The streets are uneven and if you don’t watch where your going you’ll trip over no time soon. Whilst a major city there are things that seem majorly wrong about it, particularly if you’re from a country like Australia. Rocks (or large chunks of concrete rather) are placed in front of broken man hole covers on the foot path, to warn passers by not to walk there. Recycle bins virtually park in the middle of the road and teams of men (usually about 5 strong) begin to sift through the rubbish piles that have accumulated there, dividing the waste into: plastics, paper, tin, ‘organicos’ and ‘inorganicos’. They remain working there for up to 30min at a time. There seems to be a shortage of doormats when you go into the supermarkets or any store for that matter. Cardboard is placed on the ground in front of the door entrance if it is raining, so that people have something to wipe their feet on as they enter and as a means to keep the floor dry. Believe me when I say though, you still need to proceed with caution! Pedestrian lights may as well not even be there, as the motorists don’t take much notice as to whether the light is green or red, take care when you cross the road and never trust the lights completely. In the early mornings you can be met with a peculiar odour coming through your house (especially if you’ve left the windows open at night) its quite repugnant and I’m still a bit uncertain as to where it actually comes from or what it is. At night you’ll here what sounds like an old kettle on the stove releasing steam, making that piercing noise, only its like 50 of these going off at once. The sound doesn’t last long but its on repeat for up to fifteen minutes, noisy, quiet, noisy, quiet. Yes, this is all part of the charm of Mexico City.
Obviously its not all roses, as completely uprooting from where you have lived for the past 5 years, only to move across the other side of the world to a city of nearly 30 million people, brings with it its challenges. Missing your partner, family, friends and the pleasantries you’ve been accustomed to can take a while to adjust. However, if you can persevere through the first few months, that’s when you can start to find your place and begin to reap the fruits of your labour. Any one who has lived away from home for an extended period of time knows what I’m talking about.
The friendliness of the people is contagious, always smiling with a ‘Buenas Dias’ (Good Morning) at the ready. The food is like nothing you would have ever had before. You think you know Mexican? Well let me tell you, no one knows how to cook Mexican like the Mexicans. Imagine the street corners of the Melbourne CBD lined with make shift restaurants spreading up to 30m back from the corner, set up under far reaching tarps, with big flat steel BBQ plates the sole means of cooking their culinary delicacies, and that’s a normal street in Mexico City! Flautas, tacos, sopes, gorditas, tomales, the list is endless. Every time you eat at one of these ‘puestos callejeros’ you can’t help but to discover something new, and the people flock to them! Business people standing around these make shift stalls, or sitting on the little plastic stools, enjoying not only the food, but the company of those around them and of course the chef who is the owner and the entertainer all rolled into one. This way of eating on your lunch break is the social norm. Some of the ancient parts of the city are still standing and blend in like they’re no big deal. Parts of the old aqua-duct system still stand tall with flowing water. And right in the centre, near the Zocalo, the remains of one of the central pyramids is there for all passers by to see. It’s a modern city with an adventurous and ‘not quite right’ edge about it, and you can’t help but fall in love with it. For everything ‘dangerous’ you hear about this place, until you visit it and experience it first hand, you cannot appreciate the richness of the culture and the energy of the people.
Mexico City is Awesome. To have an idea of a place in your mind and then to have that idea come to fruition and become your reality, is deeply satisfying and surreal. The language itself would be enough to have me content but add to that the: food, culture, history, music and people and I can say with genuine sincerity that Mexico City is a truly remarkable and charming city. I had forgotten the rush you get from complete sensory overload, getting accustom to a completely new way of life, familiarising yourself with completely new surroundings and language, this is what life is about. Yep, 2015 so far has been a big one. I can only hope the first half of your year has been just as Awesome.