I absolutely love Mexico City. It is the perfect mix of old world Mexican charm with all the sophistication of a big city. Mexico City is HUGE – it’s home to over twenty million people including the greater metropolitan area. The neighborhood I am staying in, La Condesa, is known as a trendy neighborhood – expensive to live in but sought after by all the 20-something-hipsters. When I mention to a local where I am staying, it seems to be met with contempt on account of the bevy of hipsters…I’m thinking – “and…your point is?” I ABSOLUTELY love it! La Condesa is full of parks, cafes, restaurants, bars and beautiful old Spanish Colonial architecture. It is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city – day or night. My first day here I spent about an hour getting lost wandering the streets just taking it all in.
Prior to my trip I had been looking for a place to stay through an amazing website called Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is a site that allows travelers to find locals to stay with free of charge. It’s also a great tool for meeting other travelers. I’m staying with a very hip and extremely hospitable guy named Gerardo. Gerardo and his two roommates live in a beautiful 3.5 bedroom apartment with lots of old world charm. I’m in the half bedroom which is perfect for any traveler. Gerardo is a DJ, promoter and event organizer. Currently, he is organizing a huge three day outdoor electronic festival. He has been tremendously hospitable and helpful – from tips about getting around the city to suggestions on where to eat. My favorite piece of advice so far has been to only get food from busy street vendors – the ones who have no customers could not only be terrible but could also make you sick.
Upon arrival I was running on about three hours of sleep after my overnight flight. However, I pushed myself to stay awake to get on local time. I met up with a man named Josh who I met through Couchsurfing. Josh is a busy guy working many different jobs. He is a professor at a local university, runs his own web design company and is currently creating his own app. Josh was nice enough to take some time out of his busy day to give me a guided tour of La Condesa and La Roma – the equally nice neighborhood adjacent to La Condesa. He took me to a traditional Mexican toy shop and showed me the best place in town to get traditional Mexican tortillas. Traditional Mexican tortillas are made all made to order from corn. Then you have your choice of fillings and believe it or not cheese isn’t the main event! You have a choice between beef, chicken or pork prepared in a multitude of different ways with homemade sauces. The cheese is more of a garnish than anything. They are so delicious and best from local street vendors.
All in all I would say my first day in Mexico City was a success. I returned home to get over 12 hours of sleep – which I so desperately needed.