Love affair with everywhere-mexico city
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bienvenido a Ciudad de mexico!
Mexico City--the largest city in Mexico and the 3rd largest (by population) in the world. the locals, Chilangos, estimate that there are around 22 million people living there. I also learned that actual Mexico City and Mexico City are different. Mexico City is known as Distrito Federal which is not a part of any specific state, but a federal district (similar to our DC). The surroundiing areas are part of the state, but still referred to as mx city.
The traffic here can rival that of Cairo and Bombay on any given day and any given time...but what else can you expect from a city housing Mexico's political and financial hubs...and 22 million people trying to earn a living. we were late to almost every meeting--which apparently is acceptable in MX. To deal with the traffic, they built a 'segundo piso' which translates to 2nd floor for the major highways, which helps of course. During different times of the day (dep on flow of traffic) it is open--I always seemed to be going the opposite direction and couldn't make it to the segundo piso.
As you are driving up and down one of the major streets, you will see a set of 5 structures in the middle of your path. I assumed they were for the olympics, as there are 5 of them and each is a different color. I was wrong. Most know and refer to them as the satellite towers, but one person told me that they are dedos de Dios (fingers of God). I guess I can believe that too, they do look like fingers with 4 long towers and one little short tower---my guess is, God's thumb. Who am I to argue in a predominantly Catholic city? We all need something to believe in.
dedos de Dios
Angel de la Independecia, the Angel of independence, is recognized landmark that was built to celebrate the victory against Spain. This is located in reforma in a glorieta--or roundabout.
Which, on this note, I found it very strange that in Mexico City the roundabouts go in both directions. Well, i guess i can say there were 2 directions, but it did seem like cars were entering and exiting the roundabout as if it were an intersection, instead of a circle with various entrances and exits.
Every major city has a 'central' location. In MXC, its called the Zocalo (I still don't know how to use accent marks on the keyboard, but here it is over the first o). in this case, the zocalo is the exact center point of the circle distance from it that makes up distrito federal. In the zocalo are the national palace and the cathedral--nearby is the famous bellas artes building translated as 'beautiful arts'
National Palace of Mexico
The Cathedral in the Zocalo
nearby garibaldi is of interest, but apparently quite dangerous. we didnt go in, but outside the entrance were a mass number of mariachis getting ready to rock the streets...maybe next time (i was told showing up in a business suit and heels would possibly get us kidnapped)...
Of course, while on business, if there is a Marriott, I will be there :)
In MC, there are 2--a JW and Marriott--La Reforma, which you can probably guess is in Reforma--a nice, upscale area of town with the Paseo de La Reforma (one of the most important streets) surrounded by hotels and MNCs. Most cab drivers and locals can tell you how to get to the JW, but the one in reforma was built only a couple years ago, so some have a harder time finding that one. However, have no fear, when you get in a cab, just say Marriott Reforma--near the Palma. I didn't believe it, but people really will know the single palm tree in the middle of yet another roundabout.
as expected....fabulous service, fabulous staff, great executive lounge--with a terrace that looks out over the city, great rooms, 3 restaurants, nice location (although the zona rosa is the parallel street), nice hotel drivers (safety is key in this city), not too far from the airport, and a lobby lounge--a live cuban band plays nightly and sports cover the big screens...if you can't tell, i do recommend this place. The rate is not terrible either--USD 185/night.
Marriott la reforma terrace
FISHERS was by far one of the best meals ive ever had. i ate fish with chili and garlic...which sounds nicer in spanish, but the taste was incredible. i didnt even add anything (which for those of you who know me well, know this is virtually impossible)....fisher's is a local hotspot--which, of course, made me appreciate the place even more--i was probably the only non-chilanga in the place. we were there for lunch, but they tell me that at this location, if you order a drink they will pour until you tell them to stop!
Mr. Sushi--was a bit strange to go eat sushi in mexico. i didn't really like the sushi much, but the teriyaki chicken with rice (plus a special chilli sauce) was yummy...
RedBar was a nice place for happy hour. It definitely didn't feel like a Wednesday night. The locals gathering for happy hour, ordering bottle service, eating small plates through the evening and carrying on until 2 or 3...great atmosphere and again, very few non locals...love it
here, with the help of my new friends, we had an assortment of truly local dishes--the gringa (if you eat meat) is a must try, as it is supposedly a popular and signature dish, and also the ceviche. now i know some of you are making a face like grossssssss, i did too, but it is MUCH better in MX than the traditional version from peru because they steam/boil it and marinate it in the sauces (with chillis)...all that and then some dedos de queso--literally translated to fingers of cheese (mozzarella sticks)-not so local...haha!
I have no idea the names, but everytime i ordered a cerveza it came with an addition--one time tomato juice and tobasco, another time with lime water and salt, and another with something else--apparently when i asked for a local brew (in my mind negro modelo, xx, pacifico, hell, even a corona or whatever) they thought i should try it this way. interesting....oh, and until then, i had never been served a beer with ice ...
There were the usual flower vendors and drink pourers, but a new thing was a game called 'toques toques'...this is so weird. Basically a guy comes with an electrocution machine. yes, i said electrocution-but of course the voltage was not that high. So, anyway, all the people stand in a circle and hold hands. The one on the end (next to the guy) holds the machine and the shock gets sent through the group all the while the guy controlling the machine continues to increase the voltage slowly until someone lets go and breaks the circle. like i said, weird.
mexico city was a pleasant surprise...the media distorts the views. i will admit, you do have to be a bit more cautious--even the locals are--but overall if you can open your mind, you will fall in love with this city. great history, interesting culture, fab food and most of all, friendly people.
nos vemos pronto, distrito federal.