MEXICO CITY — Someone in a Charlie Brown costume frantically waves hello. A person dressed as a monkey pretends to take photos with a stuffed camera. An elderly man who just got his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine grabs a microphone and starts singing very loudly.
“I’m 78, but they tell me I look 75 and a half,” the man said gleefully, the assessment supported by his apparent lung strength as he belted out a ranchera song with abandon.
In a bid to improve their customer service, vaccination centers in Mexico’s capital now come with a slate of entertainment options, including dancing, yoga, live operatic performances and the chance to watch large, bare-chested Lucha Libre wrestlers do the limbo.
The goal is to make the process as appealing as possible, said a woman leading a singing and dancing performance for people waiting for a shot at a military parade ground in Mexico City on a recent Wednesday.
“It’s because of that man, better that I not say his name, who said no to masks,” she said. She did not specify whether she was referring to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or his coronavirus czar, Hugo López-Gatell, both of whom have an on-again-off-again relationship with mask-wearing.
“We could have avoided thousands and thousands of deaths if from the beginning they had taken it seriously,” she said softly, before a city worker wheeled her out of the observation section.
Half an hour away, at the stadium that hosted the 1968 Olympics, Maria Silva, who had just gotten her second AstraZeneca shot, danced with five colorfully masked Lucha Libre wrestlers, named Gravity, Bandido, Guerrero Olímpico, Hijo de Pirata Morgan and Ciclón Ramírez Jr.
“It’s a little bit of joy,” Ms. Silva shouted over the live band playing a few feet away, nodding to the beat. “It reanimates what you have inside.”
“There is a media war against President López Obrador right now,” she said, pointedly. “Even American newspapers are attacking the president.”
As people were vaccinated and filed into the area where they would be observed for adverse reactions, the Lucha Libre wrestlers broke out into a “yes you could!” chant.
“My children are going to ask me how it was, so I’m going to bring them evidence,” said Luis González, 68, recording the performance on his cellphone.
When Mr. González’s wife got the coronavirus four months ago, he sat by her side, fanning her with a piece of cardboard to try to make more air available to breathe. After 38 years of marriage, he watched her die in their home, waiting for an ambulance.
This content was originally published here.