A while ago the Mexican Cultural Institute sponsored a reception at Idlewild Books launching David Lida's new book-"First Stop in the New World, Mexico City, Capital of the 21st Century". David is a New Yorker living in Mexico who has written short stories as well as essays and travel literature. All downplayed the violence reflected in recent press reports ( and now NY Times articles as well as Hilary's great Mexican adventure). But David did concede the reality of the "Express Kidnapping- ie when you foolishly flag down a cab in the street (as opposed to arranging one in advance) and are held up for your ATM card, then usually unceremoniously dumped off- alive -in some suburb or out of the way place to make your way back to your hotel.Well it's better than being kidnapped and actually held for ransom , a fate of many of the full- time residents-
But so what, he says----let's face it, Mexico City still is one of the world's great cities, with the Greatest Anthropological Museum on the planet-oh that statue of Coatlicue can produce a lot more nightmares and excursions into the subconscious than all the vampire and werewolf films combined-
And it is such a world class food capital that even the Wall St Journal recognized it recently in a mouth -watering weekend piece, as well as the home of one of the planet's richest men-Carlos Slim ,who someday may own and control the New York Times..
No,you can't pretend to be a literate and imaginative involved citizen of the world and not visit Ciudad Mexico every few years to keep up with the culture
Express Kidnapper to Jack Benny:
"Your money or yourlife." Long pause and silence. Robber:"I said your money or YOUR LIFE." Benny; "I'm thinking, I'm THINKING."