Peter Davies, an Australian writer and teacher, recently finished embarking on a 7 month journey of a lifetime. The idea behind the endeavor was to experience the assorted aspects of Mexico City through its weaving metro lines underground. During his journey, Davies passed through approximately 147 stations… within the Mexico City Metro system. MexicoToday.org had a chance to speak with Davies about his experience and the many people and things he encountered along the way. Davies described the interior of the trains as “mobile marketplaces”, containing all the vivacity and culture of Mexico in an incredibly condensed and active space.
The Mexico City Metro, for Davies, was an all-encompassing underground society with people from all walks of life and ages. Along the way he met students, lawyers, doctors, musicians, street performers, poets, and the homeless underground in an environment that beautifully belonged to all of them equally. The Metro in a sense was like “a great stage”, where all those without a platform of expression could congregate to be heard, seen, and appreciated. Musicians come from all over to make music with guitars, bamboo flutes, bongo drums, and even coins in cans. This is the true spirit of Mexico. The Mexico City Metro contained all the soul, energy, and variety of the actual city and gave Davies a glimpse into the true culture of Mexico, both ever changing and ever inspiring. Davies saw Mexico City as a lively city full of contemporary art galleries and museums (his favorite being the Mexican Antique Toy Museum at Obrera), and at the same time a historical city full of tradition and cultural importance.
By taking the metro to the extremities of Mexico City, Davies reflected on what he learned about the city, its history, and its people. One of the aspects of the city that surprised him the most, however, was the complete openness and friendliness of the people as a whole. He described Mexico City as an inviting place full of life, where “people live harmoniously.” Davies went on to say, “What surprised me is the diversity of this place. Mexico City is full of quirky surprises all over the place. Mexico City is an extremely vibrant, diverse, modern city with a whole range of different stuff going on in contemporary art and music. Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world. Perhaps that is one of the things people might not know.”
When asked about his favorite neighborhood in Mexico City, Davies spoke about the Roma district on metro line #1. “It travels through Chapultepec which is a museum district and has a really big park. Then it goes through Roma which is a really bohemian district, and then goes through the Centro which is fantastic for architecture fans.” The Roma district attracted the attention of some of the most influential writers of the Beat Generation like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Today, the neighborhood still contains an artistically bohemian allure to it that sets it apart from the rest of the city. Davies also reflected on the countless possibilities that exist in Mexico City, from the street art, to the street vendors, to the architecture, to the beautiful parks. He especially noted the importance of food in Mexico City. “Tacos de carnitas which are pork tacos are really nice, with freshly baked tortillas and juicy meat. I eat tacos on every corner, which is one of the many wonders of Mexico’s street cuisine.”
As something to take away Davies stated, “One thing I have worked in communicating through my project and I would like people to take away from it is the need to break down the misconceptions about Mexico. Enjoy this country’s wonders and, come to Mexico and experience it yourself!” Although no plans have been officially made to tackle another metro system in a different city, Davies is open to the idea in the future.
Mexico's beloved lucha libre are bringing professional wrestling to Mexico’s poorest neighborhoods, orphanages and prisons. Known as The Caravan Super Tarin traveling wrestling show, these dedicated performers give free performances to those who don't have the money to buy a ticket to see a… professional wrestling event at one of Mexico City's big arenas.
The matches serve a dual purpose: to entertain residents and to provide an opportunity for lesser-known or young wrestlers to catch the eye of a promoter.
"I have dreams of wrestling with the great ones, but I've been at it for three years and haven't received the opportunity," the youngest wrestler, 16-year-old Black Fury said from behind his mask, insisting on keeping his street identity a secret.
The Caravan Super Tarin is one of the larger street wrestling troupes that play Mexico City's working-class neighborhoods and one of the few that give shows free of charge. The leader of the caravan is Rafael Rojas Tarin — or Super Tarin — who heads the street vendors association that sponsors the shows.
