A night on Constitution Square

I let the group go on without me tonight and sat in my room until my curiousity about what was going on outside got the best of me.

Across the street was a group of dancers, most young, doing a coordinated twirl to the beat of a set of drummers in the the middle. The drummers surrounded smoky incense fires. They were apparently doing an ancient Indian dance. The women had flowing clothes, although not all of the dancers were in traditional garb; the men were mostly shirtless with flowing belts.

A man in a State Farm Insurance jacket came up to me and asked if I spoke Spanish. I said no, so he started explaining the dance in English. I didn´t hear much of it. He had a pamphlet about the dancers, he said, for a small donation. I said fine, gave him a few coins, and asked if he sold State Farm Insurance. No, he had no idea what his jacket meant. We laughed, he disappeared into the crowd, and I looked at the pamphlet--which had absolutely nothing to do with dancing.

Across the square, a huge pop music concert for the relief of the Asian tsunami victims. Perhaps 5,000 people were on the square--they still are pounding away as I write this in the hotel. Families together, couples dancing ballroom style, old women in blankets selling tortillas and cookies and gadgets, young men selling single cigarettes of any kind you want, a little pot smoke in the air.

My impression from Tucson that the Latinos know how to live has been reinforced here in Mexico City. Dancing, laughter, smiles, bright colors, happy music, good food.

One of our guides--the main Mexican guide, a man in his sixties, very dignified, with a suit and tie, with somewhat broken English, sat across from me at the main meal today at three p.m. I was telling the person next to me that I had gone on one other tour like this in my life, and that was of ballparks. That man passed that info on the Adolpho in Spanish.

"Which citeeees?" he asked. I listed them: Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, New York, etc. He said,¨"You missed the best one!" Which one was that, I asked. "The Meeenesota Tweeeens!"

He had no idea I was from Minnesota, so that was funny. Actually, he was more a Viking fan. So there we sat in a restaurant in Mexico City, both of us lamenting Daunte Culpepper´s overconfidence in the game against Philadelphia.