August 1 . In the airplane to Mexico, I.S., after hours of watching the desert landscape: "The moon must be like this, but with more face powder." I.S. talks about the possibility of an opera on the subject of Maximilian and Juárez, which he thinks would have been ideal for Verdi in his Don Carlos period. "Imagine the scene of Carlotta going mad in the Vatican, and the finale with Maximilian tipping the soldiers who are preparing to shoot him." These speculations are interrupted by an announcement from the steward: "Men and women may use the lavatory indistinctly."
I.S. is applauded at the airport by a committee of composers, professional autograph-collectors, a detachment of soldiers, schoolchildren. We take a taxi called a "crocodile," no doubt because of the black sawtooth necklace painted around its perimeter, but the taxi's tactics are even more jagged and perilous than the emblem suggests. It contests the road with buses whose destinations are long Aztec words complicated with knots of tl's, tz's, and xt's--Ixtaccihuatl, Tlalnepantla, Azcapotzalco.
August 2 . Rehearsal on the stage of the Bellas Artes. A student approaches I.S., saying, "We are too many to meet you and I