– The Federal District in Mexico, one of the world’s largest cities in the world, captivates with streets that remind you of Europe, fine dining and plenty of national pride.
The respect it generates when you arrive for the first time, is in part due to the 22 million people living in the metropolitan area, the almost 700 years of history, which are counted from when the Aztec Empire established itself in the middle of Lake Texcoco, bowing only to the Spaniards with the help of hundreds of warriors from rival tribes. However, rather than intimidating, Mexico City is astonishing.
It is a kaleidoscope that changes all the time. From the air it looks like Los Angeles or Sao Paulo, as the plane flies several minutes over the city before landing, never ending blocks of houses and buildings. Once you’re down, you explore its wide roads and ornate gazebos (one called La Cibeles) and it becomes Madrid. And in the Paseo de La Reforma, an avenue that recalls the Champs Elysees due to its wide lanes and green trees on either side it becomes Paris.
The Federal District (DF) has the ability to show many different faces. It is civilization and chaos. And offers one of the most efficient subway systems in the world, with 302 trains that move through a double track network of 200 km, its inhabitants suffer through proverbial daily traffic jams. In the words of Manuel Cepeda, a tour guide in Mexico City, “this city is a gigantic parking lot.”
Also, you can see lots of national pride, flags visible in buildings, buses and bicycles all celebrating the 200 years of independence and a century of the Mexican Revolution. It’s a feeling present in houses decorated with the tricolor (green, white and red) as if they were Mexican embassies, scattered throughout the city.
The capital city always reflect pride, and rightly so, because not every country can boast of having driven from their territory the French army, the most powerful nation on Earth at the time, the second half of the nineteenth century, after Napoleon III was imposed as emperor of Mexico by the Austrian Archduke Maximilian.
Mexico City is overwhelming, and it is confusion. It’s in part New York and it is also the essence of Latin America. It’s one of those cities where you have to sleep less to avoid missing anything. A place to which you know you must return.