Last week, I had to get another shot of TRT.
However, I have yet to have it injected at any pharmacy of Lindavista of Mexico City where I live now.
There’s one pharmacy nearby though where I went.
One of those “farmacias similaries.”
However, in Mexico, these “farmacies similaries” are usually pretty basic.
The one near me is a little more organized in that they have a front desk and more structure in general to shuffle people around.
It might not sound like much but it was weird coming across a “farmacia similar” that actually had any structure or formality to it.
It was too close to being “1st world” that I got scared and left.
Well, not entirely…
While it was by far the most formal seeming “farmacia similar” that I had seen in all of Mexico, I didn’t stay after seeing the HUGE crowd of people sitting down.
Knowing how slow everything is in Mexico, I knew this would be an hour wait at least to get my turn.
I shook my head and thought “fuck it, I’ll just take a trip to some other part of the city.”
Of course, it would save me more time to not travel but I’ve been itching to get out of the house more anyway.
As I walked towards the metro, I suddenly had this weird burning sensation in my eye.
Something that only seems to happen in Lindavista area of Mexico City as I wrote more about here.
What is it?
I have no fucking idea but, about once a week or so, I randomly get a weird burning sensation in one of my eyes in this part of town.
Was never an issue until I moved here.
Anyway, my eye is watering but I see another “farmacia similar” as I walk towards the metro.
However, they didn’t have a doctor on hand to inject me with TRT.
So I kept on walking.
In El Centro Historico of Mexico City
Therefore, I arrived to El Centro Historico of Mexico City.
Upon arriving, I notice just how many more people are in this part of the city than Lindavista.
It’s quite a contrast!
The Historic Center really does have a shit ton more people than what you’ll find elsewhere usually.
Most of them aren’t even tourists.
Anyway, I walked towards the pharmacy that was closest to where I used to live a year ago when I stayed in this area.
However, to my surprise, it was closed.
So I turned around and headed towards the other direction.
Found a pharmacy.
Waited my turn.
Got the job done.
Then I figured to enjoy this part of town while I’m here.
An Afternoon in the Center
As I walked out of the pharmacy, I walked down Madero Street.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t as active as I remembered it.
Not as many street performers.
If you want to see the best of what street performers have to offer in Mexico City, Madero is usually a solid option.
Still, despite the relative lack of street performers, it was still much more active than what you’ll see in most streets of Mexico City.
And it’s not even just this street either that has more activity.
Along the walk from the pharmacy to Madero, I saw plenty of activity.
Be it the high quantity of people that you see walking around the whole area.
To waiting with you at the stop light to turn green.
As you wait, you hear the noise of some street preacher yelling about the NAME OF JESUS.
To the little protest beside you of people sitting in camp bringing awareness to whatever cause of the day they are inspired by.
The light turns green.
Now you’ve reached Madero.
And, despite there being less street performers, there’s still more than what you’ll see elsewhere in the city.
Be it the guy painted in gold doing some trick to appear like he’s sitting mid-air.
To the folks dressed up in costume performing for money.
Maybe a small child singing some song for cash into a microphone.
For a second, you forget how sad it might be that a child has to sing for money.
Where are the parents?
And you just take it in.
The collective noise.
All the people.
The abundance of activity.
One moment after another.
Like you are part of a continuous song.
You feel like you are part of something bigger.
That life is being lived.
People all around with their own stories to tell.
Many of them living their stories in front of you as they perform to get money.
The man who sings “Hotel California” with his thick accent.
What inspired him to sing that song?
Well, the realist would say that he thinks it’ll earn him more money to sing a song in English.
The romantic likes to think that he was in his own Hotel California!
With a nice lady who he did heroin with.
They lived a life of many stories together.
Before she overdosed and the baby she was carrying died.
Then he left to Mexico, did he?
To live a life singing his past through the lyrics of the Eagles.
On the other side of the street there is a child singing some Mexican song.
It’s probably cumbia or salsa or something.
As a gringo, it’s still hard to tell the difference between them despite the years down here.
And his story can’t be anything but “my parents don’t earn enough money and think I’ll earn enough for them by singing here.”
But that’s a story in of itself.
A sad one.
But, as I said, you toss away the feelings for a second.
Just take it in.
As you stop with a stranger in front of you painted silver trying to stand still as long as he can with the most stoic face.
Somehow this earns him money.
Or maybe this is beyond the material?
Maybe he does this because he wants to express his spirituality?
Show the world that he believes his spirit to be stoic and firm in position?
That despite the tough winds and the malicious spirits of the corrupt cops demanding a bribe, he can keep going.
Firm in his efforts to stand there and live life how he sees fit.
And you keep walking.
Walking with the crowd of hundreds of people around you.
