I'm from Mexico City and lived in the U.S. for a total of more than 24 years. Now I'm back in Mexico. I realized I was seeing my country through the eyes of a native stranger. This is an attempt to process the differences, to explain Mexico to the U.S. and the U.S. to Mexico. With digressions along the way.

lunes, diciembre 27, 2004

Downtown Mexico City

Originally uploaded by nativestranger.
Downtown Mexico City is a definite place to go if you're visiting, since it has so many historic buildings and an excavated pyramid. This is a picture of the "Catedral," which is in the main square, called the "zócalo." It seems the city and developers are making an effort to revitalize downtown, which is really a euphemism for gentrification, since downtown has always thrived in one way or another. At some point between my parents' childhood and my own it went from being a place that everyone went to for shopping and entertainment, to being more of a "popular" neighborhood. Commerce became aimed toward middle to lower classes, many elegant restaurants and hotels relocated, and it has been considered an unsafe place to walk around at night. Now they are opening up lofts and remodeling old apartments to attract young artsy people. I have a friend who lives downtown and he's a huge fan. It really has some of the best architecture in the city.

Consiguiendo Trabajo
Originally uploaded by nativestranger.
People regularly set up by the cathedral to advertise their labor. If you need a plumber, an electrician, a mason, you can go downtown and hire one here.

Originally uploaded by nativestranger.
On weekends particularly, the streets of downtown get filled with people and "comerciantes" selling their wares.

Bellas Artes
Originally uploaded by nativestranger.

This is the "Bellas Artes" (fine arts) building, where they have concerts and other cultural events. The art deco interior is definitely worth checking out.

Casa de los Azulejos
Originally uploaded by nativestranger.
Some houses downtown have been very well preserved, such as the "Casa de los Azulejos," which is one of my favorite buildings in the city. It's now a Sanborn's, which is kind of what Sear's used to be in the U.S.--a store that sells books, jewelry, electronics, etc., with a café.