Saturday, December 29, 2012

Back to Tenochtitlan

Many years ago, some friends and I had gone out to a club in Mexico City to see some of the local bands play in what looked like a big warehouse. The show was fun and we danced, drank and cheered on the bands. After the show we went to a restaurant called VIPs in the Zona Rosa (we later found out locals call it VIPs Gay).  We met two young men and a woman who were also waiting for a table and we all started entertaining ourselves by making snappy comments about passersby. Enjoying our little conspiracy, we quickly became friends with them.

The restaurant was very full  but the hostess informed us that there was a large table available for a bigger group if we were willing to share; we did and it was a really good thing. They introduced us to a dish none of us had ever tried: toasted bolillo rolls topped with refried beans and melted cheese. The dish was called molletes and it was the perfect thing to nibble on after a night of drinking.

After swapping lots of stories and laughs, our friends walked us back to our hotel which was only a few blocks away. We told them we were teachers so they decided to teach us some typical Mexican juegos infantiles. We skipped along the sidewalk of Paseo de la Reforma, a large street modeled after the Champs Élysées from the days when the French ruled Mexico. There was a large space on the sidewalk near some planters where we pulled over to play a game called Matarili-rile-ron.  In the game, we chanted a persons name and that person responded by calling out something he/she wanted, we gave the person a price they had to pay for the wish in the form of a dare (a kiss, a dance, etc) and sealed the deal by giving the wisher a new name. After that, the chant started over again until everyone had a wish, a completed dare and a new name.

I remember this game fondly because when it came time for the group to give me my new moniker, one of my new friends yelled out "Let's call her La Reina de Los Aztecas!" I was so thrilled with the new name that for about a year after that, I signed my name with the extra line La Reina de Los Aztecas. 

On that same trip my cousin gave me a couple of floor-length typical Mexican dresses, so I braided my hair, criss-crossed it above my head and went full metal Mexican. That same year I formed a band with two other Latinas in the style of traditional Mexican trios; we called ourselves Las Tres. We all came from punk rock backgrounds and eventually the traditional Mexican dress got more and more rasquache until we found our way back to punk.

That was one of my favorite trips to Mexico. Tomorrow, I'm going back to Tenochtitlan and I can hardly contain my excitement. I can't wait to see my family, get back in touch with my heritage and maybe grab some molletes at VIPs.


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