Las Torres de Satélite fade out of the haze as our plane cuts through the yellow smoke blanketing Mexico City. Memories rush back to me—a deluge of nostalgia: Chocolatte was born here. My two Fernandos from Tlalnepantla.
The Towers pass, I see La Villa then the Viaduto and the airport. Apprehension clutches me. It has been fifteen years since I’ve lived here. Am I up to dealing with the airport and the car rental? Can I find my way to Casa Gonzalez behind the Embassy in Colonia Cuauhtémoc?
It is rush hour and the Circuito is jammed with cars, but the sun shines and the air is warm. We end up on Insurgentes. The familiar sights, VIPS now connected to Wal Mart, but used to be Sam’s Club (why did Mexico have to get the worst of the US?) A Sanborne’s, but not the Zona Rosa Sanborne’s where I went to read American magazines. And then Reforma with it’s monuments, it’s parades, and it’s protests. What are they demonstrating now? We turn right and look for our entry into the embassy district but end up circling “winged victory” at Rio Tiber before finding our way into the maze of streets that make up Cuauhtémoc. I am struck by the fortress of the U.S. Embassy with an endless line of Mexicans seeking visas outside the guarded gates. It butts up against the Sheraton, open and inviting in contrast.
I’m here. I’m on the street listening to the symphony of Mexico City.
I’m smelling the smells, the tacos, the burning chilies, the diesel exhaust, the sewage, and I know I’m home.