On my way to Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport yesterday morning, the taxi driver asked me, “What will you miss most about Mexico?”
My first impulse was to say, “Everything.”
I’ll miss the markets, the color, the coexistence of the traditional and the modern, the food, the sounds of Mexico City, the public transportation, the ability to find anything you need at almost any moment, the Beetle taxis, the names of the streets, the organization (and chaos) of the city, and a hundred other things.
But what I said, because it’s true, is “The people.”
I’ll miss people greeting one another in the street, the people I know, of course, and–especially–the displays of affection and love that couples engage in publicly.
A few months ago, I wrote that while Paris may be the City of Love, Mexico’s capital gives the French capital some serious competition.
Yesterday, as my plane was taking off, thousands of people had gathered in the Zocalo, Mexico City’s main plaza, to participate in “Besame Mucho,” (“Kiss Me A Lot”), a mass kiss-in organized by the city government. The purpose of the event was to break the existing Guinness World Record for the number of people kissing in a single place at the same time.
And they did it! According to the Associated Press, 40,000 people puckered up, allowing Mexico City to claim the Guinness title, taking it away from the English town of Weston-super-Mare, which won the title in 2007.
The purpose of the kiss-in wasn’t just for Guinness kicks, though. The city government organized the event as a response to a surge in violence that occurred in 2008, saying the kiss-in would be a display of love in the face of aggression.
Felicidades, Mexico! Te mando un besote bien grande!!
Logo: chrizar (via Flickr)