WELL, I'M SITTING on a bench in Leon Trotsky's garden. The sun's shining. He had a nice house, and a nice garden. Much nicer than mine. Maybe I should become a Communist...
It's a bit strange being in his bedroom, bathroom etc - seeing Trotsky's study where he met his fate is one thing, the bullet holes above his bed where he literally dodged the bullets are another thing, not sure if his bathroom, clothes, Colgate toothpaste tube etc is not a bit voyeuristic, even for me!
I've met the odd poisonous person during my time in politics, but those Communists really take it to a new level - ice picks in the head? From his own side? I think I'll happily stay on the right of the political spectrum!
Not sure what the Israel/Palestine situation has to do with Trotsky, but in his house/museum there is an exhibition of photos of mainly sweet children throwing rocks at heavily armed IDF soldiers, and folks looking mournfully at a big wall. I'm not sure the staff appreciated me asking where the photos were of missiles getting fired into Israel, the aftermath of suicide bombings, the arms getting smuggled in through the tunnels. "But what about the wall?" they asked. "We have them in the UK as well, they're a tourist attraction in Belfast now, as well as serving the purpose of keeping belligerent neighbours apart" - I'm not sure I'll be invited back.
That night I saw a much better peace process in action back at the youth hostel I'm staying in - a massively charismatic Israeli stoner was staying for a couple of nights, and was sitting out on the balcony with a guy from Saudi smoking a large joint. Their respective countries might not be best friends, but those guys found they had a lot in common!
I've become partial back home to the occasional Turkish shave in the barbers on Leith Walk. In Mexico it's the shoe shine I'm becoming partial to. My Docs have never shined as brightly! You see all sorts of them being buffed here, heavily armed soldiers, businessmen, backpackers..
I've been celebrating Independence Day. Alas for my nationalist friends, it's in Mexico City, not Edinburgh. I learned some good Spanish swear words at the party when El Presidente came out to give his speech. I'm sure Alex Salmond would say he was cheered loudly (not at Glasgow's Olympic parade - Ed), but there was no affection from the crowd here towards their political leader.
They had a big military parade the morning after. It was lacking a massed pipes and drums or even a good flute band, being brass band after brass band, but good entertainment all the same. Lots of women in uniform with big guns on parade - they appear to have much more women than us represented in their forces. There was a good airshow from all manner of planes and helicopters.
I enjoy a good military parade, and this was a good one. Maybe I was just a bit hungover and a bit grumpy, but the cuts to our military make me mad. We've plenty money for the EU, for a bloated public sector, for aid to India that has nukes and a space programme but have to cut back on ships, planes and men?
What will we have in the future? A parade of Diversity Coordinators? EU beaurocrats? Health & Safety Inspectors? Windfarm subsidy junkies? Pensioners in fuel poverty?
Broke yet more UK laws out here - I bought a tobacco product from a child - they sell single cigarettes (remember them?) and cigars round the cantinas, and I like the occasional cigar. Also when we go to the pictures we're reminded that copyright theft is a crime. That message doesnae seem to have reached Mexico City - there's a great market selling everything and anything. If you want it, it's got it. Fake, of course. Chinese made. CDs, DVDs, designer handbags, jeans, t shirts etc. I'm a sucker for rip-off football tops though. Did I support the local economy? You'd better believe it....
Next update will be from Panama - then the bus up through central America back to Mexico. Seven countries in twenty days. Looking forward to seeing how the Panama Canal compares to yon Falkirk Wheel...