Wrestling is the second-most popular sport after soccer in Mexico, so the turnout for these events is tremendous. Yet, despite the large audiences, the lucha libre get by on very little. The wrestlers get into their costumes in tiny spaces, sitting on packing crates or in the homes of locals. A show can feature 70 wrestlers. Sometimes fans will even bring the wrestlers plates of food as payment to show their support and appreciation.
The impact of the lucha libre in Mexico goes beyond that of other countries, incorporating Mayan mythology and becoming a recurring theme in its movies and culture. Wrestlers campaign with politicians and fight for low-incoming housing projects and other social causes.
When it comes to the hottest topics in Mexican sports, soccer and boxing fill-up most of the headlines. However, one Mexican tennis star is beginning to break into the global spotlight.
Santiago González is a Mexican tennis player. Turning pro in 2001, his highest ranking in singles is 155, reached on May 22, 2006, and in doubles it is 36, reached on April 25, 2011. It is in doubles that González really shines and is considered one of the best in the world.
Teamed with Scott Lipsky of Merrick, N.Y. the duo lifted their second team trophy at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in the men's doubles finals, defeating the number two seeds, Colin Fleming & Ross Hutchins of Great Britain, 7-6(3), 6-3. In March, they also captured an ATP Challenger Tour title in Dallas.
Winning seems to be coming easy to the Mexican/American tandem, as they won their very first match just last year at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, defeating Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan in the final. The pair credits their chemistry as teammates to their recent string of successes.
“We’re pretty comfortable with each other,” said Lipsky. “We had a couple good results as well, we won Barcelona last year and a Challenger this year, so we know how each other play and it’s definitely a good way to start our renewed partnership.”
González is not new to winning and his native country considers him among their top athletes. He represented Mexico in Davis Cup play for 15 years; from 1981-1995 and was recently named the captain of the Mexican Davis Cup team.
Comic-Con has recently taken place in San Diego, California and there was Mexican director, Guillermo del Toro, to represent Mexico in one of the biggest comic conventions in the world. The creator of “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the “Hellboy” saga attended Comic-Con last week to offer… fans a taste of his latest sci-fi movie, “Pacific Rim.” The epic film -- a potential summer blockbuster -- centers on the final battle between 25-story-tall sea monsters and equally large, human-piloted robots. During the panel, Del Toro told fans that he didn’t want to show just action, but bring emotion to the scenes as well. "A movie like this, it's easy to forget how unique you can make it, and I didn't want to forget," Del Toro said. ‘I wanted to make an adventure movie, not a war movie.’
Due out next July 2013, Del Toro had put together exclusive footage from the movie for his fans that were in attendance: “This is for you, only for you,” he said. Even more exciting, he revealed that he had just finished the shooting 12 weeks earlier, and promised that nothing else from Pacific Rim would be seen until marketing for the movie started, in about six months.
More than 125,000 people visit Comic-Con each year, to get a first glimpse of what’s to come out in theatres and hit TV screens. Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, says, "It's gone from being a humble show for fans and collectors to a pop-culture singularity that has really taken over not just comics, but a vast swath of the media and entertainment industry.”
Ex heavy weight champion Mike Tyson got attention from the press last week by participating in a promotional tourism campaign for Mexican resort cities Acapulco, Ixtapa, Cancún, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.
“Throughout my career they have always treated me with dignity and respect”, said the ex heavy weight champion, as he wore a gray suite, white shirt and championship belt during the campaign launch in Mexico City. Tyson, who was named “head ambassador of the “Mexico ¡Se Siente!” campaign” took the time to thank his Mexican fans for their support throughout his career.
“José Sulaimán (president of the World Boxing Council) has always been on my side, in addition to the support I’ve receive for each fight, he is an extraordinary friend”, said Tyson, who recently became a boxing legend by being inducted to the Hall of Fame.
The ex boxer showed his enthusiasm towards the campaign when he selected Mazatlán as his favorite vacation spot and reference his days as an 18 year old flyweight as he saluted Mexican boxers for their bravery and courage.
“I didn’t just watch them fight on TV, I also had videos of their fights, which inspired me to keep going. I knew that in order to be a great champion I would have to defeat them”, he said during the introductory presentation.
