We had to leave Mexico City way too soon – added to the fact that I got sick and lost a day as well I wish we had more time there! I didn’t have an exact preconceived notion about Mexico City and I was excited to visit but what I found there really had very little to do with what I thought in advance. I loved what I found. It was better than anything that I thought and the bad parts which I thought either weren’t even part of it or they just didn’t seem that important. I think for this blog I am going to just put in an arbitrary photo in between each sentence and see how that goes – just because I have so many photos! (Complete Gallery at very bottom)
Rode our bikes all over,
ate great food,
strolled in park-like neighborhoods,
viewed the massive city from 40 floors up
, visited a castle overlooking the city that is a museum,
jammed through crowded markets, got on boats in canals, took the subway all over the place and more, more, more.
So, towards the bad – Mexico City is smoggy. This is probably the one thing that was more or less exactly as I expected if not slightly worse. I’ve never been in a place like that – people talk about LA and smog. Entering Mexico city it looked like we were driving into a fog bank butit was smog. I’ve never been in a situation where I was pretty sure that the air was hurting my eyes before and it was. This is the worst thing that I will say about Mexico – and – the rest of the experience blew that smog out and made it more than worth it.
And the flip side of this is where the surprises start in Mexico City. Mexico city is very conscious about their smog problem and the signs of a government trying to actually DO SOMETHING about their environment are everywhere. Start with the laws which only allow you to drive on certain days of the week based on your license plate number, move to the eco-bikes that can be found to rent all over the city – thousands of them – and thousands of them in use all over the place.
Move on to the number of bike lanes that can be found all over the city. Move on to the fantastic public transportation system. 20 million people in a geographical space the size of Mexico City is a daunting task to face – especially because there is cultural climb to educate the people in the idea of saving the planet where so many of them have struggled just to get by. Still it’s clear that there is a hell of a lot more movement toward that goal than I have seen in just about any US city and that’s something that I didn’t expect.
Moving forward. Katie and I felt incredibly safe walking around and it wasn’t because we are ignorant. Sure, there are places that it would be stupid to go in Mexico City – we didn’t go there. Anyone from New York should be aware of place like the South Bronx and – duh – you don’t go there. In the center of Mexico City where the bustle is it’s very clear that as an American I was not a target and that people are going around doing their business and lots of it.
To attest to this fact we ate dinner at a restaurant one night and the waiter was a young French guy who traveled for a while, returned to France and found it desperate, violent and dark and was so depressed that he felt that he needed to return to Mexico because it feels so positive there. We talked about safety issues and he voiced that every once in a while you hear about pickpocketting but there isn’t isn’t senseless violent crime and there just isn’t the type of crime that is stereotypically associated with the idea of Mexico City. You can choose to believe that we are naive but I would go to the wall saying we’re the ones who are correct.
Here’s one that blew us away and is really a mind bender. In Mexico City gay is more than OK. Gay is so completly accepted it is just amazing. I have never been to a city where it’s so perfectly normal to see guy couples and girl couples living their normal lives affectionately in public without even a question of it being totally normal. Not San Fran, not anywhere. This is important to me because Katie and I are very openly affectionate – we aren’t hard core PDA but we hold hands all of the time and are constantly touching because it is how we are. I’ve never been to a place where I’ve seen so many gay couples enjoying that freedom where no one thinks twice. The fact that this is Mexico city and this is the way it is should scream to the world that anti-gay is a losing battle. Mexico city where just about everyone is Catholic seems to have figured out that love is love and has figured out how to make their Sundays alright with both going to church and walking to the park where 2 guys are strolling hand in hand. The rest of the world needs to catch up and get a less on the reconciliation of those concepts.
So past that Mexico city is a tornado of culture. There are more amazing museums than I am pretty sure that there are in New York and they are housed in buildings of the likes that New York simply can’t hold a candle to. The architecture is just so brilliant. The colonial buildings are just so different and for my taste much more lovely than the modern styles that can be seen in Manhattan. Don’t get me wrong – I love New York but there is just so much flavor and style in these buildings that it’s hard to hold a candle to.
I could write so much more but It’s time to move on. Hopefully I will be able to get back and be in Mexico City more in depth. Leaving too soon but I’m so full of memories and I have all of the photos to look at as well.