Wednesday, April 09, 2014
from dawn till dusk
Yesterday was not exactly a Robert Rodriguez film.
In fact, it was nothing like a Robert Rodriguez film. No vampires. No bikers. No Salma Hayek.
But it did start with a golden angel. And that cannot be all bad. Even though her predecessor fell harder than Satan.
I was up early to watch the dawn's early light spotlight the Angel of Independence. My perch was a shoeshine chair -- letting me feel the same joy Monet felt watching the day's light change the façade of the cathedral at Rouen.
All of that and a shoe shine thrown in to boot -- at a third less in cost than the swells in San Miguel de Allende pay.
I needed to do something about my scuffed shoes. Mexico City is one of those places filed with the People Who Look at Shoes -- and draw their own profiling conclusions. The condition of my shoes marked me as a rube from the beach.
Yesterday was going to be a day of walking. And walk I did. To and from the hotel where Lupe and Alex are staying -- about 2.5 miles each way. And then a side trip of about the same distance.
But before I tell you any more about my shoes and my walks, I am certain you would first like to hear a medical bulletin. And here it is.
Because Lupe has been very conscientious about her eye exercises, the doctor remains optimistic that she can fit an approriate prosthesis. But it is too early to be certain.
The best news is the irritation the doctor noted on her initial consultation on Monday has subsided. That will make the fitting far easier.
We had hoped that the three of us would be on our way back to Melaque by the weekend. That may not happen. There is a strong possibility we will need to stay for part of next week to complete the treatment. But that is why we are here. To get a new eye for Lupe.
And I am here to walk.
On my walk to and from the hotel, I wandered through the Roma neighborhood. A tony place filled with pocket parks -- the type of place an elderly woman dressed in red and black can play Elton John songs on a technicolor piano. Where is Fellini when we need him?
As well as grand houses where the rich once cavorted in their Porfirian French-inspired splendor, and where their young descendants now attend private schools. The type of schools where the boys wear jackets and ties -- and come complete with their bodyguards rushing to queued cars.
Exploring large cities on foot is one of my passions. My treks usually start with a well-defined route. But that usually lasts only until the second or third block when I see something worthy of a detour.
If I had not succumbed to my wanderlust yesterday, I would have missed stumbling across Don Cuevas's favorite Italian restaurant.
And what would my day have been like if I had missed strolling down the art-strewn promenade in the middle of Avenue Álvaro Obregón?
Every city needs its trendy neighborhoods. Roma had its heyday during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. It is so French, you can almost see the escargot trails.
The promenade is populated with more nude statues than a San Francisco bathhouse. Most of them indifferent copies of classic European works.
For some reason, I found the juxtaposition of one of Porfirio Diaz's nude golden boys against the backdrop of the socialist party headquarters to be a bit amusing. But I am easily humored.
He appears to be mooning the politicians. Right out of Braveheart.
The area is not resting on its laurels. It is once again trendy. Trendy enough to require the services of a dog walker to exercise the dogs of the wealthy.
Or to tart up an old French mansion to look like one of the painted ladies of the bay.
And trendy enough for Steve to find a tailor to construct new formal wear. I divested myself of all bourgeois trappings when I moved south. Who needs white tie on the beach?
But my cousin talked me into a 22-day cruise this spring that includes at least six formal nights. The cruise line is one of the few dinosaurs that require formal wear in all public areas during formal nights. Anyone with a libertarian streak would be confined to his cabin as an enfant terrible. So, I conform.
I certainly could not find a tailor in Melaque. But Mexico City has come to the rescue.
Babs mentioned two days ago that this huge city is almost an English-free zone. As it should be. This is the capital of a Spanish-speaking nation-state.
My tailor's shop fits the mold. Spanish is the currency of commerce. Even with my niño español, I was able to choose fabrics, cuts, and accessories. As is true with all tailors, by the time of the fitting, I was fully in his hands.
The full kit will be ready when I return to Mexico City before flying off to Barcelona. "Full kit" was a term the tailor had not heard.
All in all, I walked just over ten miles yesterday. And I feel better for it -- other than for some giant blisters. (Darn cheap Costco socks)
I saw what I would have missed sitting in the back of the hotel limousine. And I know a bit more about Mexico City than I did when I got up. I call that a successful day.
We will put one of those hotel limousines to good use this afternoon when I treat Lupe and Alex to an afternoon and evening on the town.
I am certainly glad I got those shoes shined. For me, it was an angel of a day.