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Random Facts I’ve Learned in Mexico CIty

This page shall amass the many insights I gain with each passing day here in Mexico City. Namely, the random facts that don’t seem to justify a unique post by themselves.

  • Every time you hand a map to a taxi driver in DF, he will invariably turn it upside down, stare at it for a while, turn it back the right way, stare at it, turn in 90 degrees, stare at it, and then give it back to you with a nod. You may as well have handed him a map of New York City.
  • If you have blue eyes in Mexico, you will receive regular accusations of “¡ojos azules!” from complete strangers who will stare at them suspiciously/with great fascination.
  • If you send an email with a list of 5 bulleted questions, you will receive a reply with 2 new questions for you & 0 responses to any of your questions.
  • Meal course pacing does not exist (or perhaps it is just super-rude to eat when not everyone has food). If you order an appetizer and your fellow diners do not, you will get your appetizer the same time everyone else gets their main dish. Then, you will be left to awkwardly eat your main dish alone while everyone stares at you. Trying to explain to your waiter the idea of appetizers first & entrees second will go poorly.
  • For women traveling extensively throughout Mexico, it is worth hitting the gym & doing some squats to get your quads bulked up before you thoroughly explore the toilets of Mexico. They are not real big on actual toilet seats…  Maybe seatless toilets had a hot discount?
  • The sewage system here isn’t so hot; therefore, most bathrooms have signs requesting that you do not flush toilet paper in the toilet. Instead, most toilet stalls have garbage cans for you to throw away your used TP. I do not envy the cleaning person who empties those garbage cans.
  • No one does tequila shots here. Tequila is sipped alone or popularly found in palomas, a drink made of squirt + tequila with a salt rim. (mmm.)  Tequila is often served con sangrita or you can ask for a bandera, which gets you a shot of tequila, a shot of sangrita and a shot of lime juice (the colors of the Mexican flag).
  • That said, people here loooove their Jaegermeister, and that is cheerily done in shot form.
  • Driving in Mexico City is the best during the Christmas holidays & during Holy Week (Easter). Many of the locals clear out of the city, and you can actually get across town expeditiously with minimal traffic.
  • You can’t get lemons at the standard grocery stores here. Every other citrus under the sun? Yes. Lemons? No.
  • Americans in overseas prisons are required to receive a visit every three months from the local US Embassy. Now that I have friends with “prison duty”, I can confirm that you do not want to end up in a Mexican prison.
  • Baking a cake at 7,000 feet is something to be proud of.
  • When a guy & a girl are dancing to Latin music, if he does not dip her (or ‘break’ her to use their lingo), he is a wuss.
  • You can get some serious air by riding in the back seat of a microbus. Odds of the micro hitting a pothole that will jolt you 6-12 inches off the chair are high to quite high.
  • When riding in taxis around Mexico, do not assume that your driver will be able to break the equivalent of $10 dollars. $20 dollars?  Good luck pal. Mo’ small change, mo’ better.
  • If you have a serious medical problem somewhere in Mexico City  (even if it is somewhere roughly 10 blocks away from a hospital), nearly 20 minutes will probably elapse before 2 ambulances suddenly show up in unison. You are probably better off just taking a taxi if you actually require medical attention.
  • Even diner-style restaurants in Mexico City have multiple bouncers who, when you ask if you can sit down at a table, will engage in several seconds of intense communication via earpiece to their fellow bouncers to ascertain the acceptability of you sitting at said table (or whether someone trendier may soon arrive instead).
  • Police drive around 24/7 with their red & blue lights flashing. It is incredibly annoying and/or slightly panic-inducing when you see them approaching from behind you. As our friend Mark proposed, the lights are apparently a way for the police to let bad guys know to stop breaking the law before the police car gets to where they are, so the police don’t have to do any work.
  • People don’t do cardinal directions here, i.e. the terms “north, south, east or west” are virtually unused. I though this might be an individual thing, but no, pretty much everyone who I’ve ever asked “What direction is place x?” has not been able to answer me. Therefore, if you don’t know all the relevant landmarks used as points of reference, you are SOL.
  • Don’t use your turn signal here unless you REALLY do NOT want to move into the adjacent lane.
  • It is totally okay to drive down a one-way street for several blocks going the WRONG way, as long as your car is still facing the way that it is supposed to be.