En route to South America from Denver we spent a day in Mexico City. Since we had an overnight stay on our return flights, we had planned to visit the Zona Rosa area of Mexico City for a few hours while returning.
Our flight from Denver left on time, but upon arriving in Mexico City the plane was sent to a remote area of the airport, and we learned that there was a security discrepancy in matching bags to passengers. We had to deplane on the field and the passengers found their bags. As it was getting dark we were taken via bus to the terminal, which was actually kind of fun speeding down the tarmac of the airport amid huge jets taxiing in and out of gates.
The Mexico City airport is quite large, and in one long terminal building. By the time we reached our gate for overnight Buenos Aires flight our seats had been given away, but we were put on the next day’s evening flight, and given a hotel room and meals. While a bit stressed from trying to make our connection, we had two entire weeks, so we took the opportunity to take a day and explore the city.
The next day we woke up refreshed, had breakfast at the hotel, and met a private taxi driver based at the hotel. He gave us some ideas of things to see around town. I had heard about the famous Anthropology Museum but since it was Monday most museums are closed, as was the zoo.
Our driver brought us to the Zocalo in the historic centro area, where all of the government buildings are located, and we planned to meet him later in the afternoon.
We enjoyed coffee at a chic little coffee shop, and had a great walk down Reforma Street checking out the modern hotels, highrises, and people watching. We also ducked into a Metro station to check out the Subway.
Most people only know the city as a place of kidnappings, pollution, and corrupt government officials.
As one of the largest cities in the world, Mexico City has had its share of problems, but the reality is that Mexico City is just like any other large city, with all types of neighborhoods, some good and some requiring extra vigilance and caution.
The areas visitors would most likely access: Centro, Zona Rosa, the museums and Chapultepec Park, are known as safe areas free from major crime. This Monday morning we watched people rushing about to work, and sat with men and women in business attire enjoying lunch with coworkers, and the atmosphere wasn’t much different than a Monday morning in Los Angeles or Miami.
Most Americans travels to Mexico include beaches, so it’s a bit of a culture shock to see such business and commerce occurring in a country most of us consider to be laid back and relaxed.
The center of sprawling Mexico City, or Distrito Federal, is the historic Zocalo Sqaure, and has been the center of the city since the Aztecs. The countrie’s major government buildings form a ring around the enormous city square. which shadow over the many street vendors.
Reforma Street, and other Avenues are very modern with cafés, clothing stores, and businesses, but two blocks away you might wind up in a crowded market selling DVDs, trinkets and other household goods. The city reminded me a lot of Los Angeles, where some streets are tree lined with expensive houses and businesses, but just a few blocks away you narrow streets lined with sidewalk vendors and small food carts. Here’s some better some better non-truncated pictures of the Latino America tower from another site.