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Published: December 26th 2013
Mexico City has been on my Top Ten Cities To Visit List for years now; yet, somehow, it always gets lost in the shuffle of that crazy dance that occurs between travel plans and travel reality. So, when the cheapest flight I could find to go home to California for Christmas included a 10-hour layover there, I couldn’t believe my luck. A cheap flight and a day-trip? It really is Christmas!
Ten hours is hardly enough time to see even the smallest fraction of a city as grand as Mexico City, but it is enough time to make a few, quick impressions - and to know that I want to come back for more.
First Impression: Evocative, expertly executed graffiti adorns most available surfaces.
Second Impression: No one speaks English to me. And they don’t even seem surprised that this blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl responds in fluent Spanish. ¡Orale gue!
Third Impression: Vendors in Mexico City seem to have one-upped all other vendors the world over. Instead of making themselves hoarse from yelling about the virtues of the pirated CDs they sell, they strap a big speaker to their back and allow the blaring cacophony of
horns do all the talking for them.
The vendors here also appear to be quite playful - and hide-and-seek seems to be their favorite game. One second they’re haggling with a customer on the sidewalk; the next, they’ve snatched up their wares in a big plastic sheet and set off running down the street, the police in close pursuit. They turn this corner and scuttle down that street until they find a good spot to set up their merchandise anew - and until a series of whistles and claps alerts them that they’ve been found, and they run off to hide once again.
Fourth impression: Mexico City’s #1 Pastime is kissing. Eating tostadas
from sidewalk food stalls is a close second, but first place definitely goes to kissing. And I’m not talking about little, chaste pecks; I’m talking about full-on, lip-smacking, tongue-groping, spit-slurping kisses, with no worries as to whether or not anyone else is looking (or listening).
The most comical couple was a middle-aged pair a crowded Metro train. The woman had drawn two dark, highly pointed arches across her forehead; a sparkling princess tiara perched above the peaks of her eyebrow mountain range. A lone
tooth jutted out of her upper gums, hanging on for dear life to terrain that was clearly hostile. As her man’s big right paw clawed at her breast, she gummed down hard on his lower lip. His eyes clamped shut in a grimace, but whether in pleasure or pain remained unclear. A full minute later, the toothless trap opened and the captive licked his lips appreciatively.
Last impression: Federales. Federales. Federales. Yet, I was allowed though airport security with a full, opened bottle of water that I had forgotten was in my backpack.
Back at the airport, I washed the black grit off of my feet in the bathroom sink and sat to wait the remaining time until my flight with the mixed emotion that travelers are so familiar with: the combination of gratitude for having had the opportunity to see someplace new and woe that it couldn’t have lasted longer. One of these days…
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