(a.k.a. the most home-like city we’ve been to yet)
Mexico City was one of the cities I was most looking forward to before I left for Remote Year, and yet, I have loved it for mostly unexpected reasons.
For those of you who have not been to Mexico City, what do you picture in your head? How big is the population? What’s the weather like? What do the buildings and streets look like? What is day to day life like as an expat here? I bet this city surprises you.
I was excited to visit Mexico City mostly because I love tacos and Mexican food, and I knew it’d be cheap. I also knew that CDMX was becoming a trendy place to visit among travel communities I am involved in, so I was excited to see why it was trending.
However, so much about Mexico City came as a complete surprise to me. The weather is easily what I’ll miss the most. Of all the places I have ever been, CDMX has the best weather. It’s literally springtime year-round, and in the 5 weeks I was here we had highs of about 85, lows around 60, and no humidity. It doesn’t get much better than that for me.
I was stunned by all of the trees, tree-lined streets, and parks. The neighborhood I was in, La Condesa, was full of streets lined with big shade trees, and walking paths built down the center of major streets where you can walk, bike, or run. There were also parks everywhere. CDMX has a population similar to NYC, and yet it didn’t feel that way to me. It’s very spread out, and so while it has all of the benefits of a large city, it doesn’t feel crowded, and has plenty of green space.
I was also surprised at how many US brands I could find in CDMX. Many of the major chain restaurants are here: McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Dominos seem to be everywhere, but they also had Olive Garden, Panda Express, Krispy Kreme, and others. In the malls, you could also find Sephora, Old Navy, Forever 21, Sears, and other familiar names. For groceries, you can go to Walmart, Costco, Sam’s, and 7-11.
Uber is fully legal in CDMX, so cars are always readily available and there’s no concern about being pulled over by law enforcement. I also found that many of the locals spoke at least some English, and they were super friendly.
I don’t know if it was just because it was our fourth month and I’m adjusting to life in Latin countries, or if it’s just that easy to live here, but CDMX was an easy place to live. Perhaps the easiest yet. I suspect it’s a little of both things, but regardless, I’ve really enjoyed my time here.
I had a jam-packed month, despite not leaving Mexico. I went to Taxco and San Miguel de Allende to explore outside of the city. We had so much fun at Lucha Libre and sailing down the canals of Xochimilco. I planned / hosted the RY Dinner Around the World for CDMX, we celebrated 100 days of Remote Year, and we ate 791 tacos in one hour for charity.
Leaving the city this month was hard – I really enjoyed my month here, and truth be told, I’m more than a little anxious for what Asia holds for us. Working late nights, hot, humid weather, food I don’t eat…it’s all going to be a culture shock. And on top of that, we’re moving to Asia with 8 less people than we started in South America with (including our Program Leader). Time keeps marching on.
This won’t be my last time in CDMX, for sure. So for now, “hasta luego, CDMX!”
- tacos at El Califa the night we landed in CDMX
- getting absolutely burnt to a crisp on the HOHO bus on Memorial Day
- the long daylight hours always made the days feel full of opportunity
- the sounds of CDMX: the sweet potato whistle, the tamale guy, the trucks buying old furniture, the absolutely insane man screaming down the street in the middle of the night
- karaoke: being searched for contraband, Joe’s shirt being ripped off of him, and screaming along to everything
- jefferson dinner (courage): I’m always amazed at some of the things our tramily shares – we’ve known each other only 4 months and have shared secrets and stories that many people back home don’t know.
- Taxco with Kaisa: the tour itself wasn’t good, but the town was cute and it was nice to spend some time with one of my month 1 roomies 🙂
- charades in San Miguel de Allende: epic.
- doing Mexico flag shots at the restaurant in Plaza Garibaldi and Roger and Phil paying to electrocute themselves
- the taco challenge: 791 tacos by 24 people!
- hosting a progressive dinner for RY Dinner Around the World
- meeting one of the founders of RY at Lucha Libre
- celebrating 100 days on RY
- Casa Visconti: for ice cream. Many of the ice cream places had an icy texture – this was the creamy consistency I was looking for!
- Casa del Tono – you haven’t lived until you’ve had a bowl of their pazole.
- Waikiki Tiki Room: Great cocktails, nice lounge-bar vibe inside.
- Vinopremier: Nice wine bar with a good selection of wines by the glass
- Taquería Orinoco: these were my favorite tacos in the city. It’s a non-fancy hole in the wall sort of place, but the tacos and quesadilla were both great.
- Carajillo: this is not a place, but rather, my favorite drink. I was introduced to these in San Miguel de Allende. It’s a cold drink, made with shots of espresso, sweet liquor (liquor 43 usually), and ice. I don’t like black coffee, but I drank these like water.
- Mercado del Carmen: this is a cute little food court in the San Angel area.
- Bazar Sábado: this basically a huge street fair that happens on Saturdays in the cobblestone streets of San Angel. You can buy pretty much anything you need here – fresh fruits and veggies, clothing, snacks, jewelry, handmade crafts, etc.
- Lucha Libre: this was one of the most fun nights ever. Buy a ticket, pick a team, and scream your heart out.