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Anyone ever visited Mexico City?
Old 06-26-2007, 08:10 PM   #1
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Anyone ever visited Mexico City?

I will have an opportunity for a month of work in Mexico City next January. I am wondering if anyone has any experience visiting there? I don't speak Spanish, hope that won't be a drag. Fun stuff to do there?

We only get one day off a week, so won't really have an opportunity to travel out of the city while I'm down there, but we only have to work at night, so will have lots of free time to explore during the days.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by igsoy View Post
I don't speak Spanish, hope that won't be a drag.

Sorry, never been, but my first thought is that if you have 6 months warning, why not study some Spanish before you go? It will almost certainly enhance your experience many-fold. Might even make the difference between enjoying the month and hating it.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:59 AM   #3
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I lived there for a couple of years. However that was back in the early 90s so probably not relevant to what is going on today. There was lots of fantastic restaurants and plenty of things to do within the city. However I would caution you about going out at night, as things can get pretty scary with taxi drivers forcing you to ATM to withdraw your money etc.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:33 AM   #4
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It is an huge chaotic smog ridden dangerous city.

Buen viaje!

Ha
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:35 AM   #5
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Yes, I had heard the advice to never get a taxi on the street. It was advised to call the cab company and have them give you the cab number and name of the driver they were sending to pick you up. I also read that riding the metro is cheap, clean, and safer than taking cabs.

Another thing mentioned was to always have an extra metro token with you just in case, and also to always carry an extra stash of bills just to hand over if you do get robbed.

It's a different world, huh?
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:15 AM   #6
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It is an huge chaotic smog ridden dangerous city.

Buen viaje!

Ha
And that's just Los Angeles on the way to the airport! Actually Mexico City is a very interesting place. The traffic is horrendous and it is very spread out so it's tough to get around but there is a ton of stuff to do there.
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:38 AM   #7
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I'm a big fan of De Efe's metro (nobody in Mexico city calls mexico city mexico city. It's called "el De Efe" after it's formal name, el distrito federal, like Washington "DC" here). Although in the couples of weeks that I spent there, I was pick-pocketed multiple times (once losing my wallet and about 1000 pesos = $100 USD right after an ATM visit). Very sophisticated multi-person pick-pocket teams, too. Have fun!
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:52 AM   #8
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I was in Mexico City this past Xmas for 2 days. I drove my car almost everywhere. I never felt any need to be extra careful. Compared to other big cities, I thought MC was safe. To me at least, I feel safer in MC than in NYC.
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:59 PM   #9
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The weather will be cool because of the smog so take sweaters and layers. There is lots to do just like any big city. Maybe book a day trip to the ruins south of town.
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Old 06-27-2007, 01:38 PM   #10
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For day trips, here's a couple:

xochimilco canals - never been but it looks pretty neat. Kinda like a rural Venice, Mexican-style. To the south of town. I never went, but I might go there when I return to mexico.

Teotihuacan - a must on the tourist circuit - a short bus/taxi ride north of town. Massive pyramids that you can climb up.

Cuernavaca - mid-sized city to the south of DF maybe 1.5-2 hours away by bus/taxi, lots of expats, nightclubs and a nice little bohemian area downtown. Lots of spanish language schools here, too.

Tepoztlan/Tepozteco - maybe another hour outside of Cuernavaca to the east (I think), very strenuous hike up a mountainside and a small pyramid at the top. Supposedly a new-agey type hangout (which does not describe my style), but I enjoyed it (and ate some fried grasshoppers in the market). This would be a long day from DF by bus, maybe not so bad with a tour group or a taxi/rental car. I think the only public bus here is a 2nd class "chicken bus" - get ready for adventure if you take this route!

I've been to all these places except xochimilco. All worth a day trip, although you could easily fill up day trips with exploring DF itself (Chapultepec park/Anthropology museum, Zocalo/downtown, Palacio de Bellas Artes, a couple of the ritzy neighborhoods/colonias, bullfights, restaurants, etc).
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Old 06-27-2007, 01:39 PM   #11
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Also, the weather will be warm-ish in January, so if you are escaping somewhere like Minnesota for a month, it could really be good to defrost!
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Old 06-27-2007, 03:01 PM   #12
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I second Justin's recommendations. Xochimilco is definitely a unique experience. You can have a taco boat and a marimba boat tie up to you while you cruise along the canals. You'll trip out. Try a place called Las Mananitas in Cuernavaca for a leisurely lunch or dinner. It's incredible. Toluca, outside of the other side of town, is a nice place to hang out, eat trout. Frida Kahlo's blue house is neat too.
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Old 06-27-2007, 03:39 PM   #13
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Las Mananitas was pretty cool. Relatively cheap dining by US standards ($15-30 for a plate) on immaculately landscaped grounds with peacocks running about.

Frida Kahlo's house - also neat, especially if you are into her story or her art, or Diego Rivera's art/murals (I love his murals, and there are murals all over DF by him).
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Old 06-30-2007, 03:13 PM   #14
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The Museum of Anthropology is a must see. The Aztecs really were a blood soaked culture. Fascinating art.

Crime is a big problem. Do not underestimate the dangers of gypsy cabs.
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