Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meet the Locals - Professional Scribe

Meet Rommel Jaimes who works as a professional scribe (evangelista) beneath the portals of Plaza Santo Domingo (Portal de Evangelistas) in the Centro Historico district of Mexico City. He has been happy to sit at the same desk, underneath the same arch, for the past forty six years attending to requests of writing letters, preparing documents, typing up bills and all tramites relating to Mexican bureauocracy. Business he says is a tad slow these days, but he can still make a living.

He is part of a row of some two dozen professional scribes (or public writers ), some still using typewriters and antique printing machines, who sit beneath these portals everyday, alongside printing and papeleria businesses who take orders for the most exquisite of handmade invitations using traditional amate bark paper, as well as the usual trimmings of bows, ribbons, for every occasion imaginable; weddings, baptisms, birthdays etc. All have their wares on display, as well as thick catalogues to flick through.

It is a lively and atmospheric part of the city with vibrant street life, and other places of interest to visit in the vicinity include the baroque Santo Domingo church (1736), Secretaria de Educacion Publica with its displays of murals ( Mon- Fri only), and the Museo de Medicina Mexicana housed in the 18th Century Palace which was once the Holy Inquistion headquarters in Mexico.

Plaza Santo Domingo is located a short walk from the zocalo centred on Calle Republica de Brasil in the Centro Historico District of DF. This is also the place to obtain any forged document one may need - allegedly!


Wendy said...

I guess if you can't beat the beauracracy you might as well make a living from it! Great photo.

Catherine said...

Just saw via a google check that thia guy was interviewed at the millenium, stating that typewriters were safe from the bug!!