I arrived at the Mexico City bus depot seriously fatigued with brain damage that only 17 hours of solid, straight sleep could cure. Half demented, I still had to comprehend the Mexico City underground metro system. I hoped this would take me to cheap accommodation within the city’s tourist district.
Before I left New Zealand my informers had told me the Mexico City metro system was renowned as one of the most dangerous in the world, especially if you were carrying a backpack. As I stood on the platform, watching the trains speed past, my imagination told me a serial killer could be lurking about; a serial killer who pushed unsuspecting travellers in front of speeding trains. All for the thrill of watching their mutilated bodies splattered into a blooded fuelled frenzy.
I stood back from the platform to wait till the train had well and truly stopped before I approached. Once on the train I kept one hand guarding my wallet, the other guarding my backpack and endeavoured to keep my balance within the swarming mass of commuters.
Beyond my imagination the journey proved uneventful. Having reached my stop I climbed the steps from the underground into the grey, polluted air. One task completed I still had to cross the busy street avoiding the traffic that moved at the same breath taking speed as the underground trains. In stupor, I sleepwalked my way across the street, oblivious to the threat of pain beyond the monotonous thud which boomed inside my brain.
Eventually I stumbled into a hostel. Thankfully it had a spare bed. How long ago had it been since I boarded the bus in Tijuana? May sleep now find rest for my weary soul!
The next day I awoke refreshed. I walked the short distance to Plaza de la Constitution, the main square. Its chief attraction was the Cathedral Metropolitana, a huge religious edifice which dwarfed everything else into insignificance. Run down and polluted the local bastion of the catholic religion was world weary. It was caught in the past, too old to reach out to the future. The people looked to this religious institution for support but it appeared it was not capable of sustaining the burden.
Directly opposite the cathedral, across the vast expanse of the square, make shift tents housed some sort of ongoing peaceful protest. It was school teacher’s striking, lecturing to the world democracy was alive and well in Mexico.
It was a Saturday. I walked down the nearby alleys, crowded with people shopping in the open air markets. Merchandise for the recently released Spiderman movie covered the stalls. Spiderman masks, t-shirts, dolls, bath towels: Hollywood was in motion, spinning its web.
I caught the underground to the Bosque De Chapultepec. This was a large, family oriented park housing a number of museums and monuments. Pride of place stood the Monument A Los Ninos Heroes. This commemorated an act of sacrifice and patriotism in 1847during the Mexican-American War.
The northern neighbour had breached a Mexican stronghold. The last Mexican protectors were mere military academy cadets. Refusing to surrender to the US soldiers the cadets wrapped themselves in the Mexican flag and threw themselves towards their death from a castle wall.
It was an act of bravery, which in my current state of mind, I could well admire. Through history there had always been other countries prepared to act aggressively. The annals of history continued to flow towards the future.
I remembered the wise words of my mentor:
‘The strong shall devour the weak
The meek are the sheep which life leads to slaughter’
I looked up at the monument. This was why I was a revolutionary - to protect my home land.
I was in a relatively religious country yet it was my home country that had as its national anthem ‘God Defend New Zealand’.
What if God does not exist or he is otherwise busy?
Who will protect my country then?
It is time I let you in on a secret. It is the revolutionaries who will endeavour to be the protectors. The plans are already in progress.
We now just have to spread the word that the future revolution is in the mind of us all!
The next day I went on a short day trip to Teotihuacan. People from an ancient age had departed and left behind structures which climbed up small made man hills where one can only assume sacrifices of virgin brides had been made. If not, then at least it made an interesting story.
It was a city and a civilisation which had disappeared. The archaeologists were now trying to fill in the blanks of their existence; trying to piece together the historic puzzle of how their subjects had lived and why they had died. But they knew they may never really know.
As I said it was relatively interesting but I was more occupied with discovering where all the people were in one of the current world’s most populous cities. The tourist regions of Mexico City had not appeared over crowded; nor had there been many tall buildings in the business district. If people were not busy crowding the underground metro system I could only assume most of them must therefore live in the outer city slums.
Travelling to and from Teotihuacan provided an opportunity to pass through these slums and take a look from the safety of the bus for myself. But even here there still did not appear a mass of humanity.
Perhaps as it was a Sunday they were all in church.
Or perhaps it was just another case of the imagination of what things should look like been larger than real life.