Yes, I’m still here. Below is an A to Z of this fabuloso city.
A – Altitude, DF is higher in altitude then most cities. Some ask if I am sleepy, or have vivid dreams or other physical ailments that may be due to this. I have to admit yes to all of the above.
B – Bueno, here they say “bueno” when they answer a phone or a door. Seems cute.
C – Cabs here are a necessary annoyance. Post 10pm, it is wise to use a cab. Being an obvi foreigner with very little Spanish skills, they can take you in a round about way, sometimes not at all to your destination even after you show them a google screen grab of your location. They are cheap though, about 50 pesos/ 4 dollars for a 10-15 min ride.
D – Dogs, DF loves their doggies and they are all mostly well-behaved and very people friendly.
E – Enchiladas, there really are not a lot of enchiladas here fyi.
F – Food is everywhere and can be insanely cheap. There is a strong street food culture here and a lot of places open late night for the preventive taco hangover cure. The meals I have enjoyed the most are 3-4 course lunches, which peaks at about 4pm. You get soup, rice, salad, main, drinks and never ending sides/condiments. It costs about 50 pesos/ 4 dollars and it is fantastic way to spend a leisurely hour or two.
G – Garbage pick up is done by listening for this pleasant sounding bell from outside and then taking your garbage down and tipping the garbage person 5-10 pesos / 40-75 cents.
H – Height, people are on average much shorter here. Being short myself, I feel like a giant at times. To see a person 6 feet or so is a stand out.
I – Illegal, things that are illegal here like, prostitution, drinking in public, etc. are not really enforced. There are things that seem like they should be illegal, like a child doing acrobatics on two adult shoulders stacked at a red light on a busy road or 15 cops riding in the back of a pick up truck, while moving very fast. It’s surreal this aspect of things.
J – Juice, DF loves its juice. There are these nice small juice stands/carts that squeezes them fresh. Not a juice fan myself, but yeah, juice. Here they buy so much of it that a juice company can buy lots of contemporary art and can have a giant foundation/institution from the profits.
K – Kisses aka ‘besos’ is done on one cheek only when you say hello. Usually it’s one of those air kiss, cheek smoosh ones. If you kiss both cheeks like in EU, it means you are flirting. Careful now.
L – Language, how I know so little Spanish living in the US is a gawd damn shame. People are nice about it though. They don’t get mad at you because you are an arrogant isolationist like me.
M – Metro, the subway/metro system here is really good in that is connects to the various neighborhoods of the city and this is necessary as DF is wide and spread out. There is a lack of verticality in buildings because of this wideness. The metro is easy to use and only 25 cents a ride. Amazing. What is not so amazing is that during any sort of rush hour the cars are packed, I mean bodies crushed packed. Trying to get in our out at this time is comical and mildly terrifying. Never will I complain about the L train or any other NYC rush hour train. Words cannot express the density in a DF metro at 6pm.
N – Noodles, not many noodles here but one ubiquitous thing is Cup Noodles which are in every small shop and often at food vendors too. Strange choice.
O – Oaxaca Cheese, so good, can get at the convenience store, yummy melty.
P – Pesos, 13 pesos = 1 dollar. Seeing $100 for some small thing is like omg at first but then you realize that it’s only $7.50. Love the pesos.
Q – “Quanto questo?” All day everyday.
R – Respect, people in DF are very polite, kind and respectful. Very nice.
S – The letter ‘S’ abounds in Spanish and it is something you have to embrace and roll like a hiss, sing song like.
T – Tacos! All day all night. So good, so cheap, so healthy.
U – Used clothing, the general majority of the population wears a quick dash mix of clothes that seem used in a way. Lots of minor reference graphic tees and other clothes with small town and business logos that are probably from the US. Personally found some gems at a marcado, which are all amazing, and worth the human scaled clutter of it all.
V – Vehicles. This is a driving city even though it has a great metro system and it is fine to walk in a small scale. Again, the wideness of the city lends to this sprawl metropolis. The smog from the cars is terrible and visible but luckily most of the driving is done on main wide roads and not in the middle of where people live.
W – Weather, someone from here said that DF has two seasons and they happen to be in the same day. Mornings are chilly and a bit foggy, afternoons can be hot then cold, then hot again. Nights are cool to downright cold. Layers are key here.
X – ‘X’ here will stand for the ladies of DF. Women here are super strong in a psychic, made of the earth sort of way. They have this dominating yet graceful way about them without having to say one word. Super hawt.
Y – ‘Yes’ aka ‘Si’ to life. People here say yes to most things. Yes to drinking more, yes to getting drugs, yes to partying more, yes to food, yes to going to a random place, yes to adventuring, yes to taking a nap, yes to bringing more friends. It’s a sometimes hectic but very positive way of living.
Z – ‘Z’ will be for the general underlying, unnamable vibe that permeates this city. The history of the indigenous people and of the long history since still seems to soak the air and ground here. There is a sadness or something like this which is possibly limited by language to describe. Many have talked about this here. This weight and pressure of a history that seems to still be present. It is complex and something I know so little about and it is very constant and felt. It is extremely honest in a way though. I am not sure if it is something that will ever abate.