It’s Mexico City, Saturday afternoon, and I decide to see the Palacio de Bellas Artes. I walk down to my local Metro and of the 20 million people in this city, a lot of them seem to be there on the platform. The first two carriages, reserved for women and children, are filled with men who look like the ubiquitous Mexican villain as portrayed by Hollywood.
“Push,” one guy tells me as I try to get into the overfull carriage. The door keeps opening and closing until everyone manages to squeeze in their backpack, feet, bum and breasts so the doors can close properly. At every stop, getting out is complicated by people trying to get in simultaneously. The buzz word is “Push!” on both sides. It’s like being dumped by a monster wave at Bondi.
I see the Palacio de Bellas Artes. It's spectacular.
Going home starts with the same crowding, but finally the carriage starts to empty. Women with babies are given seats and things begin to feel civilised. An old man with a wrinkled, mournful face and a boom box that is way too loud, comes by singing a mournful, shaky old song. He’ll only move on if you give him a couple of pesos. Someone’s selling kid’s toys, then a man comes by with some fabulously aromatic hot pastries. The stations flash by. Hildago, Ninos Heroes, Zapata. These are proud, historical statements.
Politics, music and food. Ah, Mexico!