19 Apr The Venice of Mexico: Xochimilco
What do a system of canals, tacky gondolas, and deafening 80s music have in common? Moi, well to be honest, and a bit more succinct: A highly inebriated gringo unilaterally deciding to give the locals a break from the Mexican Ranchero music on family Sunday.
But let me elaborate. Mexico city, besides being the worlds biggest traffic jam (along with New Deli and Bangkok) and home of ancient civilizations ruins (Aztezs/Mayas), also has interesting places that are a good change of pace if you are not into traffic, church touring, and being pick pocketed. It has Xochimilco – a systems of canals that used to be a lake providing water and transportation amongst some of the great cities until in dried up to its present day, leaving a charming canal systems where locals and tourist alike enjoy rides on Mexican gondolas called Tranijeros – loosely translated to – tacky barrages.
Now, I am not one to shy away from dallying into the local faire, particularly when it involves
nudity novelty and cerzevas, so I decided to give it due attention. And much to my pleasant surprise it was set up ready to please. Vendors lined up along the canals selling your pre and post cervezas (including micheladas – beer with a spicy mixture making it kind of a beer bloody mary) and an assortment of the usually fried variety (tacos, fajitas, tostadas etc). However, with the knowledge of the unfolding flotilla of fun we came packing beers, vodka and speakers to let loose the barrage of banging tunes.
Upon arrival it is simple – you pick your Tranijero of choice. They are all the same with the slight variance in décor, the only essential decision to make is your weapon of choice (beer or tequila, day of choice (week-boring, Satuday-fiestas around or Sunday-horrifying families after church). So needless to say, we picked Sunday.
If you thought Mariachis’ serenading you at restaurants was the peak of existence, wait until they approach you on their own Tranijero. From La Bamba to any classic you can think of, these Mariachis’ don’t half ass their performance just because they are floating on a barrage, on the contrary, they come donning the traditional outfit and the same magical flair. And it wouldn’t be Mexico without incredible informal economy to help satisfy any desire you might have – which is why you can buy anything from drinks to assorted house plants from boat vendors. The floating concert of the best of Mexico through ancient canals that delivered essential resources for civilization, still is alive and well – except with ancient canals delivering borrachos on a pub crawl. Darwin noted that the best adapt and survive. Well Mexico’s once famed Xochimilco has adapted, and its survival never felt so good. Cheers to you – Mexico’s Venice – Xochimilco.