The Macroplaza at night.
Last night a whole bunch of us went down to the Barrio club area to go out. I've only been out once, pretty much, at night, the whole time I've been here, and after last night I remember why.
We all went to this club that charged a 150 peso cover ($15), but had an open bar. As I'm not really drinking much anymore, this wasn't really a bargain for me, but I went anyway. I had one beer the whole night. I had also gone down to his room and invited Fayetteville Boy along with us, but he then took off by himself as soon as we got downtown. Oh well.
So we go to the club, which plays mostly
Reggaeton, which, I have to say, I'm not a big fan of. But the crowd is nuts for it, and everybody basically gets plastered out of their skulls. It was fun for awhile, but after about 2 and a half hours, and especially since I'm not drinking, I started getting really bored and tired.
So around 1 we finally leave and decide to go find another club, which ends up being this awful little dungeon called Libido, where you literally have to climb through this tiny aluminum door to get in. Once inside, it goes way back, but it's very narrow, completely packed, about 4,000 degrees, and everyone is smoking. And they're playing awful, awful music. Most places here seem to be fairly obsessed with American pop music. You can't really go anywhere, whether it's a restaurant, clothing store, gas station, anywhere, without hearing Avril, Madonna, the Black-Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson. And Placebo. They're fucking huge here. Except for most of the nightclubs, which play mostly reggaeton and a sprinkling of Amercian hip-hop, like 50 Cent. Which this club was playing.
So everyone heads to the bar, grabs a drink and hits the packed dance floor. I'm totally over it by now, but in serious doubt of my abilities to take a cab back to the Tec by myself, so I decide to wait it out. Being with a huge group of 19, 20-year-olds who are all fucking totally wasted, having a great time, dancing, making out with each other, not wanting to go home until dawn, etc. etc., I have to say, made me feel more alone than I think I ever have in my entire life. So I finally find a table in the back and sit there and chain smoke, basically, and don't drink. It was absolutely fucking miserable.
Finally Deneise and this guy Charlie come and rescue me, and we leave, and for about 15 minutes half-heartedly search for the gay clubs (which Deneise wants to do; all I want to do is go home and go to bed) until about 3:15, when we finally get a cab home.
This morning Deneise and I met up for breakfast at VIPS, then went with the other Girls down to the Macroplaza to do some sight-seeing and shopping at this huge, outdoor mall down there, with everything from upscale clothing stores, to little kiosks with handmade items. It's very eclectic. We also found ourselves smack in the middle of a protest rally, apparently by a group of blue-collar factory workers and such that are supporting Lopez Obrador for president. He's the current mayor of Mexico City, and a member of the PRD liberal party of Mexico. He's extraordinarily popular in Mexico City, but not so much in Monterrey. Monterrey is apparently one of the most conservative cities in Mexico, both politically and socially, and most people here aren't going for him. To give you an idea of its conservative tendencies, the mayor that took over in Monterrey in 96 or 97, apparently shut down all of the gay bars, which I discovered doing my research. A few have reopened under different names since then, but most haven't, from what I understand. So that was interesting. I'm becoming pretty fascinated with Latin American politics and really want to start learning more. That's one reason I love hanging out with my professor so much, because he's just one giant, walking history lesson all the time. He has 2 PHD's in it and definitely leans more to the liberal/socialist side politically (he was very impressed when Patricia Mercado mentioned "the gays" in the debate the other night, and how Mexico belongs to everybody. She's a very marginal candidate, and very liberal, but she certainly won't matter in the real race) but goes to great lengths to make sure we understand all sides when he's explaining things.
As a funny side note to that, I've met a few native Mexicans here who have basically told me that Austin has a reputation down here for being a giant, liberal, southern-U.S. gay paradise, and just being this wild, crazy place of partying and debauchery and homos everywhere. Which I think is very funny and interesting. I've mostly told them they're sort of half right, but not really, but that definitely according to Texas standards (and Monterrey's), I can see how people might think that.
I'm definitely staying in tonight, except for a small gathering at the aforementioned Charlie's apartment around 10:30. Everyone's going back to the Barrio after that, but not me. I'm actually going to go to mass in the morning with my professor. I feel like I should experience that while I'm here. I'm looking forward to it. My professor also organized a St. Edwards picnic and (voluntary) soccer game for tomorrow afternoon, since we've all kind of scattered in different directions since we got here. He wants us to be sure and bond as a group, even as we make other friends. So we're gonna cook out and just hang out in the park, which should be really nice. I'm looking forward to that.
I can't believe my stint here is almost halfway over already.