La Basilica de la Virgen

basilica05_lresStatue vendors use to photograph pilgrims and visitors with, one of many tucked away since there is no one to seel the photos to.

Today writers Alexis Okeowo and Camilo Smith and I headed out to the Basilica de la Virgen de Guadalupe in the North of the City (Red line Villa-Basilica exit). Because of the H1N1 virus or swine flu the basilica, a place of worship for thousands daily, is holding small masses outdoors and tomorrow will shut its doors completely and only televise one service at 9am.

The virus really has made this city of 20 million plus seem small and slow as a little town.

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We took a stroll around after the service through the deserted courtyards, after hearing the prayer to help end the pandemic, also listed in this prior post.

basilica08bw_lresNuns stand in the back of the basilica

basilica13bw_lresThe faithful look up to the mantilla of Juan Diego.

Nuns stroll through the basilica.

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Church service Saturday afternoon:

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And the ride back home . . .

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And one last one . . .

basilica09_lresLa Virgen de Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego at Tepeyac hill, where the basilica is built today.

Tomorrow . . . a post on Castigado or Punished . . . most likely one of the most entertaining and disturbing card games I’ve ever seen . . . check back!

Strolling through deserted streets of the Mexican mega city

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Taking a stroll through Condesa . . . mission: Starbucks . . . yeah I know, but it’s tasty . . . We then walked back from Condesa to the apartment in Roma, beautiful light, deserted streets. It makes it feel pretty dead and lonely around here.

stroll02_lresParque Mexico in Condesa

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stroll07_lresArrival at starbucks . . . only four people allowed inside at a time, no tables/seats available.

stroll11_lresSecurity guard/Starbucks bouncer doing a crossword

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condesa01_lresParque Mexico deserted for a holiday Friday in Mexico City.

condesa03_lresStrolling back by Insurgentes

street01_lresGotta love the masks

alexis01_lresOn the street corner

condesa05_lresCrossing a deserted Insurgentes.

facemask01_lresAbandoned face mask in the street.

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And some random ones from along the way:

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Tomorrow’s plan? HIt up the Basilica de Guadalupe provided I feel fine. Feeling a little exhausted right now from this long week, need to take a break.

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Tripping to Tlapan

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A doctor puts on her gloves outside the INER Thursday afternoon.

So yesterday I headed out with reporter Camilo Smith to Tlapan in the South of Mexico City to the INER or Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias (Nacional Instutite for Respiratory Diseases). Our mission was to find a family, doctors and nurses who were dealing with the H1N1 or swine flu virus. We talked to an EMT, some doctors and then happened upon a father who was being discharged after spending three days in the INER. Then we asked if we could follow him home as he saw his children for the first time since being admitted.

No visitors are allowed in the area were H1N1 patients are kept to prevent the spread of disease and the only communication is through doctors, so needless to say his family was thrilled to see him. I’d love to post the photos here of that moment but I have to wait till they go to print. I promise they’re good though . .

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Yes that’s a New York Fire Department shirt being worn by the INER EMT.

The below photos were taken on the extremely long ride between Roma Norte and Tlapa yesterday:
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Sporting the scarf instead of face mask in Tlapa Thursday afternoon.

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Pharmacist in Roma Norte takes a break, every pharmacy in the neighborhood is sold out of face masks and only one has gloves left.

Some Facemask pics from the last few days

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And there is the dissent

I’ve been hearing a lot more opinions about swine flu and government reactions like this one:

Para la oreja de Calderon

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He wouldn’t let me shoot his face but definitely had a message for the Calderon:

That’s not true about the virus, you record it there, and put it to the big ear of Calderon.

That I said there is no virus, no virus.

Nothing scares me, this is work, the work of the government. It’s political work.

The worst thing is it affects terceros (third tier people) and all the children who are doing exams, and the Republic of Mexico and now they’re not finishing they’re exams . . .

While I think many would say there is a flu, they’re fed up with what is happening to work, to daily life and dealing with the media frenzy surrounding them.

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Novia Bonita

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An employee in Novia Bonita switches dresses out inside the display because there are no customers to attend to Tuesday afternoon.

