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  • Mexico Mayhem
    • 19/01/2012
Mexico City. The locals seem to refer to it as just "Mexico". It's massive. Flying in, i lost sight of countryside ages before the airport came into view. Its grown from a few hundred thousands in 1900 to being one of the biggest cities in the world, circa 20m people.
And with such fast expansion, its no surprise that infrastructure has had a hard time keeping up. For example, they are building a second deck on the main city freeway to double capacity. Everywhere is covered in half finished looking breezeblock apartments and houses. But in truth outward appearances aren't important. Neither is insulation. It's warm here, t-shirt weather, although the locals are currently complaining and wearing 5 layers.
I was encouraged to make the extra stop here to visit Naresh, a Mexico City native who i'd met on the greyhound to San Francisco back in October. He picked me up at the airport and treated me to some kamikaze style driving. Seriously, there appear to be no traffic rules or policing, it's a case of see some space - go for it, weaving in between lanes like a game of Outrun. Everyone is equally aggressive and anticipative, so it kinda works.
I can't believe there aren't a million accidents per day. At the stop lights, people wander amongst the cars selling food, cigarettes, cleaning windscreens, and then the lights change and the stock car racing starts again. Missed your turn? Reverse back into the middle of a four way crossroads.
Despite the huge population it doesn't seem overcrowded (although busy yes), and the majority of people seem happy. Obviously there is a huge range in wealth, some people asking for money, usually doing something for it, such as the pan pipe organ grinders (always out of tune) and i didn't see any homeless.
As in the Yucatan, every wall is painted with store names, adverts, graffiti, election posters, and everything just faces out into the street, no doors and windows just open shop fronts.
As well as the main government plaza, and the old cobbled street part of town, we went to a part of town still consisting of a network of canals rather than roads, as in the days of the Aztecs, when the whole area was lakes and islands and canals. Much of the modern city is now built on dried out lake bed, which is why some buildings are sinking several inches per year.
out on the waterways, the same theme persists as the overcrowded roads, as our barge is constantly buzzed about by other vessels carrying flower sellers, beer sellers, souvenier sellers, chefs cooking over woks, and whole bands of musicians and operatic singers. You'd call it a tourist trap but it seems more to be a locals weekend day out.
In the evening comes the highlight of my visit. Naresh's job is as a meditation guide, but it isn't just sitting still thinking of mountain tops.
His form of meditation is called AUM - which stands for acknowledge understand meditation??? and consists of expressing every human emotion, letting out the things we normally bottle up and thus releasing tension.
Around about 20 people were taking part - its a very interactive process, and the range of other participants gives you chance to find people who remind you of people you know and project onto them.
Starting off with ANGER - standing looking into another persons eyes and then screaming NO! I HATE YOU! and a continiuing stream of insults, threats, swearing and denouncements. Whilst they do the same back in your face.
then Forgiveness. again looking into a persons eyes, finding some emotion, saying "i forgive you" and then hugging.
There was a whole tutorial on hugging, getting the right amount of body contact, feeling each others breathing. This was quite awkward for me though as it meant pretty much doing the splits to get down to the same level as most of the other participants. (because mexicans are generally short.)
Then love. same thing, saying "i love you", which isn't something i generally do a lot either.
Then an interval of crazy free expressive dancing in the dark, which was fun.
Then crying, laughter, romantic dancing (yup!), some Kundalini breathing and shaking, and finally some "normal" meditation.
All of this was accompanied by appropriate mood music.
This all took three HOURS although it didn't seem that long at the time, and left me feeling pretty bouyant and refreshed. I thought about some things i wouldn't normally. And did a lot of expressive things that i don't normally. But in that environment where everyone else was doing the same it felt safe and accepting.
After this, although it was midnight, we went out for some tacos, and THEN although by now the euphoria had relented towards exhaustion, Naresh too me to a "secret" underground nightclub where you had to knock on a door and get padded down to get in and the music didn't start until 2am. By 4am i was dozing on a sofa despite the loud music and by 5am Naresh called it a night although he probably would have kept dancing until next week.
And then all too quickly it was noon and i had a flight to Los Angeles to catch.


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