Things are going well here in Mexico City. Last weekend my friend Adam visited me, we stayed in the city the whole time and spent the weekend taxi-ing around saw most of the neighborhoods. We also both lost a tacos-al-pastor eating contest to a girl (I had 12, Adam stopped at 13 when he saw Dolores eat her 14th and knew she could keep going). We went to the top of Torre Latinoamerica, a major DF landmark.
Monday night, the newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, came and spoke at my school. He gave a very interesting speech about the lessons learned in fighting organized crime in America. In the past few years, the government of President Felipe Calderon (who was elected in 2006 to a six-year term (re-election to President is prohibited in Mexico)) has began a major military assault on organized crime. Thousands of Mexicans have died by the hands of these newly desperate gangs since then, but I believe the severe weakening of these gangs (which has begun to happen) is necessary for Mexico's long term success. So many businesses, especially in the northern states where the battles are the worst, cannot do anything without having to pay an extortion fee to these gangs. Selling a house? The gangs demand 10% of the sale price. I was and am very impressed by the determination of my Ambassador, and the Mexican government, to destroy these gangs and bring greater peace and prosperity to the Mexican people.
Mexico had a bit of a scare with an airplane hijacking this past Wednesday, but it was quickly and peacefully resolved. That same night, the Mexicans beat Honduras 1-0 at home at Azteca (thanks to the Chicago Fire's Cuatehemoc Blanco's penalty kick). The U.S. won at Trinidad that night to take sole possession of first place in the group standings, and with two games remaining in North and Central American World Cup qualifying, the U.S. and Mexico both seem good picks to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. There have been heavy rains this week, but the severe drought affecting Mexico and Central America, the worst drought in 60 years, still continues.
School is going well, and I like the people there. Independence day is coming up, it is celebrated on the the 16th of September. Next year is Mexico's 200th anniversary of independence from Spain. Today I had the traditional Independence Dish, Chiles en Nogada, and definitely enjoyed it. I also just checked out a cookbook by Diana Kennedy, the resident expert (and snob) of Mexican gastronomy.
I hope to get to the beach soon. Very, very soon.