snapshots of mexico, literal and figurative

New Year’s Resolutions
January 3, 2009, 10:00 am
Filed under: Photo, Update | Tags: ,

A list of relatively modest 2009 resolutions for Mexico City:

1) More public trash cans. Disposing a Kleenex, gum wrapper, or cigarette butt practically requires taking it home with you.  Needless to say, there’s a lot of Kleenex, gum wrappers, and cigarette butts on the ground.

2) Better traffic enforcement. Running red lights is more the standard than the exception. Changing lanes randomly is considered a normal part of driving. Hitting a pedestrian in a cross-walk is clearly the pedestrian’s fault. And so on.

3) Sidewalk repair. A chip here or an uneven slab there would be normal. A 4 foot wide hole or a randomly placed knee-high pole should not be.

4) Don’t shut the subway and metrobus at 10 PM on New Year’s Eve (or early on weekends in general). There’s a reason most world cities extend/increase public transit service for a holiday that consists mainly of staying up to drink booze at midnight.

5) Stay cool.

Clearly this ignores a few major goals for Mexico (ending violent war with drug cartels, cleaning up the corrupt police force, narrowing the excessively large income gap, eliminating all-too-common kidnappings, etc) but accomplishing those things over the next year is about as likely as the US paying off the national debt in the same time frame.  Feel free to comment with your own Mexico City resolutions.

The past few weeks here have been busy as tour guide/tourist with my family and later Annie. My family and I managed to cover an admirable amount of Mexico City—Chapultepec Castle, the Anthropology Museum, Zona Rosa, Condesa, the Basilica of Guadalupe, the Centro Historico, Tlalpan, the canals of Xochimilco—as well as celebrated Christmas Eve with my host family and take a trip to wine/cheese/empty water park country (i.e. Tequisquiapan). Annie and I opted to get out of the city and visit Guanajuato state’s twin colonial gems, Guanajuato city and San Miguel de Allende. I’ve got a week to get back onto a normal schedule and complete a few more interviews in Chapultepec park before I head back north to see a friend in Zacatecas, where I’ll continue the project and check out a city I’ve long wanted to visit.

So when are you going to come and visit? Yes you. Do you really want to squander your chance to experience Mexico with a fun and talented tour guide such as myself? I’m here through June 1st

Fun Mexican Word: Moros con Cristianos – Literally meaning “Moors with Christians”, moros con cristianos is beans and rice. I’m guessing this one came over from Spain, as there aren’t many Moors in Mexico and most of the Christians around here aren’t exactly rice-white…


La Parroquia, San Miguel de Allende

La Parroquia, San Miguel de Allende

Easily the most recognizable landmark in the most gringo-infested town in central Mexico. While the main church sanctuary dates to the late 1600s, the distinctive façade is several centuries newer. Its design was based on a postcard of European churches by an indigenous Mexican architect with no formal training. Reportedly, the “blueprints” used to guide construction were drawn on the sandy ground with a stick.

Something I miss (aside from all of you, of course): Bike lanes; I know of maybe 2 in Mexico City, neither of which is very useful for me (assuming I had a bike). Then again, at this time of year the bike lanes in Chicago aren’t really of much use to me, either.

Something I like about DF: Plazas, particularly those that have sidewalk cafes. Mexico City, particularly in its older sections, is chock full of plazas, pocket parks, and pedestrian malls. What’s better than sitting in a plaza drinking cafe con leche?  I mean, other than sitting in a plaza eating dried grasshoppers, of course…

Happy New Year! Hope all is well wherever you are.




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