Buscando mojarras …

 Looking for cichlids, my Mexican Diary.

 by Francesco Zezza

12.04.02: I wake up early in the morning (05.00 a.m.) and rush quickly to Fiumicino (Rome airoport). Stefania’s Dad is kind enough to offer us a lift. The weather is not that good; a light rain is falling, but our temper (Stefania and myself, aka: the crew expected to go) is excellent!  There is a long “check-in” (including a “hard” discussion with a member of the security who won’t allow me to carry my swiss army knife in my cabin and expects me to get rid (aka: put it into the garbage basket!) of it. Explaining to him that I used it while sailing the Red Sea up to the Sudan border, in The Sinai desert, on Lake Malawi, and again in Maldives, Sudan itself, Peruvian mountains, Cuba, and the Amazon Jungle is of ABSOLUTELY no use! In the end we agree – well, I’m forced to agree! – to put it in in the luggage that won’t enter the cabin and we’re finally done. Mexico (intermediate stop in Madrid, Spain) is waiting for us. We’ll spend three days in Mexico City to recover from the jet-lag, visit the city and surroundings and then we’ll move toward  San Luis Potosì, where Juan Miguel Artigas Azas (from now on: JMAA) is waiting for us. This trip is going to be quite different from all the previous ones for quite a number of reasons, such as: 

·        Whoever thinks about Mexico – at least here in Europe - seems to refer to Yucatan. We’re going toward a place that, at least for the moment, is nothing more than a “mysterious” name on map!!!

·        We won’t have ANY scuba diving (should I add “regrettably”?).

·        The “name on a map” we’re heading for is, actually, a CITY! It isn’t a marine reef, an African lake, an Amazon river … nope, it’s a City with, likely, it’s own traffic jams and so on … but:

In the surroundings there ARE cichlids, we’ve been told, and then … …

While our plane is going as fast as 900 km/h I try to guess/speculate which cichlids (and morover how) I’m going to bring back home. In the meantime, a SERIOUS question: WHY?  

·        Why this “desperate” desire to go?

·        Why this continuous search for “odd” (aka, uncommon, out of tourist’s routes) destinations?

·        Why am I going slightly mad? Am I only curious? Have a desire to know? Desire to run away? Happiness? Fear? None of these? 

I don’t know why. I only know that, in given moments, it is something like an obsession: I HAVE TO GO! I don’t actually know why. But, in the end, is a “why” in need? Why do I need a “why”? 

While flying over the Caribbean sea (Bahamas area), all of a sudden I found myself soaked in a deep, huge, unmotivated sorrow. But, then, here we go...Mexico City is in sight!!! Gigantic, messy, with scary traffic. Now the city stretches itself under the window (28th  floor out of 42) of our Hotel (we’ll be informed later that it’s the same used by former U.S.A. president Bill Clinton while staying in Mexico City. DO Pity my wallet!!!). I’m sitting, naked, at a table looking the life running in front, around and below me, tired from travelling. We woke up in Rome 21 hours ago and here is lunch time! Enough for now! See You tomorrow!!!


Mexico City: general view.

13.04.02: Mexico City: I’m hungry! And still suffering from a nasty pain in my neck (a present from air conditioning, I guess!), we move for a quick Mexico City tour. The old natives, the Atzecs used to call it Tenochtitlan. According to the legend, it was built in a supposedly lucky place where an eagle was seen eating a snake while resting on a cactus (BTW: check the Mexican flag – white central “field” – that eagle is still there). The city is as long as 100 km and as large as 39Km (roughly), with some streets such as “Paseo de la Riforma” as long as 35 Km, which is NOT a record, btw!!! We have a look to Benito Juarez monument (the one and, up to now, only, native who became President of Mexico), then the Cathedral and, in front, Plaza de la Costitution (4th biggest square in the world: you have to see it to believe it!). Then, the Atzec remains at Tempio Mayor (Atzeco), followed by Palacio National (National Building with nice paintings by Diego Rivera) and the Fountain of Tlaloc (God of the water, again a remnant of the Atzecs) located inside the Chapultepec Park (aka: the Grasshopper’s Park). Final mention for the Antopological Museum with some parts closed dued to restorations. Regrettably our tour was very fast; all I can retain is an OVERALL (nice!) Mexico City “feeling”, not caring than much for each given detail! Back to the Hotel now: Wet with sweat and with burning feet! To tell the whole truth, a huge array of names, situations, human artifacts (most of them ARE nice!), places, and churches have passed in front of us today. I can’t swear on the fact that I’m now more rich (in terms of what I know) even if I probably am, but I know I’m a bit puzzled by the “mix” we saw: The mexican presidents over the years, the Atzecs, the city traffic, the Tolthecs (another ancient mexican population), the lunch, the Cathedral, the spanish conquerors, the human sacrifices (carried on by Atzecs), the “Temple of The Water” and much, much, much … … much more! All is still running in my eyes and brain.  HELP ME! … I want to get down!! … And go to sleep too!!!

14.04.02: Today the visit to Teotihuacan’s ruins is scheduled!  I carry on looking for food at, what is for here, absolutely uncommon hours. God bless the jet-lag!!! It happens then, all of a sudden, I think of the fishes left in Rome, of all the orchids, carnivorous plants, cacti … ….

Breakfast at last!!! Then on our way we stop at Sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, which is likely the most important religious center of the whole Mexico for catholics.

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe: the Church

Hours after:: sitting almost on top of the “Pyramid of the Moon”, I have a complete view of the whole Teotihuacan archeological site.


Teotihuacan: an overall view from the top of the “Pyramid of the Moon”.

Almost nothing is known about the ancient Teotihuacan’s inhabitants, not even why, all of a sudden, the city had been abandoned. Ages later, Atzecs had passed there and named this place as: “The Gods’ Place” or “The place where men become Gods”.

Teotihuacan: view of the map describing the whole site.

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