Okay, you’ve heard all about the drug cartels. Now here’s why Mexico City is actually an awesome place to live.
1. Gobbling late night, or rather very early morning, flame broiled tacos al pastor in one of the thousands of small stands sprinkled across the city.
2. Driving one of the city’s five million cars, unhindered by any but the most basic, and widely ignored, rules of a civilized road.
3. Buying chewing gum, pirated movies, and just about anything else imaginable from vendors plying the packed tunnels and cars of the subway system.
4. Drinking fine Mexican beer and an aged tequila or three with friends through an afternoon and into the night in a one of the hundreds of neighborhood cantinas.
5. Joining the bicycle fests along the main thoroughfares that attract tens of thousands of riders every Sunday morning.
6. Celebrating legalized gay marriage and other gifts of a politically progressive city government.
7. Strolling the narrow and chaotic streets and the sprawling main plaza of downtown.
8. Oggling the naked protesters who arrive each spring to march along the central Paseo de la Reforma to demand God knows what.
9. The chaos of hopelessly tangled traffic.
10. Cafe con leche and a steaming plate of chilaquiles — fried corn tortillas sauteed in spicy salsa and topped with an egg or chicken — in one of the ubiquitous Chinese cafes.
11. Leaning back for a three-dollar, hot-towel and straight-razor shave in an oh so traditional barber shop.
12. Slouching with hipsters in pulquerias, the once nearly extinct traditional and now rediscovered bars serving pulque, the viscuous and lightly fermented cactus juice that’s provided a buzz here since long before the Spanish Conquest.
13. Siestas. Siestas. Siestas.
14. The many thousands of small shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe that pepper street corners, offices, shops and repair garages around the city.
15. Strolling mariachis and norteño bands and troubadours who fill bars, restaurants and streets with song.
16. Baroque Roman Catholic churches and temples offer the finest architecture of the colonial era.