Saturday, April 26, 2008

tequila ville week 1

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.


Jayne said...

Wow, you lucky bugger rosh!
Ummm, if I ask really really nicely, what are my chances of you getting a fridge magnet for me? (please, please, pretty please!)

nzm said...

Jayne - I'm miffed. You haven't asked me for one yet! ;-)

Rosh - have a super time in MC. It sounds wonderful from what you write. Am glad that the locals are friendly!

the real nick said...


LMAO - You realized there was an earthquake as the chap stick rolled off the coffee table???

The "Chapstick Earthquake Indicator" - a must for any self-respecting metrosexual traveller to Mexico!


rosh said...

Hey Jayne: you are really really nice, so just name away - your wish shall be granted this Christmas :)

Thanks NZM: to be quite honest, just given all the "culture/demographics" talk fest past weeks @ UAECB - our folks in the UAE, could sure take lessons from the Mexicanos to help spread their culture. Mexicanos politely refuse to speak in English - they encourage folks to speak in Spanish, even the damn room service guy extending tips how to pronounce certain words. Except for blog friend Mr BuJ.(and DG, IYM and HLH) none of my real life local friends who I've grown up with have been quite forthcoming on spreading their culture. Mexicanos are proud of their culture - they are quite outgoing, often taking me along on after hours salsa lessons, dinner and tequila tasting - dude its saaoo kewl to discover new ways of life. I mean I grew up in the UAE - where we actually do not have a defined culture - and now in NYC, where most folks are just lost & confused - nuff said.

Nick: yup, my dear chapstick practically warned of possible danger. If you think a chapstick is metrosexual - what about gel, cologne, working out and staying fit - and designer wear :) Thank heavens it was just a tremor. And why the hell are you laughing - I was quite serious, or so I think :)

Jayne said...

nzm - nzm, please don't be miffed! I honestly dunno why I haven't asked you yet? (*scratches head, attempts to reach into depths of the sludge, asks self did you ask nzm for a fridge magnet from Oz? Self answers: nope. Slaps self on wrist & sits on naughty step for 50mins, cos its 1min per year.....thinks she's got bloody long arms to type all this from out in the lobby (it being the only place where there's steps)*
OK, nzm, please will you send me a fridge magnet from Oz? I'd really be very grateful hon :-)
And, before I hijack the rest of rosh's comments page with more of my mad mutterings: Rosh, I thank you for saying I'm really really nice (it's all a bluff.....I'm actually a 12yr old with a vivid imagination hahaha!) & I eagerly await Crimble, cos you're gonna sens me a magnet YAY!!!

Jayne said...

send me, not sens me........bloody acrylic nails, mess up all my typing *sigh*

i*maginate said...

This is such an amazing post. I sense everything is good?

You sound happy!

I love your words.

MC sounds amazing!

Take care of yourself and stay happy x

rosh said...

Geee thanks i* :) Am happy, and sort of super homesick - the weather is exactly like UAE winter/spring. The more I fee the wind, the air - the trees sway, the more I feel am in SHJ with Spanish speaking people around me :)

MC has it's charm, it's also got it's set of flaws, plenty - however, there is a sense of strong distinctive culture and ways of life.

Dubai Guy said...

Reading your room service story reminds of similar experiences I had. The people & countries we (the people from supposedly rich countries) see as poor almost always surprise you with their generosity & big hearts as far as sharing or serving of food is concerned.

I really wish to visit Mexico some day, thanks for sharing your experieces here :-)

rosh said...

Hala DG very true indeed :) and the pleasures all mine.

There is a strong Lebanese Arab heritage and ethnic community here in MC. In fact the richest Mexican is of Arab heritage - he is a Media Mogul.

rosh said...

Hmmmm i* - you don't sound too happy girl - sup?

i*maginate said...

dahling rosh - thank you for asking! I am fine.

Do read your post again - the words are spoken with such heart, which is why I was so happy!

rosh said...

good to know, and shukrans princess :)

rosh said...

BTW how come you guys (DG & i*) are up and awake? Isn't it like almost 3AM there? It's almost 6PM here :)

Lirun said...

hey i love the new profile pic.. sand surfers right?!!?!


BuJassem said...

LOOOOOOOOL Are you sure the chicas have nothing to do with the earthquake?

notice how you mentioned the earthquake after mentioning the potential dates...

you're one black horse!!!

rosh said...

Shukrans Lirun, I L-O-V-E the desert & the dunes - it just takes me over. Yup sand surfers, skaters - etc all :)

rosh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rosh said...

LMAO Mr BuJ!! hahaha yup am pretty sure Chicas had little to do with the tremors - darn you ARE bad :)

Black horse eh?

Dubai Guy said...

Did you forget that it was weekend? :-)

rosh said...

Think I did? :) OK now it's 7AM there on Sat morning, and you are up already?

Dubai Guy said...

Poor people don't have saturdays off :-D

rosh said...

lol DG :) hmmmm sorry to hear honestly, people must have two day weekends, me thinks.

BuJassem said...

Mr Rosh.. I'm pure and polite always.. I was just pointing out some factual points in your post.. a summary of sorts..

Sorry I really meant "dark horse" instead of black horse.. The definition is here:

A little-known, unexpectedly successful entrant, as in a horserace.

hehe.. Rosh.. wallah you made me wanna repeat my trip to DF (as the Mexicans affectionately call their capital).

Do you know that DF is probably as big as the whole population of the GCC?

moryarti said...

You were spot-on on Mexico's prioritization of the education secot. Many Arab countries lookup to the Mexican experience as successful model, given the Mexico is similar, in many ways, to a number of Arab countries ... especially Egypt.

Enjoy your tour around LatAm and the Emerging markets and have a safe one back.

rosh said...

Hola Mr BuJ: I hear you, dark horse eh? :) Sah! MC has a population of 25 million - I don't know how that many people could reside in a single city? Though I must say, the city does not seem as conjested as SHJ/DXB rush hour.

rosh said...

Hey Mori: nice to see you hear :) Thanks, I really like travelling into LatAm – personally, my trips to Brazil and Argentina were such huge eye openers. Yup, true that! There are a lot of similarities between Mexico and Arab world, you can feel that.

Sah! You are correct., LatAm is an emerging market, however they have a long way to go. I think, they’ve experienced a profound transformation over the past few decades. Authoritarian regimes, for the most part have given way to liberal democracies in some regions. Also, inward-looking development strategies have given way to economic liberalization. Despite these profound changes, LatAm economic performance has trailed that of other dynamic regions, particularly Asia. LatAm is still attempting to find its place in the global division of labour. Anyhooo – nuff said.

i*maginate said...

"a candidate who is unexpectedly nominated at a political convention." =

me! hehe.

Lirun...rosh = I didn't know we all had such a thing in common. We all love the desert! I love sand. I love the shape dunes take. Enuff stories on my blog!

moryarti: I have never had a blog relationship with him until of late.

I read his blog but he was taking time off (understandable).

From the two comments I've read of his on your blog and mine, rosh,

ok that sounds stupid already, I won't continue.

Anyway moryarti, I really appreciated the knowledge you shared in your comment on my blog.

This sounds so stupid, but thank you rosh, for your hospitality on your blog for letting me say whatever is on my mind!