A few photos for the road

November 8, 2012 • 6:07 am

I have returned from Mexico, and I have elebenty gazillion photos. I hope to do separate posts on Trotsky’s house, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Mexican woo, pre-Columbian stuff, and food, but all that will take a while. (I haven’t even posted some nice snaps I took in Portugal). In the meantime, here’s a sampling from Tuesday.

This is Trotsky’s desk, exactly as it was, down to the papers he was working on, when he was murdered with an icepick in Mexico City on August 20, 1940.

Where Lev Davidovich did his business: Trotsky’s toilet:

I’ll have many more pictures of his house later.

Only a couple of blocks from Trotsky’s house is the house where Frida Kahlo was born and lived with Diego Rivera for many years (she had an affair with Trotsky as well). Here is her studio, bathed in light. Note her wheelchair next to her easel, and the decorated plaster corset on the wall to the left.

A ceramic clock painted (and possibly made) by Frida. The caption under it said this:

“On the shelves next to the exit are two clocks. One of them bears the date on which Frida decided to divorce Diego, after discovering his affair with her sister Cristina: ‘1939, September, the hours were broken.'”

The market in Coyoacán:

The only cat in Mexico: Lola, a lovely animal in the Mercado Coyoacán. I’m afraid I petted her before I saw the sign reading, “No tocar el gato.”

Lunch: two “beefsteak” tacos with all the trimmings and a bottle of Fanta. Price: 30 pesos ($2.30 U.S.):

 A nearby bakery. I bought some Mexican cheesecake (drier than the U.S. version, but delicious) and a fig tart:

One of many Diego Rivera murals in the Secretary of Education building in Mexico City. They are quite revolutionary. In this one, “Distributing the arms,” the person handing out the rifles is quite clearly Frida Kahlo.

Finally, on my walk back, I went through an arcade behind the Cathedral. It was full of stores selling Catholic accountrements and herbal medicines. Here some lucky fellow buys himself a Jebus:

29 thoughts on “A few photos for the road

    1. A Mexican water engineer I met, Elibeth (who has posted here) says the dangers of water are overrated, but I played it safe and drank only disinfected water (with iodine). I didn’t get sick in the least. I rarely get sick in India either, as I disinfect all water and don’t eat raw vegetables.

      1. Iodine is THE way to go. Works every time, for everything. Never goes “bad” in the bottle. And provides quick access to topical disinfectant as well, handy in tropical climes. I’ve used it successfully all over the globe. Also: Wash hands very frequently.

      2. Before my first trip to Thailand recently I read in lonely planet that if I was worried about having ice in my drinks that maybe I shouldn’t go.
        So, I had ice, ate street food and brushed teeth with tap water and I got the runs of course.
        Had them for two weeks, didn’t feel ill though so could still go out.
        I only ate a late lunch so I would be back at the hotel when it started, and made sure I had toilet paper with me at all times.
        It was good to get it out of the way and from then on I could eat and drink without worry.
        Of course I still checked out the food stalls for cleanliness and drank bottled water (but mostly beer – its so cheap).
        Going again soon and hopefully will still be immune to the bugs.

        1. By using iodine for water, eating only cooked foods, being careful in the shower, brushing teeth with treated water, and frequent hadn washing, I traveled for months in SE Asia without getting the runs. It works.

          Now South Asia is another story. I doubt anyone can travel (in anything short of a bubble) there without getting the runs.

    2. haha “La venganza de Moctezuma” (I assume Jerry, you probably don’t know) has more to do with the effect of the deliciously greasy and salted tacos covered in salsa on your unaccustomed stomach, than the reputedly unhygienic water.

      Thanks for posting!

      1. The mistake (“icepick” for ice axe) is usual for descriptions of Trotsky’s assassination. That is because an ice axe is a kind of pick. But if you’ve seen someone use an icepick to split a block of ice you know it is something very specific, and not something that would help you climb.

        1. I have wondered about this for a long time, and sometimes the weapon is described as an icepick and sometimes as an ice axe. I haven’t been able to find which one. My default conclusion that it was an icepick comes from the fact that an ice axe, of the climber kind, would be harder to hide. If someone knows for sure, let me know.

        2. Am I missing something? How is its utility as a climbing tool relevant to Trotsky’s murder? An icepick would do just fine for that, I should think.

          1. No, the weapon (ice axe) would require much less closeness to the victim than would an ice-pick, which one would need to wield like a dagger.

            The ice-axe can be swung like a (regular) axe or hoe and cause a lot more damage than a puncture from an ice-pick. Reading the descriptions of his assassination (he lived long enough to prevent his body guards from killing his murderer and was transported to hospital where died of blood loss and trauma some time later) it’s clear that it was an ice-axe not an ice-pick.

            ice axe

            ice pick

            (Now, a proper ice axe has a feature called its pick, which is the longer, curved, pointy-er end of its head. Maybe that’s why the confusion keeps coming up.)

          2. His mortal would was through his skull. Much easier to accomplish using a swung, heavier weapon (ice axe) than a dagger (ice pick). Not to mention the ice axe’s longer stand-off distance to the victim.

            1. I yield! It was an ice axe!

              But the way you get to that conclusion is by comparing the weapons to the facts of the crime, not by saying “It had to be the axe because the icepick sucks for climbing.”

        3. No, an ice axe HAS a pick (and typically several other pointy bits). It’s a tool for climbing on ice and snow and is not a pick.

  1. I came across a wierd connection between Trotsky and cosmology a number of years ago. I was reading physicist George Gamow’s autobiogography My World Line, in which he mentions that his father, who taught Russian language and literature in an Odessa high school, had the young Lev Davidovitch Bronstein (Trotsky) as a student.

    1. Trotsky also made some statements about evolution in about 1940. He was whiling away his time studying Mexican cactuses as a hobby and must have been reading about their evolution. I think the statements are in In Defense of Marcism. They are not ones that we would consider controversial today.

  2. Jesus for sale! Jesus for sale! Get your soapstone Jesus here!

    C’mon folks, eternal life is waiting! All your troubles will be washed away!

    Get your Jesus here!

  3. Can anyone identify that wooden figure behind and to the right of the easel?

    Feet, a torso suspended perhaps from axles attaching it to the arms and headless. ??

    Is it perhaps a larger than normal version of a child’s toy?

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