I´m in love with Mexico City and I don´t think I could be more surprised about it. Maybe my expectations were too low; all the stories I had heard were of crazy traffic, terrible insecurity, awful air quality. And I don´t intend to say that this does not happen, because it probably does in other areas of the city. But so far I have found a city where one of the biggest avenues is closed for motor traffic on Sunday mornings; where bicycle tracks exist and bikes can be rented at convenience, using a smart card; where public transportation works – specially the Metrobus, which in my opinion is the best system of public transportation ever designed. (By the way, it was designed in Curitiba, Brazil, and then exported to many cities such as Bogotá and Mexico City. It is a surface “subway” system, with buses instead of trains, running on dedicated lanes with intervals of about 15 to 30 seconds between consecutive buses. Absolutely fantastic.)
People are so kind here: instead of transactions, there are conversations; I love talking to people and asking them for their advice when I buy things – fabric, for instance – and this time around I had a wonderful conversation with the shopkeeper, who was so nice as to have her son prepare the goods while she took her time to talk to me. I´m not used to this type of kind service anymore, so it was such a treat.
And it´s mango season! There are mango vendors on street corners, peeling and selling mangos ready to eat. And the food? Sopa de tortilla has been on the menu every single day, and I don´t think that will change for the remainder of the trip. Alambre de arrachera, tacos al pastor, tacos de pescado al pastor, ceviche… the food is delicious everywhere, either the most humble street place or the chain restaurant. Food is central to the culture, and it is great. Meals are enjoyed slowly, without rush, which is something that I deeply enjoy and miss so much. I know that it is customary in many countries to receive the bill, unsolicited; but here that´s just rude. Meals are not to be rushed.
Oh, Mexico, I didn´t know I would fall in love this way.