15 de septiembre, the Independence Day of Mexico means long weekend and lots of fiesta.
Although everyone is officially working until the 15.09 midday, it is almost impossible to reach the key contacts all week as most people take the opportunity to make the long weekend even longer and disappear, leaving you with an ¨out of office automatic reply¨.
Heading to work on the Independence Day was special, you could feel that the crazy night is coming. All girls had some patriotic accent in their outfit. Be it red-white-green nails, or three colored scarfs, ribbons, hair accessories (even middle aged ladies felt like it’s a good idea to put on some glittery hair clips on).
Inspired by the stylish ladies in the metro I couldn’t resist and got myself a little scarf too. Than wore it proudly on my way to the Immigration Office, hoping that immigration officials would see more of my Mexicanity and speed up the Visa process which has started over 4 months ago. Over all this time, I’ve been to immigraciones 6 times, I’ve also done a visa run to Costa Rica, filled in countless forms and took various shots of my soon to be Mexican face from various angles, checked my e-mail approx. 1236547395241 times hoping for some update, had multiple job interviews which all went fine, but also I got rejected by the same interviewers for ¨the Visa reasons¨. I’ve also developed some kind of a special sympathy for all the foreigners who went through the same process. There were some occasional break downs and the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and frustration at my own Embassy in Mexico which at one point wanted to hire me but even than couldn’t help me with the process.
But on the September the 15th my 180 euros fee was successfully registered and seems like its soon going to be all over. First thing is I’m going to do in my new visa life, is going to learn how to drive. That is another funny thing about Mexico. And another funny process, because
Before you can learn how to drive, you need to get your driving licence.
But going back to the Independence Day, I was really really excited about it- the festivities here are always a big deal and seems like celebrating is a truly important element of Mexican culture. As Octavio Paz says,
¨The Mexican loves fiestas and public gatherings. Any occasion for getting together will serve, any pretext to stop the flow of time and commemorate men and events with festivals and ceremonies. We are a ritual people, and this characteristic enriches both our imaginations and our sensibilities, which are equally sharp and alert. The art of the fiesta has been debased almost everywhere else, but not in Mexico.
Our calendar is crowded with fiestas. There are certain days when the whole country, from the most remote villages to the largest cities, prays, shouts, feasts, gets drunk and kills, in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe or Benito Juárez. Each year on the fifteenth of September, at eleven o’clock at night, we celebrate the fiesta of the Grito in all the plazas of the Republic, and the excited crowds actually shout for a whole hour . . . the better, perhaps, to remain silent for the rest of the year¨
This year there was plenty of events preceding the 15.09. Two weeks before, Mexico’s president Pena Nieto has invited over Trump, which has caused an international upheaval, protests and resignation of one of the finance minister (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-37301150). There also was a Twitter battle between Trump and Pena (Repeating what I told you in personally, Mr. Trump: Mexico will never pay for the wall).
Then, the most popular and praised Mexican musician Juan Gabriel died (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-37282145). All Latin American artists have expressed their shock at this unexpected loss (Maluma said his artistic creativity is heavily influenced JuanGa), and again, people were out on the streets carrying Guan Gabriel’s photographs, flowers, gathering on the main squares with candles and paying their respect to the artist in every possible way they could (including the Facebook events like ¨Let’s get drunk and get together to revive Juan Gabriel¨). Also, a dollar costs now more than 20 pesos.
All that, inevitably led to chaos on the 15th. A massive big demonstration against the president paralyzed the city .
Escaping the city to the airport took over 3 hours more than the usual.
But the infinite Uber ride was worth it, and Campeche was the perfect choice for the long weekend.
See the next post. 🙂
Juan Gabriel with Mariachi live: