Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Lot of Bull, Not Much Fight (Mexico City, Mexico)

(July 4, 2011)

As part of my quest to visit every last one of Mexico City´s 250-plus museums, I make my way to the Restaurante La Faena/Museo Taurino (Venustiano Caranza, No. 49, Col. El Centro). Actually, I´m lying. I just happen to pass by this place as I wander around and about. So, in I go.

Everything and everyone in the large space housing the collection of bullfighting memorabelia and regalia looks to have seen better days. Several dark paintings of bullfights hang on the walls. Faded, decaying trajes de luces (Suits of Lights) of some of the great matadors (El Cordobes is the name I recognize)are encased in dusty showcases. Mariachis serenade the one table of elderly diners; their music competes with a TV set blaring a soccer match between France and Mexico.

The most interesting things I spot are the small tiles, on which quotations are written, embedded in the entryway's walls. Alongside Descarte's "I think, therefore, I am," and other pithy sayings by the likes of Virgil, Shakespeare, and Stendahl, are: "You have to be careful when telling lies and eating fish" and "Paula, how nice you look from the front and from behind."

I spend the evening in my hotel room, watching two hours of old American sitcoms, with Spanish subtitles. Except that the subtitle machine must have gotten stuck; every line translates as "That's a load of garbage. You're full of it!"

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