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Mexico: colorful architecture, history, and people

Mexico is the birthplace of three major civilizations – the Maya, Aztec and Olmec all flourished in the land that is now called Mexico. Thus, it is full of many mysterious and historic sites. Some of them have even been named World Heritage Sites. Because of the news stories coming out of Mexico, the public often views it as a place is tagged with chaos, narcotics, robbers and so on. However, my first impression of Mexico is from a colorful photo which I inadvertently caught a glimpse of: a yellow old car, a green house and a red street. Certainly, this placid scene is the real Mexico many people do not see in the headlines.

Perhaps because Mexico has a unique geographical location, it owns the unrivaled Caribbean’s blue waters; Perhaps because of the extreme gap between the rich and the poor in the country, the urban architecture presents unique contrasts. The whole city seems to be a gentle Mexican girl. It lets people be immersed in the busy streets, the plazas where people sing and dance. Moreover, in the warm and ambiguous taverns, you will spontaneously feel Mexico’s charm. The charm is like the colorfulness of the buildings, which are strong and pure. The use of color is very bold and the contrast between the different colors is very intense, which creates a crisp visual impact. Mexican people are obsessed with color, whether it be in their architecture or in their art. They have an inborn talent for matching colors. There is a commonality among traditional Mexican architecture: it all incisively shows Mexicans’ passion and joy, conveying these feelings to everyone.

In Mexico, people are fond of painting their houses preferable colors. Different unimagined colors all appear on the same street, whether they be strong or tranquil in appearance. These colors are endowed with life by the interplay between light, shadow and water. They change in different periods of a day, bringing a calm and dreamy feeling. There is an interesting saying about these colors: the pigments are not from modern products. Rather, they came from natural ingredients found ubiquitously in Mexican markets. The dyes are made from a mixture of pollen and snail shells, which allows them to not fade easily. For example, along a pink wall often emerges a cluster of pink flowers, which are the national flower in Mexico. The color of the pink wall comes from those very same flowers.

Under the sunshine, the colorful walls are like a set of petals: one side is open and perceptible, but the other side is mysterious and hidden in the shadows, which brings peace to people. Inside such dwellings, people can calmly face the warmth of spring and the loneliness of autumn leaves. Facing beauty, loneliness, joy and death, Mexican people are calm and relaxed. No wonder why Mexicans are so content with their life instead of being caught up in their troubles! If the saying goes that Chinese have a spirt of ordinary men, which means to first worry about the troubles and only at last to enjoy universal happiness, then Mexicans must have a pure spirit of enjoying life. “Death is a reflection of living and if people die meaninglessly, their life must be meaningless as well.” This quote not only shows an aspect of Mexican culture, but it also displays Mexicans’ values towards humanity and philosophy.