Mace, switchblade, gps tracking system implanted in my neck, .. I even got vaccinated for malaria in case the sex traffickers who captured me wanted to ship me overseas. Yep, I took all the usual precautions for my trip to the desolate, dangerous and dirty: Mexico City.
Unfortunately, before I could even spot my bag on the carrousel, I had been robbed at knife point. Luckily, I had duct taped emergency funds around my thighs just in case this exact situation happened, so I was able to pay for a taxi. Well, I would have been able to pay, if the taxi driver didn’t ignore my precise print out directions to my hotel. Instead, he covered my mouth with some rag in chemicals, and well that’s all I really remember until now. I’m just coming to, in shackles, in what appears to be some kind of warehouse filled with narcotics. Luckily they haven’t caught onto me typing away on my silicone keypad I hid in my bra and uploading my posts through my applewatch.
Well, at least that how it probably played out in my Mom’s head when I told her I was jetting off to Mexico City for New Years. Actually, everyone I told about my travel plans seemed horrified by my destination choice. I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t say that my senses were heightened on this trip, but not once did I feel in danger. Actually, quite the contrary. The people were friendly, the city eclectic and lively, the sights mesmerizing, and the food and tequila? Well, I’ll post on that later, but it was nothing short of delightful. This post is just a quick argument for why you should put MC on your radar… and how to NOT get your organs harvested when you get there.
WHY GO TO MEXICO CITY:
- You can drive 30 miles North and step back into Aztec history. At Teotihuacan, burn off all those enchiladas you’ve been scarfing and climb the two enormous pyramids for a breath taking view. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate this archaeological gift dating back to 100 AD.
- It’s cheap AF (that’s adolescent slang for really fucking cheap). Like a 40 minute uber ride cost $6.00 cheap. Like a 5 star hotel for $100 dollars cheap, like a 4 star hotel for $50 dollars cheap, like SHOES for $2 CHEAP, like oh my god I just ate and drank double my body weight for the price of a happy meal cheap. Even the Unesco World Heritage site Teotihucan was a mere $2 entrance fee. You can’t even buy a soda at Disney for that price.
- There’s so much to do! From the historic center, to the Zona Rosa, to Polanco, to day trips from the city… you could easily spend a week in MC and not tire of its rich diversity and vibrant culture.
- Yes, the city is hectic, but you can relax in the Polanco area. It’s the Beverly Hills of Mexico City, but dare I say.. nicer? Picture more trees, less snootiness, better nightlife and more gardens. Every luxury brand you could ever dream of from Max Mara to Vera Wang to Dior to Tiffany’s …they all have residence in this quaint little ‘village’ for the elite. I mean there’s even yoga studios, and club med, and blowout bars! Picture rooftop pools and lounges, world class dining (at Pujol for example- one of the top 20 restaurants in the world!), and English! This might be the only area in all of Mexico City that you could overhear a couple of expats conversing in the mother-tongue! But above all, Polanco provides an oasis from the mayhem of the rest of the city.
- The food. Forget everything you’ve ever known about Mexican Food. This is not your heavy, fried and greasy sit-in-your-stomach-for-days cuisine (although if that’s what you’re after.. you can find it in the street side taquerias). Here, the ingredients are fresh and bursting with flavor. What to eat: Mole, Tacos al Pastor, Guacamole, Tamales, Stuffed Peppers, Elote, Churros.
- The nightlife. There are clubs here that rival Paris and New York but with shockingly low price tags. If clubs aren’t your scene, the city is abundant with rooftop bars and lounges, open air restaurants, karaoke bars and mezcal tasting rooms.
- And the best for last: Mexico City isn’t overrun with tourists! I didn’t see one single bus tour. No red flags waving in the air through the crowded streets… with all the fanny pack wearing tourists clutching their guidebooks and offensively pointing their cameras in the face of locals on their way to work. None of it! This is a culture largely untainted by tourism and globalization. Something that is quite the rarity in the world we live in.
How to Not Get Shanked in Mexico City:
- Try to blend in. Easier said than done for me and my blonde hair and fair skin, but I made a point not to show excessive skin or wear much makeup. The vast majority of Mexicans wears jeans, long sleeve shirts and a jacket year round. Yes, even with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees during the day. Follow suit, and blend in by leaving the tourist drab or overtly expensive clothing and accessories at home. That meant no engagement ring for me on this trip, but it was well worth not having any unwanted attention.
- Use uber. There’s no reason to take public transportation here or hop in a potentially unsafe cab. Uber is affordable and you can follow along with the route on your phone.
- Get a sim card or international data plan before you leave the states. This will enable you to call ubers, follow maps and share your location with your travel friends and your loved ones at home. You can also download a translator app so you navigate the city with more confidence.
- Actually, it really couldn’t hurt to learn a bit of espanol before your trip either because… well… it’s not really an English-language friendly destination. At least learn this one “ayuda!” It means help.
- Keep your valuables and passport locked in the safe in your hotel room. Only bring out the essentials with you when walking around the city and keep your bag close and secured. Just keep your wits about you and have your eyes open for anything that looks suspicious and you will be just fine. There is a heavy police presence in the tourist and wealthy areas, they are your allies and there to help if you feel unsafe.
Click here for a Two Day Itinerary in Mexico City!