Currently in Mexico City– and man, I forget how much I love this city:
1. The people
The people in Mexico City and the culture is great — the folks are non-pretentious, open, and this makes it very welcoming. And no, Mexico City isn’t just a bunch of poor scrappy people; you got a bunch of people from all social classes (artsy folks going to art shows, rich folks with Panerai watches and driving Lamborghinis, common office folks, and working class folks).
I really love Mexican culture– folks are super open, non-judgmental, and very friendly. When we are at restaurants, nobody is rushing us out, people are always smiling, and shooting street photography is super easy here (nobody gets angry — there isn’t a culture of anti-photography here).
Also the benefit of Mexico City is this for language learning (Spanish):
If you don’t know any Spanish, you can totally get your way around here. Most people speak English. Yet, if you want to learn Spanish, people will play along and practice speaking Spanish with you!
Thus if you’re a person who learned a little bit of Spanish as a second language, and you want to learn more or practice more– highly recommend Mexico City (I’ve only been here 2 days, and already, I feel my training wheels for speaking Spanish starting to speed up again).
Coffee here is good (not the pretentious hipster coffee shop style type)– but the coffee is very good. I’ve been drinking mostly drip coffee, Americano, etc– and it is cheap and very good.
Food, restaurants, night culture here is superb. Some of the most delicious fancy food in the world, super cheap and delicious street food, and beautiful interior decor for restaurants, coffee shops, and other establishments.
I really think that Mexican food is some of the best cuisine in the world (don’t just think about Chipotle and burritos). In-fact, I think burritos are an American invention (only tacos in Mexico City).
Foods you gotta try in Mexico City:
- Cochinta pibil (slow cooked pork/spicy)
- Mole (any mole sauce is phenomenal — the base is cocoa [chocolate] and it is rich, savory, and bitter at the same time)
- Lengua (tongue — probably the softest, juiciest, most delicious type of meat. 1000x better than Filet Mignon or any other fancy cuts of meat).
Interesting vibe– feels European (people are relaxed, and very stylish). Yet, Mexico City ain’t trying to pretend to be a different place. Mexico City is very cultured– and a culture for art, architecture, and I saw a lot of Art Deco style in the buildings (Center for the Arts), and just around the city in general.
Surprisingly the city is very clean– much cleaner than I remember 2 years ago. The city has a bunch of folks always cleaning the streets with brooms, and even in the more industrial parts of the city, the streets are free from trash or other random stuff.
Thus the streets are very walkable, the whole city is essentially a grid (you cannot get lost). Good for walking and shooting street photography.
5. Traveling with Cindy’s mom
I think traveling with your family is super under-rated. I’m currently here with Cindy’s mom, and man– she is great! She is super adventurous, thinks outside of the box, isn’t shy, and pushes me to explore and see new things.
This is the funny thing once you become a more experienced traveler:
You stop doing ‘touristy’ things.
Which essentially means:
You become more close-minded.
A lot of ‘touristy’ things are quite fun– like going to the market. I loved seeing Cindy’s mom enjoy all the fruits and veggies they sell, and I was used as an intermediary translator for her — which is good for me, because I was able to practice and exercise my Spanish skills.
And being with your family is good, because all the time you can spend conversing with them, without getting distracted.
Thoughts to self:
- Keep practicing your Spanish, and don’t be shy. Better to be foolish, bold, and direct with people, instead of being shy and awkward.
- When in doubt, try new foods, things, and experiences. Don’t get stuck inside your closed mind. Open your mind more.
- Keep having fun shooting videos; don’t take it too seriously. Vlog your experiences to digest them, to reflect, and share with others.
- Shoot more JPEG during the trip, to speedup your photo workflow process.
- Shoot more 360 virtual reality GoPro fusion videos: unique way of seeing the world and sharing experiences.
- Remember, you’re not just a tourist just traveling around Mexico City– you’re stationed here for 1 month, an “intermittent” resident. Think of yourself as a local.
- Use this time to spend more time to think, make photos, reflect, meditate, and focus on your artwork and philosophical thinkings.
In short, Mexico City is awesome. Totally not dangerous (I feel safer here than being in lots of cities in America), and life here is good. Month rent for Airbnb apartment is only $500 USD — so if you want to live intermittently here for a little bit, come and stay!
More to come :)