I spent half of last year living in Mexico City, an absolute mammoth of a place. I seriously did not know what to expect before embarking on my flight across the Atlantic. Mexico City is the 2nd biggest city in the Americas and the biggest in North America. I can safely say that this city is full of life and there is never a dull moment.
1. It was Cold When I Arrived
I first arrived to Mexico City in the middle of January from a freezing winter in Glasgow. Before I left, everyone was telling me how much of a tan I’d get after my first week. However, the reality was rather different and the moment I arrived, it was a cold night. The temperature in the morning and evening wasn’t too different from how it was in Scotland. However, during the middle of the day, it was not too hot or cold. People were surprised to see me wearing a jacket in my pictures, but January and February felt like winter just like everywhere else.
2. The Constant Noise
I’ve been to some pretty bustling cities in my life like Hong Kong, Bangkok and London. However, nothing prepared me for the constant loud noises you can expect to hear everywhere you go in Mexico City. Almost everyday, I would hear a car pass by with a loudspeaker announcing that they buy used household items. I struggle to understand how people are able to put up with such an nuisance. If you tried this business model in Scotland, you’d get angry reactions of people from their windows.
Furthermore, when the garbage men would come in the morning every week, they would ring really high-pitched bells which would wake me up. When I was walking through metro stations, vendors would be yelling at the top of their lungs about the products they were selling. Coming from a culture in which people generally go out of their way to not make unnecessary noises, I found this to be a massive culture shock.
3. The Friendliness of the People
Big cities tend to have a reputation of people who are blunt and have no time for you. However, I found people in Mexico City to be incredibly warm and outgoing. When it came to living in Mexico City, I didn’t find it a challenge to make new friends. I found the people of Mexico City to be incredibly easy to talk to and I meant everyone.
When my barber found out I wasn’t Mexican, he became really curious about where I was from. I’ve had a lot of experiences in different countries all over the world and I have to say that Mexicans are among Canadians, Serbians and Polish in terms of being very welcoming.
4. It’s Much Safer Than I Thought
Once I left the airport upon my arrival, I felt a bit like a fish out of water. In addition, I had never been to Mexico before and did not know what to expect. After my time in Mexico City, I can say that a lot of negativity is spread around and the danger of visiting Mexico is completely exaggerated.
The media doesn’t treat Mexico with the respect it deserves and only shows the negative side. I was asked by people I know if I was at all worried about getting kidnapped or getting shot by members of a drug cartel. However, these are completely ridiculous things to say about Mexico City from people who have never been there. I lived in La Condesa and found it completely safe to walk around at night there. In fact there wasn’t a moment during my time there in which I felt unsafe. I’d say that Mexico City is no more dangerous than London and the only thing to worry about is being pickpocketed on public transport.
5. Huge Shopping Centres
After spending a few weeks in Mexico City, I realised that this country shares a lot of similarities with its northern neighbour. One of these similarities was that almost every shopping centre I went to was massive and looked incredibly elegant. The biggest shopping centres in Scotland don’t even compare to how they are in Mexico. A place I went to a few times to buy stuff and get food probably had more restaurants in it than the entire city of Stirling.
This place even had a department store called “Liverpool” which was like John Lewis on steroids. There were a huge number of shops such as H&M and a huge sports shop. The food court itself was even bigger than the average shopping centre in Scotland I’d say.