I was taking off to Mexico after three great weeks in Argentina. I have a friend from Hamburg who works in Mexico City, or how everyone there calls it “D.F. – distrito federal”, and I visited him for 12 days to get to know the city, people and lifestyle in Mexico a little better.
First thing I noticed was that Mexico City is huge. There are around 9 million people living in the 1485 square kilometer city. And the urban area of D.F. even has an estimated population of 21.2 million making it the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere and the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world. If you don't believe it try to take the metro during rush-hour, it's a struggle to say the least.
That makes it even more surprising that I met a girl in Iguazu, Argentina who lived only 2 Blocks away from my friends apartment in D.F. She even picked me up from the airport since her flight from Argentina arrived just a few hours before mine. During the next days she and my friend showed me around the city, helped me with my spanish and introduced me to the wide variety of Mexican food and sweets.
In most districts I visited there were food stands and restaurants in every corner. It looked and smelled delicious and I wanted to try everything. In Germany there are not many (authentic) Mexican restaurants and all that comes up when most people think about the food is basically Tacos, Burritos and maybe Enchiladas. Let me introduce you to some of my favorites.
Elote is a common street food in Mexico and it is basically a soup like cup of mais topped with salt, cheese, chili powder, butter, lemon juice, lime juice and sour cream eaten with a spoon. You can get it for about 2$ and it is delicious.
A Quesedilla is basically a cheese filled tortilla, which is flat bred made from maize. I had them home cooked for breakfast in Puebla at a friends house together with stomped beans. It may sound simple but it was a perfect breakfast.
Salsa refers to sauces in general, but there are tons of flavors that all taste different. I went to a farmers market in la Roma where they had a stand with dozens salsas with flavors that ranged from sweet to sour and extremely spicy. You can basically spice up any dish with a good salsa.
Churros are a fried-dough pastry dipped in a salsa, like hot chocolate. There are tons of Mexican sweets and I tried quite a few, but this fat dropping calorie bomb was my favorite.
I could go on for hours about the food, but I actually did not only eat in Mexico, I also explored the city by foot. One of the architecturally most interesting and impressive parts of the city is the Reforma Street, a wide avenue that runs diagonally across the heart of Mexico City. It was designed in 1860 after great boulevards in Europe like the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It leads to Chapultepec Castle, were the Austrian Emperor Maximilian I. lived and reigned for 3 years before he was executed in a revolutionary act. The Reforma Street is also home to many of Mexicos tallest building and large modern architectural projects.
One of them is the Estela de Luz, a monument in Mexico City built in 2011 in memory of Mexico's independence from Spanish rule. The Estela de Luz was highly criticized for being built late for the ceremonies and exceeding the expected costs (USD$16 million) by more than factor 6 (USD $104 million). It is actually for Mexico City what the Elbphilarmonie is for Hamburg.
While visiting the estrella I started to explore the rooms under the tower that are a mixture of a museum and a event hall. It was a Friday night and I stumbled into two of my favorite hobbies: game development and hackathons. There was actually a google Game Jam taking place during that exact weekend. An annual event throughout the globe that encourages developers to create a videogame within 24 hours.
I liked the fact that it brings game developers and game enthusiasts together because gaming evolved from a social activity when I was young to a isolated thing where you mostly play alone on your computer or online with strangers. A few of my best childhood-memories are the 4 controller multiplayer sessions with my friends where we laughed, cursed and enjoyed the experience of playing together. These sessions are the reason I wanted to be a game developer in the first place. I am all in for making gaming a social experience again and I have a few ideas on how to do it, that I will describe in another blog post.
Anyways, I met a lot of beautiful people in Mexico that welcomed me with open arms and I am really grateful for that. You know who you are. Right now I am in San Francisco working on my projects in a coworking space and there is already a lot to write about. Stay tuned!
Bugs as snacks on the street and me eating bugs :)
Tacos and Sweets on the farmers market
Hamburgo Bus Station in Mexico City and a street in Puebla
market in La Roma district in D.F. and sweets on the street
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