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Ciudad de Mexico - on the street

MEXICO | Monday, 16 August 2010 | Views [1252]

You'd have to be born here to "know" it. Like any big city, it has it's ugly bits, noisy bits, green leafy bits, arty bits, trendy bits and bits which for your own safety you really should avoid (more about that later).

Stand behind one of these guys and tsk or inhale sharply each time they make a move.

Green & leafy in DF - who'da thought it?


Tecnician at work on the Diego Riviera mural in el Palacio Nacional.

Palacio Nacional

DF is addictive. The streets are cluttered with stalls and vendors. If your camera or sunglasses break, ask around and someone will know someone who can fix it - like right now - for less pesos than you'd think - and do a good job. Just around the corner are the tastiest elotes, quesadillas or tamales you've yet to have. Hand over a 20 peso note (less than US$2) and you'll get change. And over there is the guy who saves people parking spaces in this busy barrio. Employed by a local council? No. Just taking the initiative. Tips and cash in hand is what makes this city tick. In some ways sinister, in others quite simple and honest. For many, it's the only way to survive.

Keep your ears open. Noisy yes, but DF will surprise you.

This guy is a cop! Oye jefe!

It wasn't long before I was eating at all the local street vendors, ordering vegie quesadillas and tortas like a pro, mastering the metro, the metrobus and the peseros - little mini van type buses which you can hail down pretty much anywhere even if there is no bus stop in sight (unheard of where I come from). And wandering through the neighbourhood tiangis (like a farmers market), getting lost in Merced and Sonora - huge Mex City markets. I try out my spanglish and hey, it works. The altitude gives me headspins, which just adds to the giddyness of the lopsided pavements, low slung roofs on market stalls, being stared at constantly, having calls of "guera! guera!" follow me all day, the noise, the accents, beautiful old buildings, the crazy organ grinders, the multitude of musical beggars cum buskers...

A big city square needs a big flag. You could giftwrap a three bed house in this one.

Sinking city: 30 years ago this street was flat.

Tags: anything goes, df, mexico city can be beautiful, mexico city is actually pretty safe, really good food, superfun, travel tips

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