I need to correct a likely misperception. I believe many people think I live in “Mexico” … beaches, burritos, Corona & tequila, short dark-haired men with big mustaches on donkeys, Ranchera music – you all know the stereotypes. Those who know me better think I live in “Mexico City” … dangerous, overly-populated, smog-filled, scary, corrupt, foreboding – again, common stereotypes of the city, frequently portrayed in Hollywood movies as the “big, bad city,” where no one really wants to visit. (okay, there´s a few of you crazies out there!)


A perfect park in Mexico City

Mexico, and Mexico City, is far from the stereotype, and my life here is even more distant. While there is a lot of traffic, and smog, and Ranchero music, not everyone has to suffer from it. 🙂 Some of us live in a different kind of Mexico City. The world of Young Urban Professional Expats (the new YUPE). For better or worse, this is the world I live in. While most Mexicans are fighting crowds on the Metro or crowded streets in traffic, I am walking a few lovely, tree-lined blocks to work. While many Mexicans run the risk of encountering dangerous people daily, my world is filled with security guards and doormen and drivers, watching out for any shady behavior. While in much of this city and country it can be risky to eat on the street if you are a foreigner with a sensitive stomach, in my neighborhood you can order at any restaurant without a second thought. This is the bubble formed by the wealthy of Mexico City, who want all the comforts and dont want to see, hear or experience how the other 80% live. I suppose this is not an unusual phenomenon, but it the differences between neighborhoods are even more marked here in Mexico than in many other places.


Mexico City "Tree Advertising"

Now, before you start to judge me, let me tell you how I feel about all this. I hate it. While many people would love to live in the bubble I do, I really cant stand it. I dont mind being able to walk to work, for sure. But I hate that I live in a world filled with fake beauty, where people show off and mask the realities of life. I hate that while I live in a country filled with so much cultural richness, with art and history and natural beauty, I have little contact with the everyday Mexican reality in the majority of the socio-economic levels. And most of all, it makes me sad to think that there are so many Expats that see only this Truman Show world, that never venture for a ride on the Metro, visit the more mainstream “barrios,” eat at sketchy taco stands, wonder at the incredible street art or laugh with people while dancing to Ranchero music at 3am.


Alibrijes in Mexico City

For my part, I will continue living in my Truman Show neighborhood, but make every escape possible to visit other parts of the city, know other parts of Mexican society, and experience different cuisines. And I will try to understand better the lives of all the people who make this Truman Show neighborhood possible … all the guards, doormen, waiters, hosts, cleaners, taxi drivers, and “Ricos Tamales Oaxacaños” street-vendors. The next series of blog entries will be dedicated to observations of micro-cultures of the people who work in my neighborhood.


I´m a bit sad. I think my honeymoon period has ended. (Not with my boyfriend, thank god!) I mean my cultural honeymoon in Mexico has ended. I look around and get annoyed. I have started cussing at Mexicans in my head. They just piss me off all the time now. The country frustrates me. Daily.

I hate the stupid valet parkers. I hate the cleaning people who spend endless hours talking when they should be working. I hate the stupid Telcel dudes in their cheap blue suits who smirk at me when we pass on the sidewalk. I hate the honking horns and drivers who dont let me walk past. I also hate the smarmy men who purposefully let me walk past their cars so they can whistle at me.  I hate rich Mexican men that think they are god´s gift to the world. And I hate rich Mexican women who look at me like they want to smash me with their platform heels and swat me over the head with their humongous LV bags. I hate all the people trying to sell me crap in the street. I dont want your cell phone case nor your gum nor your plants nor your tarot card reading!

Pretty Mexican Street? No, I hate cobblestones.

Pretty Mexican Street? No, I hate cobblestones.

Maybe, just maybe, I hate my neighborhood. How is it possible to live in what most consider to be the “nicest neighborhood” in the city and just feel spite inside? Would I still enjoy Mexico if I lived in a more humilde, more relaxed and quiet neighborhood? Would I like Mexico more if I had to commute to a different neighborhood?

Or, perhaps it is not the neighborhood. Perhaps it is just the country. Am I just ending the blinded-by-joy feeling of first arriving somewhere and discovering all the new, different and lovely secrets of a new culture? Is this normal? Is it possible to find the love again? Or should Mexico and I break up? I cant decide. Please help.

Maybe I should start going to church?

Maybe I should start going to church?