The occasional one trying to stop you to show you “his menu, amigo.”
Don’t you want some nice enchiladas?
But not today.
You already had tacos at a nearby taco stand before going to that pharmacy.
Where some middle aged man asked you “where you from? Where you from?” in English.
Being as stubborn as always, you respond back “como?”
“De donde eres?” is the next comment.
Before you know it, you’re getting a verbal exam on what Russia is like.
Answer the questions carefully.
Though it comes with a description of his life.
What does he do for work?
It’s his break!
“Where are YOU from?”
He lives a walking distance past Garibaldi metro.
Already grown up.
Out of curiosity, I asked him how many of his clients are foreigners like myself.
Most aren’t into having their shoes shined but some can be convinced.
It’s not uncommon but the typical client is Mexican.
Though Mexican or foreigner, you imagine the stories he has heard.
Shining those shoes comes with conversations to pass the time.
The same questions I got with more details.
Of probably hundreds or thousands of people by now.
I cough a bit.
The red salsa on the tacos de pastor is a bit strong.
But now they’re finished.
And then I blink back to reality.
Away from memory.
Standing in front of a Starbucks.
The Musicians Come & Go
I remember this Starbucks.
It was the spot where my last ex wanted me to “close my eyes” as she brought me my gift.
And there’s a beauty in that.
Along the walk over, I recognized other spots that I’ve had memories of in my years in Mexico City.
The bar that I took a nice Peruvian girl named Marianne to on the eve of my birthday before heading back to my place to get a blowjob.
Or the Brazilian restaurant that is hidden away upstairs past a jewellery store where I’ve gone to a few times with friends.
That one reggaeton bar that doesn’t seem open anymore that I used to take a girl named Elsa to.
Among a few of the other bars in the area that I’ve known to scam clients actually.
And, before coming across those bars, seeing the sight of an electronics store that sells stolen phones where I bought two at over the years here.
Over the years here, you come across old places that just bring back memories where you can point at them and go “I’ve seen this place before!”
Then I hear someone call me out “hola?”
It’s the barista.
Over the course of the next few hours, I get a few cups of large black ice tea with a bagel.
The lady doing most of my orders seems to be new as she keeps messing up the machine.
Tried charging me for a bagel with ham when I wanted it simple.
When I gave her the used cup of black tea for a refill, she read the label on the cup wrong and tried charging me for a cup of Chiapas coffee.
And, over my time sitting alone at my table, I get live performances brought to me.
No need to walk down Madero Street to find them!
They’ll find you.
The first one being this young couple.
A youngish 20 year old something male with long black hair and quite skinny with a woman of similar height and appearance.
He played the guitar.
Then he walked around asking for donations.
It was nice.
People watching with the sound of their singing in the air.
When they walked away, they seemed pretty gleeful.
The guy was literally hopping around behind her and they carried on with their business.
Then, soon enough, another older man came.
Someone who could pass for his 70s.
He began singing.
No guitar needed.
His voice was powerful enough to make the sternest men cry and the Lesbians become straight.
Initially, I thought that I wouldn’t offer any more money.
But the sight of an old man who should be in retirement singing to pay rent convinced me otherwise.
Initially, I was only going to give him 5 pesos since I needed some left for the metro ride back.
But he made his way around.
Nobody else offered him cash.
Probably because he didn’t have a big tittied Latina singing for him like the last couple.
Big tittied Latinas have a way with getting money, oddly enough…
Well, what can I say?
I like big tittied Latinas too.
But he wasn’t having luck.
I offered him 100 pesos (5 bucks).
But now I knew I needed to buy something to get change for the metro ride back.
Well, I could try to get the ladies at the counter to break a bill but I have had few tell me “no change!”
Once my time in Starbucks was done, I got up.
Got a black iced tea for the ride home.
It was getting closer to 8 PM.
The sky was getting darker.
And I walked towards Zocalo metro station.
Similarly, I remembered moments.
The time with Peruvian Marianne getting some ice cream in front of the Zocalo area.
To spending time with a girl named Daniela in the same plaza area before heading down the metro steps.
Or the times checking out mini markets selling books and whatever else in the area.
Or the time watching a mini live performance of some unknown singer on a stage with older couples dancing around.
Feeling like the lone millennial among Mexican boomers who found this music memorable of a time that I couldn’t remember.
Nor could my grandparents since they aren’t Mexican.
But, for once in my life, I did connect with the boomers of society.
This sounds nice.
Then I blinked.
Down the stairs of the metro.
Onto the train.
The Train Ride Home to Lindavista
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to secure a seat for the ride back right away.
All taken during an hour of countless people trying to ride up towards Indios Verdes.
Along the way, some man gave me a last minute performance.
He had some device that blasted music.
