I think I had expected Mexico City to be more like Cairo however this potential was quickly dispelled when I saw people spraying the pavements down and sweeping up the litter. With barely a car horn to speak of and the pavements easily navigable, this could instead very easily be a large Spanish or Mediterranean city and the dominant European architecture assists the illusion.
Perhaps my initial impression of the town is coloured by the fact that today is a Saturday. Weekends are never very indicative of a city and the crowds queuing for mass, playing in the large parks and riding the rollercoasters in the city fairground are probably skewing my perception of the city. It all seems very civic orientated and amiable. But dull. I am always suspicious of capital cities which don’t anchor themselves by the coast or by a large river.
The Zocala, not to be confused with the Babylon 5 location, is the natural centre but, but… it is not a Piccadilly Circus, Times Square, Midan Tahrir or Champs Elysee. It all feels very anonymous, no sights which one immediately recognises or is drawn to. The city does sprawl but not in a way which tempts you to one part over after another. I think I need to get out of the central locations of the Zona Rosa, the Condessa and the Paseo de la Reforma and investigate the less salubrious areas which I passed on the way from the airport, but unlike Cairo, crime is an issue here so we shall see.
I think my attitude towards this city is being affected by the fact that I cannot find a copy of the Economist anywhere. There are news stands everywhere but they seem to specialise in car and lad mags and pornography. This seems to reflect a general lack of Anglophony on the street signs and even in the Museums. Not surprising when you have such a dominant Northern neighbour perhaps but it does seem rather petulant and self-defeating.
This is not a cosmopolitan city. I forget how much satisfaction I get from face watching in London and New York but other than the entropic European features of some, the dominant ethnicity seems fairly uniform. It was notable that amongst the trendy (and more expensive) cafes in Condessa, that the European features were more common among the clientele.
The weather, in contrast to New York and Miami, is wonderful. Tomorrow I shall investigate the subway I think.