Welcome to Life in Mexico City. In this section of my website I will be adding articles concerning everyday living in Mexico City.
I lived in London before coming to Mexico D.F. and so was quite accustomed to city life before making my way here. However, Mexico City is a completely different kettle of fish. It is enormous.
Thankfully there is a Metro that gets you around the central parts, but it is no way near adequate to provide for the whole city.
I live in an area called La Condesa, which is very trendy and very cosmopolitan. Daily, I hear French, German and other European languages which for me is a good indicator of the open minded nature of the area and its rate of development. Life in Mexico City is really easy to get used to if you are a European living in Condesa. Although architecture is more towards art deco and 70s style, the general vibe of the place is multicultural.
Going through areas such as Condesa, Polanco and Santa Fe, you can really see that parts Mexico City have come a long way. But this is by no means representative of the whole city as many still live an impoverished life and I am told that the minimum wage here is $M52 per day. Although I struggle to see how people might be able to survive off this wage, I do feel that the cost of living is relatively cheap when compared to London.
The food available is consistently good. Street vendor favourites are tacos, carnitas and tortas. Reasonably priced food can be found in whichever neighbourhood you may happen to be.
There is plenty of choice for accommodation so finding an apartment does not need to be difficult. I found my flat using a website called CompartoDepa. Admittedly, I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t find a place as everything was getting snapped up so quickly. Properties rent at a similar pace to those in London so there is little need to organise accommodation before you arrive.
One of the things I greatly notice about life in Mexico City is that there is a prominent class system and a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Areas such as Santa Fe seem to be booming, but just half a mile out of there is one of the poorest neighbourhoods.
Also, the malls here seem to be mainly frequented by the very rich. Although accessible to everyone, they are not environments to be shared by all and I believe that the tight security in these areas makes it slightly uncomfortable. I believe status is quite important to many Mexicans, making who you know and who you associate with very important.
I always tend to notice the barriers in social classes because I myself am a boxer. Boxing has always been considered a sport for the lower classes but this perception is starting to lose weight in the UK. Over here in Mexico, it comes as a great surprise when I tell people that I box as the associate fighting with people who have nothing to lose, but at the same time they are treasured and highly respected in Mexican society who also lover their more dramatic Lucha Libre.
Boxing is very much part of my life in Mexico City. I go to a gym in Tacubaya, next to Condesa. Many people warned me of the shadiness of the area and of the characters I might meet in the boxing gym. I have always considered boxers to be the most respectful of people and not the thugs which they are commonly presumed to be. La Lupita Gym in Tacubaya is no exception. Incredibly friendly and welcoming people and the area of Tacubaya holds a dignity that can be seen throughout many of the lesser prosperous areas of the city.
After training daily I am delighted to refresh myself with a litre of freshly squeezed orange juice, occasionally grapefruit, which I get from the market on the way back to the metro. This costs me M$10, about 50p! I keep meaning to bring a 2 litre bottle to top up for the fridge but never do.
All the fresh produce, cooked or uncooked is reasonably priced. Good tacos filled with avocado, onions, salsa and cheese should only cost between M$10 – M$15, similar prices for quesadillas filled with mushrooms, greens, chicken, frijoles or whatever you like. Street food makes life in Mexico City very tasty and a great attraction to the city.
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