And he added: “Because they were shorter than me, I wasn’t able to fight against them, but I always said to myself that in order to be a champion I’d have to have a strong spirit, like they do”.
“He was my idol. When he won the title at the age of 20 I use to run into him in the hotel hallways wearing the championship belt”, said Sulaimán, referencing the knock out fighter that throughout his career won 300 million dollars.
Tyson remains the youngest heavy weight champion of all times, a feat he achieved in 1986 at the age of 20. Throughout his career he won 50 of 58 fights, 44 of them by knock out.
Everything you see in Mérida, Mexico tells a story. It tells a story of a place that used to be and a place that still is today. The people, the streets, and the overall feeling of Mérida evoke a certain historical and cultural vibrancy that continues to live on and on through the art,… language, and traditions of its inhabitants. In this, there exists a certain duality between cosmopolitan and colonial life in the lively city.
Mérida, Mexico is becoming the apex of all that Mexico has to offer artistically and culturally. As the capital of Yucatán and the largest city of the state of Yucatán, Mérida is full of wonder and mystery. The region has a distinct cuisine from the rest of Mexico that blends European, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean influences because of its location. One can find racks of lamb, seared fish plates, gelatos, sorbets, and lime soup.
Mérida’s streets are filled with colorful storefronts containing handmade crafts, authentic foods, and art galleries. There are churches, operas, theatres, and museums that have become a magnet for locals and visitors alike and give the city a sense of community. Some of the most notable attractions include El Museo de las Ferrocarilles en Yucatan, Teatro Peón Contreras, El Paseo Montejo, El Museo de la Ciudad de Mérida. Blessed with nearly yearlong perfect weather, the city also hosts outdoor concerts in the animated streets. As a result, Mérida has become a hub for artists from all over the world. The city attracts architects, designers, painters, decorators, and craftsmen because of its diverse and rich culture that is still alive and booming in the spirits of the people found there.
The Under-23 Mexican national football team defeated Great Britain by a score of 1-0 last Sunday. The two teams squared off in Marbella, Spain for this friendly match that was decided by a goal in the 28th minute by Chivas striker, Marco Fabián.
Stuart Pearce, current manager of the England Olympic side, applauded the effort from the Mexican side, and is still confident in his talented group of players for the tournament.
Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards all saw playing time in the match, representing the three senior players that England has. However, the Mexican side’s ability to capitalize on chances was the key factor in the match.
The Mexican Under-23 national team’s summer Olympic campaign will start on July 26th, when the team takes on Korea in group stages. The English side will play its first group stage match on July 26th against Senegal.
The town of Izamal is located in the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Yucatan Mexico. Its location means that even during the winter the temperature doesn’t really drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of these wonderful conditions, visitors year-round are able to enjoy… old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage rides through out the town’s cobblestone streets adorned by egg-yolk colored buildings and period streetlights. It is said that visiting Izamal, where you can see pyramids, colonial buildings, parks, plazas and horses, is like awakening in the early 20th century.
Izamal is one of the oldest cities in Yucatan and was actually built within the ancient Mayan city of Kinich Kakmo. In Mayan times the town was know for its powers of healing. People from all over the Yucatan peninsula would go on pilgrimages to Izamal, a tradition that continues to this day.
At the center of the town is the San Antonia de Padua Convent that was built on top of a Mayan pyramid in 1561, using the stones from the pyramid itself. The convent is famous for its seven thousand square meter cloister, the largest in America, which is surrounded by 75 arches that form along corridor at the perimeter. Within the convent is the Purísima Concepcíon Church, which contains the statue of the Virgin of Izamal and the largest atrium in Latin America. Three days a week, this space hosts a sound and light show called Maya Light.
Just outside of the town is a grand archeological zone that contains a large ceremonial plaza that is flanked by the remains of five pyramids. This area was the site for many rituals that the Mayans performed to their gods.
When dinning in Izamal, you will find several Yucateco favorites like chaya with egg, salbutes, panuchos, pipián, papadzules, mucbil, pime, joroche, and one of Mexico’s most famous dishes, cochinita pibil.