And it was all in English sounding music.
The first song being “How Deep is Your Love” by Bees Gees as you can see here.
You would think he’s trying to appeal to foreigners, no?
However, there are no foreigners on this ride except myself.
Not many going to live by Lindavista or Indios Verdes.
Not many going to live farther north than Zocalo or Bellas Artes.
A few maybe by Buenavista area.
And so he isn’t singing to appeal to foreigners.
He’s just singing the music he loves or learned the lyrics of anyway.
One could imagine the story he brings to the table…
Perhaps a nice Mexican gal left him and he began his singing career with the song below.
Vicente Fernandez -- Por Tu Maldito Amor
But because not many foreigners could relate to it..
He switched to another song about love!
One that is happier than sad.
After all, how many crying gringos will offer you money when they are reaching for the tissues than the monedas?
The song changes.
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” as you can see here.
By this point, somebody gave up their seat as they got off the metro.
And as the new song began, I looked out at the metro window.
“Have you ever seen the rain?”
Not underground, I have!
And, to his credit, he’s putting in the effort.
I like it.
When you spend days isolating yourself, even simple moments like this can make you appreciate life better.
It’s hard to explain.
There’s a more magical flow to everything when there’s more activity somewhere.
More people performing.
More homeless people having mental breakdowns that you can watch.
More individuals you can meet while eating tacos together.
And, on the metro, where strangers don’t usually speak to each other, you at least have aspiring singers for American Idol on board!
Someone to appreciate the singing skills of.
Who has his own life story.
Among other individuals trying to make a living in the metro.
In a weird way, it makes you feel alive.
You feel more alive in a zone of activity.
From El Centro to the metro.
The singing man walked towards my way to get off the train.
I offered him a quick 5 pesos.
He got off on the one station below Deportivo 18 de Marzo.
Where I’ll be getting off.
Then it was time.
The Contrast of Vibrancy & Tranquility
There is a contrast, no?
I got off metro Deportivo 18 de Marzo to begin the walk back to my apartment.
Once in the metro, I noticed a lot less people than that in Zocalo metro.
A lot less everything.
A lot less people.
A lot less street food.
A lot less street performers (there were none).
A lot less foreigners (there were none).
A lot less of everything.
More calm and quiet.
Granted, there was traffic as it was around 8 to 9 PM.
Plenty of traffic.
Honking and all.
I soon bought myself a bottle of vodka for the night at the nearby OXXO a few streets from where I live.
The lady behind the counter – with black hair that has a slight bit of purple in it – made small talk with me.
“Where you from?”
We made small talk.
She was curious about what I am doing in her area and my life story.
The conversation didn’t go on for hours but it was symbolic of something.
How, in Lindavista area, people are more curios about me!
Not trying to talk with me for an extra buck.
Just curious about me AS A PERSON.
“Who are you, Matt? Can I get to know you more? What are you doing here? Let’s talk.”
The conversation really wasn’t noteworthy outside of the contrast it offers.
In El Centro, not as many cared about who I was outside of Shoe Shine Guy.
Shoebox scene-- goodfellas
But you have more foreigners there.
We’re not an exotic bird.
In Lindavista, we’re not an exotic bird but we seem to be a special breed of dog as I wrote here.
More people have shown me interest here than in other parts of the city by quite far up to this point.
But it’s all a contrast!
Less people begging for money?
Less homeless people?
Less annoying upper class Latinos?
Less people trying to practice English?
More people curious about you on a genuine level that doesn’t involve getting something from you?
You get rid of that by living in Lindavista but at a cost.
Less bars to enjoy.
Less nicer restaurants.
Less parks (not always the case).
Vibes being that feeling discussed when there’s SO MUCH activity all around you.
That makes you feel more alive.
That you are part of something bigger
That you are living almost.
It’s a trade off.
Though I sometimes discuss negatively the life of living in touristy areas, I also get it.
When I was in El Centro that day, I did contemplate a life back in the touristy area.
There is some appeal to LIVING IN THE CENTER of it all.
There’s also negatives as mentioned above.
It’s a trade.
For that reason, I sometimes switch back and forth as I move around often.
Switch back and forth between living in touristy areas and non-touristy ones.
Despite all the shit talk I do of touristy areas, I can’t look you straight in the face and say it’s all monkey turds.
There’s plenty of positives too!
One of those, as discussed, is the extra “vibe” that you get from LIVING IN THE CENTER of it all.
The historic center of Mexico City offers a certain vibrancy that most of Mexico City doesn't offer. It's part of the appeal that some gringos find with living in Latin America again. That same vibrancy that makes them feel like they are "living life again."
At any rate, leave any comments below in the comment section.
And enjoy this video here on the historic center of Mexico City!
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Thanks for reading.