In October 2019 I visited Mexico City – Ciudad de Mexico. It is a magical city, full of colour, vibrant atmosphere where the old meets the new at every corner. It is a beautiful place in all its diversity but also sadly with many inequalities being apparent every step you take.
During my time in Mexico City I imagined I was following in the footsteps of Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz, Roberto Bolano and Edward Stachura, trying to understand why this city had such a huge impact on their writings. While roaming the streets of Mexico City, I was often thinking about ‘Savage Detectives’ by Bolano and ‘Journals of 1975 from Mexico City’ by Stachura.
I am very much aware that I was looking at this city through the eyes of a visitor who does not live there, who does not have to face daily struggles of everyday life, especially those brutal struggles faced by the most marginalised people on the peripheries of the Mexican society. For that reason, my perception of what I saw can be skewed and far from the reality. It is only a reflection of my own realities, my own background, the places that shaped me.
One thing I am sure of is that Mexico City left me wanting to see more of its sights and to experience more of its bustling streets and avenues.
Inside me, there is this strange yearning for something that I left behind in Mexico City.
Although it was a short visit, Mexico City felt strangely familiar, almost like a home that I have been so eager to find for some many years. And maybe to some extent Mexico City is a home that I have been looking for …
Writing these few paragraphs, Pascal Mercier‘s words from ‘Night Train to Lisbon’ come to my mind which reflect how my soul feels after Mexico City:
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only back there. A feeling is no longer the same when it comes the second time. It dies through the awareness of its return. We become tired and weary of our feelings when they come too often and last too long”.