I'm drawn to cities because of the hustle and bustle and finding the little things that make one stop and slow down. After listening to a variety of hawkers on the Metro I had a quick fantasy, thinking, what if I were to stand up and say, "Eh um- Ladies and Gentleman, for your listening pleasure I will now sing a hit song from Selena." That made me giggle out loud. Those hawkers are the Metro's hidden gems and I love discovering what can feel hidden! With that being said I think I've fallen in love with CDMX also known as Mexico City!
MEXICO CITY IN THREE WORDS:
If I had to describe Mexico City in three words they would be: Hip, Colorful, Gracious.
Smells leaving the airport reminded me of Delhi, India. The Roma neighborhood (where we stayed) was my favorite! I could transport myself and live there easily. The Metro would be like if the transportation in London and Paris had a baby. Hawkers on the Metro reminded me of hawkers on the trains in India. People are so nice and patient with my Spanish.
WHAT SURPRISED ME ABOUT MEXICO CITY?
Here are a few things that surprised me about Mexico City. They have "organic" and "inorganic" trash collection, the Metro is super reliable and easy, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me, the street food is 100 percent delicious and the plates are wrapped in plastic (I was told this was because of pollution) and again, I could totally live here!
WHAT DO VEGETARIANS EAT IN MEXICO CITY?
Street Food! So cheap and with food stalls located on every corner we couldn’t resist! My favorite dish *hands praising emoji* are the Huaraphes. They remind me of pupusas. We tried them at the Mercado de la Merced and typing this makes my mouth water. Next would be the variety of vegetarian tacos found at Gus Taco. Whether the tacos were filled with nopales (cactus), zucchini flowers (flor de calabazas), queso (cheese), frijoles (beans), and papas (potato) we had to taste them all! Our daily breakfast items included traditional Mexican pastries with coffee from Cucurucho Roma (more about them below) and occasionally I’d get chilaquiles from the market in our neighborhood. Sopes, tamales, fluatas, enchiladas, as my list grows, there is a variety of choice here. We even found "soya carne" also known as fake meat at a food stall near our Metro Stop! If the high-end food scene is more your style they have that here too. But as my husband says, “We are fans of eating with the people.” I smile and agree.
TIPS- In this section I've laid out tips if you're interested in traveling here...
DO: Go to Teotihuacan you know the Pyramids, the Frida Museum, the Museum of Anthropology, find any market in your neighborhood, and Arena Mexico for Lucha Libre.
Use the Metro, we did the entire time. You buy a ticket before you enter for 5 pesos put it in before you enter and that's it. There are sections of the Metro dedicated for women and children only. There are food stalls within the Metro that reminded me of Taiwan’s Metro system. Keep in mind the Metro is hot and crowded, it felt 10 degrees hotter down here! Keep an eye out at every stop there are not any announcements. Hawkers come into the cars and sell items some will literally drop the items on your lap and will collect them if you do not want to purchase it.
EAT: Street food, Gus Tacos, and get your coffee at Cucurucho Roma! If you came to Mexico City to try Mexican coffee this will be your spot. We were even given a free coffee tasting! I’ve given all of the places we went to reviews on my Yelp and Foursquare profiles.
STAY: I would recommend the same neighborhoods that I found from "Chef Gabriela Camara's Guide to Mexico City" in 7x7 Magazine. They include: Condesa, Roma, and Cuahtémoc. My most favorite neighborhood is Roma. It’s hip and residential and totally reminds me a lot of the Mission District in San Francisco.
This was our first time using Airbnb and we had positive experiences. The original place we booked had a water issue, meaning there was no water. The host let us stay a night to see if the water could be fixed the next day. Ron took a bucket shower that night while I waited. In the morning we decided to find a new place obviously water is something we really need and didn’t want to wonder if there would be issues with it each day. When we told the host this he was so gracious and gave us a full refund. This experience really showed me the true character of locals in the city, so gracious! Our next Airbnb was great we had a spacious room, roof top deck; this house had serious artistic and boho vibes.
We’ll be back to Mexico City to fly out to Peru after we get back from Cuba and Cancun! Ps. I'm really looking forward to it!