by Pam Dlungwana
Its a day in a week, in a month, in a year of a calendar we recognise but Lebo and I can’t tell you what time it is or what day it is without asking someone else first. We’ve been on an Amazing Race episode of our own fashioning the past lord knows how many hours in total. Our latest joke is that we’re fast perfecting the art of leaving today to arrive yesterday. Between Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, Lima, and Mexico City we’ve laughed worked and slept, eaten and cheated airport WIFI non-stop. We’ve also become fluent speakers of gesticular sign language. It’s heartbreaking to meet so many people who cannot yet speak a word of Sotho or Zulu, I mean kanti kwenzakalani vele?
Our final destination was Mexico City, where Liesl, our heart and friend now resides and where we have a number of commitments in the oncoming days. Lebo is armed with their camera and me? Well, I have a pen and unstoppable gob.
There is no amount of preparation possible for the eye-gasm that is Mexico City.
Our hostess has played tour guide extraordinaire from the minute we touched ground and hasn’t paused for either us to catch our breath. I now understand it a bit better, her excitement that is, this is a city with an offering at every turn. Having enjoyed little, read: none whatsoever, time to prepare an itinerary for ourselves we’re glad we didn’t waste time on google searches that might have left us feeling like cancelling our return tickets altogether. That idea is still in production by the way, just saying.
We’ve landed to refine the plan for the next few days, unpack, and play soft catch up with Liesl as we walk the streets of a city committed to the tattoos etched on every façade. Mexico City has no ambition to hide her history, she has no time to sanitize the fermenting dissent of feminist, queer, and student activists and the slogans they scrawl on every available wall space. On our very first walk through the space we’re met with locals, tourists from within the country and those of our stripe, we share pavement space with women protesting state silence and inaction on femicide, there are almost photographers everywhere and buskers own as much of the place as tourists jostling for a better Insta shot.
We’ve landed, are hungry, and this city has a time-worn apron and a swinging front door.
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