As is typical for Mexico City, we got another earthquake on the most famous days for it: September 19.
Which, funny enough, happens to be my birthday.
As I wrote about here or here, Mexico City loves having earthquakes on this special day.
They had a major one in 1985 and another one in 2017 that I was here for.
On this day, I didn't have any major plans like I did last year where I celebrated my birthday with some chick named Jovi that you can read about here.
Instead, I mostly decided to hike a mountain called Cerro de la Estrella in Iztapalapa and hang with a friend afterwards.
As I currently live in Iztapalapa and can see Cerro de la Estrella very easily from my house, it was only a 5 minute ride to the entrance where the hike begins.
Hiking Cerro de la Estrella
Here's a photo of some of the scenery (looks relatively rural to the rest of the city) that you see right before you begin the hike.
As you can see here, vehicles are not allowed past this point once you begin the hike.
Though, after hiking up the mountain, I found that a car could get to almost all the way to the top (minus the stairs you find at the very end).
It's not the most "natural" hike on a mountain that you will experience.
It's mostly a paved road that curves over and over that you follow until you get to a point where you find some stairs that lead you to the very top.
It's not like my experience hiking other mountains in Latin America like in this article here where it's more rough and feels like you are away from civilization.
Though, having said that, you can go up some dirt paths that cross through the paved roads where it "kinda" feels like a more natural hike on a mountain in the countryside.
Until you get to the next paved road.
I ended up going through just the dirt path as I kinda liked the feel of something more "natural."
And, if you do that, you'll find the path upwards is a lot quicker.
I didn't take any breaks going up outside of two small breaks that maybe last a minute each.
I finished the hike to the top anyway in basically 30 minutes.
If I really wanted to and rushed it, maybe I could've forced myself to the top in 20 to 25 minutes (while only using the dirt paths)?
Something like that.
You have this Youtube video I saw here that says it took her basically an hour but she took breaks.
And I agree with the person in the video -- the hike itself is not hard at all.
Another thing is that it isn't dangerous either.
As you can see here, someone on Twitter tried recommending to me that I don't stay out there past 4 PM.
I think he was referring to Cerro de la Estrella or perhaps all of Iztapalapa.
In either case, I think 4 PM is a bit strict.
Nothing is going to happen to you for being on the mountain at 5 PM.
It was perfectly safe.
Plenty of skinny young couples walking around, men riding expensive looking bikes up the mountain and old couples also that probably go to church or something.
The characters I saw on the mountain were not intimidating, scary or looking like they rob people.
Outside of that, what is there to say?
First, you have some "public gyms" on the mountain as you can see here and as I wrote about them here.
Second, there is a public bathroom at the beginning of the hike for those who need it as you can see here.
Third, there's a shit ton of bees that you'll have to get past if you use the dirt road.
Fourth, if you stick to the dirt road, you'll find this spot near the end of it that you can sit down on for a rest and/or a quick drink.
Fifth, there's a bit of graffiti on certain parts of the hike that make it look not as nice.
Sixth,the place is good, as you can guess by now, for those wanting to do physical excercise. I saw plenty of people use various points of the path for that.
Seventh, you also have this area here that is OK for sitting down, having a snack and enjoying a view of the city. It's not ideal because there's a shit ton of flies everywhere but it's OK. Does offer good views anyhow. You'll completely skip past it though if you only use the dirt path going up.
Eighth, as you can guess by now, the mountain does offer some sick views of Mexico City. Though, depending on your luck, there might be a lot of pollution in the background that might limit your view to whatever degree. Still, I really enjoyed the views (and, funny enough, was able to see the apartment building where I live given how close I am living to the mountain).
Ninth, they do say that bringing alcohol is prohibited. You can always just do what I did and bring in a plastic bottle of fuze tea and mix some vodka in with the tea.
In fact, as I was looking at the view of the city from this point here, I was enjoying some vodka actually.
I was sitting at that point with all those tables that you saw in a previous photo as I was heading down the mountain.
There happened to be one physically fit looking motherfucker with a 6 pack doing a basic workout while I was there in that spot (pushups, sit ups, etc).
And it was cool to have a view on top of the mountain and in that specific area while enjoying some vodka.
Finally, when leaving the mountain, you might find it difficult to get out of the area.
There are some buses that pass by taking you to random points of the city I've never heard of.
But, more importantly, there were a shit ton of taxis that passed that day but almost all of them either ignored me or had someone else riding along already.
I eventually did get a taxi.
