After writing this postÂ about my excitement at seeing my first (what I thought) African American travelers in Mexico (turned out they are French), I decided it would be fun (for me anyway) to document all the African Americans I meet on the road. I’m totally loving all of the international flavor of the people I’ve met. However, one of my personal hopes for this year off is to inspire more Americans in general to travel and particularly those African Americans and Latino Americans that have the resources. Did you know thatÂ barely 20%Â of Americans have a passport?
Kia with Mikkel and Vincento (on the right). Kia is a Philly kid studying spanish at University of Guanajuato and on the lookout for anyone that can give her a run for her money on the dance floor.
I think this peacock was flirting with me. This is at the Dolores Olmeda Museum which also is a peacock sanctuary of sorts with dozens and dozens of peacocks all over the property. They seem to be in mating mode and this guy kept showing me his beautiful plummage and his butt so I guess he thought I might be interested. I got dive bombed by another peacock trying to get into this pen and it scared the heck out of me and I “hit the deck” as they say, much to the amusement of the other patrons seated a little ways off. What can I say, I provide entertainment on any continent, in any time zone.
This museum was a great surprise, I ended up here because it is one of the largest collections of Diego Rivera’s works and also has some of Frida Kahlo’s prints as well. When I first planned my trip I was interested in Frida’s work because her story sounded so interesting and drama-fied. Horrible accident as a young adult, her body never quite recovered, abortion* while married to Diego Rivera, mutiple affairs, etc. However, though I find her work to be colorful and engaging, it is very intense and honest and requires a level of engagement that is hard to articulate. She depicts her mutilation, the abortion, health issues, etc. Diego on the other hand was more low key. His paintings, drawings and murals are more political and erotic which are easy enough to view without dredging up emotions. I still find it unbelievable that an attractive young woman married (twice) this older, not at all attractive dude who also had multiple affairs. But what do I know about love?
Anyway, my mojo must have been on point this particularÂ day because I also got hit on by an older (but not unattractive) Mexican guard at this same museum. He has 3 kids, a wife and an english vocabulary of maybe 10 words. That didn’t stop him from asking me for the name of my hotel, my phone number while in El D.F., and for my e-mail (I’ll let you guess what I did). That being said, if you are wondering where your romantic “mojo” went, it is probably somewhere on the outskirts of Mexico City.
*Frida was never able to have children due to the accident that nearly killed her. She had to have an abortion because she would not have survived the birth of a child.
One of the best museums I have ever visited. 45 pesos ($4.50 US). After my visit I read up on the museum some more and it turns out it is one of the premier anthropolgy museums in the world. The picture doesn’t do this fountain justice. With the sweetly scentedÂ breeze, sunshine and light filtering through the top, you have to physically restrain yourself from going to stand under it like a giant personal shower. I’m sure that is why they have guards, to keep people like me in check.
I decided to make a run for Mexico City (4hrs, $27US) after I learned that Guanajuato (and most other places in MX) don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo in any real special way.Â Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Puebla (and nearby places like Mexico City)Â which is the site that actually won the battleÂ on that date with 200 Mexican troops defeating over 600 Frenchmen.Â I made this decision at 5pm on Friday afternoon after my last client call of the day. I arrived in El D.F. (el day-effay) at midnight and talked my taxi driver into stopping for “anything that isn’t mexican food” and I treated him to a hamburger and a soda (33 pesos for both of us = $3.30 US). He made me a little nervous by taking some back streets and going around in cirlces and all I could think of were the stories of taxi drivers kidnapping tourists and ripping them off. At midnight in one of the most crime riddled cities on the planet all I could do was: TRUST.Â Turns out he was just showing me some Mariachi bands and some of the local hot spots.Â I slept in the next day but soonÂ I grabbed my Nikon and hit the streets for 3 days of parades, museums, gardens and people trying to sell me tourist crap.
I just lurve this picture. Well I grew to lurve it after I got over the fact that this parade woke me up. And it was the longest.damn.parade.ever. But I boogied down to the street and snapped almost 100 photos if not more. The kids marching in the parade were a mix of excited and “over it” and it made for pretty interesting people watching. As the only snap happy African American person in 50 miles I got people watched right back. Sometimes you watch the parade, sometimes the parade watches you.
“Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. Make all your friends feel there is something special in them. Look on the sunny side of everything. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give everyone you meet a smile. Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others. Be too big for worry and to noble for anger.”
~Christian D. Larsen (also recognized as The Optimist Creed)
Some of yall (all 3 of you who are reading this) know how much I love Malcolm Gladwell (aka My Baby’s Daddy).Â The NY Times has profiledÂ him and my love grows stronger every day. I met him in 2005 when he came to speak as a Batten Fellow. I stalked the event planners so much (and impressed them with my knowledge of all things Malcolm)Â that they allowed me to drive him around for the afternoon. He was amazingly gracious, a gifted orator and a total cutie pie what with all that “absentminded professor hair”.Â I read Tipping Point in 2003 and finished Blink a few months ago. He’s inspired a rash of books that “create a highly contagious hybrid genre of nonfiction, one that takes a nonthreatening and counterintuitive look at pop culture and the mysteries of the everyday”Â Here’s a little bit of the reason why I’d walk over hot coals to bring him cold water: Continue reading infatuation