This year marks a full decade since I left Mexico and came back to the United Kingdom. I still miss Mexico, warts and all. Indeed, it’s the warts that I perhaps remember most vividly. Sure, the food, weather and lifestyle were fabulous. Mexico City gave me better material for blogging than I get here in Bournemouth. I had three weeks off every Christmas, Easter and summer. And, thanks to being self employed, whenever else I wanted. Personal finances allowing.
But that’s standard chat that’s done and dusted within two minutes. It’s the random, freaky stuff that makes a good story. It usually start, ‘there was this one time…’ It finishes with a chuckle, and someone muttering ‘only in Mexico’. Grab a seat. I’ll run through some of them.
There was this one time… Mrs P went to the local Pollo Feliz rotisserie to buy some flame grilled chicken for dinner, and came back with two boxes. One had the tasty chicken in it, ready for eating. The other had a living chick in it. As a gift from Pollo Feliz. Because it was Children’s Day. So of course. Why wouldn’t a chicken restaurant give away live chicks to families in Mexico City? We ate our chicken while its offspring ran around the kitchen floor.
There was this one time… I went to go get my hair cut at Augustin’s salon, just fifty metres down a back alley from our flat. But he wasn’t there, because he’d been murdered over night. Someone clubbed him to death with a toilet seat, peeled his face off and then did something with it. I never did find out what happened to his face, but I did find a new place to get my hair cut.
There was this one time… I got off the metro at Cuatro Caminos and found a load of spent bullet cases all over the place. Must have been a pretty wild party the night before. I guess. I kept one as a souvenir.
There was this one time… that there was a pretty big earthquake late one evening. Big enough that everyone in the block evacuated. I ran outside last, in my T-shirt and boxers clutching a bowl of my pet terrapins. The reputational damage was immense. For years to come people would abandon their unwanted terrapins on my doorstep.
There was this one time… that posters appeared all over the neighbourhood, with an artists impression of a serial killer on them. He had just killed another victim. He had been nicknamed the Little Old Lady Killer. Except it wasn’t a he, it was a she. The culprit was a semi-famous female wrestler. Still, that wasn’t as weird as the time Super Porky’s midget wrestlers were killed by an accidental drug overdose, administered by some prostitutes with robbery in mind, not murder.
There was this one time… that I was watching one guy on the street passing a metal ladder up to another guy on the roof of a single story building. They were carefully trying to navigate it between the wall of the building and some power cables. I thought that this was likely to end with a bang and one or two dead folk. I wondered exactly how they thought this would end. Then there was a bang and one or two dead folk, so I realised that I would never know how they thought it would end.
There was this one time… that an outbreak of Swine Flu caused the entire city to suddenly lock down and…ah, that turned out to be a practise run, didn’t it? And not only in Mexico.
Life is a story. Life in Mexico was life on steroids, and my stories reflect that. I miss it, warts and all. I still seek out little reminders of a life I once lived. Netflix has become a gold mine of such content. The latest I’ve watched is a flick called Tell Me When. An Oscar contender it is not. But it’s charming. There were a good few laugh out loud moments. It was a very easy, pleasant watch. It’s about a guy who goes to Mexico City to create some stories. You should do that too, if you haven’t already.