México is a vast, discordant tapestry of varied
wealth that sometimes rattles like an old bus
struggling over a mountain road, that sometimes
wheels and spins and rises up with elegant
perfection like a magnificently trained horse
and rider, charro or charra, and sometimes sits
very still in the hot afternoon sun as a green
iguana dares to stick its head out from between
the stones in an ancient ruined pyramid wall.
Northamerican soft-drink soda parking lots
struggle against the older fruit and vegetable
beverages of the people, manicured archeology
zones blow whistles at you when closing time
rolls around, and, sadly, people are actually
stealing religious art from the old churches.
In spite of this I am wandering here anyway.
Andar tras mesoamérica going after ancient America
I want to travel across time future, past, now.
If you join me I hope we'll discover fast-forward
modernity, colonial remnants, and ancient rocks.
As old Rome was briefly ruled by a triumvirate,
so for the modern tourist, Mexico has three legs:
1) the ancient ruins of Indians whose cultures
and food still survive and thrive while their rebuilt
cities serve as touristic jewels for both the foreign
and domestic market in beauty and pride, 2) the
colonial stain of domination and conquest by
old Spain whose architecture is preached both
as fine art and as a symbol of slavery & caste,
but whose language has become a unifying force
(yet diverse and regional) and powerful tongue
to stand up against the yankee big brother, and
3) the modern hybrid of a new world civilization
born in blood from the difficult mixture of very
old American and Mediterranean roots.
Today the traveler thinks she and he are going from
one place to another, like Athens to Jerusalem,
with all that portends/means for western civilization....
No my friend, instead we are moving like ancient
Mesoamericans, in a vast circle of time. This
is not Europe, although it owes much to it. A man
and his food cart with self-contained butane
grill are selling delicious hamburguesas with
chile and cheese on the sidewalk street in front
of the gate to the Aztec pyramid museum. Two
women walk by fingering their beaded rosaries
on the way to the parish church from Rome. A
television is babeling world fútbol somewhere
nearby, and in a cafe down the street, the chavos
are chatting on internet. Latte with extra sugar.
No, my friend, this is not Europe, although
we owe much to it, slaughtered and sacrificed on the
edge of Toledo steel blades... no... this is America.
This is the heartland of a completely different
civilization, five thousand years old, which has only
and only barely begun to make itself felt through
the 500-year transforming veil of Spanish culture. . . .