Mexico City

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Manu | 9 December 2015 | no comments
Zocalo Square

Zocalo Square

Arriving in a megalopolis like Mexico City, the biggest city in the world, can be a real cultural and emotional shock.

The 1st impression you may have is a feeling of lost. The city wraps you immediately in its craziness, in the noise of its exaggerated traffic, in its pollution, in its over inhabited streets, among its skyscrapers and neverending roads, in its pure madness. Being able to understand anything about it, how it works and how to survive it, will seem a mission impossible at the beginning, but don’t panic. It will come.

At first sight Mexico City reminded me of Accra, the capital of Ghana, where modernity has completely taken over the life of its citizens who have become victims of what they have created.

So where to start? Here it is my tips from my first two days in the city.

 

Consider the distances.

Mexico City is huge. What on the map looks like a long road, it may extend for kilometers and kilometers. Consider this when you decide to walk a road like Reforma, in the center, or when you try to be at a place at a certain time. Consider this also when going around with Tourist buses, as it is basically impossible to visit the whole city in one day. I don’t know very well how Mexicans do when they give an appointment to someone but I guess to concept of being on time is very relative around here as it is everywhere in the Latin world.

Mexico City

Seen in Mexico City chaos

 

Consider the Hop on-Hop off Turibus.

It may be a very touristic way to approach a new place but there are a couple of reasons why the Tourist bus is one of the best way to go around town. First of all it is very cheap. While in other places around the world, the Touribus is particularly expensive, in Mexico City it is ridiculously cheap: only 146 Mexican dollars for the entire day, that in Euros is like 8 euros. And second, the pass gives you the possibility to visit the whole city, or better the part of the city that can be of some interest for you, avoiding all the rest.

Mexico City

The Touribus is a cheap, quicker and good way to see Mexico City from a different point of view. Here the Palace of Bellas Artes in Zocalo

 

Consider the traffic.

While with the Tourist bus you may avoid the part of the city that doesn’t interest you, you will unfortunately not be able to avoid the traffic for the simple reason that traffic belongs to this City. There is no time in a day when there is literally no traffic. Mornings and early evenings are the worse. You will find yourself shocked by so much chaos along the roads. It is insane and it makes you very tired. It is also the biggest font of pollution in town and you will feel it well when you will decide to open your car window to take a fresh air breath…

Mexico City

At 9am the traffic of Mexico City goes crazy

Consider the weather

Despite in Mexico, the weather of Mexico City is not so warm as everybody would expect, and that is because the city is at 2550 mts on the sea level and it is surrounded by mountains all around that don’t let the humidity and warm breeze of the Pacific coast to get in.

For this reason the weather is pretty much always the same all year around with temperature between 20 and 25 degrees. This is to say: bring a jacket with you all the time as you may need it int he early mornings and in the evenings.

Mexico City

The skyscrapers of Reforma shining int he sun

Consider it safe

Many of you have asked me if Mexico City is dangerous. Well, from my personal point of view, it isn’t. I found Mexican people of Mexico City some of the most gentle people ever met in life. Both young and old people are always friendly and generous, not aggressive and often their very old fashion galateo life style with women will make you smile and feel safe rather than harassed. It is a huge metropolis and clearly there are areas that are not safe…but you can say that of every corner of the world so it is a bit unfair to call this place more dangerous than any other capital on the planet.

Mexico city

A manifestation about the students who disappeared last year was held in town for days

Consider the museums

Even if you are not into museums at all, and much more if you are, before heading to Teotihuacan or just for pure pleasure, consider an afternoon at the Museum of Anthropology, few blocks away from the Auditorium. The entrance fee is cheap and I can tell you as soon as you step in it you will be astonished by the incredible ancient inventory belonging to all the ancient Mezo-American population that have colonized those lands. The Aztecan, Mayan and Teotihuacan room as some of the most amazing ones to visit. When you will find yourself under the Aztecan Sun Stone you will reconsider a lot what you know about history and what they have let you study at school in all those years. Our white, European centric culture and history tradition never had time to properly introduce us to other worlds with which we have shared the planet since ever. We have always considered these cultures like parentesis next to the shine of our world and all its glory. When stepping into that museum your eyes will finally open to the discovery of the new world and its majestic arts, crafts, history, traditions and more …. I’d say if there is one thing to must do in Mexico City, that is to visit this museum. Do not leave the country without. It will enrich your soul as a human being.

Mexico City

There was even the Mayan ancestor of Donald Duck in the Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City

Consider the food

Mexico City has some great spots where it is possible to eat out and have an amazing food experience. The bohemian area of Condeza is one of my favourite. It looks very cosmopolitan, with people from all over the world, but it keeps a very local vibe well, a livable area in that human chaos that is the city itself.

Mexican food needs some to be known, accustomed and loved but Condeza is a good starting point before hitting the wild road of street food in town.

Mexico City

Fruit, fresh juicy tasty fruit is my favourite street food in Mexico