Sunday, October 17, 2010

Walking the Beat on Calle Orizaba.....















Strolling down Calle Orizaba in Mexico City's bohemian neighbourhood Colonia Roma Norte seems such a tranquil and peaceful thing to do....but hang on a minute what did that sign say?? One double take later and you realise that this arty little cafe named "Episodios" was once the site of one of the most notorious accidental shootings in literary history.....














William S Burroughs moved to live in Mexico City in 1949 to escape a drugs charge in the US, and in 1950 he was visited by Elvins who persuaded him to write a factual book about his drugtaking experiences as a "memory exercise" - namely Junky. Others like Jack Kerouac (Mexico City Blues 1959) and Allen Ginsberg also visited, and were inspired by the streets of Roma, as after all they were the Beat Generation, a group of bohemian hedonists who celebrated non-conformity and spontaneous creativity. But it did all go awry on September 6th 1951, when in an attempt at playing William Tell, Burroughs shot his second wife Joan Vollmer in the head instead of the martini glass perched above...(allegedly there had been more successful attempts with grapefruit at his ranch in Texas)...




















After years of decline and downhill deterioration, Colonia Roma has recently bounced back as the best bohemian neighbourhood in the city, and one of the most popular barrios in which to live. It has quiet colonial streets with some of the most appealing architecture in the centre of the city.....



















It has small trendy boutiques, some delightfully eclectic bars, innovative private art galleries, secondhand bookshops and antique markets, great pavement cafes and restaurants for hanging out and people watching...





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and two of the most beautiful plazas in the whole of the city, namely Plaza Luis Cabrera and Plaza Rio de Janeiro complete with sculptures, gardens and fountains...
















I can't recommend this colonia highly enough for a weekend stroll and chill....Here we are outside Delirios - a very welcome and reasonably new addition to the neighbourhood...




















For more global glimpses and windows on the world this week, check out My World Tuesday postings by clicking here. Enjoy!!

16 comments:

...louciao... said...

A fascinating tale, and another enjoyable stroll. You do make Mexico City seem enticing. I love discovering the many different neighbourhoods (flavours) that a big city has to offer.

Pagan Sphinx said...

Looks like my kind of place. I'd love to spend a weekend there, exploring. Nice post, Catherine.

I didn't know about Burroughs shooting his wife, though it figures, as he was fairly deranged. As much as I was/am interested in The Beats, I thought Burroughs' Naked Lunch was a piece of trash. lol ...

My entry is here

Wendy said...

I didn't know that the Beat Generation hung out in DF or that Burroughs shot his wife. I agree with Pagan on Naked Lunch.

Catherine said...

Hi Pagan and Wendy - I am sure you are both absolutely right - I am not a big fan of this literature at all although I have read Kerouac and some Ginsberg, I have to admit that I have never read any Burroughs - what amazed me in the research was shooting his wife didn't seem to be a setback at all - he got off on "criminal imprudence"...

Catherine said...

Hi louciao - I think you would really like Mexico city and a lot of its cool neighbourhoods - have you ever visited??

Owen said...

Quite a story about Burrough's wife... I also had never heard that... but there's plenty about it on the web visibly. A subject for a rainy day. Looks like a beautiful neighborhood.

Now if Mexico could just get her public image under control... tourism must be off with all the stories of drug wars going on... too bad.

Naomi said...

Hi! Thank you for leaving a comment, it's my first time to visit your blog. I was reading your " About Me"
An i heard that you were a Literature Teacher, My favorite subject is literature.

Sylvia K said...

Fantastic! Great photos and post as always, Catherine! Always brings back the beauty I did so enjoy in Mexico! Hope you have a great week!

Sylvia

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

It's posts like this which make my Tuesday trip around the world so enjoyable!

EG Wow said...

I would love to visit Mexico City. I visited Mexico by car many years ago (Mazatlan, Zacatecas, Guadalajara, Monteray...) but never got to Mexico City. What a pity! You make it sound wonderful.

ewok1993 said...

my kind of place. the architecture is delightful.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great story about Borroughs to add even more interest to such a pleasant neighborhood.

Kay L. Davies said...

I remember "the beat generation" -- I grew up just between that and the hippies, so I was never one or the other, but remember both.

This looks like a wonderful part of Mexico City to visit. I'm going to save this page in my to-go file.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. You are certainly making the most of your time in Mexico.

Kay, Alberta

A Girl in Asia said...

Looks like such a gorgeous neighbourhood!

Cate said...

Oh yes! This place looks good even with it's legendary Burroughs character.

Catherine said...

what a great set of comments this week...thank you very much everyone...