There are those who sneeringly lament that Mexico City has become hopelessly gringo-ized: witness the multiplying Wal-Marts and Starbucks around town. But I think that those people miss a crucial point, which is how stubbornly Mexico City remains a truly Mexican city. Take the Plaza Santo Domingo, for example: has this downtown square changed all that much from the days when the Spanish conquerors were rounding up infidels and prosecuting them here?
Underneath the plaza's arches are print shops, which have been here for centuries. People still come here to get business cards, wedding invitations, glasses with someone's name on them for their 40th birthday party, and -- according to word on the street -- all sorts of false forms of identification. Some of these places still use hot type, although if you are getting a massive number of cards or forms, chances are they've gone digital.
The man at the typewriter is what is called an escritor público -- for the not-quite-literate, he will fill out forms and even write cards, letters and assorted missives. Back in the day, they say they used to do a brisk business writing love letters.
Not everyone is happy about getting her picture taken around here. One block from the plaza is one of my favorite cantinas, which I posted about years ago.