman.

Back on the turibus I was brought round to Zocalo (Plaza de la Constitución). The huge square was cordoned off by huge Colonial government buildings, with the star of the show being the immense Cathedral. Outside the Cathedral there were indigenous groups performing ceremonies, singing, dancing and lighting incense. In the plaza a screen was erected and a small crowd had gathered to watch the Olympics. Inside the Cathedral there was a wedding in the main chapel, excitedly watched by lots of tourists from the edges of the church. Outside again I stopped in a bar to grab a drink, and got lucky timing to see the men’s 10,000 metre race at the Rio Olympics. Wow. What a race!!! I was excited to see Mo Farah run, cheering him on lap by lap. When he fell I was bloody gobsmacked, but felt so thrilled when he crossed that finish line to take gold! Gotta love Mo. It’s all that protein and practise, and being a nice guy.

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Monumento de la Revolución

The final stop of the turibus was at the Monumento de la Revolución. An immense sculpture highlighted from the night sky with blue and purple illuminations. Inside I took the elevator to the top and got a panoramic view of the city after dark.

All my pics and vids from the day can be seen in my Snapchat story, below 🙂

Challenges abroad: Chapter Tea

We’ve all been there. Whether it be on your summer Costa Del Sol holiday, throughout a time living abroad or even just visiting someone else’s house. We’ve all had that horrible experience of being given a cup of tea that’s just no good.

Even at home we have our own particular ways of brewing a cup. Lazy busy people will mix it all together in a mug. Sometimes we’ll make a bit of an effort and bother using a teapot. Sometimes we’ll be close to physical violence in the age old argument of whether milk or water goes first. (For the record, the correct way is to mix the teabag and hot water first, then pour this into a cup with milk).

I’ve been there. I remember a rubbish cup one year our family went to Ibiza. I have faint memories of weak and milky tea in Colombia. But this experience is one I will never forget.

Just look at it. It was so bad I’ve decided to strike out the name of the “upscale, speciality” tea stand I bought it in. Look at it. I don’t even know where to start. It’s colour should say it all; a pasty, weak, bland ucky colour. This is supposed to be “English Breakfast” tea. worst tea ever

The signs were there to retreat and grab a coffee as soon as I started to order. I should have ran for the hills when the server asked, “Do you want it hot or cold?” I should have screamed in horror at the suggestion”… would you to like to mix in another blend?” I can’t tell you how disgusted my face must have appeared on being told “we have no normal milk… only almond, soy or lactose free”. I chuckled when he asked if I wanted it with honey, something I would only do if I had a sore throat.

I knew the cuppa wouldn’t be marvelous. But screw it. Let’s go for it! What do I have to lose? It’s a Sunday and I want a nice bloody cup of tea to drink as I read. I was going to recreate my weekend mornings relaxing by the dock’s in Belfast. I was discovering a place in Mexico that could become my Sunday afternoon, people watching, tea drinking utopia. I’m not going to let a few foolish questions ruin my day.

So I sat down. I took out my book (The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino. Wonderful read). I took the plastic lid of the paper cup. Ugh. What a minging colour. Still. Let’s give it a chance.

When it entered my mouth I could tell I wouldn’t finish it. It was sweet. SWEET. There was no sugar. I hadn’t opted for sweetener, or anything else that would also it’s taste. What on earth was happening?

I tried to drink it. I took a few sips. I sent a Snapchat of it, expressing my disgust. I tried to finish it. I tried to focus on the compelling book I had in my hands. I attempted to enjoy the cup while watching the people walk by, going about their Sunday shopping. But I couldn’t. The taste was not only in my mouth and throat. It had infiltrated my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking of it. Even once that cup of tea had been discarded in a bin and was out of life, I couldn’t escape the memory of it’s horror.

Horrific, depressing and miserable moments stick in our mind. Many remember the moment they discovered Princess Diana had died. The moment news of Michael Jackson’s death hit our TVs, phones and tablets will stay etched, frozen in the memories of millions of people. People of an older generation will never forget when they heard the wireless emit reports of JFK’s assassination. But only I will be burdened for the rest of my life knowing the monstrosity of that cup of tea.