Rambling On My Mind: I Like My Purples Deep and My Markets Black

Every time I return to México, Mexico City has to get involved. I just want to walk about in a small city like Querétaro or Silao, revisit old pals, discover new streets and do the everyday. I’m simple like that. Mexico City is not simple. It is titanic and perilous and invigorating. One time, a cabbie told me, “Podrías vivir aqui dos años y aun no ver todo, aunque esa fuera tu misión.” After some days in Querétaro and Cuernavaca, I decided to add some days to my trip and check out el DF. Why? Because I could. Anyways, this is about the last time I visited one famous part of that crazy city. Let’s hit the road. First, let’s say good-bye to Cuernavaca.

I left the Querétaro bus station and hit the road for Mexico City. The plan was simple: Get to El Barrio De Tepito and do some shopping. Now, you all know bout this barrio, correct? Famous wrestlers.

Famous boxers

Kid Azteca, Ruben “El Púas” Olivares, Marco Antonio Barrera and the above-shown Carlos “Caña” Zárate. Even Cantinflas is from here, I believe. Of course, that righter of wrongs, Super Barrio, is one of my personal heroes and also from this hood.

I don’t have many heroes. Let me see… Patch Adams

My gramma (RIP), my little cousins Mia, Miranda and Samantha and, of course, my lil friend Valentina

And a few scattered others. So this barrio is composed of infamously tough neighborhoods, to put it mildly. When I say, “Alright, I’m taking off to Mexico City.” Friends, on more than one occasion, have advised, “Pero, por favor no vayas a Neza o al Tepito.” For info on Neza, ask our good friend, El Chavo, he knows them hoods, he’ll drop it on you. Nonetheless I have been to El Barrio De Tepito on a couple of occasions. Hey, it’s fun. A market made up of 25 streets! What is not to like?

What is sold here? What you need? The famous rumor was that someone was once selling a tank here. But, I will admit one time this guy offered to sell me a gun. I think it was an offer. I just walked away from him, without batting an eye or losing eye contact. It has changed in the last few years but you still gotta watch yourself, kinda like in los angeles. Much of what is sold is “pirated” or “counterfeit” and I am offended by those terms. First, let me clarify: am I condoning the proliferation of “pirated” or “counterfeit” merchandise? You bet your brown ass I am! Oh, those pirates.

Let me backtrack again. I get off at that massive bus station and hit the metro. I always think of the D.C. one, you know the one that has a stop at Foggy Bottom. Need I say more? Despite the DF metro being very organized, I always get confused. Pisses me off. My excuse for gettin confused was I hadn’t eaten anything. I left Qro at 830 am and got to the mighty city at 12 fuckin 15! I arrived only with ipod, cell phone and a borrowed camera. Agata and his classical music kept me relaxed.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


On the metro, I took Dirección Pantitlán or was it Politéchnico? Even the memories are confused. The Metro is another world. Besides gum, razors and other assorted items, I was pitched a Cuco Sánchez cd with 205 songs. Sales(wo)men with their bespeakered open backpacks make their rounds (car to car) and hawk whatevers. Seated nearby are several locals reading books, actual books. People still do that? Dude comes in with his backpack blaring Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff,” then one comes in blasting Vivaldi. Think it was “Primavera” he was playing.

Party gets ruined when a woman comes in with “Rock En Español.” It’s rock music but in espanish, get it? It’s like, so different. She bails and then a woman busting some Julio Jaramillo walks in, you get the idear. I turn down my ipod in deference and continue watching. The guy who walks in and then lays out a t-shirt so he can roll around in shattered glass until you fork over some change to make him stop did not make an appearance. How disappointing.

I get off at the Lagunilla stop.

I walk around a bit, trying to remember where the big mercado was and I ask a woman cutting up meat on a corner. Make it look like I’m asking bout the carcass, but I ask her bout the big mercado. She says, “Esta hacia el alto del metro Tepito.” Duh. Been awhile.

First, gotta take care of some business.

Among the millions of stands, I find it. I give the dude three pesos and he says, “Nomas puedes hacer del uno, no hay agua.” No shit. There were plants in there, but talk about a latrine. Like I was pissing in foil or some kind of pie tray from El Super. Gee whiz. Got out of there with the quickness, never like to be in a bathroom alone in a place like El Tepito (or City Terrace Park). Wait, that doesn’t sound right. I should want to be alone… never mind.

I stroll pass so many puestos filled with movies, cd’s, dvd players, mp3 players, trendy shirts, etc. And these are the sidewalks! I’m on my way to the mercado and every curb is selling shit, I can barely walk w/out bumping into someone. I ignore every sales pitch. I am called “jefe” “señor” “maestro” “joven” and “guero.”

I’m looking for international flicks and a shit load of music, mp3 style.

