Sunday, June 25, 2023

"Lucha Libre"

One very popular attraction in Mexico City which, I had never seen, even after my countless trips here, was a "lucha libre" match.  "Lucha libre" is the Mexican version of free-style wrestling.  Even though I have no interest at all in the phoniness of WWE in the U.S., I did want to see what "lucha libre" was all about.  Alejandro and I had talked about going to a match many times.

When my former student Megan told me that she wanted to go to "lucha libre", I told her that we would like to join them.  She bought tickets ahead of time for Friday's match at Arena México and insisted on treating us.  After our lovely dinner at "Fonda Fina" which I described in my previous post, we walked about twenty minutes to the arena.  We went from the trendy and touristy neighborhood of Roma Norte to the notorious district known as "Doctores" (so named because all of the streets are named after famous Mexican doctors).  The arena is only a block into "Doctores" and the street was well-lit and full of people heading to "lucha libre", so we felt perfectly safe.  It was not as if we were walking down a dark, deserted street by ourselves.

The scene in front of the arena was bedlam with crowds of people and ticket scalpers and vendors selling "lucha libre" souvenirs.

Alejandro was going to drive from his house, park at the arena and meet us there.  I was fearful that he was going to be stuck in Mexico City traffic (which is even worse on a Friday night), but he allowed plenty of time and arrived even before us.  We managed to find each other in the crowd.  Megan and John's friends were also going to meet us there.  Alejandro volunteered to look for them (something of a fool's errand, since he had never met them before), but, somehow, he actually found them.  We were all together, and ready to enter the arena.  We were all patted down by security before entering.  I knew beforehand that cameras were not allowed... hence the poor quality of these few pictures that I took with my cell phone.  Megan had purchased excellent seats for us... close but not TOO close.  Alejandro told me the story (perhaps apocryphal) of a wrestler who had landed on top of a woman seated in a front row seat.  She was left a paraplegic for the rest of her life.

Although I had really wanted to see a "lucha libre" match, I have to say that it was really not my cup of tea.  I knew that it was going to be fake and highly choreographed, just like professional wrestling in the U.S., but I thought it was going to be somehow different.  Other than the fact that most of the wrestlers wear masks, "lucha libre" seemed the same as what I would have expected of a WWE match. There was some impressive acrobatics in the choreography, but much of it was play-acting of dirty fighting.  Megan had been to a match on a trip to Mexico City some years ago, and even she said that she did not remember so much kicking, stomping and shots to the groin.  

In my naivete I had thought that it was going to be, shall we say, more "folkloric", perhaps with mariachis or "norteño" singers performing between rounds.  Alejandro chuckled when I told him that afterwards, but I know that "cockfights" (something which I have absolutely no desire to see) often have musical entertainment by well-known performers.  Frankly I found bullfights, in spite of the animal cruelty, to be much more interesting than "lucha libre".  I can now at least say that I have seen it and cross it off my list of things to do in Mexico City.

We left the match a little early, so that Alejandro and I could make a quick exit from the parking garage.  We said our farewells to Megan and John.  Except for the "lucha libre", I thoroughly enjoyed every minute that we spent together.  As her former Spanish teacher, I felt pride in how well Megan communicated after all these year (even if it is probably more because of her continued efforts than my teaching).  And John, although he never studied Spanish, did an admirable job of using a bit of the language.

They have said that after I am permanently settled in Mexico City, they will return so that I can show them more of the sights here.  I look forward to that! 

¡Muchas gracias, Megan y John!  ¡Nos veremos pronto!

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