If you happen to have too much bad luck getting a taxi in the area and don't want to take the bus, I'd recommend you walk just slightly north to Ermita Iztapalapa Avenue.
I began walking over to that avenue after not getting a single taxi to stop for me but I did find one taxi very quickly after I began walking over.
I'm not sure how long it'd take you to walk over but maybe 10 minutes?
And, if you are cool with taking the metro, obviously just walking a tiny bit more will get you to show up to Metro Iztapalapa or Cerro de la Estrella.
Maybe one of those buses I saw have a route that would drop you off there too or close by. I have no idea but it's possible.
Did You Head About the Earthquake?
So, as I said, I found a taxi quickly enough after I began walking back.
He didn't know the exact street I lived on but knew where the neighborhood was.
We found our way back easily enough anyhow.
He was a pretty friendly dude.
But, along the way back, he asked me if I "felt the earthquake."
To be honest, I thought he was referring to the 2017 earthquake given how famous it was and given it happened on September 19 also.
But, after a sentence or two later, I realized he was referring to an earthquake that happened TODAY.
I shook my head and asked him "there was an earthquake TODAY?"
He said yeah.
I didn't feel it.
Though I was also on top of a mountain.
Anyway, I asked him if he felt it and he said no.
I also took another taxi that day to another location later on to visit a friend briefly and the taxi driver said he didn't feel it either.
Both taxi drivers were found in Iztapalapa (and maybe live there).
When I got back though to my apartment after the ride from Cerro de la Estrella, I did see a ton of messages from folks.
Either being family from back home or a chick I know down here.
The chick asked me if "I am OK."
I was confused at first but then remembered the mention about the earthquake from the taxi driver once I checked my messages on Facebook where I was told there's an earthquake and a tsunami coming my way.
I don't understand why they think a tsunami is going to reach Mexico City. Has one ever done that? I have my doubts but could be wrong. Pretty sure that doesn't happen given the distances inland, the mountains, etc.
Anyway, supposedly there was an earthquake while I was hiking.
I didn't feel it.
Neither did my taxi drivers.
I asked my neighbors too out of curiosity.
There's a fat dude across from me in another apartment in the same building that I know about and he said he didn't feel it.
My landlord didn't feel it.
When I later ordered some micheladas and was putting a few in the fridge later that night, I saw the wife of my landlord coming downstairs with her daughter.
I asked her.
Her eyes widened and she said "NOOOOO!!!" and then began explaining how she was getting messages too asking if she was OK, was confused and just straight up didn't feel the earthquake.
But, as you can see here, supposedly others in other parts of the city did feel it.
Including others in Iztapalapa.
I suppose the specific colonia I live in must have better ground to live on when it comes to earthquakes.
But that leads us to another point.
The Extra Drama for September 19 Earthquakes
Though, as a personal opinion, I think Mexicans exaggerate the "September 19" earthquake drama a bit much just because of the history they've had with some REALLY bad earthquakes on this specific day.
If the earthquake that happened today had happened on any other day of the year (and especially not in September), I don't think people would've been talking about it.
Two thirds of the drama really is nothing more than "OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?! IT HAPPENED ON THE SAME DAY AS THOSE OTHER EARTHQUAKES!!! OMG!!!!"
That's most of the appeal when it comes to talking about it.
Because, as you can see here, the earthquake only killed 2 people and caused some damages here and there but most of the damages (and deaths) were where the earthquake happened near the Pacific coast.
Not in Mexico City.
If even a smaller earthquake happened on September 19 that, through a miracle, didn't kill anyone or cause any structural damages but still was felt in Mexico City for just a second, you'd still have people jumping in to discuss how "OMG SO STRANGE CAN YOU BELIEVE IT HAPPENED ON THIS DAY AGAIN?!?! WE COULD'VE DIED!!"
But the same earthquake happening any other day of the year (outside of September 7th also)?
Many less fucks given.
At any rate, social media will be social media.
What goes viral goes viral and some stuff gets more attention than it deserves in my opinion.
Which isn't to take away from the victims of any of these earthquakes but to acknowledge anyway the extra attention that gets put on any earthquake -- no matter how relatively inconsequential -- that is felt in Mexico City on this specific day versus other days of the year.
And that discrepancy in attention is mostly from:
1. The impact of the history of the more notable earthquakes on the same day
2. Some people suffering from "Earthquake PTSD"and their PTSD kicking in more strongly on this specific day due to the history mentioned before (in 1985 and 2017).
