The Plaza of Three Cultures (and Three Tragedies) in Mexico City

The Plaza of Three Cultures / Plaza de Tres Culturas is remarkable not only for the collision of past and present but the numerous tragedies that have occurred there, starting with Cortes’ massacre of the Aztecs followed hundreds of years later by the Army’s murder of hundreds of student protesters in 1968 and finally the 1985 earthquake.

We visited on Jan 5, a bright quiet day. There were only a few other tourists but the place was crowded with lessons and, no doubt, ghosts. An engraved sign commemorating Cuauhtemoc’s defense of Tlatelolco against Cortes takes a neutral position on the outcome: “Neither triumph nor defeat, it was the painful birth of the Mestizo nation that is the Mexico of today.”

Sense of Risk: A Trampoline in Mexico

 

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When I was a little kid in Illinois, I remember some neighbors had toy trampolines in their backyards. But by the time I was eight or 10, they had all disappeared, and I remember my mother telling me they’d been banned as toys because too many people were getting injured.

Although I can’t find any record via Google that a ban actually occurred in the 1970s, there’s plenty of information today regarding the risks of casual trampolining and the precautions people should take. That’s why it was both alarming and refreshing when I saw these folks setting up a big trampoline for kids to play on in Parque de EspaƱa in Mexico City.

Of course, safety is crucial. Playgrounds should be safe spaces. And I’m not saying that trampolines without safety belts and mats are safe toys. But I sometimes get the feeling that the average American playground is too safe.

Does every swing and jungle gym need a mat under it? Isn’t it sometimes OK if a kid, while playing, gets a scrape or a bruise now and then?