I had never been to Mexico City, ever. I waited in the airport once, for two hours, so my family and I could board a plane to Puerto Vallarta for my aunt’s wedding, but that doesn’t really count. This time I actually stepped outside.
If I had to describe Mexico City simply I’d say this: it’s like Downtown Tijuana, only bigger, wider (taller), slightly cleaner, a bit more bohemian, and of course older. Mexico City is old. Very old. Near ancient. And with it’s age comes the one and only inheritance that we, it’s on-again-off-again inhabitants, get: buildings. And not just five story, decades old buildings! We have palaces, churches, cathedrals, monuments, the building-where-this-centenial-business-started, the house of this famous artist, the house of that famous artist, and of course temples. 80% destroyed, and still underground, but oh god temples!
So if you ever come here you are bound to bump into really old buildings, old buildings, almost castles, actual castles, cathedrals, and of course bits and hints of the glorious ancient city that existed before Spain had anything to say about it.
Ultimately it’s my favourite part of this city has a clash of present and past. From having local stores occupy 17th century buildings, to using what the modern world has to offer for preserving them, here is a small loop in time, throwing you to the past, then pulling you back, all in the same corner.
Another inescapable thing to mention is the Metro, that lovely metro. Previously all I had ever ridden in regards to public transport was taxi cabs, busses and the trolley. So this was quite an experience for me. So far, so good. Yes, there are random vendors that hop on to the wagons and loudly claim they have the deal of the century of whatever product they are selling, and sometimes some street poets and social prophets get their shot at 15 seconds of fame. All part of the metropolitan experience, so I was enthralled.
So, with all this in mind, you have an idea of how varied the culture, architecture and passion is down here. In downtown Mexico City, you can stand almost anywhere and be stuck between more than two eras. While walking down the street you will see to your left an old church, then to your right a Porfirian building, and somewhere a modern day shop. It’s fan-tastic! Even when visiting the ruins if Templo Mayor (which I highly recommend to whoever gets a chance) you can look any side and see a building from a completely different century!
So as a Mexican, this is an experience that I am really happy and proud about. Yes, everyone’s history has it’s up and downs, but it’s all this turmoil that makes us who we are in the end. But at times I would definitely prefer a time machine.
P.S. The quesadillas here are damn good!