Saturday, 30 May 2015

Miercoles 27 Mayo: gracias por todas las vidas... en un dia

We went out to go to several places we never reached, never walked so far. But instead, walking less far, we experienced different lives. This blog item too long on the desk, must publish covering just two places in one street.

The music for this blog entry is Violette Parra's Gracias por la Vida, as made popular throughout Latin America by the Argentinian Mercedes Sosa; others will know this as a Joan Baez song.

"Cancion de las Simplas Cosas" - so this blog celebrates individual moments.

1: La Vida Espiritual: Templo de San Francisco de Assisi

The church is down those stairs, down below the street, because like so many churches it is sinking in the soft muds of Tenochtitlan

as we sat in this beauty, the gentle sound of a blind man's harmonica came through the door.

This is a country with church at centre or swept from centre. Sweeping changes in national policy, aggressively anti-church, then fight-back and civil wars: you could start your reading here or, to back to  through trade and began to shape liberal ideas contrary the deeply conservative core of the Spanish ruling class. Or go back further, to the sudden expulsion of the Jesuits in June 1767. Jesuits who earned hatred and jealousies throughout Europe for the commercial and other power, Jesuits who in Mexico included many who were themselves Mexicans and had never been elsewhere, Jesuits in Mexico who had distinguished themselves by bringing care and education to the poor. We go next week to Guanajuato, see here the magnificent school the Jesuits had built for children there, now the university, see how the early history is obscured in wikipedia with just a cute name change in 1767 - to the Real Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion[royal college of purest conception]. In colonial history, people begin to rise when rulers fall out or demonstrate frailty. The centuries of indigenous anger became the ferocity away from which the independence hero Miguel Hidalgo retreated after the murder of the Spanish community in Guanajuato in 1810, in the wake of his call for independence. Here's the long story there... Hidalgo and others in a reading circle in Santiago de Queretaro, where we have one night next week, armed with enlightenment ideas, armed by the shift to liberalism in Spain as a result of Napoleon's invasion and installation of his brother as king... a change which strengthened the conservative resolve of royalists in Mexico. Hidalgo, a middle class thoughtful priest, finding himself leading an army of indigenous people angry at three hundred years of abuse. This is an intelligent and complex country. The issues associated with religion are complex. They are also complex because of the ease and persistence of syncretisms between traditional beliefs and practices and those imported. ............ Maybe I can justify this paragraph by saying it provides food for thought while you use the church for contemplation and calm when out on the busy streets of D.F.

2: La Vida Elegante: La Casa de los Azelojos

A step across and down the street, away from the quiet church into the somewhat hushed, piano playing elegant Sanborn's in the Casa de los Azulejos. I leave it to you to chase the details of the building at Wikipedia. The downstairs and even more genteel and quiet upstairs would seem with its uniformed waitresses gliding the floor with wings must surely seek to evoke a style of 250 years or more ago. Over to pictures, shot from the hip.

The Sanitarios (Restrooms) accessible through the middle of Omniciencia, the Orozco mural,
are also also elegant. Interestingly they are much used by the Policia Auxiliar.
Methought this a generous gesture to men cast into boredom,
standing all days with shields and helmets in the sun...
but then it occurred to me that perhaps the management
may have not been keen to stand in the way of this patronage. 
Upstairs, away from the tiles, great refinement.

the bar upstairs, not open at lunch
I expect that many of the guests below are not in general life looked down upon

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