ANYONE who enjoyed the spectacular opening to Spectre, most recent of the Bond movies, would relish a trip to Mexico City.
The film opens with Daniel Craig wearing a skull mask and skeleton-painted suit and with the inevitable female companion on his arm taking part in a Day of the Dead celebration.
From there, via some building-destroying rooftop action 007 swiftly finds himself in the midst of a fight to the death inside the cockpit of a flying helicopter.
As much as there is going on in the foreground, it is the stuff in the background that catches the eye.
There’s the stained glass splendour of the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico where James jettisons his companion, the Zocalo, the famous square where Mexicans have gathered since Aztec times, and most identifiable of all the Cathedral, largest and oldest in Latin America.
All three are great sights for the Tartan Army to take in – even without the trademark pyrotechnics associated with Ian Fleming’s much loved secret service agent.
And seeing them in the flesh is likely to leave them with even more respect for the franchise and indeed the football team they have come to follow.
The first thing to admire is how they managed to get the government to not only agree to shut down the centre for 10 days but fund it to the tune of some £18 million?
Mexico’s capital is one of the world’s mega cities. It has a population of 10 million which rises to 20 million in the greater area.
Those are numbers best appreciated by air, flying in during nightfall the lights seem to sprawl out forever.
On the ground it quickly becomes apparent that all of them seem to be in their cars and driving.
At 8.30 pm the concrete multi-lane motorway that criss-cross the centre were pretty much rammed with my taxi driver laughing at the query when does it calms down. “Never.”
It is not surprising then that there is a major pollution problem, especially in the winter time.
For many European visitors it can be a double whammy as the high-altitude, over 7,000 feet above sea level or, to put it another way, a mile and a half up in the air, affects many.
Lethargy, dehydration, dizziness, sore heads and nausea are all reported symptoms with sufferers advised to drink plenty water and take it a bit easier.
Some feel even as they are collecting their baggage in the airport, for others it kicks in after a couple of days. By which time earlier sufferers in the company can be acclimatising.
Scotland’s trip has, of course, thrown up a couple of notable problems.
Firstly, the national team have to tackle World Cup qualifiers Mexico, whose players won’t be affected, in the Azteca stadium in the early hours of Sunday morning. They will fly in late and use all the tricks sports science has to offer but it is still likely to be tough.
The second, could be even more tricky for many of the fans who enjoy following Scotland to far flung spots for one specific bits of advice is to avoid alcohol in the first couple of days because even a couple of drinks can have the effect of several.
Have the several and drinkers could pay with a Day of the Dead experience even James Bond would be doing well to escape.
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