(I will, at some point, stop using Spanish words for blog post titles, but for now, you’re gonna have to put up with it. Sorry.)
Well, after Wednesday’s celebrations, I had a sturdy hangover. Actually, that’s a lie: I leapt out of bed at 8 a.m., brushed my teeth, deodorant, and went for breakfast downstairs. I think the guy down there in the restaurant doesn’t like me. He looked at me like I’d stiffed him when tipping the other morning, yet when I was at reception later, I saw a few restaurant receipts and none of them tipped as much as me, cos, clearly, I’m King Tippy McTipper (translation: scared of being that stereotypical shitty British tipper). Yesterday morning, he asked if I wanted eggs, I told him, thank you, no. I think that offended him, too. Perhaps he simply hates me for no reason. That sort of stuff does happen in life, though, right?
I had a business phone call to take care of mid morning, so I didn’t get out to see the military parade as soon as I’d've liked. I did see and hear some massive Mexican Air Force planes flying very low, though, while I was listening to a client telling me stuff. Once that was over, I dashed down to Reforma where the military parade was going on, but in the reverse direction from yesterday’s independence parade. It was a public holiday. Even the ever-open stores in this neighbourhood were closed. And seemingly everyone was down at the parade. It was at least three or four times busier. People had come prepared, too: plastic buckets, plastic patio chairs, plastic stools, step ladders, so they could see. People sat on top of portaloos, walls, in trees, balanced precariously on bollards. Enterprising people sold periscopes made from cardboard cigarette cartoons, candy boxes, and the boxes that expensive liquor comes in.
With no chance of getting a good view, I decided to just wander along, get a glimpse here and there. The amount of people, and the fact that there were plenty of horses in the parade made for a whole street that had quite a funky smell of horse poo and parmesan-y body odour.
It was weird seeing such a show of military force. My brain flitted between a frowning lefty pacifism, through an admiration for how aesthetically pleasing it is to see lots of people in the same uniform marching in time to drummers, to a rather wrong feeling that, no matter how different I know from experience Latin American countries are, somewhere in my brain, there still exists the stereotype of military juntas putting on parades like this to remind the people who’s in charge.
The army, navy, air force were all in attendance. Trucks with cannons, and a bunch of soldiers from different countries in the Americas. I caught glimpses of the Colombian, Argentine, and American military. I may have been projecting, but the Americans appeared as though they would much rather not be there. The straight faces of all the other soldiers had a tint of boredom and what-the-fuck-are-we-doing-here? about it with the U.S. bunch.
Following on from all the military were people in lovely costumes on horseback. Not sure which branch of the military they belonged to, but they were certainly a joy to behold, as men whipped lassoes over their heads and women in lovely skirts turned their horses around 360 degrees in unison.
And as if to prove to me that the previous day’s applause for the workers in the parade wasn’t in my head, when the street cleaners brought up the rear, they again raised the biggest cheers. It would seem on the evidence of the last two days, Mexicans really do appreciate those who work shitty jobs to keep the city clean. I don’t think it’s overly pompous to suggest we Westerners could learn a thing or two from that.
Again, I was really tired by the end of the day. Went to bed at 11 p.m. But after an odd dream about me having to arrange a photo shoot for the cover of Elle featuring Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, a different type of Mexican air force woke me up. A fucking mosquito. I’d only been asleep for a couple of hours, woke up scratching my hand which had three red bumps on it. I tried to hide under the plentiful bed sheets every time I heard the buzz close to my ear, but it was hot as hell under the sheets, and I couldn’t really sleep properly because of the danger of further attacks. A fitful sleep followed. I woke up with my arms and chest and back now featuring around 20 mosquito bites. As if to make a proper comedy out of it, the maid must’ve knocked the switch on the clock radio. I’ve returned to the room while she’s been in here before, and noticed she listened to the radio when she works. Fine with me, but she must’ve switched it to “alarm” not “off.” And the previous user of the alarm had it set for 6.30 a.m. so when Mexican pop music kicked in, I called it quits, got up, admired my mosquito bites, and went down for breakfast where, seemingly, I arrived before the kitchen staff, so sat there reading a book chugging down three cups of coffee before I could eat anything. And the guy there still looked at me like he wanted to slit my throat with a hacksaw.