It´s a different experience walking in certain streets of the historic centre of the city on a Sunday as opposed to a Saturday or any other day of the week for that matter. Things calm down markedly, even in a megalopolis of this magnitude. While you won´t notice any difference if you join the throngs marching down calle madero, the pedestrian street that connects the city´s main thoroughfare – eje central– to the city´s main square – el zocalo – you will in other streets. República de Brasil, Stretching from el zocalo to metro lagunilla, is one such street.
Many of the bricks and mortar stores were shut up, which obviously reduces the foot traffic, but a few streetside food vendors littered the Sunday afternoon scene. They, of course, attract a diverse smattering of hungry folk. One of the inevitabilities of being a six-foot plus güero in this city is being called out to in English – usually, what´s up brother? or similar from varying distances which may or may not lead to further interaction depending on the aforesaid distance or other contributing factors. Once, alighting from the metro it was a simple, straight to the point, ¨fuck you¨with menace. That was a one off – banter is almost invariably of the friendly and curious nature.
However, on this particular wander français was belched out at me between taco munching. I crossed the street and met a polyglot carnivore who traversed through French and Italian before reaching that neglected world language – English. Just friendly banter, he was keen to show off his linguistic aptitudes.
Further on a corn dog stand occupied space in front of la Parroquia de Santa Catarina. The corn dog vendor – I decided to chow down on one – told me that it is the oldest church in Mexico City. From what I see it predates the main city cathedral in date of completion although not in commencement of work. Directly in front, sharing a corner with República de Honduras, is Plaza de Santa Catarina – pretty with colourful adjoining buildings and blooming jacarandas.
Heading further towards Lagunilla, I met a bodyguard for famed lucha libre fighters (gotta be pretty tough for that gig!), a soccer game on the street – testament to the relative Sunday tranquility. When I venture to Venezuela, I´ll visit the Palacio de Inquisición which stands on a corner shared by the two streets. If you were ever to want to lodge in the zone there is the hotel Rio de Janeiro, of course, while not as swanky as many believe that city to be, looks salubrious enough. One day I hope I can visit calle México, in the other Latin American megacity – Sao Paulo, surely there must be one?
Next stop will be a considerable leap north to Central America to República de Guatemala.