Cities show metamorphis at its best and its worst. Crumblings buildings ruin into the streets, no longer loved or even tolerated. New sleek buildings push up through the ruins. Popluations increasing and decreasing change the shape, attitude, and traffic patterns of the city.
Mexico City is no exception. It is a city that has mastered metamorphis. Cortez levled the Aztec city and built his own vision atop the ruins little knowing that through the years, these same ruins would push their way up--an aching reminder of the past. And as the city grew it´s streets expanded in an ever widening pattern to make way for more and more cars.
On a less grand level, many of our old haunts have given way to newer haunts for other people. And some of our older haunts attract a new popluation...one we find not so friendly.
We knew Mexico City would be a different place but knowing and feeling are very different things. To experience the difference often feels like culture shock. The traffic is a great example of this kind of shock. We remembered the traffice being awful, we remembered that traffic laws in Mexico City are a bit different in the U.S. We KNEW this but experiencing it has been a nightmare. Every outing in the car is fustrating, long, and loud. The insisent beeping, the sudden formation of multiple lanes to turn onto a one lane street, and the running of red lights, leaves me in a total state of fear for the kids´saftey. And then parking? I don´t remember it being this bad! I swear that while some of it is us just not being used to such massive traffic, there has got to be a lot more cars here. Today we were almost sidewinded by some moron talking on his cell phone while reading a map. This was after being beeped at by some fucking stupid woman. H yells at the guy, asking him what his problem is. His answer? H was going to slow. Yeah imagine that in rush hour traffic in Mexico City. The great part is that the asshole ended up behind us!
And on a further bitching note: my beloved Condesa. Who has taken it over, filing it with trendy shops and even trendier bars? I don´t recognize the yuppies who hog the streets with their SUVS and valet parking. We hardly go anymore because there is literally no parking. We took H´s mom out for Sushi yesterday, and we spent at least 45 minutes looking for a parking space. And ai the people! They´re sooo...trendy, skinny, and boring.
But there have been some good changes: I like how homosexualiy is a lot more open now. I see gay couples everywhere whereas seven years ago I didn´t see many. I like that there are so many cool things for children now. The playgrounds are amazing! The science museum at the UNAM is incredible. I like that there are so many more coffee shops. I like that the ¨alternative kids¨are spilling out of their confined plazas. And I love that recycling is really taking off.
My mom said to H when we left: Remember you can´t go home again. It was a nice reminder that you can´t ever return to the same home but that you can totally redefine the changes into home.