My name is the street
Mis à jour : 19 juin 2019
By Marion from Cool Maryon
Whether it’s calm, dirty, romantic, alive, dangerous, dark or disordered, the street offers places around the world a story, a vein, an identity. It makes you dream; it can scare you, make you cry, make you smile.
The street fascinates worldwide.
First foot in Mexico: The dangerous Tijuana. Whether it has a well-founded reputation or not, that's not the point. No, what is thrown on the asphalt are the assaulting colors, intoxicating smells. It is the people jostling, laughing and fidgeting. It is the roadway that gurgles food, garbage and fabrics of all kinds. These are the avenues that crackle and quiver. It is the vibrant and captivating intensity of the city.
A messy introduction somewhat scary but incredibly thrilling.
The journey continues and the cities succeed one another, sometimes sublime, sometimes surprising. Covered markets or street markets, (called tianguis), are everywhere and offer delicacies, crafts with mysterious details, textiles that reflect a meticulous work, juicy fruits full of colorful promises ...
All cradled by the shouts and booing’s of vendors who squeak all day. They communicate in languages with strange outlines and help each other in the most ordinary ways. And for good reason: it is historically a place of transactions, almost sacred, in which the communities gathered to trade and share. A place that knew its own management system, complex and organized. All in all, an ideal way to perpetuate community exchanges, native dialects and such beautiful traditions.
But markets are not the only channel for distributing food and clothing.
The often-wobbly wagons and stalls invade the pavements allowing locals and tourists to enjoy what is commonly called street food. And the Mexican street food transcends! The famous tacos are bent, browned, spread with roasted meats and swallowed up at the counter: a wonderful way to practice my modest Spanish. The elotes, these elegant ears of corn, compete with them overlaying a mayo-cheese in a total frenzy. The tortas are crunchy, the mole intrigues, the flutes surprise, the palomitas are crispy and the tamales melt in your mouth: An intoxicating diversity, a striking know-how.
And when the appetite is silent, local crafts take over: traditional clothes and delicate pottery run the streets. They appear on the arms, on the head, on the floor or on the walls. Each space is expertly used. It is especially in San Cristobal de Las Casas, in Chiapas that my pupils marvel. The impressive manufacturing techniques reflect a cultural heritage full of beauty. And if each city or village has its own specificities, customs and flavors, all reveal the same joy, the same agitation, the same meticulousness, the same noise, the same music.
This music is especially honored during the many festivities, which take place ... almost all the time. All occasions are good for dancing, celebrating the gods, singing life, walking together, transmitting values and ancestral cults or remembering history. From the Zoque carnival (the oldest in Mexico) to the sublime processions of Semana Santa to the world-famous Dia de los muertos, the speakers sizzle, the voices rise, and the smiles never fade away. Full of gaiety and euphoria, these events awaken sleeping feelings and whisper in the ear of the passerby not to forget that every day is a party. The Mexicans understand it so well.
And when it's not the tacos that catch the eye, it's the churches, temples and convents that ensure the role of dazzle. The religious buildings populate the streets, imposing a gleaming architecture as well as bright decorations. The Temple of Santo Domingo in Oaxaca, the Parroquia de Santa Cruz in Puebla, the Church of Los Remedios in Cholula are absolutely breath-taking. Charged with history, these places of worship recount wisdom, calm and beauty. They represent sometimes a clever mix of forgotten ceremonies and new traditions, sometimes a faithful picture of the Catholic religion.Deeply practicing, Mexicans vacillate between pre-Hispanic beliefs and Catholicism.
A complex but exciting heritage with strong and meaningful teachings.
But in Mexico, the street is also synonymous with resistance. Resistance to preserve its indigenous people. Resistance to violence against women. Resistance against malicious invaders. Resistance to the will to destroy ancestral rites. Resistance to social inequalities. The voices of the Zapatistas are rising, the associations continue to form and fight, the women show and walk, the solidarity is stronger than ever.
Here, the people do not give up, they continue to fight in a community and as an independent spirit.
Yes, the street fascinates. Especially those of Mexico.
When I'm in Oaxaca, I like to walk in the footsteps of the Mixtecs, to the rhythm of the fabulous traditional dances.
When I am in Morelia in the Michoacán, I walk from stand to stand and stuff my face with typical dishes. I savour every meal as if it were the last.
When I'm in Guanajuato, I marvel at the beauty of the colourful houses, nestled in the rounded mountains.
When I am in Puebla, I pray in front of hundreds of churches and dream at the foot of the majestic Popocatepetl volcano.
When I'm in San Cristobal, I walk the alleyways and learn a lot thanks to the very present indigenous communities, so beautiful.
In Mexico, the street is an important, vital and necessary subject. Whatever its faults, it’s many points to improve, it must continue to exist in this chaotic, invasive, rebellious and perhaps finally free form. We must continue to dream, to transmit this contagious joy that characterizes this wonderful country that is Mexico. Because it's finally thanks to the street that nothing is forgotten.
That all and everything lives!
By Marion from Cool Maryon
Traduction by Olivia Cameron
during her internship with Uekani