Mexico City, Mexico

mexican soul

Nahuatl celebration
Nahuatl Indian speaks with great determination about the old Mexican days in the Zócalo.
More Beetles
Taxis from Mexico City fill most of the capital's roads. They are a means of transport considered unsafe.
Nahuatl pride dances
Nahuatl Indigenous people exhibit exuberant choreographies of one of the original peoples of Mexico, in the heart of the Zócalo.
Collect from flag I
Soldiers carry out yet another ceremony to collect the Mexican flag, held in the center of the Zócalo.
Power Lines
Soldiers and visitors inside Mexico's National Palace, the seat of the country's federal government.
urban cowboy
A passerby in the Mexican capital wears a cowboy hat that highlights his portentous figure among the crowd.
Policía follows a political demonstration that takes place in the center of Independence Square, next to the base of the statue known as El Angel.
Dance of the Fliers
Flying men carry out one of the traditional Mexican ceremonies, believed to have been held for centuries as a way of praying to the gods for an end to drought and famine.
jewelry and taxis
Green and white beetle taxis dominate traffic in front of one of the many shopping centers in the heart of Mexico City.
Rush in Chapultepec
Demonic children run along the porch filled with statues of the Castello de Chapultepec, Mexico City's former imperial residence.
greetings taxi drivers
A taxi driver greets the foreign photographers in a busy corner next to the capital's zócalo.
Walk in the heart of Mexico
Nuns cross the vast zócalo, one of the most imposing historic squares in the world.
Latin American Tower
With 44 floors and 188 meters, it was one of the most striking skyscrapers in Mexico because it was built on highly seismic land.
Styles and Times
One of the statues that adorn the long balcony of Chapultepec Castle, standing out against the architectural coldness of one of Mexico City's skyscrapers.
Last market hours
Sellers and buyers occupy a market area in the old part of Mexico City, near the great zócalo.
business and history
Buyers and sellers interact in a huge street market in the historic area of ​​the Mexican capital.
Collect from Flag II
Soldiers carry the long, newly collected Mexican flag inside the National Palace.
Roger, Roger
Police speak on the radio in a street in the center of Mexico City, a short distance from your Zócalo.

With more than 20 million inhabitants in a vast metropolitan area, this megalopolis marks, from its heart of zócalo, the spiritual pulse of a nation that has always been vulnerable and dramatic.

In the middle of a rush hour, taking the metro from the airport to the center quickly proves to be an adventure. The carriages are too crowded and the authorities present in the also overcrowded underground corridors follow to the letter the instruction to separate men for the former and the ladies for the latter, with the purpose of defending them from pickpockets and unwanted contacts. We are unaware of the Mexico City subway and its dangers, but it seems to us that a forced separation can only make us more vulnerable. We remind the police that we have just arrived, we convince them to let us go together to one of the front carriages, and we resist together unharmed the plague of pickpockets which, we realize, however, almost always attack foreigners at central stations like Hidalgo, Cuauhtémoc and Alameda Central.

We are on our knees and night is beginning to fall when we finally pass outside the city through one of the many exits from the Zócalo and we are dazzled by the dimension (240 by 240 meters) and the drama of the huge Plaza de la Constitución. As we look for the place where we are supposed to settle, we feel the historic weight of the long arches as we move. And we began to absorb the leading role of the DF (Federal District) – that's how they prefer to treat the Mexicans – and to understand better why it has become one of the largest and most desirable cities in the world.

After being conquered by the Spaniards, the former Aztec capital Tenochtitlán, at the time with 200.000 inhabitants, was razed to make way for a new city. In just five centuries, Mexico City – as it came to be called – has been transformed into an ever-expanding megalopolis that occupies more than 2000 kilometers of the dry bed of Lake Texcoco.

With 20 million people, it is the third largest city on the face of the Earth – and welcomes 1100 new arrivals every day. You paratroopers, as the residents call them, come from all corners of the country, attracted by the concentration of opportunities that have almost always been taken advantage of, and settle in the suburbs, some located many tens of kilometers from the center. Thanks to this influx, the capital has acquired the attributes of size, poverty and insecurity that we recognize in it, but which in themselves prove to be unfair. The city can be, in general, uncontrolled, violent and polluted, but its prime areas have the power to dazzle.

Of all of them, the one that stands out the most is undoubtedly the Zócalo, a huge square delimited by grandiose buildings: to the north, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest on the American continent and one of the largest in the world; to the south and west are small palaces built on arcades that house government offices and hotels and to the east, the National Palace, where the flag-gathering ceremony begins every evening, a militaristic ritual that moves Mexicans to tears. more patriotic.

