Smiling White Jesus

Montezuma the second was the last fully independent ruler of the Aztecs. He planned to capture the conquistador Hernán Cortés with a honey trap. He granted an audience with Cortés in the city of Tenochtitlán, promising to buy him off. Cortés pulled a mean switcheroo and captured Montezuma.

On speaking to his people, the Aztecs resented Montezuma’s apparent submission to the Spanish and threw rocks at him. He dies a few days later from his wounds. This is the tale of the last emperor of the Aztecs.

Today he lives on and subjects his wrath on future invaders via ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’. This ailment leaves no foreigner untouched, leaving thousands, maybe millions in anguish every year. It is an unavoidable curse that plagues the land as a last blow from a mighty empire. His might and fury rage on through the streets of Mexico. His final goodbye resides in the street food. And he took his pound of flesh from me.

The Cuprit

Yeah, it finally happened. I got food poisoning, knocked me right out. That lightheadedness and queasy feeling in the library were a little more than just a hangover apparently. I went home that evening feeling feverish, fell asleep, and awoke about three hours later with my body telling me it was about to hand a Section 21 to every resident, including a few vital organs.

Not my finest hour, but I was back doing squats today, two days later, so either I have immense trust in my bowels or I’m better. That’s enough of that. I’ve paid my penance. It isn’t going to stop me from eating street food either.

Today I made myself a fry up and finished an absolute monster of an article. Six thousand words on inflatable paddle boards. Money in the bank. I’ve found a way around the AI detection issue, I just have to use the first person more. As if writing this blog didn’t make me feel narcissistic enough, now I have to talk about how I feel about inflatable water sports.

I had a few things on my itinerary, neither of which included alcohol nor anything that might turn my insides out. First was a quick pilgrimage to Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, the most visited catholic shrine in the world. I’ve been to the Sanctuary of Fatima, among a few other pilgrimages, so I know what I’m looking at. Bit of a god-botherer me. The second was to try to see the sunset from the Monument to Revolution.

My host gave me a transport card, so I hopped on a bus and made my way to the basilica. It took me from A to B with no dramas and dropped me right outside. I was prepared for the absolute onslaught of Jesus-themed tat and I wasn’t disappointed. What really blew me away was how cheap it was. I am still honestly tempted to go back and buy a 20-foot crucified Jesus just because it’s a bargain. It would make an amazing coat hanger or something.

Jesus souveniers
Baby Jesus?

As I made my way into the basilica I was immediately greeted by the catholic version of a log flume. A priest was there with a huge broom. He dipped it into holy water and blessed people en-masse. He looked like he was absolutely loving life, and I can’t blame him. What a job!

The basilica itself was fantastic. I took a step back to take it all in and on the way passed the crawling pilgrims. There’s a habit of the devout to crawl their way to the church, saying hail Mary’s along the way. For them, it’s a way of lording it over the less devout in a self-indulgent show of faith. For the jean companies who invented the ritual, it’s a money spinner. Coke made St Nick, De Beers invented the diamond engagement ring, Knee-walking for Jesus was invented by Levi.

knee crawling

There was a service on inside so I popped my headphones out and took a listen. I don’t think Gutalax was appropriate, heathen though I am. The exterior was an angled circus tent shape crowned with a crucifix, and the interior matched. It rose up to a point, finishing with some stunning stained glass. It is a modern and very imposing building with quite 1970’s colors and angles. The sound ran out through the cavernous room clearly and with gravitas.

Hope you’re wearing Wranglers, miss

I popped around behind the altar and found one of the reasons the basilica is named what it is. There’s a famous painting of Mary around the back. You get to ride past it on one of three travelators. It slowly moves you past like a potato on a checkout. You get about 3 seconds to nail a 5-star genuflection before your turn is over. It’s not bad, I’ve seen better representations.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

There is a great view available at the church, which is why I headed there in the first place. It’s possible to make it up a hill to the Capilla del Cerrito and get an amazing view across the city. The stairs knocked my frail body out a little but the view was worth it. The city really is vast, even without the smog, it would be a challenge to see the end on any side. I find this more humbling that any religious monument.

Mexico City From Above

I made my way down through gardens and markets back towards the bus. The glaring eyes of plastic, anime, Baby Jesus might never leave my mind, but the church and views were worth it. A short ride back and I was ready for my next excursion. I have noticed, the double-deck buses they have here are incredibly low-ceilinged. I’m almost certain they are able to use single-deckers as doubles, they just slap a second level in.

Subsiding building
For once, This building is actually sinking, it isn’t my terrible photography.

Just as I was about to leave the first rain I’ve seen since the UK came down, and it came down so hard. The downpour only lasted fifteen minutes but that was long enough to miss the sunset. I still made my way to the Monument of Revolution, it’s only ten minutes away. Sunsets alone are a little sad anyway.

The building itself is fantastic, the view was even better. Climbing the last set of stairs to the uppermost platform was a test for my newfound vertigo, but I got it done. A rattly staircase runs through the dome of the building, and it is incredibly evident there isn’t much between your body and the ground

Two views is a good day for me. I got my steps in, saw the things, and crammed a leg day in. Might go bowling tomorrow, who knows, life’s good.

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