Photo by Mizamora
In an earlier post I wrote about Avenida Masaryk, and Polanco, the neighborhood where the boulevard is located. A little over a week ago, on the corner of Masaryk and La Fontaine — an intersection about which I have also previously posted – police attempted to detain two women. The aborted arrest was filmed on someone’s telephone, posted on Twitter and You Tube, and went viral, under the heading of “Las ladies de Polanco“.
I confess to being a little overwhelmed by this piece of film, which lasts less than a minute and a half. Where to begin? Let’s start with the language of the “ladies.” Among other things they say to the police, certain phrases stick out, such as — these are rough translations of very specific Mexican slang — “fucking shithead faggot” and “fuck your mother, you fucking shithead wage slave.” (My apologies to any readers who have never heard such language before. I learned most of my Spanish on the streets of Mexico City, from some very foul-mouthed friends, but these gals raised my eyebrows.)
Photo by La Vanguardia
One of the beauties exhorts those filming to send the footage to Joaquín López Dóriga, the most well known Mexican newscaster. It should come as no surprise that these instructions were followed to the letter. The newsman didn’t have much to add to the story, but his broadcasts have made the señoritas more famous than ever.
This was no mean feat as, days after the story surfaced, the girls were identified as Azalia Ojeda (above), who was part of the cast of a reality show a few years back, and María Vanessa Polo Cajica (below), who won a beauty contest in Puebla in 2004. Ojeda was taken to the station house a few days after the altercation was filmed, to make a statement before the police.
Photo by Primero Clark
Last Friday, Ojeda paid a fine of about $150 for hitting the policeman, and afterwards, she offered a public apology, beside her lawyer. Further charges have not been pressed. Yet. The plot thickened on Saturday, with the announcement that, in 2009, she had worked for 62 days in Mexico State as a “policía bancaria“. These are armed guards outside banks. It appears that even though she stopped working two years ago, she is still earning 3000 pesos a month.
I couldn’t have expressed this when I began to write about Mexico, but looking over the books I have published, I realize I have always felt that this is a misunderstood country. I wanted to write about the Mexico I saw, and illustrate how it differed from the standard misconceptions. Implicitly I have hoped that some of my work might stir readers to question their received ideas.
But, like I said, I am flummoxed by this story. What does it say about the supposedly frightening and feared police? About the, um, sensitive flower of Mexican womanhood? About the conduct of the clientele in swanky Polanco? Believe it or not this, has been a huge story here in the last week, appearing all over TV, radio and the newspapers. For example, Manuel Mondragón, the police chief of Mexico City, has appeared in any media that would invite him, denouncing the behavior of the ladies, and commending his troops for showing such remarkable restraint.
What I really wonder about is why this story caught fire. In the same week, an actual blaze set by thugs in a casino in Monterrey caused the deaths of 53 people, and it surfaced that, so far this year, 46 taxi drivers have been murdered in Acapulco. Is this kind of a story a (no pun intended) smokescreen for what is really happening in Mexico?
I would be most grateful to anyone — lady or otherwise — who thinks she can parse this for me.
Labels: Mexico City
Unofficially, this is Michael Nyman Week in Mexico City. While he is primarily known as a composer, Nyman, a part-time resident of Mexico City, is also a photographer and director of experimental films. On Wednesday the 24th at 7 pm, an exhibition of photos he took and a short film he shot inside the Cine Opera — a crumbling wreck of a movie theatre that has been closed for years — opens at the Museo Universitario del Chopo (Calle Dr. Enrique González Martínez 10, Colonia Santa María la Ribera). The following night, the 25th, he will be playing a concert entitled “The Piano Sings,” which includes various of his compositions, among them scores to his own films (which will be shown) at the Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris (Calle Donceles 36, Centro Histórico).
Labels: Mexico City
One of my first posts on this blog was about a statue of Cantinflas outside of a hospital in the Colonia Roma. Here he is again, sitting at a cafe table in the central square of Puebla. Last Friday was the hundredth anniversary of his birth, so it seems fitting to remember him once again. Anyone who has a favored tidbit of discurso cantinflesco, feel free to leave a comment.
Labels: Mexico City
If we set out to choose the most curious building in Mexico City, there would be quite a competition. This one on Paseo de la Reforma provokes the question, “What were they thinking (or perhaps smoking) back in the Sixties?”
Labels: Mexico City
It’s been around since 1954, and Café La Habana, at the corner of Bucareli and Morelos in Colonia Juárez, has become the stuff of legend. Once, the offices of all the Mexican newspapers were around the corner, and Café La Habana was their reporters’ favorite haunt. It was also popular among writers — Salvador Novo, Juan Rulfo, Augusto Monterroso and Juan Jose Arreola are all said to have gotten into heated discussions or worked at the tables here. It is more or less a character in the work of Roberto Bolaño, appearing in Los detectives salvajes and at least one of his short stories. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are said to have planned the Cuban revolution here. If truth be told, the food is at best adequate, and the service is, to put it mildly, unhurried. Still, the coffee is excellent, and it is a wonderful place to watch people — both the clientele and those who pass by outside the picture windows.