Sunday, April 26, 2009

Masked Mexico City morphs into Ghost Town...

Hard on the heels of water rationing, worst traffic jams ever, escalating violence in the border drug war, dire impact of the Recession, follows the outbreak of the swine flu epidemic that has so far seen 81 deaths here in Mexico City, many more infected, and cases now beginning to be reported in other countries around the world.

The Mexican Government took swift action on Friday to impose severe precautionary measures to hopefully contain the further spread of the virus. All Public events have been cancelled, Government buildings and Offices closed, plus all schools shut down for the next ten days. Football games have been played behind closed doors in empty stadiums, Theatres and cinemas have stayed dark, and even Mass has been suspended after heated debate concerning the safety of taking the wafer during Communion.

The city's population, of some twenty million, has been advised to stay at home, avoid congregating in large crowds, refrain from greeting or touching people.... Mexico City is notoriously a place where people find it very difficult to follow rules, and are not usually law-abiding citizens! So how have we been faring faced with such draconian restrictions and shutdowns??

Well I have been out and about today, and the city truly has morphed eerily into a Ghost Town. I have never seen the streets so quiet, the traffic so absent, the hustle and bustle so strangely subdued...


The roads are indeed empty - Reforma is normally buzzing on a Sunday morning with joggers, cyclists, rollerbladers, and dogwalkers but today there was no-one in sight....The shopping malls,too, are usually a hive of activity with crowds teeming to and fro... Today they too are almost empty...

Only a few lone shoppers braved the malls contributing to the feeling that Mexico City had indeed morphed into one of those weird Science Fiction movies...


It has quickly become Company policy for all service industry workers to be masked up in shops, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels. Here are the waiters at my favourite restaurant for Sunday breakfast - the Condesa DF hotel. I am pleased to see that their masks are the perfect match for the cool hotel decor, co-ordinating with the exact same shade of aquamarine blue...

About 50% of other people around and about today were wearing surgical protective masks, whether they were visting Mexico City's largest Art Fair, MACO...


Or trying their best to refrain from the "No kissing" rule on the benches along Reforma, a notorious location for cuddling and canoodling...



So...yes...Chilangos are being responsible citizens, and are definitely heeding the seriousness of the situation, responding to the Government's message and rules. People are extremely anxious and worried here, but for the time being the city is calm, quiet and quite literally holding its breath, waiting with trepidation to see what will come next....

To find out what is happening today in other parts of the world, click here... for My World Tuesday posts... I hope they contain much better news...

11 comments:

A Cuban In London said...

Heard and read it on the news. I hope you're OK. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

M.Kate said...

I read about this and do hope that it is over soon, has there been a vaccine? Stay safe...

Chris said...

I hope you guys are safe. Saw the earthquake on the news. I know I just started reading your blog but was concerned for you folks!

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

I have been thinking of you when listening to the news. I know you generally keep your posts "light," but I am glad you wrote about this. If nothing else, it lets me know that you (and hopefully all your friends) are well.

Stay that way....

Gretchen FFreshink said...

Thanks for posting this. DF did not need this. (It's good to see your photos. The two lovebirds look so adorable mooning at each other, but not able to kiss.) Stay safe and keep letting us know how things are going.

Wendy said...

That shot of Reforma is really spooky. Hope you are faring well with this and the earthquake. There is a media frenzy in New York over this with cases in schools in the city.

Catherine said...

Hi thanks for all your kind enquiries and comments and concerns... I am fine and so are all my friends here... most of us have got out of the city for the time being to monitor what is happening... today all the bars and restaurants have closed in DF, and it is reported that supermarkets are next so all are now panic buying and stockpiling...will keep you all posted...am heading back to the city on Thursday...

Leanne said...

Swine flu is big news all around the world. I did think of you when I saw Mexico city on our news. I hope you keep well.

Bill said...

Here in Knoxville, TN, we get panic buying every time it snows. I can only imagine what it must be like down there.

Stay safe,
Bill
http://willstuff.wordpress.com

Fly Girl said...

I have been thinking about you during this media meltdown. I'm glad that your are safe, do you have a mask in a pretty color? Chicago has had one school close because of Swine Flu, I hope it's over soon..

the blues and the abstract perm said...

quiet on the streets of the roma, but, masked-up, we look like we're at an altern-8 rave, circa 1990.