But, I am blasted with assorted garbage at every fuckin corner: thalia, fanny lu, paulina rubio, etc. If I had heard Fanny Lu’s “hit” “song” one more time, El Tepito would have been razed. My screams from the gutter would have ruined the ruins in nearby Tenochtitlan. Check out this regurgitated horse diarrhea:

I now have an earache in my eye! And you thought Santana’s “Maria Maria,” Alicia Keys’ “No One” and Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” were on some IQ regressing, chromosome-shattering bullshit. This 40 year old teen sensation gives me genocidal tendencies. What an insult to banality. I’m sure you wrote the “lyrics” in crayon. My third grade friends from Harrison Elementary would laugh at this shit.
So I get to the market, the infamous Mercado Granaditas. Ain’t too many heads here. Where is everybody? I start thinking bout La Crisis and then I remember Mexico has always been fucked. One thing it is not lacking, and that is crises. It’s about 1:30 and the aisles are pretty thin. I’m surprised. I walk unhindered. I feel free! Free to shop?

In this labyrinth, I begin to see a pattern. Every tenth puesto, and there are hundreds!!, is a fucking “sex shoppe.” Sex Shop Diana, Sex Shop XXX, Sex Shop Felipe. I’m not one for sex shops or porn, but the word “Felipe” is not the way to get me thinking about the nitty gritty, the hanky panky or the boney maroney. Tsk tsk on such things.

Tsk Tsk

Ahem… where was I? Oh yeah. I continued my walking. Holy goddamn. I haven’t seen so many dildos since the last time I walked the Westwood “Village”.

And then: an epiphany. This infamous Black Market is the physical manifestation of the internet(s). It’s like 50% porn, 20% music/film, 10% sports bullshit, 10% food and drink and 5% educational. (one family sold Discovery Channel dvd’s. Kung Fu to Travel Guides to the Roman Empire to Russian History) I began to imagine the black markets of China and Turkey. The mind boggles.
It starts to liven up and I get to some purchases. How could I not? Tis the season. I like how boleros will always get some play. I bought a few cd’s dealing with the broken hearted.
Consumer whore? It’s 3 pm and damn, all these heads are here. I’m on Florida and Caricida and I find this young dude selling trance cds. He plays me some and at a buck a pop, I buy ten. Nice kid who knew his shit, but he liked the softer shit and i like my shit hard. As I’m chatting with this cool kid, down comes a homey pulling a cart with La Santa Muerte. C’mon, who doesn’t want to see that? I get real shady and try to do it on the sneaks. But, the guy was either drunk or high and his awkward movidas caused him to see me taking a shot. He gets pissed and comes up to me.

I stand there and he comes real close and says, “No deberías tomar fotografias de ella. Ella es sagrada.” He dogs me up and down. The guy seems out of it, so I quickly surmise it might be tricky trying to time his move. Guys my size don’t bother me too much. But holy halitosis, he had breath straight outta the Vernon slaughterhouses. At that instant, I prayed to La Muerte, but I survived his breath. His bad balance made me think I could get a chance to knee em in the face or the nuts. Oh well. He walks away and as he’s walking away, I take another snapshot.

Remember that song, “do something tough guy, who the fuck wanna die?” So for a split second, I smile and wonder: what would happen if after I break his urethra with a spinning back kick, I then jump on a puesto and pull a Superfly on top of Her (La Santa Muerte) or simply deliver a perfect Tito Santana flying elbow?

Oh, we can all dream. I kept seeing him all over the mercado and we’d mad dog each other.


Whatever. I go on to by a whole bunch of shit for friends and myself.
I split out of there about 5 and went to Coyoacán for a slower pace and some vegan tacos. More on that another time. I got to the bus station and made my way back to Querétaro. As for my take, here is a peak. Yes imagine me carrying that black bag from the black market. It was fun:







9 thoughts on “Rambling On My Mind: I Like My Purples Deep and My Markets Black

  1. I enjoy your reads…Great f’n music collection, all except Mariah…

  2. Great post up CT! Sounds a like your trip was a trip
    Your mention of some of Tepito’s great boxers took me back, the first boxing match I ever saw was at the Olympic as a young kid in the fifties. My father took me and his uncle to see the sold out match between the great “Kid Azteca” and the legendary fighter Sandy Sadler. My Tio was almost in tears when Sandy Sadler beat the holy shit of Kid Azteca and knocked him out.
    Also Carlos Zarate’s fight with his hated rival Carlos Zamora (both undefeated at the time), at the Forum was one to remember. Zarate knocked the ju ju bees out of Zamora and Zamora’s father threw in the towel.
    Zarate had a big mouth too though and it got shut for good by the Puerto Rican fighter (damn I can’t remember his name now!), who also had a big mouth. His got shut badly by maybe the greatest Mexican fighter of all “Salvador Sanchez” another DF product.
    And I dug that rola by Celilio Alba, especially the lyrics, “A nadien le debo!” Sheeeit not many people can say that nowadays!
    Hey CT I know you are a music lover like me and for old times sake I’ll dedicate these two rolas to City Terrace where I first heard them at a party 50 years ago when as a little mocoso of 13 or 14, I fell out with some other little chucos to that velote on City Terrace Dr near Ramona at a friends canton.

