1) Five Names: Before it was destroyed by Cortez, the Aztec city that stood where Mexico City is today was called 1) Tenochtitlan. In the late 18th century the city was known as the 2) City of Palaces because of the grand mansions built by wealthy nobles and merchants. Today it is 3) Ciudad de Mexico or, as the capital of the nation, the 4) Distrito Federal, or 5) Mexico, D.F. (like Washington, DC).
Seneca Falls has a much bigger place in history than it does in geography. It is usually mentioned only as the location of the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention, famously organized by women’s rights crusader, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. So rarely is it mentioned in any other context that one might think it did not exist before or after that event. It’s a small town, much like many other old mill towns in New England and upstate New York, and seems an unlikely setting for, as Stanton called her farmhouse home, “The Center of the Rebellion.” (Stanton was proud of having kept her birth name–Cady–after she married, but for purposes of brevity I call her Stanton here.)
There’s a big church conference in West Berlin and the streets are amazingly crowded, but many shops are closed. It’s the perfect day, we decide, to visit East Berlin, the land of Godless communism, as my husband Bob calls it. We hope to find bookstores selling cheap editions of classic books (Marx, Goethe). Also, because we are traveling on a tight budget, as always, we hope for some inexpensive but substantial meals. The Wall has been down for about seven months, but East and West are not yet unified, and they still have separate currencies.
Some say it’s the most dangerous place in the world, but that might depend on your species. Surrounded by barbed wire, minefields, and soldiers, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea seems anything but, yet this strip of land a couple of miles wide and about a 160 miles long is a safe and peaceful haven for plants and animals. There has been almost no human activity within it for over 50 years.