3. And social media/mainstream news looking for a story that will get clicks with journalists that, if we're being honest, probably crossing their fingers HOPING for an earthquake on September 19 so that they get an interesting story to cover.
Though, to be fair, there is something intellectually interesting to considering the probability of an earthquake being felt in Mexico City so consistently on this specific day like you can see here.
Anyway, let's get back to the birthday.
A Birthday Night
Outside of watching millions of Mexicans suffer below me while on top of an ancient Aztec mountain and drinking my vodka, I didn't do anything too interesting.
I visited a friend.
But then went home.
I was thinking of maybe reaching out to whoever to go to a club again this year.
For example, as you can see here, Jovi wrote to me asking "how are you?"
As you can see, I still use vos for no reason despite not having been in Argentina for years.
And we got talking.
She wished me a happy birthday and asked if "I'm doing anything."
There was a part of me that thought "hmmm, maybe bring her to a club and have someone to fuck for my birthday."
But, given she most likely tried falsely accusing me of getting her pregnant last year (to which she got abortion anyhow) as you can read here, I had my doubts if her pussy was worth it for the night.
I could've reached out to someone else also for the night.
But, being honest, I didn't really care as much to go to a club that night.
So I ended up buying a bunch of micheladas and a double meat bacon hamburger as you can see here.
Funny enough, there's not too many places near me on Uber Eats that offer hamburgers compared to other parts of the city.
And finding one that is double meat, bacon and BBQ is an extra challenge for where I am living in Iztapalapa.
Anyway, the food was good.
And micheladas with clamato flavor are the best.
So it was good.
Listening to songs like this here.
MC5 -- Back to the USA
Singing along "I'M SO GLAD I'M LIVING IN THE USA!!!"
...Takes a few micheladas at midnight to be singing along to such lyrics.
And that was that.
Pretty normal but interesting birthday anyhow.
But that's all.
Let's wrap this up now with some very brief history on Cerro de la Estrella.
I'm going to include that in the end of this article because, if we're being honest, probably none of you give a fuck about it.
But I did include other photos I took of the mountain that you can see in the end of the article.
Check them out.
Leave any comments below in the comment section.
Follow my Twitter here.
And thanks for reading.
History of Cerro de la Estrella
So apparently the original inhabitants of the area knew the mountain as Huizachtecatl.
Apparently the earliest indications of human constructions in the area are dated somewhere between 100 to 650 AD.
Since then, you had a bunch of villages in the area, some social organization, early farming systems, etc.
More interestingly, we have this information here:
"Sahagún, Motolinia, Torquemada and the Cuautitlán Annals, among other sources, indicate that between the period 900 to 1300 AD, Chichimecan peoples inhabited the western section of the hill, where they founded the town of Colhuacan. These settlers achieved important technological and social development; apparently a theocratic system prevailed and later by a dynasty of kings. Between years 1300 and 1521 AD, the Aztecs conquered the area and established a settlement, naming it Ixtapalapa. They hoped that Ixtapalapa, in conjunction with theneighboring altepetl Colhuacan, would serve as a barrier to protect the area south of Tenochtitlan, in addition to providing the empire with staples. It is known that at that time, the Aztecs constructed platforms the top of the hill."
Finally, the mountain seemed to have some very deep religious importance to the Aztecs as that same article describes.
Where they had some ceremony called "New Fire."
They worshiped the sun and had to do some human sacrifice to please the sun god.
Here's more specific information from that same article:
"At dusk of the great day the main priests wore their best clothes and headed by the priest of Copilco, went to the top of Huizachtecatl to initiate the ceremony. Previously, a prisoner was placed in the main temple altar, and when the time came, a log or mamahuastli was placed on his chest and set on fire to ignite the New Fire; meanwhile, Tenochtitlan and towns surrounding the great lake remained in complete darkness. The Copilco priest took the fire from the chest and transmitted it to a bonfire. Later the prisoner was sacrificed, his heart extracted and thrown into the flames. There were messengers responsible to deliver torches lit with the New Fire to priests of towns that had attended the ceremony at Huizachtecatl."
"Based on archeological investigations, Colhuas were the first to use the top of the hill for the New Fire or Toxiuhmopolli ceremony; historical sources indicate that four such ceremonies took place; in 1351, 1403, 1455 and 1507. Tenochtitlan was conquered before the fifth ceremony could take place."
For those who want more information, check out this Wikipedia article here or go check out this other article I found here.
For those who read Spanish, there's more information also in the Spanish version of the Wikipedia article here.
And enjoy some of the other photos I included below here and have a good day.