    When I first walked in the door all chingon this was what was playing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FZfm68e4WU

    Then I danced with my friends cute sister to this one

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rw6cnxTnHA

    Welcome back to the Eastside CT

  3. *clears my throat* Did I see a CD called Huapangos y Sones de la Huasteca? I guess you can get good stuff in Tepito! 😉
    Also, don’t mess around with Santa Muerte. Have you seen all the devotional prayers she stills gets on this site. I should be charging! Haha!
    Here’s to many adventures!

  4. great post once again City Terrace

    what made it even better was the visuals- las fotos

    my favorite line was “regurgitated horse diarrhea” 🙂

    sounds like what the Governor of Arizona is doing now

    A quick question- Did u feel at all afraid with all the drug cartel violence in Mexico right now?

    I wanted to go to Zactecas (see the museums) and Guanajuato (festival internacional cervantino) and was told not go- that i might be kidnapped or robbed

    _ Yeah im one of those pocho fresa mexican americans 🙁

  5. Que puro awesome! “What an insult to banality”, oh man, best line ever.

    But why didn’t you bring your own reuseable organic cotton bag printed with “this is not a pirated loot bag” on the front? Tsk, tsk.

  6. ok. the mariah cd was for my lil sister. what could i do? i do have some taste but her discography for a buck, come on. how could i deny my lil sis?

    DQ thanks. mexico city is always a trip. i will make a return real soon. can’t believe you saw sandy sadler much less kid azteca. sadler knocked out willie pep! plus he had over a 100 knockouts no? guys today have 30 fights and think they are worthy of mention in the same breath as these legends. azteca had over 200 fights no? just crazy. plus you saw the zarate-zamora war! you mean wilfredo gomez, who got ktfo by sanchez, who might be, as you say, not only the greatest mexican fighter of all, but if he had more fights might be mentioned with the all-timers.

    yeah, cecilio alva is one of those many fine ecuadorian voices.

    walking in as the chantels do their thing is the way to do it. those voices are gonna make me start ironing my shirts. as i write this, this what i be digging. never tire of it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRk_RFfXtfs

    yup chimatli, huapangos y sones de la huastecas. you know i’ll burn that for you whenever. sharing is caring. what’s funny, i had to pause on several things, just too much to choose from. the guy with the international dvd puesto was ridiculous. when i asked him for “children of heaven,” his smile let me know he knew his shit. he had his stuff separated by country!!! la santa muerte? i liked her when she was underground, now she’s the “in” thing for many. when she condemns the trend-followers, i’ll withhold my flying elbow smash. but she is one of the few who is cool with potheads, so she deserves some respect.

    yup, regurgitated horse diarrhea. what else could describe that talentless nincompoop? if she was dark and pushing 350 lbs, she’d have no deal. man, please. some shit just gets me ticked and that song haunted me. i laugh now, but on that trip “celos” was a plague.

    afraid? hmm… not at all. i have been going to central mexico for years and have never had an “incident.” now, i am not the club/bar type who staggers outside drunk like an idiot begging to get tossed. i’m a library/cafe/plaza type nerd, so i don’t look for trouble. some would disagree with my antics in tepito. once in neza i got followed by 5 punks doing resistol. a homey from el chopo saw this and called me over, situation resolved. i have never seen “drug cartel violence” in mexico. 2 guys got shot up here in city terrace on fisher 2 days ago, what was that? the trip described above was from a few months ago. have things gotten worse since? who knows? but i will cuz i will be down there next month. i’ll be happy to let you know. in fact, i will be in zacatecas for a few days and in guanajuato. the cervantino is crazy crowded, so bad it is difficult to enjoy. that’s why i haven’t gone in years and no plans to do it. but i did see “stomp” performed outside in la alhondiga, that was very interesting. some korean dance groups, etc. very cool but sometimes hard to get tickets and they aint cheap. the foot traffic is frustrating, honestly. but kidnapped or robbed? that shit could happen here. man, what if those 2 guys were shooting for someone just 2 blocks up, i might not be writhing this. i would definitely recommend you go. guanajuato is beautiful!

    ec, did you watch that video? well, i had to hear that everyday. sometimes in a bus where i had no choice. the horror of it all. she should have pirated some talent, no? i had to keep those black bags, just to show where i was coming from. had to represent for those who understand the value of info sharing. in that big black bag was such a cache of fun. the only organic part of that stash was the smiles on my friends’ faces when i handed over the loot. hooray for mercados!

  7. Ok, I’ll ease up on the Mariah comment….But I see a great 100% Nortenos CD with 239 exitos…Yepa Yepa!Sharing is caring 🙂

  8. my anti-spam word was NIDIOS

    ok thanks City Terrace

    Yeah F it if its my time to leave this earth then it will be

    I was born and lived in City Terrace about 2 blocks from Harrison Elementary in my first 7 yrs of life (we left because of gangs and violence in the mid 1980’s)

    then my family moved to the west side- santa monica area
    then i left to the east coast and now came back to the east side in Montebello

    Gracias and keep up the great job

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *