Friend S. definitely wanted to see Mexico-City while she was here. And lucky for her she was going to celebrate her birthday while we were there (or rather we planned it that way). What better place to do it then on Plaza Garibaldi! This plaza is renowned for the Mariachi bands that are plentiful and happily play you a song for payment. So imagine having a birthday song played to you by nine Mariachi’s all dressed in sexy black (because a Mariachi suit looks good on everyone!)
We were warned that after midnight there may be some fighting, but as luck would have it (?) there is a Tequila museum on the plaza and it is open till late. We figured that we might as well check it out (although in hindsight, I cannot tell you much about the process of making tequila or mescal). The museum has a roof terrace where you can buy drinks; while we were looking down on the Plaza, a live music show started. That was pretty cool, the first artiste had a real show going on: she brought a lasso thrower, two roosters for a cock-fight and apart from that she could sing really well. The two guys that came after her were crooners; not really my style, but it was still entertaining and it really did go until late.
Anyway, we came home late and the next day was gonna be a little slow. We thought! But we were lucky again (or was it just meticulous planning?), since a parade was lined up right in front of our hotel. It was the parade of Alebrijes Monumentales. Like most of you, we had never heard of the term Alebrijes before either, but what we saw was pretty cool: 350 fantasy animals/creatures with bright colors paraded through our street.
It turns out that Pedro Linares is the original Alebrije creator. In 1930 he got very, very sick and while unconscious, he dreamt about creatures that were screaming “Alebrije, Alebrije, Alebrije”. Although Linares thought the sound was horrible, he couldn’t forget about his dream and when he was well again, he started to re-create them from cardboard and papier-mâché. He then called them Alebrijes, after the sound they made in his dream.
Alebrijes nowadays are an important part of the Mexican folk art and I hope you’ll agree with me, that they are somewhat scary, but mostly beautiful! And with an added benefit: if you have one in your house, they scare the bad ghosts away. Fortunately they also sell small ones.