This is not how most people enter and initially experience México City, and we aren’t probably going to have our usual lives back for another couple of weeks. (Our apartment is not ready for us, so we are staying in a hotel, and to further distort the experience, it is a damn nice hotel.) We have been essentially living out of our suitcases, with our cat, Sophie, for more than three months, since the last week of May, when we left Buenos Aires. So, while staying in such a hotel is a rare treat, we are becoming desperate to have our lives back.
Sunday, we walked around part of the Polanco neighborhood, where our apartment is located, and were ecstatic to find that the short, one-way, narrow street in front of our building is quiet and barely used. After 3 1/2 years of living just above the horrendous, cacophonous, roar of mad horns, unmufflered buses, and delivery trucks on Cerviño Street in Buenos Aires, our street here feels like a country lane in the hinterlands, even though it is only a few blocks from the major boulevard of México City — Paseo de la Reforma.
Streets in the neighborhood behind our hotel are named for world rivers. The streets are filled with restaurants, cafés, and bars, and we wander there frequently. This one street sign is our favorite. It is supposed to be named for Italy’s River Po … but River Poo does have a certain flavor.
We haven’t been here long enough to form any realistic impressions, this is only our fourth day. Most of what one is led to expect seems to be the case: traffic is so ridiculous that it’s almost a comic show, everything one eats is extraordinarily delicious (except sushi, at least in the one place we’ve tried), there is an “edgy” atmosphere in the streets, we have not met an unfriendly person yet, and we have already had one attempt by a business to rip us off like the stupid gringoes we are (Telcel, the national cell phone company), it rains pretty hard for a short while most days (since it is the rainy season), only occasionally is the surrounding ring of volcanic mountains visible through the smog, and the parks are fantastic.
The waiters in our hotel, one in particular, enjoy asking us how we like the city and what we like best. There is an evident pride in this often-asked question. I have endeared myself to one waiter, who now seeks me out when I enter the restaurant, because I answered this way: México City is the best in four ways — tequila, cerveza, comida (cuisine), and mujeres (women). I have made a friend.
Speaking of tequila. OMG, as the kiddies text. This is not your mother’s Jose Cuervo. Even Holly has taken a liking to a shot of tequila in a brandy glass to sip after dinner. Straight tequila is served with an interesting chaser here — sangrita maria, a sort of “little bloody mary,” but made with mescal and chiles.
Last evening, on the hotel terrace bar, I had a Don Julio 70 añejo, their seventieth anniversary bottling, which is aged almost 2 years in white oak casks, then filtered to clarity and to enhance the essential agave flavor.
I will end with a photo of our table on the terrace.