MEXICO CITY: I Love My Mummies

I sat in the courtyard with my churros, a bottle of tequila, and a bag of cat treats. Patron and Little Chiffon were laying beside me and then the church bell tolled midnight. I took a shot of that deliciously cheap tequila and petted the kittens and then all of a sudden I was 28.

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In tiny, packed hallways, shoppers crowded around small vendors. Each vendor sold a variation on a similar theme: witchcraft. Santa Muerte glowered down from every surface, that wonderfully evocative patroness of the lost and downtrodden. Since I booked my flight to Mexico, I have been deeply intrigued by this heretical icon. She is revered by many people in Mexico, but the Catholic Church has condemned her worship. She’s skeletal and terrifying and considerably menacing to some. Legend says she will appear in your dreams, answer your prayers with the right gifts, and bring death to your enemies. She’s charming. Santa Muerte is not a truly Catholic image, obviously, instead she is the perpetuation of ancient Aztec religious belief.

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MEXICO CITY: Blessed by Our Lady

I thanked whatever god might be out there that I had the opportunity to see this sight and that my thighs were going to look great after that climb. The golden dome of the old basilica glinted in bright sunshine, the green roof of the new basilica reinforced my comparison to Disney’s Space Mountain, and all over, as far as the eye could see, stretched buildings and homes, boulevards and streets. It was utterly beautiful and my breath was swept away. What a charming nation, what a rich culture, and how lucky I was to be here in this moment to experience it.

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