Amazing Mexico City

I didn’t know much about Mexico City before we arrived. The first time I heard about the place was at a quiz night, many years ago. The question was, “Which city has the most amount of taxis per square meter?” and after each table got the answer wrong with answers like “New York,” and “Bombay”, a girl proudly stood up and announced, “Mexico City!” This was before the days of Google being accessed by hidden-under-the-table smart phones, so despite the fact that I was pretty impressed by her knowledge at the time, I’m now doubly so.

Apart from that bit of take-away trivia, I knew very little else about Mexico City, except that it was big (home to over 20 million people) and very, very dangerous. I booked our flights out of the country from the capital so we could experience the mysterious metropolis for ourselves, but as time drew closer, I wondered if I’d done the right thing. What if my last impression of my beloved Mexico was tarnished by the seething pollution machine of the Distrito Federal, its infamous crime-pit of a capital city?

We cautiously booked accommodation in the up-market suburb of Condesa, and I removed my jewellery (as was recommended to me) before we boarded the metro from the airport. Once we had checked into our hostel, we went looking for something to eat and felt under-dressed for many of the classy establishments in the neighbourhood. It seemed as if anyone who was anyone was out wining and dining; dressed to the nines while their shiny Audis were valet-parked along the tree-lined streets. I don’t know why this came as such a surprise to me since I had read that Mexico City was the ‘richest’ city in Latin America, but I was quite taken aback by the show of wealth on display.

Over the course of the next couple of days, I was even more surprised by the capital; all of it pleasantly so. We had an absolute blast exploring its many wonders, keenly aware of how much more we were missing due to our limited time there.

I went from wondering if we should visit Mexico city at all, to wishing we had planned a longer stay – the vibrance, energy and culture of the capital definitely ‘had me at hola’. Please forgive me for telling this story mostly through photos, but we crammed so much in to our three short days, that with my terrible editing skills, this post would be obscenely long if I tried to describe everything we experienced.

So here it is, this lazy (and pretty exhausted) blogger’s highlights of Amazing Mexico City in pictures and a few words:

The Food!

We ducked into this tiny taqueria after visiting The Zocalo, the main square, for super greasy yet delicious tacos al pastor, in which the meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The friendly owner was very welcoming (obviously) and didn’t mind me taking over his hot plate for a photo.

The Metro

The metro in Mexico City is super-cheap, at just 3 pesos per journey, no matter what the distance. That’s just 25 cents, and considering how fast and efficient it is, is the best way to get around the city since traffic can be horrendous. We found it very safe, and met some lovely people, including a man from Chiapas who was quite chuffed to meet us since we had just come from there.

The Art

Mexico City is one big public art gallery. We saw the most spectacular art everywhere, without stepping foot inside an actual gallery – on the streets, in churches and inside foyers.

These photos of the gargantuan religious artworks adorning the walls of the ancient San Fransisco Church in the center of the city do not do them justice. Despite thinking this would be ‘just-another-church’ these pieces were absolutely awe-inspiring, and remain my most vivid memories of the city.

Another amazing mural, this time on the ceiling of the Chapultepec Castle, a palatial building that was used as a set for Baz Lurhman’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (and a few other historically important things!) The Views

View of Mexico City

A trip to the top of  The Latino Americano Tower provided 360 degree views of the city, and we spent at least an hour up there, gazing out across the sprawling metropolis.

And for the cost of a cup of coffee, we were privy to this beautiful view of the Palacio de Bellas Artes from a cafe on the 7th floor of the Sears department store. We wandered into Sears looking for a bathroom, and luckily had trouble finding one. Whilst doing the ‘pretending to shop whilst looking for a toilet’ thing, we caught a glimpse of this amazing view through the windows, then were chuffed to find an open-aired cafe overlooking the ornate Opera house, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.

Green Spaces

Despite its reputation for being over-populated and hence extremely polluted, modern-day Mexico City certainly seems to be making an effort to create green spaces in otherwise urban environments.

Cool wall garden in the middle of the city. Squirrels!

Squirrels in Chapultepec Park

These little guys are everywhere in Chapultepec park, near where we stayed in Condesa. They took a shining to Tyrhone, or perhaps it was the other way around… And in the spirit of saving the best till last, my biggest highlight of our time in Mexico City was:

Lucha Libre!

We purchased tickets to a night of Mexican wrestling online then went to the stadium during the day to pick them up, though we could have bought them on the door no problems (again, we were being extra cautious). I had no idea what to expect, apart from Jack Black’s rendition in the film, ‘Nacho Libre’ (which was the sole reason we wanted to see a match).

