All photography and written content within this book was produced by Gary Denness. My photography can be viewed at Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/garydenness/ My blog is currently in its 7th year and can be viewed at http://garydenness.co.uk All of my photography is hosted online under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license.
At the end of March this year, Swine Flu arrived in Mexico, causing panic, uncertainty and further bad press around the world for Mexico. Whether the panic was merited or not, the consequences are less open to debate. The country's vital tourism industry, already suffering due to unfair and inaccurate reporting in the US and elsewhere, took a nosedive. Yet it is evident to those of us who live here that the country remains a beautiful, friendly and safe destination for tourists. At the height of the Swine Flu outbreak, you were still more likely to win a decent payout on a lottery than meet a Swine Flu victim. And the much publicized narco wars, whilst nasty, have never affected tourist areas, nor have tourists ever been likely to be affected. What you will find here are ancient pyramids, fabulous food, color, music, turquoise seas, white sand, a friendly people, abundant wildlife, colonial architectural masterpieces, traditional handicrafts, tequila and mezcal and so much more. All the things Mexico was for so long famous for, and will surely be more famous for once again. The sooner the better. I've been living in Mexico City for the last four years and have loved my time here. This book is a snapshot of my life. A single month, June, and I will take you around this great city. Just you, me and my camera. What you will see is what I see. Fun, organized events, community, life and everything that makes this great city what it is. Not the classic tourist guide of famous places with lengthy descriptions. More an everyday wander through the streets, looking at objects, people and scenes. I have added some snippets from my blog too, as a guide to life. And at the end of the book I have included a list of bloggers and photographers from around Mexico who contribute a far more accurate and real account of the country than Fox News will ever manage.
…...Monasteries. The Spanish came here hundreds of years ago and had lots of land available to build big monasteries, most with some pleasant open spaces. Most importantly from a modern perspective, they also sound proofed their new habitations with walls almost as thick as they are tall. They don’t tend to be high on the list of places to visit on a day out either, so you may well find yourself free of people as well as traffic. There are bigger monasteries than the one residing in San Angel, but few with more history, more relics and more to see than El Carmen. I must have passed this place so many times over the years, without going inside. Till yesterday, anyway. Unfortunately photography isn’t allowed once you’ve stepped inside, but I managed to take a few photos of the exterior, and a few more from San Angel itself, which is in itself a very pleasant place to visit on a Sunday.......
…..To summarize the political parties competing. The PRI held the country in a one party dictatorship for 70 years until 2000. The PAN then ousted them and are scheming to run the country for the next 70 years. The PRD are a large group of market stall holders who would love to run the country forever, and will enter into any coalition going to further their aim. The Green Party, meanwhile, want to spread love, install litter bins and then grow huge forests of trees, from the branches of which they intend to hang people. Because they care about life. Yes, really. Their words, not mine. It does seem a bit bizarre. A Green party putting the death penalty into its manifesto. But it’s true, which is why the rest of the worlds green parties are giving them something of a cold shoulder. I think this is what they call ‘jumping on a bandwagon’. Also known as ’selling out’. Anything to get a few more votes. What I really love about their advertising campaign though, beyond all else, is that they have recruited a very attractive senorita from pop group Rebelde (Mexico’s Spice Girls – I know, there are boys in the band too, but they are gay, so…) to put out their message......
We hadn’t been along to the ciclothon since…well, it must be weeks and weeks now. The last time we went was before the Swine Flu outbreak anyway. We went later than planned, as usual, which was a bit unfortunate as Reforma had something special planned. A huge Culture Fair all along the road from the Angel to Chapultepec. The Vietnam stall sat snugly next to the US stall, athough distance was kept between the Israeli and Palestinian stalls. Sensible, perhaps. A bit of a disappointment for the British ex-pats – the UK decided not to participate. Or weren’t invited. What have we done now? But we weren’t as disappointed as the Hungarians, who had a stall, but forgot to turn up. Still, there was a boxing ring available for people to vent their frustrations. And plenty of street performers to put a smile back on a miserable face.
Mexico has been home to many gods over the years. The Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecs all had a decent selection. The Spanish brought theirs to add to the mix, and did their best to kill all the others. But a new invasion is under way. Now I’m sure the Jehovah’s Witnesses at al have been here for quite a while, but they definitely have a campaign going. I’ve been stopped by English speaking Jehovah Witnesses half a dozen times in the last few months outside Belles Artes. On Sunday they stopped me in Reforma. They have set up something of a permanent camp. The Mormons are out in force too. I only recently discovered why there were so many of these fruitcakes strolling around my local area….they have a church at Taxquena. They have another church in another part of the city which is actually pretty funky. Must visit it one day. But I probably won’t stay for any question and answer sessions they arrange. All that’s missing from Mexico City now are some resident Scientologists peddling their nonsense.
…..It’s pretty hard work running 21 kms, especially when the last 11 kms are all uphill. It’s just a slope, but it hurts! Probably explains why my first 10 km time was about an hour, and the second took an hour and a quarter. My injury prone ankle held up which was nice. My gammy knee didn’t fare quite so well. I’ll be hobbling for a few days I suspect. But I kept going and managed to cross the line in an official time of 2 hours 23 minutes and 10 seconds. Which, for a heavy smoking half marathon virgin, is perfectly respectable. I know I could get under 2 hours, if I could just quit the Marlboro Azuls for long enough. Next time… I have to say the event provided jolly good value too. The entry fee was 255 pesos (US$20 -ish/GBP 11.60) and for that, as well as a number, an electronic timing chip and permission to participate, you get a fairly decent Adidas running top, plenty of water and gatorade along the route, a dozen Mariachi bands along the route and a rather hefty medal and a Recuperation Pack (apple, banana, more water and Gatorade) at the end......
World Trade Centers went up in New York and Mexico City at the same time. For years New York could boast ‘mine is bigger than yours’, but the one here lasted a bit longer. It’s home to offices, of course. And a Cinemex complex. A Sears store is added on. And many exhibitions are staged here. That was the purpose of our visit, to see a travel fair, but we decided the 50 peso entrance fee was exorbitant. I did check the people leaving to see if they had bags of goodies to justify the entry price, but their bags looked empty. The star attraction for most tourists is Belinnis and the Skybar, seeing as there is no tourist viewing level. Shame really….it was the tallest building in Mexico City for more than 30 years till Torre Mayor went up. We didn’t visit the Skybar this time. It’s a little pricey I believe, so it’ll have to wait for a more special occasion. Instead, I amused myself taking photos of planes going past the WTC.
The Blog List A Canuck In Cancun - http://www.cancuncanuck.com Mostly Mexico City - http://davidlida.com Mexico Bob - http://mexicobob.blogspot.com/ Mexico Cooks - http://mexicocooks.typepad.com River Girl - http://www.hiddencancun.com/ Inside Mexico - http://www.insidemex.com/ Hammock Musings - http://hammockmanpaul.blogspot.com Jesus Chairez - http://jesuschairez.blogspot.com/ La Ciudad de Mexico - http://ourhamptons.blogspot.com/ An Opinionated Guide - http://mexicocitydf.blogspot.com Mi Blog Es Tu Blog - http://lauramartinez.wordpress.com Small Fish In The Big Taco - http://smallfishinthebigtaco.blogspot.com/ Same Life, New Location - http://steveinmexico.blogspot.com The Zapata Tales - http://tzuru4.blogspot.com/ Viva Veracruz - http://www.vivaveracruz.com/
Visit Mexico http://www.visitmexico.com/