Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First impression of Mexico City

Landing at the Mexico City airport past midnight, all I wanted to was reach my hotel and not get robbed or shot in the process. Not so fast, as the immigration guy kept staring at my passport for a while, flipped over the pages repeatedly, smelled it, made a little mark with his pen and wiped it off, and finally disappeared asking to "wait me". A more senior looking official emerged and and asked if I have another form of ID. I guess they were just confused why an Indian looking guy residing in Germany is holding an US passport. Strangely though, they never asked me why I am here.

The city is huge, and remarkably like any big Indian city. It is not just the crowd, or the crazy traffic or the tasty streetfood, but the character and smell of the city, so to say. It took us over an hour to come to the university from the center of the city, a distance of barely 5 km. The university apparently has 300,000 students, which is about 6 times that of a large public university in US. Overwhelming, to say the least.

Large crowds everywhere, be it at the metro or at tourist attractions. Everything from (cheap) spicy food to handicrafts being sold on the streets, or in the little carts. People singing or playing musical instruments and asking for money, or asking for money anyways. Mexico City is as lively and vibrant place as I have ever been to. The museum of Anthropology does a remarkable job of portraying the unique amalgamation of "Indian", Mayan, Aztec and Spanish culture that the present day Mexico is, apart from having an amazing collection of sculptures and relics recovered from the ruins.

I read all these scary things about the country. May be that is true elsewhere, but here in the city, I never felt unsafe. You do see armed cops and blinking lights literally in every corner, but no hint of any danger lurking.


Suvadeep said...

I guess the Americans come to India with the same impression as you went to Mexico with! :-)

dipthought said...

Well, I could not escape all the horror stories in the media, but I am pleasantly surprised by the state of affairs in the city.