After securing a Telcel SIM card at MEX airport—which I thought cost 129 USD until I checked that “$” is also used for Mexican peso—and making sure it was gonna keep me going in the city, I booked an Uber to Biblioteca Vasconcelos for $91.96 and stepped out in ~23 minutes, muttering the palabra one has to know in the Spanish world: Gracias!
Like what I read beforehand, I found myself in front of the building whose parking entrance looked like it was specifically made for the transport of specimens. And so I crawled to the left for the main entrance. Precio de la entrada? Nada.
I’m not the most burrowing bookworm but I got a knack of reading which may have started with the sorcerer’s stone. Or could it be that I was influenced by how my classmates were all over pocketbooks back in the day?
When we were in elementary, I remember “Halik sa Pisngi ng Langit” (A Kiss on Heaven’s Cheek) which became the talk of the class when the lead female character’s nails sunk into the back of a guy named Abner. I’ll let you imagine why. Then in high school I clearly recall an
incident instance where a classmate concealed the pocketbook she was reading behind one of our textbooks, as if studying, only that the textbook was upside down, exhibiting that she was reading something else inside it. What a sight? Oh yeah.
Indisputably, you don’t have to be devoted to reading to fall in love with Biblioteca Vasconcelos. The exterior may be meh but the interior is just stupefying. (Stupefy! And the Death Eater goes flying.) It’s out of this world. There was no other way but up for my gaze upon entering and I was actually discreet at taking photos at first as I felt that the guards would reprimand me. When I finally acclimatized, I was firing
spells shots everywhere.
With the library’s modern design having steel bookshelves on translucent floors suspended from the ceiling, I couldn’t help but think of it as a laboratory, particularly those in post-apocalyptic novels-turned-into-movies-or-television-series. It’s like where the Munies were experimented on in The Maze Runner and where the Grounders’ bloods were extracted in The 100. (All clear there! No spoilers at all.)
There was a baggage counter but I didn’t leave my backpack and all was good. Maybe it’s only required when going to certain sections where Mrs. Norris might be purring. There were also artworks around.
Despite the futuristic vibe Biblioteca Vasconcelos exudes, I also get the feeling of books moving on their own. And while I’m at it, the thought of the place being the Ministry of Magic—accessible by flushing yourself in a toilet—in the world of Harry Potter. It was just magical at the same time.
On the ground floor were four sets of flights of stairs with landings that provide access to the first level of books. They’re vantage points (and the best ones at that IMO) for stunning shots. For being very particular on symmetry and having no tripod then, I was lucky that the guard I asked for a photo managed to position my head between the hanging shelves (referring to the topmost photo).
Yo: Tu hablas Ingles?
Yo: Puedes tomar mi foto por favor?
In the middle of all the aforementioned stairs (and the building itself) was a ballena skeleton sculpture with intricate markings.
Biblioteca Vasconcelos does not come short of reading, studying, and resting areas as well as computers. After seeing these common areas up-close, I was instantly sold on the idea of spending an entire day in such a humongous library. The ambiance was too conducive—no better word to describe it—and I don’t think it ever gets packed unless there’s an event.
Of course, what’s a library if you’re not even gonna browse through the selections, right? The stairs and walkways looked industrial, further adding to the image in my head of a laboratory with
hip flasks on the shelves instead of books. Being the outdated software engineer that I am, I had to relish a moment with Windows XP. #Jurassic
After following my animal instinct, which wasn’t by The Cranberries, I toured the massive place from top to bottom and it was an excellent move since I wanted to cover all corners and immediately head out after doing so.
The common areas on
topper (topper?!) higher floors were even more conducive with lesser people; computers, chairs, and couches were undisturbed and having the time of their lives.
I was really curious if anyone can just use any of the machines but since I was only “layovering” and had a SIM card for my antisocial needs, I no longer bothered asking (I didn’t even enquire if there was free Wi-Fi). But given that they’re numbered, it’s most likely not the case.
The Hall of Prophecy, anyone?
“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…”
The presence of mangas didn’t come as a surprise and pictured here is a series where vampires engage in incest to retain their pure bloods. Bare those fangs, honey~
Biblioteca Vasconcelos also has a balcony should you want some fresh air and a break from
your pretentions whatever you’re trying to accomplish in your visit.
Halfway my way down (did that sound right?) I just had to ask for another photo and this time it was from a girl who spoke English. At this point I was not only imagining the books moving but the bookshelves themselves as well. Shabu pa.
As if that wasn’t (or weren’t?) enough, I wanted one more back-on-the-camera shot before going down the final set of stairs and while waiting for someone to take it I saw a couple making out. “Get a
room library,” I wanted to tell them. #BitterOcampo
I think I asked for two retakes (perdon!) but the lad who made the cut was still unable to center-align my head like in the first one. But hey! Beggars can’t be choosers, right? You just have to be thankful as it’s definitely better than having no remembrance at all.
If asked if Biblioteca Vasconcelos is utopian or dystopian, I’d go for the former, no doubt about that. Aside from doing so with my eyes closed (pun intended there), I could even think of it as the tesseract where the quantum data was transmitted from in Interstellar. On the other hand, because of how otherworldly it is like a facility in a flick where Earth embraced an apocalypse, in such sense it’s dystopian.
Because of the structure’s glass walls, on a good day the lighting is natural and very good. With the many chairs to slouch on, you can easily lose yourself among the plethora of books available for flipping (the shelves weren’t even jam-packed, which could be maximum weight-related) or simply get some rest to clear your head. There are elevators around so you can still go up if leg day ain’t for you.
Now, before we bring this rubbish of a post to an end, Mr. Ballena here would like to ask a question.
“How many photos above were upside down?”
If you didn’t notice any—which of course you didn’t—then you have been incepted, a word here which I’m using in the context of the movie Inception starring Leonardo who’s also mentioned in El Nido. Don’t bother going back. You already lost your shot.
My roaming lasted for about an hour before I hopped on another Uber, for $55.65, to Catedral Metropolitana past 7:00 PM.
|Telcel SIM card||129|
|Uber from airport to Biblioteca Vasconcelos||91.96|
|Uber from Biblioteca Vasconcelos to Catedral Metropolitana||55.65|
|Uber from Catedral Metropolitana to airport||73.02|
Visited: August 2019