Tunnels and bridges

It's been a bit of a heavy week so I haven't been able to write anything until now. Or, rather, I haven't had the strength to write anything. I get home so tired and the last thing I want to do is sit down at the computer. I basically get home at about 7.30 or 8 pm and have a couple of hours to wind down, have some supper and go to bed. It's nice while we have the longer days but soon the days will be short and I will be driving home in the dark, and I hate that. Anyway, here I am!

I went to Mexico City twice this week. It's so wonderful having Google maps as I can see exactly where I am going to go, put it into my head, and most of the time make it there in one piece without getting lost. People say oh, just use Google maps on the phone, or Waze or whatever app is the latest, but I cannot do that. I have to see a map. Shows my age, that's for sure. Also, I cannot drive and look at a phone, it's impossible. So getting an idea of where I am going beforehand is essential for my peace of mind. 

wikipedia.org: Santa Fe, the famous "washing machine" building
en.wikipedia.org The second time I went this week I wasn't driving so that was easy. We went to Santa Fe which is an area of Mexico City that doesn't feel like Mexico. It's all immensely tall modern buildings, a huge shopping centre and endless roads with traffic roaring along at vast speeds. It also has a ghastly climate, so going to Santa Fe in general is daunting, at the best of times. Apparently the day before there had been a massive storm, a hail storm in fact, plummeting temperatures and torrential rain to boot. Everyone was dressed for winter in Santa Fe last Friday, amazing. As I say, I didn't drive this time so there was no problem in getting there, but the point of me telling you about this trip is because it's worth mentioning the way we get there. I have talked before about the second floor, above the Periferico, and how that makes our lives so much easier. Well, to get to Santa Fe we shoot along the second floor then take a left off it (somewhere or other, there are no signs, you have to know where to go...) and on to a motorway that takes us through 3 extraordinary tunnels and over several bridges and instead of taking 3 hours to get there (I kid you not), we now take an hour and a half, or even less.  It is incredible. The tunnels take us through the hills and the bridges takes us over the ravines (see the first photo above). This modernisation of the roads makes such a huge difference to us, it really does. A number of our clients have their offices in Santa Fe so this is good news for us. 

Having said that, the damage to ecosystems, flora and fauna is tremendous and people try to stop the modernisation but to no avail. The same thing is happening here in Cuernavaca. The motorway is way too small for the amount of traffic and they are talking about a second floor, or even another ring road but ambientalists are not taking this lightly. I have to agree with them, the destruction of the countryside is terrible. Of course for me, coming from England, where progress in the 50s and 60s was welcomed we never thought about the consequences. I can remember when we used to drive down to Cornwall every summer in our Morris Minor, it used to take us 9 hours as they were no motorways. I have this very strong memory of my father saying with great pride, look! we are going over the M1! We all obediently looked down at the pristine motorway, in those days, empty of traffic almost. This was the first motorway to be built in England: "the building of the M1 motorway, opened in November 1959. The M1 was Britain's first long-distance motorway stretching 74 miles from St Albans in Hertfordshire to Dunchurch in Warwickshire. Five thousand men worked on the project, twenty million tonnes of rock, chalk and soil were removed, one mile was completed every day and one bridge was built every three days".(www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone). We never questioned if motorways should be built or not, we were proud of our nation's infrastructure. Today, for Mexico, a country in development, the modernisation has to cope with a population that has far more information about what kind of damage we are doing to the environment and that's the issue. Back in the 50s in the Uk we hadn't a clue and global warming was not on the agenda, climate change not felt yet, and so roads were built, ecosystems were destroyed. But what do we do now in countries that are trying to develop? Sit in a state of non-development or just plough ahead? Of course, at the end of the day, progress will always win, that's what people want. That's what economic progress is all about and to hell with the environment. 

I think the point today is that we are hell bent on economic progress and that entails modernisation at any cost. The result: more emissions of CO2, more destruction of the countryside, more extraction of oil, gas and precious minerals, more damage to the environment, more global warming, more climate change, more contamination, more corruption. We are on a road to destruction, that is clear to me. Whether it will be in my lifetime or the next or the following generation is not clear, but it will be soon. That worries me terribly.

Next weekend I will be 60 and I am not sure about the next 20 years. Do I really want to live until I am 80? I don't know. 


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