At around 17:30 pm, the gates open and, from inside, a group of soldiers comes out and forces the traffic to stop. With the path clear, two huge columns of soldiers run parallel to the center of the square and form a square around the mast of the gigantic national flag. Around this human barrier, hundreds of people await the high point of protocol.

At the sound of the anthem, the flag is then lowered, carefully folded and taken by the hands of several officers to the palace.

I wish the authorities everything around here was so orderly. During the day, the walks around the square are full of vendors who install themselves in front of refined establishments, some of them belonging to powerful multinational chains. This fair becomes even denser in the area that extends behind the National Palace, an authentic mobile domain where the population comes to get supplies.

Despite the chaotic landscape, the Zócalo and its surroundings are among the safest areas of the city. Until some time ago, assaults on establishments were frequent, but with the emergence of centers jewelers and other sophisticated stores, in addition to the reinforcement of the public police, several private security companies were created.

All of a sudden, the downtown area was protected by countless Mexican-style Robocops. At the same time, American-made trailers began sweeping the streets. Any improperly stopped car is presented with blaring sirens and orders to proceed sent via megaphone: "Forward🇧🇷 Adelante…! "

We arrived on Saturday afternoon. The Zócalo is teeming with life. A group of Indians dance to the sound of drums, surrounded by a small crowd. They are painted and dressed to the nines, with masks, furs and feathers, jewelry and other gold and silver artifacts. They suddenly interrupt the show. One of them asks the people around him to come closer and starts speaking. These are words of appeal and protest. It speaks of the way of life of the original tribes, so different from what the Mexicans now lead. How they only drank spring water, how, to avoid health problems, they cooked and ate nopal (a kind of cactus) and how they slept on the hard floor to preserve an upright posture. For a while, it describes these and many other lost behaviors. In between, he utters sentences in Nahuatl, a language also doomed to extinction.

The Nahuas – direct descendants of the Aztecs – are not satisfied with the direction the nation has taken: as if the conquest of the Spaniards were not enough, they are increasingly witnessing the “invasion” of the gringos. This is just a manifestation of the internal conflict in which the Mexican soul lives. Five hundred years later, the country is still divided between the past and the present and, if on almost every face a mixture of Indian and European features is detected, in their hearts there is passion for the martyr Emperor Cuauhtémoc and hatred for the villain Hernán Cortés.

In this country too close to its American neighbor, financial, political and cultural independence is always under pressure. And if the indigenous way of life remains oppressed and on the sidelines, mestizo customs are also now under threat. After the US was left, in the XNUMXth century, with several states that made up the original Mexico: California, Texas, Utah, Colorado, most of New Mexico and Arizona, the powerful Yankee culture seems to be ready to conquer the rest.

The former president, Vicente Fox, rancher and former head of operations for Coca-Cola in Mexico, is perhaps the best example of this. Every day he appears under a cowboy hat, on television channels as Americanized as the Fox chain, which he owns, and a large part of the investments made in the country come from his companies. There is no way to escape. Whatever one makes, buys or uses in Mexico City and the country in general, it is directly or indirectly influenced by the United States. 

But despite all the odds, the Nahuas don't give up. Next weekend or holiday, as soon as the Zócalo fills with people, they will once again start their little demonstration. Among the public that gathers around and the population in general, there will always be those who are angry, but, as seen during the Spanish conquest, Mexicans are too busy living to resist the loss of their identity.

Overall, Mexico

The Most Caribbean of the Mayan Ruins

Built by the sea as an exceptional outpost decisive for the prosperity of the Mayan nation, Tulum was one of its last cities to succumb to Hispanic occupation. At the end of the XNUMXth century, its inhabitants abandoned it to time and to an impeccable coastline of the Yucatan peninsula.
Mérida, Mexico

The Most Exuberant of Meridas

In 25 BC, the Romans founded Emerita Augusta, capital of Lusitania. The Spanish expansion generated three other Méridas in the world. Of the four, the Yucatan capital is the most colorful and lively, resplendent with Hispanic colonial heritage and multi-ethnic life.
Cobá to Pac Chen, Mexico

From the Ruins to the Mayan Homes

On the Yucatan Peninsula, the history of the second largest indigenous Mexican people is intertwined with their daily lives and merges with modernity. In Cobá, we went from the top of one of its ancient pyramids to the heart of a village of our times.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
Champoton, Mexico

Rodeo Under Sombreros

Champoton, in Campeche, hosts a fair honored by the Virgén de La Concepción. O rodeo Mexican under local sombreros reveals the elegance and skill of the region's cowboys.
San Cristóbal de las Casas a Campeche, Mexico

