Barrios Bravos: Doctores

The next Barrio Bravo that I have decided to revisit digitally is south/southwest of the Centro Histórico. Although the “tough neighborhood” in question is neither as sprawling as Iztapalapa, nor as dense as Tepito, nor as jam-packed with history as Tlatelolco, it houses several hundred thousand Chilangos and has just enough points of interest to merit a few paragraphs in this blog series.

Doctores is so named because several of its streets are named after various doctors of some renown. Dr. Olvera, for example, was an 18th-century forensic scientist. Roughly speaking, the large colonia stretches runs from Arcos de Belén in the north to Viaducto in the south, and from Avenida Cuauhtémoc in the west to Eje Central in the east. The entirety of Doctores lies within Cuauhtémoc delegación (borough), which also governs the always-bustling Centro Histórico.

Eje Central 6

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Gringo Nacho Lucha Libre

Lucha Libre 2 - from cell phone

Last weekend I scratched off one item from my Mexico City “bucket list.” I was somewhat curious about lucha libre wrestling. If you don’t know, it is a stylized version of “WWE” wrestling and is popular in Mexico, Japan, and predominantly-Hispanic regions of the U.S. In lucha libre, wrestlers commonly wear masks. Years ago, the masks were simple, one-or-two-color affairs worn basically to help spectators identify who was who. “Blue Demon” wore a light blue mask and faced off against “El Santo” (“The Saint”), who wore a white mask. Culturally, the masks caught on, and today are worn not just by the wrestlers but by their fans as well. Many masks remain simple in design, yet others are more ornate, and can resemble serpents, gods, or other mythical warrior figures, often borrowed from Aztec culture.

Research revealed that matches take place every Friday night at the Arena México, and I figured it could be a fun Friday event if I could gather a few friends. My buddy Mario – a life-long Chilango who, like me, had never been to a match – was up for it, and we were joined by my friend Sofía as well as by three of her friends. We consulted an arena map before buying, and the prices seemed reasonable for all but the most expensive of tiers. We chose a section slightly right-of-center, and on match night, I couldn’t believe how close the seats really were. A bargain!

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