(Rick)Rolling in Mexico CityPosted in Project Blog by Juvie
Mexico’s Presidential Elections
Apparently we picked a crazy time to come to Mexico. On Sunday, July 1, Mexico will hold its Presidential elections, and tension seems to be high all over the city. Maris, our apartment host, told us about a huge demonstration to take place along Avenue Reforma.
Mexico City Roller Derby (MXRD)
Bright and early Sunday morning, Stephanie Distress and Lizzy Bloodyscabs of Mexico Roller Derby (MXRD) arrived at our apartment to take us to practice. Driven by Lizzy’s friend Alberto (thank you, Alberto!), we traveled to a small community gym in what they described as both “a really rough part of town” and “The Cradle of Champions.”
When we arrived, we were first told we were not only not allowed to film, but we couldn’t even have the film equipment in the building. The building manager was concerned about drawing attention to the building and the neighborhood during these tense political times. After about half an hour of discussion about what to do, and many promises that we would not give any of our footage or photos to any local news outlet, the manager finally agreed to let us film and practice began.
Practice with MXRD was a blast and I learned that derby language is truly universal. It was hard to follow along with the drills at first, since I speak a woefully small amount of Spanish. Luckily Stephanie Distress could translate for me at the beginning of practice. Once scrimmage time came, though, all need for translation evaporated. Derby is derby is derby! We split into two coed teams and spent about an hour simply enjoying playing the game together. There was lots of laughter, a couple wipe-outs from water on the floor (piso mijado!), and then many, many photos.
After practice Alberto drove us along the demonstration route, where thousands upon thousands of people were protesting one of the political candidates. After the debacle at the gym, we were nervous about filming at the demonstration, but we got some incognito footage from the car. Then we got to join Lizzy, Stephanie and Alberto for take-out lunch at Alberto’s while we watched the Wheels of Justice take on Gotham at East Coast Derby Extravaganza, where Wheels unveiled the now famous “Pegassist.” (Google it. You won’t be sorry.) All in all, it was a crazy, action packed day.
Liga Roller Derby Distrito Federal (LRDDF)
On Monday evening Elissabbath Bathory gave us a ride to the outdoor skate park where LRDDF practices. I will admit, I was more than a little nervous about this practice. First, I am not a frequent outdoor skater in my normal life, so skating on concrete with borrowed and new-to-me wheels was a bit of an unsettling prospect. Then, when we arrived and saw that the skate park had a large concrete planter in the middle of it, the sides of the skating area were banked a bit, and the surface was cracked and had bits of twigs and rocks all over the place, I thought I might barf a little. However, LRDDF began practice with about 30 minutes of yoga, which, like derby, is the same in any language. It helped me remember to breathe instead of barfing.
Once practice began, it only took me about ten minutes to start feeling comfortable with the new wheels, new surface, and the presence of solid objects. So it is totally fitting that at about 20 minutes into practice Hokus Haiku and I clipped wheels and the real star of Flat Track Around the World was born. We named her Africa because that’s her shape from my point of view. I vowed to wear pants to the next LRDDF practice.
Like with MXRD, I found it a little difficult to immediately catch onto the finer points of the warm-up and drills, but once scrimmage started, we were all on track again (buh-dum-ching!). With a crowd of a couple dozen onlookers and passersby, we played derby until it got almost too dark to see. It was a great time and the girls taught me some new words. Chido means “cool.” Juntos means “together.” Rapido means “speed up.” And my new personal favorite: chingon means “f***ing awesome!”
A few of the girls offered to show us around the city, so on Tuesday we met up with Dannie Darko, Chile, and Lucy for what turned out to be a day of wacky adventures. First they took us to a vegetarian restaurant, where Cynthia and Alison were brave enough to try Bioparaiso, a ginseng energy drink that is apparently not good for lactating or pregnant women, and which should only be consumed in small quantities. Then, Dannie Darko freaking Rickrolled us in the middle of lunch. (Google it. You will probably be sorry.) And thus began the wackiness. After lunch, we took a series of subway rides to a few different neighborhoods and significant sites in the city.
We contemplated visiting a market specializing in items for Santeria and Voodoo, but decided it’d be too risky to go with all our film equipment (not to mention my delicate vegetarian sensibilities). Instead, they took us to the Mexico City equivalent of Times Square, where one should go to relocate one’s cell phone, should it ever get stolen by a chaca. They also took us to a Pulqueria, which specializes in delicious lightly-alcoholic drinks served in large to-go cups. My favorite flavor was “Quaker,” which tasted kind of like a liquid cinnamon roll. Then we strolled down to el Zocalo, where we sat in the middle of the plaza and had some heartfelt discussions about the pure awesomeness of roller derby.
Late in the evening we happened to run into two more LRDDF skaters, Hokus Haiku and Dover, out for a leisurely street skate. We all frolicked through the streets of Mexico City back to our apartment, now dubbed Casa de Chingon, where we talked derby even more. Derby, derby, derby, all around the world.