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December 16th, 2009:

Tunnel art in DF: does it soothe or scare?

We went to Mercado Ciudadela yesterday evening to do a bit of Christmas shopping (FYI, it seems to closes by about 7PM). Good spot for both locals or tourists wishing to find a solid selection of Mexican handicrafts at reasonable prices (and for any visitors lacking in Spanish, several vendors speak enough English to answer questions you may have).

We drove home westbound along Avenida Chapultepec, which goes underground for maybe half a mile to avoid the messy intersection with Avenida Insurgentes (the main drag north/south through the city). As we were sitting in traffic, we had ample time to stare at the tunnel walls, painted a lovely ocean-blue. And I do mean “ocean” blue, as they are also adorned with numerous aquatic creatures who appear to be vigorously swimming along in the direction of traffic.

This open lane is a brief anomaly, because normally there is never that much space between 2 cars anywhere in Mexico City...

This open lane is a brief anomaly, because normally there is never that much space between 2 cars anywhere in Mexico City...

Every time I’ve been in this tunnel, I am torn between the following opinions:

  1. Good job you, Mexico City! How forward-thinking of you to support public art installations! Thanks for sprucing up this otherwise-crappy tunnel with these dolphin and tropical fish friends! They are so pleasant! If I stare at them long enough, I can almost imagine myself riding that dolphin to freedom- a freedom that does not involve breathing in copious amounts of exhaust fumes & listening to angry honking!
  2. So of all the options for perking up this tunnel, did simulating being trapped underwater really make the most sense here? If given enough time sitting in traffic underground, one’s mind can’t help but wandering to worst-case scenarios of either a) this tunnel collapsing, or b) this tunnel filling with water. Please, dolphin, signal the way to escape from this possible watery grave.
Flipper! Wait! Take me with you!

Flipper! Wait! Take me with you!

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