Monday, April 3, 2017

Mexico City - Settling In




I like Mexico City. I like it a lot. 

I love that it's so colorful...the pink and white taxis, sidewalk kiosks and all the shops. I just can't get enough of walking around the Centro Historico district, so I'm glad that's where I'm staying.

It's hard to describe just how big the main square of the city is. The Plaza de la Constitucion has the National Cathedral on one side...






...and the National Palace, where the government offices are located, on another side. The remaining sides are filled with attractive buildings, but the square itself is just huge. I can't think of anything to compare it to for scale.

I love that the city is so laid back, with none of the usual big city hustle. Most people here are strolling, rather than rushing.

I also love the weather we've been having. With the exception of a very few stormy days, most days have been sunny and mild, only reaching the low 80s for a few hours a day. It makes strolling down the tree lined streets a joy.


This sunken square was very pleasant, as well, though the iron benches did not encourage
you to sit for very long.

Mexico City is a big, bustling metropolis with a small town feel to it. I've never come across anything quite like it. And yet, I do keep running across areas that remind me of other places. 

The most frequent resemblance is the French Quarter in New Orleans, with Spanish architecture housing shops that are blasting out music - often American music. Today, though, I was reminded of Rome as I walked in direction I hadn't explored before. So, as I mentioned in my first post about the city, it is both unique and familiar at the same time. 

What surprises me the most is that I feel so at home here. I've covered a great many miles around the city, and nowhere does it feel the least bit intimidating.

I also wasn't expecting to find quite so much interesting architecture. 











Old buildings are always my favorite sights when I travel, and I knew I'd find some here, particularly since I am staying in the historic district. 





I just didn't realize there would be so many fine specimens.











And look at this building HSBC is in. Are those original rails for people to tie their horses to?








I like the way the address is written on some of these buildings, as well.

Even the most mundane businesses are often in really nice buildings. I'd heard about Oxxo convenient stores, but I didn't know that there were also 7-11s on practically every other corner.



There are also a lot of these Bizarro stores. And though I was surprised by the 7-11s, I was absolutely flabbergasted to see a Circle K.





Another store I found a bit weird was this huge Paris Pharmacy. It looked like it took up an entire block, all by itself. It had nice doors, with an Eiffel Tower on them, but it just seems completely incongruous to find it in Mexico City.


Of course, there are some very modern looking places, as well. They just aren't as plentiful as the older buildings. At least, not in the historic district.





I travel a few subway stops to do my grocery shopping at Walmart, whose prices are like a dollar store here. I went to fresh produce markets, at first. But their produce was actually not quite as good, and they didn't have everything I was looking for. 

It feels totally wrong, but it's too convenient to do anything else.

Apologies for some of these photos. My point and shoot camera doesn't seem to be auto-focusing properly, so my photos are not even up to the level of my old iPhone. I may be reduced to using my original version iPad mini camera, which turns out not to be quite as bad as I expected.

Anyway...

There is supposed to be a lot of crime in Mexico City, but there has been a very obvious police presence everywhere I've been, which is very reassuring. I've never felt less than safe, even walking home after an evening movie.

I'm not spending time at the library anymore, since I discovered my lodging has Ethernet, which is far better than the mostly unreliable Wi-Fi - though still not completely foolproof. In any case, I'm glad that I don't have to make that long walk anymore, because that gives me more time to walk in other directions.

Anyway, I like the city, I like the weather and I like where I'm staying. So, though I've been here ten days already and there are other parts of the country I'd like to see, I'll probably stay here a while longer. The Yucatan Peninsula is off the list for the next several months, it's already hitting 100F over there and we are barely into April. But there are beaches on the Pacific side of Mexico that aren't quite as hot yet, so I may try to get to one or more of those before the temps get to high.

There are other non-beach places I'd like to see, as well, but a lot of those are getting pretty warm, too. So, I don't know. It's fall in Argentina right now, and I'm kind of tempted to see Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay - which is right across a bay from it, before winter actually hits down there. But I have a bit of time to play with before that happens, I think, so I'm just going to hang here a bit longer. 

Because, in case I wasn't quite clear, I really like it here. ;)



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