Mil3s sitting in the living room during his visit earlier this month.
Some of you have asked if I can sum up the time I've spent in Mexico City (on and off since 2013). Since I'm heading back to the US this week I thought it was a good time to write about how it is to live here.
First, a trip down memory lane. Here's a photo from my first trip to Mexico in 2006. Great, glad that trip is over. I emailed people in the US from that computer lab to tell them I wasn't leaving Mexico.
In a way that's turned out to be true. In other ways, I've been in and out of Mexico a lot since that photo was taken. By the guy who managed the computer lab. I haven't seen him since but it was a brief and not that exciting thing.
As for Mexico City, here are some of the things I think make it amazing
- entrepreneurship is everywhere. From the street vendors who sell chorizo tacos to the tiny mercados where you can get a handful of limes in a hurry for 10 pesos. There is loads of entrepreneurship in Mexico City
- availability -- see above, limes at any time of the day or night. People are sometimes surprised to find out there are major chains -- 7/11, OXXO, Wal-mart and its spin-offs, all over the city, open 24/7
- connectedness to the rest of the world -- major airport, major carriers, flying in and out of Mexico City all the time
- apoyo means helpfulness/generosity of spirit. I've found myself in a few situations of duress -- once, getting into the city within minutes of the final train leaving Pantitlán -- not where you want to find yourself at midnight on a weekend and somehow someone swooped in and helped. There's that kind of apoyo attitude all over the place in Mexico City. It's a gold standard for travelers
- Trains are 5 pesos. That's twenty-four cents at the current exchange rate. You can take the train all over the city -- no need to take a taxi
- Green areas in the city break up the skyscraper feel
- Prices are manageable when you have an income on say, the internet (the peso to dollar exchange rate was at 18/dollar and it's now at 20 to 21/dollar -- so a person's dollar goes longer now than it did in 2013)
There are a couple things I don't love about living here
- The pollution. There are days when I don't want to leave the apartment. There are mornings I wake up sneezing. The neti pot is a godsend
- The noise. It's a major city, there are cars and emergency vehicles flying around all hours of the day and night. That gets tiresome
- The sidewalks are always in bad need of repair -- I've witnessed people fall flat out on these sidewalks. If you visit, wear flats and be prepared to watch where you're going at all times. Also, please, no khaki shorts -- I can't tell you if I've seen a local person (chilango) wearing khaki shorts -- if you're visiting, jeans are the correct choice of legwear
This most recent trip I lived in Centro Historico and as far as parts of the city goes, I think it's the best. If you can find an old building that made it through the 1985 earthquake they don't even jiggle as much as other parts of the city, and often have original bits from ages back still intact.
Here are some photos of the apartment in which I've been living
Views from the bedroom. Off there in the distance is the Latino Americano Tower.
The room where Everett and I worked near non-stop on Decent.
The hall connnecting things.
Hmm, what else can I say? Food!
La Pagoda is a yes. Also, open 24/7 which is awesome when you arrive at an awkward hour. Food is well priced, service is attentive. Chilaquiles are filling and if you get the set meal, it's under 100 pesos and includes coffee or juice.
Tacuba is a no.
Ask questions on Decent if you have any I can answer from experience. I am going back to the US for three main reasons
- I ran slam out of money working on Decent and getting my web engineering skills stronger than ever.
- The pollution here sucks and I look forward to breathing clean air again for daily yoga etc.
- Decent is done now so I can take on my next challenge.
I'm ready for what's next.
And Mexico City?
Will be here. That I know.