We’re back from our trip to Mexico City! Did you miss me? Eric and I got together with Sally and Amy (and about 15 of their closest friends) for an exotic birthday party there. I hadn’t met many of them before but they’re mostly working artists of some form or another from New York city although one came from Belgium and another from Germany.
Knowing me as you do, you can expect some strange entries and photos. I’m not exactly sure why but I seemed to have taken a lot of pictures of garbage. Literally. In my opinion, garbage says a lot about a culture and Mexico City was less littered than I expected. Maybe I should save the garbage posting for last? Oh what the heck, I promise more good stuff is forthcoming. Here’s a public receptacle. The public waste holds are very small, saying much about a society with greatly reduced (although increasing) packaging loads. This can is similar in size to cans I’ve seen elsewhere in Latin America. In the US, we dispense with formality and use 50 gallon drums in public, reflecting our prolifigate natures. The thing that’s also striking about the photo below (and which I also saw elsewhere) was that citizens took pains to contain the overflow of waste. This photo was taken on a weekend so city services were understandably limited.
By the way, Mexico City proper has a population of over 8 million. The metropolitan area has 28 million so (in part) garbage collection is no mean feat. Below is a picture of a garbage truck, taken yesterday (Monday).
The workers were happy to have their pictures taken. Maybe they thought I was as weird as Eric (and maybe you) thinks I am. They were certainly happy cheerful workers. I don’t know what the economy of Mexico City is like but I was pleased to see prominently displayed “Help Wanted” signs in many shop windows and even on billboards.
What I thought was cool about this truck was that it was outfitted to handle recycling, albeit haphazardly. I don’t know what the drum contained, but the large canvas bag held plastic bottles. We’re still not recycling plastic in Las Cruces!
On one side of the truck were three bags, each containing waste products. The red contained cardboard. The yellow one, paper and the clear bag, aluminum. Since these three items can be redeemed for cash, I’m not surprised these were the smallest collection of recyclables.
Speaking of Mexico City, artists and trash, here’s a performance piece that I found epoxied to a window sill. A neighbor sitting on a nearby stoop said the resident was a “modern boy” who gives flute lessons. I’m guessing he thinks computing can be a sort of vermin? Nonetheless, this is funny and you can interpret it on so many levels.
Oh and speaking of sustainability, this feature from our hotel room is cool. You have to put your room key in a receptacle by the door or the lights won’t come on. What a great way to reduce unnecessary electrical usage! If the US is so advanced, I don’t know why we’re not doing this yet.
Maybe my next post will be about smoking. Everybody smokes in Mexico City, old garmentos would love it here.