The Pueblos Magicos program identifies towns that reflect “the culture of Mexico” through attributes like architecture, traditions, customs, music, gastronomy, festivities and handcrafts. There are currently 52 destinations throughout Mexico that have earned the Pueblos Magicos classification.
Top Mexican marathon runner, Carlos Cordero, will be racing through the streets of London in this summer’s Olympic Games. Since 1896, the marathon has been one of the original modern Olympic events, and signifies a true test of human ability and spirit. 35-year-old Carlos is rising up to the challenge… in his last Olympic Games participation. Carlos is determined to perform on his final Olympic race day that will take place in August.
Born on January 7, 1977 at Potreros de la Noria, Distrito Federal, Mexico, Cordero has been a driven individual throughout his life. He is known for his hard work within athletics, and is maintaining his innate focus for the race ahead. In regards to preparing for the event, he said, “I am going to plan with my coach, Pedro Forest, and my doctor, Francisco Díaz to see what exactly we are going to do. We are going to carry out with our training and analyze the previous competitions in order to correct our faults.” The seasoned veteran in the sport of running has a clear objective: to reach the winner’s podium and earn a medal for Mexico.
The London Olympic Marathon Route is designed so runners will pass landmarks such as the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square. Watch top marathon runners compete on London's streets in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
NBC will be covering the men’s marathon on August 12th. This event is the one of the main symbols of the Olympics, and viewers can watch world class athletes replicate the historic 26.2 mile run that a brave Greek soldier inspired.
This past weekend from July 11-14, a Latin America’s music festival called the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) and Festival took place in New York City. The event featured eclectic Latin American music ranging from Chilean rap, Mexican electronica, and Venezuelan punk. The Latin… Alternative Music Conference has been going on for 13 years and proves to be one of New York City’s most assorted Latin American music events of the year. The conference and festival featured around 1,250 attendees. Latin American performers took over venues ranging from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
The Latin Alternative Music Conference and Festival’s goal is to raise awareness on the importance of multicultural acceptance in the world. It is also geared towards promoting the richness of the Spanish Language and its role in the modern musical world. The Mexican music group, Kinky, headlined the Central Park Summerstage concert that occurred on Saturday. They energized the animated crowd with their funk, rock, and traditional Mexican musical style. In addition, Mexican group 3BallMTY also played on Saturday during the event, bringing a more electronic-pop feel to the festival. Other Mexican artists included singer-song writer Carla Morrison and La Santa Cecilia. Both put on memorable performances that set the culture and spirit of Mexico into motion in New York City.
Born in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico and known as the “Mexican Bette Midler”, Astrid Hadad has been recreating her own genre of music and art of performance for years. She combines ranchero music with some rock, jazz, and samba thrown into the mix. Hadad attempts to show the depth and… diversity of Mexican culture through her style, cabaret, costumes, and eccentric allure. She has taken the entirety of Mexican history, tradition, and politics and embodies them all through her music, attitude, and personality emblematically.
Roselyn Costantino, a professor of Spanish and women’s studies at Pennsylvania State University described the persona that is Astrid Hadad. “She becomes a walking representation of Mexico’s history, folklore, symbolic systems and dominant discourses.” Astrid Hadad has captivated individuals in Mexico, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Latin America and is known as one of the most interesting artistic figures to come out of Mexico. She encapsulates Mexican culture through her art, inspiring audiences to indulgence in the colors, customs, and sounds of Mexico.
Mexican Olympic race walker, Eder Sánchez, is looking to break through to the top in this summer’s Olympic Games. 26-year-old Eder comes from a family of athletes, and has been exposed to race walking his entire life. His father and coach, Victor, won the silver medal in the Pan American Race Walking… Cup in 1984, and his mother coached Mexican athlete, David Mejia, in the 20 km walk event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A devoted athlete and former Mexican soldier, Eder knows what it will take to earn a spot on an Olympic podium.
