Exotic Chinese In Mexico DFWednesday, April 18, 2007
In 1997 when I had to choose a location to photograph one of my favourite Mexican (but Spanish born) authors, Paco Ignacio Taibo II it was easy. It had to be an exotic place. A place that was both mysterious but prominent in his mystery novels. His odly named Mexico City private detective, Héctor Belascoarán Shayne, who has a fondness for Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz, also likes Chinese food. In Mexico City, for many years that was a problem. There was a Chinese restaurant in the Zona Rosa called the Luau which was expensive. And then there was the two block Callejón de Dolores, a narrow street by the Alameda Park. This was and still is the city's only China Town.
When I photographed Taibo there, the street seemed much too peaceful. In his novel The Shadow of the Shadow (1986, La Sombra de la Sombra) there is a big explosion and a fire-eating Chinese-Mexican union organizer, Tomás Wong could be the culprit.
In my 18 years in Mexico I don't remember ever seeing any Chinese except the odd one on a bus and I would stare. To this day going for Chinese food in Vancouver has yet to lose its exotic nature for me.