A very gay time at Mexico City's Pride Parade

Rainbow visions. 

ompared to the last we attended, in 2016, the crowds at this year’s Gay Pride Parade in Mexico City were far larger, and certainly more jubilant. The one constant was the oh-so-Mexican lack of any visible organization. It wasn’t so much an organized parade but a multitude of people, probably in the hundreds of thousands or thereabouts, ambling down Mexico City’s enormous Reforma boulevard, filling it curb-to-curb, and headed, I think, to the city’s Zócalo square.

The start of the parade was equally difficult to discern: There was no line-up of public figures marching behind a banner, as it is common in Chicago and other American cities. Out of nowhere a large balloon in the form of an eyeball, and with the legend, in English, “Pride in Mexico,” appeared overhead and the crowd took that as a signal to creep forward.

This balloon marked the start of the parade, I think. 

Starting time seemed to be circa eleven o’clock. We left at 2:30 but the parade seemed to be far from over. Stew and I wanted to see the contingent representing the Cowboys from the State of Mexico, on horseback and fully decked out in charro attire, but we never caught sight of them. Someone told us later that the cowboys had been detained somewhere around the iconic Angel of Independence monument.

Floats were mostly repurposed flatbed semitrailers, some elaborately decorated, others sporting what looked like someone’s borrowed patio furniture and potted plants. Tom’s Leather Bar enlisted a dozen muscled, shirtless men to gyrate to the beat of music blasting from huge speakers. Another float was packed with celebrities of some sort, none whom I recognized, who were cheered by the crowds. The prize for most unusual float went to a drag bar represented by a hearse.

An emissary from Tom’s Leather Bar

But the main event was the motley crowd. Drag queens, of course, in a fight-to-the-death contest for the most over-the-top costume: Think of headdresses with three-foot-long peacock feathers bursting in all directions; bustiers covered with sequins; thick layers of makeup, heavy on the glitter, and mesh stockings, all of it carried by not always shapely male bodies tottering on high-heeled shoes.

I used to feel uncomfortable in the presence of drag queens, but they’ve won me over. I think they’re a hoot, the stars of the show.

There was very little organized political messaging, along the lines of Transgender Accountants or Mormons for Equality. Rather, some people carried handwritten cardboard signs some quite clever. My favorite was “Jesus had two daddies and he turned out just fine.”

Even the U.S. Embassy, located on Reforma close to the Angel, unfurled a 20-foot-high rainbow flag over its facade. HSBC bank had a flag at the top of the building. More corporate support was visible compared to three years ago.

Two drag queens and a hearse

The night before the parade, six friends from San Miguel and us indulged in a three-hour dinner at a haute restaurant in the upscale section of Polanco, to celebrate someone’s birthday. The theme of this establishment, Dulce Patria, was a punny menu with untranslatable names of equally clever entrees.

Bodeguita in CDMX: Great
music, so-so food. 

The evening after the parade we went to the Bodeguita del Medio, a franchise of the Bodeguita in Havana frequented by Ernest Hemingway, who reputedly had a weakness for mojitos, a rum drink, and most anything with booze. Every inch of the noisy interior of the Mexico City clone was covered with graffiti, reminiscent of Gino’s East Pizzeria in Chicago. I’ve never been to the Bodeguita in Havana, so I don’t know if this was a faithful replica.

Food was mediocre-to-awful, however, the low light being the rubbery tostones, fried green plantains that are supposed to be crunchy and crispy, and the odd-looking and -tasting empanaditas. I always marvel how people can screw up Cuban food, because it’s not that complex, certainly nothing like French cuisine or Oaxacan moles.

My disappointment with the food vanished, though, with the arrival of a genuine Cuban four-man combo called Coral Negro. They were terrific. I begged them to skip the obligatory Guantamera, but they said someone had requested it.

They followed with several old-time Cuban tunes. Most amazing was the guitarist, Yuri Casanova. We kept feeding them fifty-peso notes and I bought a CD, which I still have to play. If you go to the Bodeguita, forget the tostones, and the tasteless pork chunks, and give your money to these guys.

And whether you’re gay, straight, or still thinking about it, and happen to be in Mexico City on the right date, check out this great, if chaotic, Gay Pride Parade.

Guitarist/vocalist from Corral Negro. Guantamera? We must. 
One of several corporate high-rises decked out
with the Rainbow Flag. 
The parade is about to begin, maybe. 
O.K., we’re definitely moving now. 

The floral arrangement is fine; the makeup maybe too much.

One cute guy deserves another.
Victorio’s Secret Gay Pride Special
I’m not really gay. I just love the color combination. 
A little touch-up before the parade starts. 
At the U.S. Embassy, a Rainbow Flag alongside the Stars and Stripes.

Sunday night, early Monday a bunch of something white (snow, slush, hail?) in some cases several feet deep,  covered areas of San Miguel. Nothing at the ranch, though, where we are getting rain almost every night, but only a quarter inch at a time, as if God were dispensing precipitation with an eye dropper. We’re still hoping for an old-fashioned gully washer to fill the arroyo and our cisterna.

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