Mexico City◇1. Arrival

Meet me (47), my mom (74) and my husband (48). In 2021, we decided to trade the usually cold and grey winter of NY to possibly the warm and sunny climate of Mexico.

“Why not stay for 6 month and explore such an exotic country, treating ourselves to fresh fruits and veggies and, maybe, locating a perfect place for future retirement?” we said to each other. The winter weather in Mexico is supposed to be wonderful with full sun and no rains. Agreed, we researched our cities-traveling route based on the best weather and bought tickets.

We didn’t want to carry too many bags around, so we decided to bring one backpack each. It worked wonderfully! First of all, we saved money because the luggage cost was extra for the airplane tickets. Secondly, we saved tons of time for packing and unpacking every time we moved. And honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I would pack even less.

My husband and I landed in Mexico City on October 5th and my mom came from Germany on October 6th, 2021.

The weather was on the hot side with vivid greenery everywhere as the wet season was coming to its end. The city is 7,300 feet above sea level (1 mile high) like Denver, CO. The air is thinner here but it is not really noticeable.

Taxis and Uber have cheap fares everywhere in Mexico. But we heard good things about Mexico City subway, one of them – the ride cost only 25 cents (5 pesos), another – each train has a special cart for women and children only. Both proved to be true and more! I cannot count how many times my mom and I used the women only cart during the peak times. Also, each subway station has armed guards on every platform. They monitor for order, give whistles for trains arrivals and departures and, a few times, they removed men who sneak in the women only cart.

Notice the wall around the green space.
Mexicans love walls! They are everywhere. Even public parks are walled.

The quest to use the subway to get to our AirB&B was actually quite hard. For more that 40 minutes we couldn’t find the closest subway station to the Terminal 2 we landed at. While picking up my mom from the airport the following day, we discovered that the very convenient subway station with the name “Airport” is at the Terminal 1. It is possible to take the airport shuttle train between terminals. However, we did not figure it out right away, got out onto the streets and were trying to follow google directions instead. Even with the directions, it was a challenge. The expected grand entrance or any sort of stairway to the subway station was actually hidden by a labyrinth of market stalls, that grew around it. While walking in search of the entrance, I felt bewildered by the idea of being totally lost, as how can anyone find anything in this chaos, when suddenly we were standing in front of the grand stone staircase. That must be it.

We were staying in an AirB&B, at the heart of the Guerrero neighborhood. This area is not the best visually, as it looks and feels run down. However, it is a true working people neighborhood with a fresh produce and clothes markets and several subway stations.

Our apartment was in a gated building complex. Throughout our Mexican journey, there was never a time when we felt unsafe.

Rain fell for roughly 15 minutes every afternoon, during the second week of October.

After securing the apartment, we went around to hunt for food.

The first few days, I was recovering from a cultural shock of shopping at local farmers markets in Spanish in the biggest city in both Americas.

Besides, fruits and veggies, we also opted for buying whole grilled chicken and eating at home. My mom didn’t get her Hepatitis A vaccine before coming to Mexico, and we didn’t want to risk her life and suddenly end our journey, by eating at restaurants and off street carts.

We got two weeks in Mexico City. It is time to explore it!

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