In the quincanera district yesterday there wasn’t more than a handful of girls to be found. The neighborhood which specializes in selling everything one might need for a quincanera, like the bow to put on your truck, the dress, and decorations is nearly abandoned as shop keepers feel the effects of the government’s closing of public places, party halls, churches and anywhere else large groups gather until May 6th. I was able to speak with Gabriela Canas Diaz, the owner of a small shop in the area for a few minutes and I recorded an audio interview and edited it, one in spanish and the other in english, which you can click on below:

The English Version:

The Spanish Version

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A family strolls through the Novia Bonita store Tuesday afternoon.

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Diaz goes over inventory with an employee Tuesday afternoon.

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Diaz with her bright smile.

I feel that the attitude I’ve gotten from a lot of Mexicans, in the city, is mixed. Businesses are suffering, but everyone wants to be safe too. I just know that the empty restaurants, hotels, and streets is a constant reminder of how much this is hurting Mexico economically.
Diaz said it was good to keep the flu from spreading, but like any business person, she was scared of the cost.

I haven’t done a lot of audio only editing and I’d love to hear on any pointers, tips, etc. Thanks!

Daily life in Condesa

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Alexis Okeowo and I took a stroll through Condessa and it was weird to see the abandoned restaurants (delivery only due to the government’s closures of restaurants). Checked out a barber shop, some restaurants and the kids playing in the street because schools are closed. The city is so empty and just sad at times. I’ll post some audio tomorrow of an interviews with quincanera store owners.

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Soundslides of El Centro at the start of the Pandemic

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Alright soundslides is an awful chore to upload so click on the above photo or click HERE

and Frommer’s linked up to my blog . . . check it out!

Insurgentes . . . my favorite metro station

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Spent a little time with one of my favorite Mexico City reporter Alexis Okeowo in the Insurgentes metro and in the historic center. We strolled through the stationery sellers and then through the quincanera dress sellers. I have an interview I’m going to put together later tonight of one dress seller who is feeling the cancellations of quincaneras.

Was also given a friendly reminder by those in blue/gray in the metro that I’m not allowed to shoot down there . . . sometimes I wish the camera was just a tiny little thing that I could sneak about with.

Plans for tomorrow? Guerrero, maybe Ixtapalapa but tonight SLEEP, wonderful, wonderful sleep.

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San Judas closes his doors

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I went with Camilo Smith to Guerrero and Doctores. We happened to stop by the basilica for San Judas de Tadeo, a saint who has gained a particularly strong following in the city. Today is his saint’s day and at his basilica in Guerrero the doors will be closed to what would normally be a throng of thousands of worshipers.

Below is a prayer we were handed in the church in order to pray to eliminate the influenza. I’ve listed it all here but translated the quirkier areas. I also added some photos, although shot with my 20D which stopped focusing after a couple of minutes of use . . . such a bummer, could’ve made some great photos.

Oracion a la Virgen de Guadalupe para
encomendar a Mexico por la epidemia de la influenza

Prayer to the Virgen of Guadalupe to help Mexico during the flu epidemic

Santa Maria de Guadalupe
A ti que nos amas con especial ternura,
velas por nosotros con maternal intercesion
y nos procuras siempre tu eficaz ayuda
suplicamos tu proteccion y auxilio
para superar pronto esta epdiemia
Cubernos con tu manto, libranos de este mal.

Ruega por todas las autoridades y por quienes tienen poder de decision para que sepan establecer medidas y
prioridades para prevenir y ayudar a toda la poblacion,
Pray for the authorities who have the power to make deciscions that will help find means and priorities to prevent and help the whole population

y en particular a quienes son mas vulnerables
Concedenos prudencia y serenidad para actuar con mucha responsabilidad
y asi evitar ser contagiados a contagiar.
Socorre al personal de salud,
vela por la recuperacion de los enfermos
y se consuelo de quien se encuentran en duelo.
madre del Verdadero Diios por quien se vive,
Tu que nos has rescatado de otras plagas,
ecnomiendanos a la misericordia
de Aquel que nos sano con sus llagas
y nos libro de la muerte con Su Resurreccion
Ensenanos a unir nuestro dolor al Suyo
para hallarle sentido redentor
y salir de esta adversidad fortalecidos
en la fe, la esperanza y el amor. Amen.

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And a clinic in Doctores . . .

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And just for fun on the way home last night to the metro and using Camilo’s camera because as you can see above my old, trusty 20D can barely focus anymore . . .

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