CDMX 3.0

It was 2013, on my second visit to Mexico, when I had a longish layover at Benito Juarez International, en route to the northwestern city of Chihuahua. Determined to get a taste of the country’s capital, I made the dash into el centro, returning suitably impressed, and vowing to return for longer, sooner rather than later. Years passed. A half dozen or so friends and acquaintances visited, and every one of them came back singing peans. FOMO ensued.

In the second half of 2018, I finally made it back there. The city had rebranded itself, appeared even more welcoming, and I realized quickly that my first foray there was not even worthy of a teaser. There was just too much to see, do and absorb – I had my work cut out for me. And so I’m back, less than 6-months later, to pick up where I left of; that love affair only getting stronger. Wish I could say the same about my Spanish.

Speaking of love…

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Ay, Chihuahua!

Rush hour, Mexico City

Securing a gate at Benito Juárez International is almost as difficult as finding a perch for your feet during rush hour in Mexico City – and the rush starts early, very early! The Metro system is thoroughly efficient though – trains arrive every couple of minutes – and at 2 pesos a ride, it is also one of the cheapest in the world! The airport is located just 5-km east of the city centre, and so even on a short layover, it is perfectly feasible to make a trip downtown – one that’s bound to whet the appetite and make you want to come back for more.

Mexico City, as we know it today, was built by the Spanish on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. As it was in Aztec times, the city is centred upon Zócalo, the sprawling main square, Latin America’s largest! The Metropolitan Cathedral, a stunning baroque structure, defines the square’s northern boundary. To the east sits Palacio Nacional, which, due to an ongoing protest, has been closed to the public since May! Two near-identical Federal District buildings make up the southern periphery, and to the west are a series of neocolonial commercial buildings. In the centre of it all, a larger than life national flag flutters in the wind. With the first few rays of sunlight piercing through, Zócalo is a sight to behold!

Located just west of Zócalo, the Art Nouveau lobby of Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico is absolutely stunning, and worth a detour from the main square. Formerly a department store, and presently a hotel, it was featured in the film “Frida”. Their rooftop restaurant doesn’t open till lunch, unfortunately, so if you’re looking for an al fresco experience, you have to make do with the nearby Holiday Inn. Thankfully, the price for a buffet there is a steal, and the views irresistible. The breakfast, as it turned out, wasn’t too shabby either!

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Continue reading “Ay, Chihuahua!”