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Albert Maywood Courtright II

Trip to Mexico, Summer 1940

Sunday, July 7

First thing we heard this morning was shouting & by the time we were dressed there was a general fight with sticks stones & one or two guns. A crowd ran past the door & a number of people took refuge inside our gate which was then locked. Symphony concert was scheduled for 11 a.m. We drove downtown passing numerous crowds & several trucks of police & soldiers besides several emergency Red Cross cars & nurses. Found when we got to the Palacio de Belles Artes that the concert had been called off. Found that all museums were likewise closed so drove out to Chapultepec Park where we discovered a zoo, pony rides for the youngsters & much tranquility. Got home about 2:30 where we ate the rest of our chicken in a boiled dinner. Walked over to the election booth which was surrounded by a mob (4 policemen and a squad of soldiers.) Many of the mob had clubs and fists full of stones though there was no trouble when we got there. This booth seemed biased in favor of Almazan as there were no ballots to be had for Comancho. The system of voting was very loose - boys of 15 seemed to be voting. One of the officials whom we talked to was such in favor of Almazan and stated that 90% of the people were "Almazanistas." The fight in the morning had been caused, he said, by a mob which tried to steal the ballot boxes which were out on the street. These had been locked up and voters were now placing their ballots in an open box. I couldn't see the advantage. Ballots had to be signed. Blank ballots were all over the steet & there seemed to be little system about checking up on whether the voters were legitimate residents of the district. Alan, Yolande & I went to the bull ring where a bull fight was scheduled for 5 p.m. but it also had been called off. Finished our chicken with noodles. More rain.

Monday, July 8

Yvette spent the day at the American Consulate. There are 20,000 people in her fix trying to get papers so they can get back into the U.S.A. & tho US immigration authorities are making it as complicated as possible for them to return. The least we will have to pay is $10 for a visa.

Alan didn't feel so well this morning. He thinks it is the bite of mango that he ate last night. While he stayed in the car, Yolande & I went to take some films to be developed and to buy a Mexican guide book. Went back and got Yvette then visited the National Museum. Parked on the Paseo de la Reforma while we had lunch. Drove Yvette back to the Consulate for a 2:30 appointment. She was there until 7 p.m. Went to Hotel Geneve to try to locate Miss Krause but she was not registered there. Took the youngsters to the park (Chapultepec) where they rode ponies for ½ hour. Returning from there we climbed up the Monument of Independance [sic]. Very dark winding stairs inside the shaft.

Yvette met lady at Consulate who speaks French - educated in Switzerland - husband was pure Aztec noble. Promised to send her address of a house where we can rent an apartment. Also met prof. from New Orleans with a spanish wife.

Tuesday, July 9

Yvette slept only two hrs. Alan still not feeling so well. Spent morning at the market. Only fruits that good are bananas & pineapples both of which are better & cheaper than at home. Other fruits very expensive & taste like wood pulp. Markets stink terribly especially meats. Cardenas market only a block away but we got stuck with a shoe shine guide (5¢). I promised to have my shoes shined when I got back to the house. He has 8 children - from 2 to 14 yrs. Gave him 30¢ instead of the 20¢ he asked for the shine. Hard rain after dinner. Went to Coyoacan looking for the apartment that the french speaking woman left an address for. Found the street but no address of that number though we exhausted every resource. Went downtown in the rain - streets were a mess especially in Coyoacan - to get my pictures & buy post cards. Altogether a disagreeable day.

Wedensday, July 10

House hunted all day again with no success. Went to Agencia Territorial Mexicana (real estate agents) who gave us two apartments to look up - that's all they had. The first one, 119 Cayoacan, was on a car line & impossibly dirty. Another good hard rain. Weather is so damp that clothes will not dry. Drove up to suburb on Atzcapotzalco in the hope that the Lerdo st. given us by the French lady would be here. No luck. More rain.

Thursday, July 11

Went with Mr. Garcia to see his U.S. Courts. Brand new. Consists of a whole block with a large open space in the center - swimming pool. Our apartment, which is the smallest, consists of a kitchen (small room with a sink & table), dining room, 2 bedrooms & tiled bath. Although new, the plaster is beginning to come off the walls. They asked $250 a month but we brought them down to $200 (approx $40 U.S.) which is more that we ought to pay. After going to market where Yvette managed to get a good dinner - meat & all we had a light lunch & struck out for Guadalupe shrine intending to stop at the Palacia on the way & see the curtain in action. However we ran into a street demonstration which delayed us past the time to see it so, after going to post office to correct our address, we continued on the Guadalupe where we arrived just as the afternoon rain started. Stayed in the car for some time waiting for rain to let up then drove up close to door and ran for it. Church well arranged and very rich. Drove home through floods. Wrote letter.

Friday, July 12

Visited museum of Natural History. Old building with a hodge-podge collection. Poorly mounted & poorly displayed. Not enough room in the building. Two school classes in the building taking notes. Went home after looking in at railroad station & ate our last meal at "Royal Courts." Moved to our new place at 121 Mazatlán. No place to hang clothes. Yvette & I went for a walk while the youngsters played in the swimming pool. Bought bread & rolls, milk & bananas & had lunch. Took another walk to Chapultapec Park. On way back examined a row of new houses being built. Workmanship shoddy and materials just as bad. All walls are of a poor grade of brick tied together about every 8' with reinforced concrete mixed by hand & carried up a ladder in sacks. Much building going on all over Mexico City. Several new large buildings down town & many rows of houses & apartments. Drop light wiring out of a hole in the ceiling. Plaster rubs off. Kitchen facilities nil, no drain boards on sinks, inadequate cupboard space etc. yet fancy tile floors, bathrooms, patios, balconies etc., etc. No buildings have basements. Floor is laid over rough wooden joists about 6x6. This row of houses were all on the same plan yet the exteriors were all varied in color and design. Large cracks were showing between house units already. Switch [boxes] for wiring all open & placed anywhere. Floor plugs, if any, in wrong places. No shades used on any lights. Wood works spattered with paint from walls. Floors spattered with varnish. Rain didn't start until about 5:30 today. Pineapple, bread & potatoes for supper. All of us have numerous bites here & there - must be fleas though we haven't seen any.

Saturday, July 13

Had sun all morning. Youngsters found English speaking friends of their own age & spent the morning in the swimming pool with them. Walked over to Hippodrome Park with Alan, a park for children, to see if we could find burros to ride. No hay. Decided to walk downtown by myself. Took me an hour. Bought Newsweek 14¢ (US). Got on wrong bus. Nearly wore out my knees walking back home. Went in hotel R during rain. Alan got soaking in rain and Yolande left her shoes out by swimming pool. Still no stove but electric hot-plate.

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Sunday, June 30 through Saturday, July 6
Sunday, July 14 through Saturday, July 20

Last modified on 21 March 2017 @ 19:10