I've been in Mexico City (MC) the past week on business, probably stay thru the following week as well. This is my second visit to MC, the first was about 5 years back for a couple of days.
Whilst in MC, one can sense the deep rooted culture, a sense of strong family ties, and respect amongst common folk (as far as I can tell from local lingo/gestures). A lot of social importance is extended towards education, certain professions and social togetherness in the community. Mexicans take a lot of pride in their nation's history, culture and lifestyle. Ways of life in Mexico includes many features from the nation's Amerindian past to the Spanish colonial days. And in a way, I sort of sense quite a few of the above missing in the US - probably given the US is a much younger nation and a melting pot of immigrants & cultures from a hundred nations or more.
The past week has been a mixed bag - unfortunately, I fell sick given the change in weather and apparent bacteria in the air & water. Supposedly an ancient curse (Montezuma's revenge) that falls on most newbies visiting Mexico :) Besides that, it has been quite enjoyable - am loving discovering Central/South American culture and ways of life.
Work takes most of time - people at work are extremely accommodating. We are chauffeured to & from work - none of that car rental, drive to work and possibility of being lost in a new city scenarios. Mornings, we are served with fresh pot of coffee and cookies, people stop by every now and then, ensure we've got information to complete what we are here for - all quite professional and courteous.
Given that I do not speak Spanish, and very few speak proper English - most go out of their way to accommodate, especially the folks at the apartment complex – all of which feel quite hospitable. I sort of have an odd time with room service - often they'd serve something completely different to that of the actual order. For instance, a request for plain pancakes with some syrup on the side - turned into pancakes and eggs benedict topped with bacon, all of which I send back. Request for a large cup of coffee and some cream on the side, turned into a tiny espresso shot and a large glass of milk. To ease pains, the front office manager took upon herself to translate room service requests - she is absolutely patient & lovely.
As for my ego and self esteem, well they've had an unexpected boost! Needless to say, some Mexican "Chicas" are quite exotic - apparently, the ones at work and at the complex find me in good taste (to put it mildly). I've been asked out for dinner by a few - innocent flirtatious queries if am single, age, background, family, accent - yup loving it :)
I have not had the chance to explore the city – primarily because friends continue to warn on roaming about the city by myself, apparently kidnapping of newbies/foreigners for ransom is a national sport! Hence on weekends, I read, watch tele or go for a run around the neighbourhood.
Experienced the first earthquake this evening. Being on the 8th floor the building slightly swayed on all directions - felt surreal. At first thought, it felt like a dizzy spell, but as the chap stick rolled off the coffee table, I went uh-oh? Earthquakes are quite frequent in MC - this one was a mild tremor.
Just got back from dinner with colleagues. Dined at the most beautiful restaurant experience ever - an Italian-Mexican fusion of sorts, with musicians and all. The restaurant's one hundred year old Spanish quarter home surrounds a magnificent tree-shaded courtyard. Its dining area scattered through the building afford views of the patio, aged trees, local cobblestone streets and culture rich romantic plazas - the walls of the dinning area are mostly aged, exposed brick - all of which brought about a soulful charm.
The weather is lovely, feels like tail end of UAE winter – the beginning of spring.
It has been an interesting week to say the least - am going to be in MC thru next few weeks. Hope to visit the pyramids, town of San Angel, where Frida Kahlo lived and the Aztec Museums.