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Mexico City

Linda Nyquist, who knows Mexico well, comments: "I remember the name Pani being uttered many times by Jimmy Dubin, who was a sort of shirt-tailed cousin by marriage to me and the owner of many hotels. He also really developed the inbound tourist industry. If I remember correctly, Mr. Pani had much to do with the design of the Hotel Reforma, which was "the place" in Mexico during the late 30s and 40s, and somewhat into the 40s. I loved the old suites on the top floors there. They were 2-stories, had winding staircases, and little patios with flowers. By the 80s, the Hotel had fallen on harder times, and the location was somewhat noisy. Mr. Dubin sold it in the late 80s, and he died in 1994. I remember him saying that as a young man, he dreamed of one day staying in the hotel like the Reforma. Who knew that he could go on to own it? Anyway, the story of the Pani families involvement with this hotel is interesting.

Tepito refers to the rather tough area near the Lagunilla market and just to one side of Garibaldi Square. Find the Latin American tower on a map and run your finger to the left; there is it! Oscar Lewis made this neighborhood rather famous with The Children of Sanchez. Tepito is the site of the famous "Thieves' Market," although the last time I was there, there were more plastic trinkits being sold that anything of real value. Perhaps you have to search harder, but watch your wallet"

My comment: The architect was Mario Pani. I am still waiting for Cathie Pani to explain her husband's relationship to him. Linda must have a map of Mexico City with the north to the right. Mine is the usual one with the north at the top. I have made a circle on my map around the Plaza Garibaldi , and noted "Tepito". Apparently the name has no official status. The name? It must be a diminutive of "tepe", a word I have never heard but which the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy defines as a grassy square. Has any of our hispanoparlantes ever heard the word "tepe"? Linda was very brave to go to Tepito. It is the scene of daily shootouts. Yesterday, thieves attacked stores, and the police rushed to the rescue. They shot the shopkeepers instead of the thieves, so the shopkeepers fought back. The end result: three dead and many wounded. And you wonder why I dislike big cities?

Ronald Hilton - 8/5/01