« Happy Easter! | Main | Aerie »

April 24, 2018


Surviving all those personal upheavals and still remaining faithful to Mexico City does you both credit. But it is, surely, a place for holidays, for contrast, a place for leaving as well as arriving. And might you already have touched tangentially on one reason for this earlier in this heartfelt post? I won't say it's impossible but hearing Orlando Gibbons in Mexico seems moderately unlikely. Yes there's happy extroversion down there but you've been born to "tightly coiled but always-contained emotion" and wouldn't lightly give it up. Not that you're not also prepared for emotion gushers such as Theodora. Call "Angels, ever bright and fair" to mind and test your reactions.

On another ghastly but nevertheless ultimately upbeat note; the man with the van in Toronto deliberately invited the police to kill him and at 50 metres it might be difficult to distinguish a mobile phone from a hand-gun. But no, the Toronto cop ignored the easy option, moved close, and eventually handcuffed him. In the face of all those dead and injured it may be a small point but it's not insignificant.

Robbie, you're quite right about much of this. I couldn't live in Mexico City because my lungs would give out, but that's not the only reason -- and I'm well aware that I have the great privilege of deciding where to live, which a large majority of Mexicans increasingly do not. The Toronto police have been accused of excessive force and racism in the past, but Canadian definitions of "excessive" are not the same as in the U.S. or many other countries. You're correct that the officer's behavior was a reminder of some of the blessings we take for granted. As for music, though -- yes, it's unlikely perhaps to hear much English Renaissance music in Mexico City, but there is very good classical music there all the time. We went to a magnificent opera benefit for the earthquake victims, at the Palacio Bellas Artes, headlining Javier Camarena (star at the Met and other international venues) who sang an entirely Rossini program with the best stars of Mexican opera, full orchestra and chorus, and it was not only beautifully and generously performed but of very high quality and full of heart and emotion. We missed a piano recital at UNAM - Chopin, Scriabin, and Schumann. We even stumbled onto an absolutely first-rate Mexican bagpipe and drum corps - now that definitely seemed incongruous, but they've been playing together for more than a decade and a half, as part of a commemoration of the St Andrew Society - Scots who joined the Mexican army in the mid-1840s to repel the American invasion of Mexico City! The music during (the mostly Catholic) church services tends not to be of the same caliber as here, but you can find people doing almost anything there -- it is a city with a high emphasis on all the arts.

I felt in India as you did in Mexico, vibrating with the intensity, colour, lushness. And at the same time, I entered with much more than the average citizen, starting with the fact that I could buy a ticket to get there. "Ah", said Le Duc when I called to describe the place which I was enjoying in comfort I could not usually afford, "colonial superiority is never that far from us."

So, I remain an uneasy and self-conscious tourist in such countries.

In Quebec City two weeks ago, in the midst of a mid-April ice storm, every single person was in black and navy blue. We constitutionally cannot bear colour until the trees burst forth first, such is our nordicity. But when summer comes you will see people dancing in parks, here. There will be music all night long, laughter will ripple up to my windows. One evening soon, the whole city will buzz with it.

Very interesting read Beth.Like the previous commentator your post reminded me of how I felt when I returned to India. But every now and then I get flashes of Montreal and its cold blue light which I associated with asylums where you get admitted to become sane. I remember deathly white faces that surrounded me in buses, every head wrapped by a circle of fur. I am still taken aback at how much my drawing lines changed there in ways which is unthinkable here. I too wonder what you'll make of India if you ever visit here. The inevitable comparisons with Mexico are sure to arise.

Welcome back, I look forward seeing you both!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.