A Relay of Faith

The Catholic equivalent of Our Lady of Fátima, Our Lady of Guadalupe moves and moves Mexico. Its faithful cross the country's roads, determined to bring the proof of their faith to the patroness of the Americas.
Campeche, Mexico

200 Years of Playing with Luck

At the end of the XNUMXth century, the peasants surrendered to a game introduced to cool the fever of cash cards. Today, played almost only for Abuelites, lottery little more than a fun place.
Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Thorong La, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, photo for posterity
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 13th - High camp a Thorong La to Muktinath, Nepal

At the height of the Annapurnas Circuit

At 5416m of altitude, the Thorong La Gorge is the great challenge and the main cause of anxiety on the itinerary. After having killed 2014 climbers in October 29, crossing it safely generates a relief worthy of double celebration.
Sculptural Garden, Edward James, Xilitla, Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Cobra dos Pecados
Architecture & Design
Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Edward James' Mexican Delirium

In the rainforest of Xilitla, the restless mind of poet Edward James has twinned an eccentric home garden. Today, Xilitla is lauded as an Eden of the Surreal.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
Correspondence verification
Ceremonies and Festivities
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Kolmanskop, Namib Desert, Namibia
Kolmanskop, Namíbia

Generated by the Diamonds of Namibe, Abandoned to its Sands

It was the discovery of a bountiful diamond field in 1908 that gave rise to the foundation and surreal opulence of Kolmanskop. Less than 50 years later, gemstones have run out. The inhabitants left the village to the desert.

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
the projectionist
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
M:S Viking Tor Ferry-Wrapped Passenger, Aurlandfjord, Norway
Flam a Balestrand, Norway

Where the Mountains Give In to the Fjords

The final station of the Flam Railway marks the end of the dizzying railway descent from the highlands of Hallingskarvet to the plains of Flam. In this town too small for its fame, we leave the train and sail down the Aurland fjord towards the prodigious Balestrand.
Indigenous Crowned
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Registration Square, Silk Road, Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Samarkand, Uzbequistan

A Monumental Legacy of the Silk Road

In Samarkand, cotton is the most traded commodity and Ladas and Chevrolets have replaced camels. Today, instead of caravans, Marco Polo would find Uzbekistan's worst drivers.
El Cofete beach from the top of El Islote, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

Fuerteventura's Atlantic Ventura

The Romans knew the Canaries as the lucky islands. Fuerteventura, preserves many of the attributes of that time. Its perfect beaches for the windsurf and the kite-surfing or just for bathing, they justify successive “invasions” by the sun-hungry northern peoples. In the volcanic and rugged interior, the bastion of the island's indigenous and colonial cultures remains. We started to unravel it along its long south.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
Canoe fishermen, Volta River, Ghana
Volta, Ghana

A Tour around Volta

In colonial times, the great African region of the Volta was German, British and French. Today, the area east of this majestic West African river and the lake on which it spreads forms a province of the same name. It is a mountainous, lush and breathtaking corner of Ghana.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Natural Parks
Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
kings canyon, red centre, heart, australia
UNESCO World Heritage
Red Center, Australia

Australia's Broken Heart

The Red Center is home to some of Australia's must-see natural landmarks. We are impressed by the grandeur of the scenarios but also by the renewed incompatibility of its two civilizations.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Unusual bathing

south of Belize

The Strange Life in the Black Caribbean Sun

On the way to Guatemala, we see how the proscribed existence of the Garifuna people, descendants of African slaves and Arawak Indians, contrasts with that of several much more airy bathing areas.

Easter Seurassari, Helsinki, Finland, Marita Nordman
Helsinki, Finland

The Pagan Passover of Seurasaari

In Helsinki, Holy Saturday is also celebrated in a Gentile way. Hundreds of families gather on an offshore island, around lit fires to chase away evil spirits, witches and trolls
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
Singapore, Success and Monotony Island

The Island of Success and Monotony

Accustomed to planning and winning, Singapore seduces and recruits ambitious people from all over the world. At the same time, it seems to bore to death some of its most creative inhabitants.
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Jeep crosses Damaraland, Namibia
Damaraland, Namíbia

Namibia On the Rocks

Hundreds of kilometers north of Swakopmund, many more of Swakopmund's iconic dunes Sossuvlei, Damaraland is home to deserts interspersed with hills of reddish rock, the highest mountain and ancient rock art of the young nation. the settlers South Africans they named this region after the Damara, one of the Namibian ethnic groups. Only these and other inhabitants prove that it remains on Earth.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.