The Walkability of Mexico City

You probably know that the entirety of Mexico City’s Centro Histórico is walkable, with a concrete grid of sidewalks connecting every inch of the city’s storied, teeming humanity between Lázaro Cárdenas (Eje Central) in the west, Anillo de Circunvalación in the east, Granaditas (Eje 1 Norte) in the north, and José María Izazaga in the south.  If that isn’t enough, no fewer than 10 metro stations, one metrobús route, and a cable-powered trolebús (not to mention countless peseros) pass through those same storied streets, ferrying commuters hither and yon.

Wider, better-maintained sidewalks link the Centro Histórico with the city’s green lung, Bosque de Chapultepec, via Palacio de Bellas Artes and Paseo de Reforma, the city’s grandest thoroughfare.  Plans are underway to build a seventh metrobús line that will supposedly run along Reforma, but since public transportation improvements move at a caracol’s pace in CDMX, I will believe it when I see it.

My casual stroll this past March along the Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca, a railway line-turned-walking and cycling path, prompted me to wax further nostalgic about the walkability of Mexico City in general…not just in the aforementioned city center area, but in outlying sections of the city as well.  Traffic congestion has become such a problem that a recent CNN Money article named the city as having the second-worst traffic on the planet!  To me, any chance to walk, rather than drive, is a welcome one.

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A Reunion of Amigos

Q: What do an entrepreneur, a human resources executive, a high school English teacher, a middle school history and science teacher, and a graduate student have in common?

A: They live in Mexico City, and they are my friends.

My long-awaited (for me, at least) return to “CDMX” was a resounding success.  I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see, nor was I able to hit up every one of my former stomping grounds, but on the whole, I was able to stroll through some of my favorite neighborhoods and spend time with old friends – even if it was just for a quick drink.

Would you like to meet them?  (Apologies in advance to mis amigos for posting these pics – although I don’t think the content is anything too compromising.)

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Onward and Upward: Four Years of Blogging

November has, thus far, been rife with disappointment.  On a personal level, I have slowly been making peace with my mother’s passing, less than two months ago, while weathering a relationship break-up that felt like a sucker punch.  Regarding the former, it took several weeks to even register the fact that my mom was gone.  As for the latter, I’ve been trying to assess what I must have done wrong, but am slowly coming to the conclusion that I will never know for sure.  All I can say is that I haven’t been sleeping well.

On the world stage – and for the second occurrence in my lifetime – the better candidate for the United States Presidency won the popular vote but lost the election.  And the other day, I logged onto social media to learn that one of my favorite mood poets, Leonard Cohen, had passed away at age 82.

At times like these, I tend towards the melancholy.  I spent much of yesterday doing some archiving and came across a few blog posts from 2013.  I realized that it was Election Day, 2012, when I moved to Mexico City and established gringopotpourri.com.  My blog has changed a lot over the years.  For one thing, the writing is better now than it was then.  Darker, perhaps, but also better.  The regionality of the content has also shifted from being mostly Mexico-focused to being largely Tennessee-focused.

To “celebrate” my blog’s four-year anniversary, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite posts for you, along with comments on how those posts either came to be or how they hold up today.  And as always: Thanks for reading!

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40 at 40 – A GringoPotpourri Q&A

North Rim Grand Canyon 20

I turned 40 two weeks ago.  The feeling is a bit surreal.  On the one hand, most people tell me that I look young for my age.  On the other hand, I can’t believe that I’ve completed four decades of living, and I’m disappointed that I’m not “where I should be” in my life considering that I’m a college graduate who has traveled around the world.  At least that dreadful phrase “Over the Hill” has become passé.

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Confessions of a Former English Teacher

As my current tax season job winds to a close, I am reminded of the fact that just one year ago, I was waking up at 4:30 every morning to begin the arduous commute to my rewarding, but short-lived, job as an English teacher in Mexico City.

I have mentioned that job before in passing, but wanted to share some humorous anecdotes with you, Loyal Reader – albeit in a more structured manner than the few bullet points I shared here about my current gig as a tax company waver and marketer.

Today’s entry will be longer, as I taught English in Mexico for 18 months and simply have more stories to tell.

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FAQs about My Life in Mexico

Don Camilo Restaurante 2

As you know, I spent almost two years living in Mexico City.  I worked, played, and made a life there before deciding to return to the U.S. – what I affectionately refer to as Gringolandia – two months ago.

To many – most – people, Mexico City might seem like a strange choice for a place to live.  While I had spent considerable time in and around Mexico DF before actually moving there (I didn’t enter into my decision to move there lightly), it was nevertheless a life choice rife with surprises and unexpected challenges.

If you’ve followed this blog for some time, you may have heard some of this before.  Last week, however, I stumbled upon a similarly-themed blog post from The Paper Planes Blog about expat living in Thailand.  Her FAQ-themed entry – and her entire blog, in fact – is insightful and fun, and it inspired me to write something similar – if inferior in quality.

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Green Go Home! Or, Why I’m Leaving Mexico City

Yesterday marked my last day of classes as an English teacher in Mexico City.  I have just two weeks remaining as an honorary Chilango before it’s time to return to the U.S., where I face an uncertain future.

Deciding to leave here was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made.  But I can’t stay, even if I wanted to.

Background: Lost Love

I have called Mexico City home for not quite two years.  I first discovered el Distrito Federal in 2002, during a whirlwind Thanksgiving weekend trip, and have been enamored of the place ever since.  I met a local girl while traveling in another Mexican city – Guadalajara – in 2011, and decided to move here – for her and for myself both – not quite one year later.

That turned out to be a mistake.

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