About a year ago, I was walking down a street in Condesa with Brendan and friends Jesica and Erik. A massive storm had just blown through Mexico City, and tree limbs and leaves were making it hard to walk. Needless to say, the power was out in most of the city, so traffic was reaching an unprecedented cacophony.
“It often feels so apocalyptic here,” I said to Erik, speaking not only of the tendency for city services to come to a screeching halt after a thunderstorm, but the two earthquakes I had experienced in only a few months’ time. (And looming nearby are two beautiful but very powerful volcanoes.)
“That’s why I like it,” he said, with a big grin.
And now, after a spring filled with widespread water shortages, the city wakes up to the news that school is cancelled today due to a mysterious flu outbreak. Officials are wondering if it’s connected to the swine flu cases in California.
It came out of nowhere — yesterday was a normal day. Today: Bam, schools closed, people dying, traffic quiet. What the?
An email from Brendan: “don’t have physical contact with anyone today!” I sneezed this morning, and thought: Oh, no. Then: Oh, puh-leeze.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Apocalypto, you’d know this ain’t a new thing. Mexico always seems to be teetering on the edge — yesterday traffic was snarled for hours after a roof collapsed near our neighborhood — but a flu outbreak is taking it to a whole new level of discomfort. Earthquakes I can feel, flu germs – yikes.