Sunday, December 05, 2004

City, City everywhere... and not a drop to drink

Infrastructure is kind of boring, but in Mexico City it's pretty crazy. Mexico City's infrastructure is quite different and water is one key thing I've noticed. I think in most of Latin America rather than have water towers elevated up above the city, water tends to still be pumped to the roof of all buildings where pressure is established by gravity feed. There are these large black tanks on almost every small building. I'm not sure how it works in other North American cities, but it seems most towns have central water towers or the water just comes from an elevated reservoir somewhere. I could be wrong though.

Here's a picture of some rooftops outside of Ale's apt. The arrow points to the water tanks. Most people try to avoid drinking it as there can be disastrous results.

Mexico City used to be a collection of small towns that slowly grew into one another. The result is a vast network of freeways that wind around the city which are usually clogged with traffic and always seem to have some kind of construction being done on them. It's a total headache and the No 2 complaint of Mexico City residents after crime and corruption. People are often late for things here just because of the inevitable and unpredictable battle with traffic. What's cool about this evolution is that the city has many small neighborhoods that actually used to be small towns so they often have a self-contained character. Many little neighborhoods will have town parties and celebrations in their town squares and the streets are small and crowded.

Mexico has a lot of nice parks. Often there's a market going on around the perimeter too. This is one about five minutes from Ale's place and it's a nice place to relax or get a snack. There's b-ball nets and a "rapido" court. Rapido is like soccer, but played with less people on a small, enclosed court. Like indoor soccer I guess.

Mexico City has a lot of public art. Most of them are either colonial statues and fountains or "modern" and made of primary color painted steel. At any rate it makes for a nice diversion for the eyes when much of the landscape can be winding overpasses and standstill, honking traffic. This one is a few blocks from the apartment.

I think I mentioned the Metro before, but I didn't have a picture. Mexico has a pretty good transit system all things considered. It's a few pesos to go almost anywhere and you can using either the Metro or the somewhat ad-hoc minibuses. The minibuses are private and stop anywhere and drive crazily. There are no set routes and you have to know where you want to go and kind of figure out what buses you'll have to take to get there. Cardboard signs in the window have the route displayed, but sometimes a conversation with the driver will be necessary. There's usually some kind of crazy salsa or mexican pop blasting out of the stereo and they are often crowded.

Reforma is one of the biggest arteries of Mexico City and right in the centre is this roundabout that contains this gold angel statue that is one of the architectural icons of the city. Mexico City has a lot of impressive things like this and I like them too. It gives the city a kind of European vibe. ...and when I say "vibe" I mean, "vibe", dudes.


Anonymous said...

?Estas tu un profesor de ingles?

Anonymous said...

clay hastings, You are living in probably one of my favorite cities in the world...picnics in Xochimilco, coffee in Polanca.

I will be visiting your blog and will see you when next in Mexico DF.

What part of city do you live.

When I was travelling back and forth alot I would stay at a hotel on the Zocalo called the majestic...modest but authentic...or another little Best Western (a converted four hundred year old monastary) across the street from that park (the name know...random access memory) that Rivera made famous

If the big companies were paying then somewhere near the Zona Rosa along the Paseo de la Reforma.

One of your pictures looks much like the backyard of Diego Rivera's studio.

Ruby said that you had also visited Michoacan. I spent about ten days in Urapan with some Organic producers of avacado. We were up in the mountains at a festival of indigenous peoples who did not speak spanish and certainly not english but I had a most wonderful time there as well.

Hope to hear from you.

Bill Reynolds

Anonymous said...

Hello there,,I was looking for site on my favorite town in Michocan ,,,Tinguindin and this site poped up. My parents are from Tinguindin a little town in Michocan Mexico. I live in Dallas. Take a look at my artist page and you can see a wonderful photo of the church in Tinguindin...
take care and hasta pronto...

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