Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mexico City, recap

I flew to Mexico City on the 28th of April and then spent a week there. It was really quite a cool city, especially after all the warnings I received from people beforehand. The person sitting next to me on the plane (who lives in Mexico City) told me I was brave to come there alone without knowing anyone. I'm wondering now if that's all bollocks. Of course, bad things happen in every city, but Mexico City gets a very bad rap, and maybe unjustly so.
Anyways, lets recap a few things of interest:
I stayed in a hostel in the Centro Historico, near the Catedral (and the Zocalo (the main square)). I was happy with the location, as it was quite close to the metro. The metro itself was very good, though it was very busy during rush hour. One of the best things about the metro is the roving people selling burned cds, chocolate, gum, or even just begging for change. Their timing is obviously well-organized, as 2 sellers never occupy the same car simultaneously. That, and they move through the cars within 30 seconds of each other. Just waves of these people move through between every stop. My favorite are the cd sellers whom have stereo backpacks blasting clips from the cd's they are selling. Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" was a particular hit, understandably.
My favorite thing to do on the metro was try to pick out who would start selling something next. They would sometimes just come out of nowhere, hawking something.
And that brings me to another awesome thing about Mexico City: people are selling things everywhere. Street food and other miscellaneous things can be found at stands strewn across any open sidewalk, side of the street, out of the back of a car, you name it. Street vendors reign supreme there.
This use of all available space was obvious in a lot of places, especially in the poorer areas. Whereas in the US, an area adjacent to the freeway with huge electrical towers passing through it might be left empty, here it is utilized to provide a very decent playground. Most of it is very informal, and in some cases the result of extreme poverty, but nonetheless, they are making it work and interesting juxtapositions develop as a result.

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