November 2018, Mangalore: I was to travel to Mexico City for work, and truth be told, I wasn’t feeling exactly comfortable about the proposition. For, up until that point, the imagery I had in mind about Mexico (based on what I had read and heard) was that of a heavily populated, impoverished, crime-infested city where drug cartels fought each other on the streets. During the next few days that ran up to my travel date, my mind went on an overdrive whenever I slept, and presented vivid dreams of me getting caught in a cross fire between drug lords and working alongside Mexicans to build the wall that the U.S said they would. To calm my nerves, I turned to Google to get the facts before I travelled. Though many articles did allude to the kind of visuals that my mind had made up, I was comforted in knowing that most of my fears were misplaced. And so I boarded the plane to Mexico City.
Now. Me, in Mexico City: Time to apologize to this beautiful city and its people for carrying prejudiced, ill-formed notions about the city. This is a wonderful city, with that small, dark side which any big city in any part of the world would have. It has been 3 weeks since I landed in Mexico City (Ciudad De Mexico, or CDMX for short), and I have already started feeling like a local.
Here are a few quick observations on Mexico City based on my stay so far:
- English is still not very popular around here. You will need to learn Spanish. So download the Google Translator app on your phone.
- While most of us Indians don’t believe in niceties while meeting strangers, it is a culture here to acknowledge a stranger with a Hola (Hello), Buen Dia (Good day) or Buenas Noches (Good night). For the ladies, a peck on the cheek is in order. And if you meet someone who is in the middle of a meal, wish them with a ‘Provecho’ (meaning something in the lines of ‘enjoy your meal’.) If someone sneezes near you, call out ‘Salud!‘ (meaning ‘health’ – similar to ‘Bless you’).
- Food: If you are a chicken lover like me, Pollo is the word for chicken. I loved the churros, Flan de la Abuela (a custard of sorts), anything with Mole (a dark sweet/spicy sauce) and the hot sauces (like the Exxxtra picante chile habanero ones)
- Transport: Uber is the safest mode. You can take the local pink taxi as well, but make sure the number plate matches the one painted on the body. If you want to travel by Metro Bus or rail, travel light. And make sure you keep your wallet and phone in your front pockets where you can keep a check. I’ve heard that pick pockets are really good at their work around here.
- And finally, Mexico City is a well-developed, happening city with its own quirks. Art, food and history lovers will love this place
There’s more; these are just my first-cut observations that I wanted to get in front of you. More to come!
Hasta luega amigos!