When I was in kindergarten, the local government of León, my hometown in Mexico, bought the land my school was on and we had to leave. Staff and students helped move everything from blackboards to chairs to the new premises which were, as it seemed to me at the time, in the middle of nowhere. I spent less than a year in the “old school”, and many years waiting for the workers to finish building whatever it would become.

In 2010 they finally finished and inaugurated a gigantic area dedicated to culture and arts. It is called the Cultural Forum and it’s composed of a huge library, a museum, and a theatre. The whole place is gorgeous and one of the only things I feel has changed for the better here. The gardens are usually quiet and well-kept, the museum has a wide variety of expositions and the theatre, oh boy, the theatre.

The Bicentennial Theatre, for that is its name, is a very unique place. Very modern in its looks, it can hold up to 1,500 spectators. Its acoustic is one of the best in the world and the best in Latin America. I often think it’s funny that such a wonderful architectural wonder is here, in León, for it surpasses the country’s most famous cultural enclosure, the National Auditorium in Mexico City. It is a well-kept secret, perhaps. Many kinds of performances take place here, mainly operas. In the four years that I lived in Mexico City, I still came back to several operas and concerts, the most memorable being a performance by Diana Damrau (she sang two songs from My Fair Lady and it doesn’t really get much better than that).

Today, after several months, I took a walk to work instead of taking the car, and I passed the Forum. Few things have changed, if only it seems prettier now. A few people were basking in the sun, a few others sitting under a tree. There’s a new section to the gardens where many statues by national artist stand, watched by a stern-looking guard. I still think it funny that such a place stands like an oasis between the busy city centre and a soccer stadium.

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