It was far more entertaining and enjoyable than I ever expected, and we had an absolute ball getting into the cheering and boo-ing with the very vocal crowd, the loudest of which being an eight-year old kid behind us. I wish my Spanish was good enough to understand the taunts he was throwing out at the top of his high-pitched voice, but “Go and cry to your Mother, you big baby!” may have been one of them.

The stunts were ultra athletic, and the comedic inter-play between the characters was highly entertaining. I never ‘got’ choreographed wrestling before, but I now understand the entertainment value of grown men in stretchy pants flinging themselves around a ring.

Unfortunately cameras were not allowed inside the stadium (though weirdly, phones were), so aside from these snaps of the outside of the stadium, we just have phone-pics of the actual match:

lucha libre

Sadly, our time in Mexico had to come to an end. I was so glad that I got to experience the capital of the country I had come to love so much, and fall further in love with the amazingly diverse culture of Mexico.

Mexico City is one of the most wonderful cities I’ve ever visited. It was nothing as I had imagined, and nothing like the horror stories I had heard. We didn’t once feel unsafe or threatened, though we were more cautious with our belongings than normal. I’m sure any city with 20 million people has its fair share of problems and crime, but it also has an intangible energy, radiating history and culture at every street corner.

fruit stand Mexico City

Salbornes Mexico city

 

I’m so glad we got to experience it for ourselves. Hasta luego (see you later) Mexico; not Adios, because we will definitely be back!

                                                                                                                      

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Comments

Amazing Mexico City — 36 Comments

    • That’s so awesome to hear Andi, it really is amazing, isn’t it?! I’m sure we barely scratched the surface and there is so, so much more to experience. Thank you!!! :)

  1. Hi Sarah

    Love reading your blogs your a true inspiration, love reading of your adventures. As I sit here on Airport Reserve, you pictures of your yummy meals, are teasing my growling and never satisfied belly. Your pics are amazing, love all the colours. Will have to add Mexico to the “To Do” list.

    Take care, safe travels and best wishes to what will be a truly great 2013.

    C xx

    • Aw thank you Claire bear!!! Thanks so much for following on and I wish you all the best for Christmas and the new year. Lovely to hear from you and I hope all is well with you too :)

  2. Every time I have read one of your posts from Mexico I always get itchy feet and start daydreaming of leaving my beloved India and heading to explore new places. Your photos are beautiful and the food looks divine. I hope we get to hang out with you guys there one day in the not too distant future. But first, India. See you here next week chica xxx
    Hannah recently posted..One month update from the roadMy Profile

    • It so should! The Mexican police love a good ‘mordida’ (bribe) from the foreigners, but other than that they are pretty harmless from what I hear. All the best with your travels Lyndsay, thanks for stopping by :)

  3. Finally something positive about Mexico! I’m so sick & tired of hearing how dangerous it is, how you should be careful, or go only to resorts. Sigh… I just came back from Baja California and miss MX so much!

    DF is one of my favorite cities to visit and I can’t wait to go back. The food there is A-MA-ZING, it’s one of the best foodie destinations. I love your photos, they show so many aspects of the city. Well-done, Sarah!
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Tendillas Square in Córdoba, SpainMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Pola! It just goes to show you really need to experience a place for yourself before making a judgement, and that you can’t always believe what you hear! Go DF!!!

  4. I went when I was about 14 and feel in love with Mexico City. Also fell in love with a Mexican boy haha. I would love to go back and see it now! Hope it isn’t too much longer until I can make it there. Thanks for the post, sometimes I wonder if the crime would be an issue if I decided to go!
    Jessica Wray recently posted..Snowy Dukeui Elementary in PicturesMy Profile

    • And see the boy, who is now a man?! He he, thanks for sharing Jessica!!! I honestly do not think you will have any problems, stay in a group or with someone especially at night, and I only say that as a precaution. Mexican women were out at night on their own (granted, in up-scale suburbs) running and walking their dogs. Enjoy!

  5. Sarah—I totally loved your post and experience in Mexico City. It is also one of my favorite cities and often gets passed up since it is in “Mexico.” How crazy is it that Mexicans are so formal. This was probably the biggest shock to me when I moved there. (I live outside of a city in north Mexico). The formality and glits and glam if you will, was totally foreign to me. I have now gotten used to all the chauffeur’s, fancy outfits, high society life styles, ridiculous platform shoes I will never be able to walk in,skin tight outfits, maids/house keepers, and more….

    Fabulous Blog—I will check in frequently. There are many many more stories I look forward to reading!!
    Alyssa recently posted..Bulls, Sheep, Doggy Dilemmas, and CookiesMy Profile