Eder made his debut into competitive race walking at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in 2002, where he finished first in the 5 km event. His determination in his sport has brought Eder to the pinnacle of race walking, and he is competing in his second Olympic Games. Sánchez hopes to avenge his first Olympic performance back in 2008 with a gold medal this time. He is at the top of his game coming into London, after becoming the first Mexican race walker to earn a medal at the World Championships in 2009. That same year, he was named the “Best Race Walker of the Year”. Recently, he has been channeling his energy towards staying in the best possible shape for London and focusing on the opportunity ahead.
Sánchez spoke with confidence in regards to the upcoming event. “I know London 2012 will be my Olympics. Beijing 2008 was an important part of my career, but I know I learned a lot there, and London will be the Games where I’ll put all I’ve learnt into practice.”
Eder Sanchez is currently ranked 10th in the world in race walking by All-Athletics.com, making him a formidable opponent and possible medal winner in London this summer.
Coverage for Athletics starts on August 3rd, so be sure to tune into NBC for the track and field events in this year’s London Olympics.
The MGM Grand will host the “Knockout Kings” boxing quadruple header on Saturday, September 15th, with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez taking on break-out star Josesito Lopez in the main event. In celebration of Mexican Independence weekend, fans will be treated to fireworks throughout the night… along with plenty of boxing entertainment. In addition, Jhonny Gonzalez will take on Daniel Ponce De Leon in what will surely be an entertaining fight. Golden Boy Promotions is working alongside the MGM Grand and SHOWTIME to host this epic event in the sport of boxing.
Legendary fighter Oscar de la Hoya, current President of Golden Boy Promotions, expressed his excitement over the upcoming action. “It is going to be another prideful Mexican Independence Day weekend for Mexican and Mexican-American fans having their most celebrated fighter, Canelo, fighting that night along with Jhonny Gonzalez and Daniel Ponce De Leon, who are going to deliver their own electrifying championship battle.”
Gina Chavez, a Mexican folk singer-songwriter just performed at the Munsinger Gardens, Music in the Garden series on the banks of the Mississippi River, this past weekend. One of the key aspects that differentiates the Mexican musician from her counterparts is her charango. A charango is an instrument that… resembles the sound and look of a ukulele.
For Chavez, her music is an outlet to discover her Mexican heritage and identity. She then shares these cultural discoveries with the public in a creative way. By singing in both English and Spanish, Chavez appeals to a wide variety of individuals and represents a blending of two cultures and languages that she loves so dearly. Her mother was a Mixteca Indian and her father was a Scottish-American. Because of this, Chavez is a strong advocate of bringing people together through music and culture. In reflecting upon her heritage and influences, Chavez stated recently, “There was a lot of longing for that part of my heritage. It dictates a lot of my musical endeavors.” For her, the principle duty of a musician is to inspire unification and social work. She attempts to follow this belief in everything she does both musically and personally.
The heart and soul of Mexico has been embedded in the country’s Olympic soccer team since the team’s debut in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. With a rich history in Olympic soccer, this year’s squad is determined to earn a medal for Mexico. The national team is currently ranked 19th… in the world by FIFA, and the talent that fills the Olympic squad has placed Mexico as one of the favorites this summer. Along with the likes of Spain, Great Britain, and Brazil, Mexico’s Olympic soccer team is an opponent that is feared and respected within international play.
In Mexico’s case, the potential of their attack is most intimidating. Mexico is nestled in Group B, along with the likes of Gabon, Switzerland, and the Republic of Korea. As the top seed in the group, it’s likely they will advance into the knockout stages. However, a handful of talented teams are standing in their way towards the pursuit of winning the gold.
Head coach Luis Fernando Tena is keeping an eye on the end goal. "We Mexicans are very prone to claiming victory before the competitions, and I do the same thing because we are confident about ourselves.” He expressed that his players are both physically and mentally ready to perform, and that they are taking the competition in stride. Mexico’s wide array of players will bring young talent and passion into the competition, and the clash between Mexico and the world’s most promising players will be heard around the globe.
Mexico’s run for gold kicks off against the Republic of Korea on July 26th, 14:30 pm local time.