The flight from Dallas to Mexico City, or Cuid de Mexico as the natives refer to it, was only two hours. I breezed through immigration, pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of the process. Customs was a bit more of an ordeal. You hand your declaration card to the officer and are then invited to press a button, like some sort of game show. A red or green light then illuminates, apparently to randomly select passengers to have their bags scanned. There had previously been about 3 greens on the run so I wasn’t surprised when the red light flashed. The luggage was x-rayed and an official then had a look through my bags and waved me through into Mexico.
Mexico City seems to have built up around all around the airport. Houses and shops are literally within 20 yards of the terminal door. The airport actually has an underground Metro station but to get where I wanted to go required two changes. Also I’m unfamiliar with the city which doesn’t have the best reputation for crime and feel a bit vulnerable when carrying my bags, so when a taxi direct to the hostel is only 9 quid, for want of a better phrase, it’s a bit of a no-brainer.
The hostel is decent enough. Security seems good and its location is amazing, situated on the Zocalo main square. As its name suggests, the Hostel Cathedral is right next to the to impressive cathedral and offers great views from balcony terrace. Sharing the room was two Danish girls, part of a scout group staying at hostel. This was a good sign as without wishing to stereotype, it was unlikely they’d be keeping me awake through all night partying or nicking any of my stuff!
I didn’t get any further than the main square today. And a fine square it certainly is, with a plethora of grandiose architecture. It’s the third largest in world, behind Red and Tienanmen Squares, although at the moment much of it is taken up by ugly looking white marquee tents. The area around the Zocalo is very touristy with lots of cafes, restaurants, bus tours, bike rentals, and tat aplenty on sale offering the usual sombreros, tequila glasses, ashtrays, fridge magnets, and so on.
The temperature in Mexico City is a lot more pleasant than the crazy hot US summer. Today it’s a much more manageable 20C (back using metric units here). For some reason I’d imagined that it would be hotter than this but I’d imagine that the altitude keeps it a bit cooler. Mexico City’s altitude is famous, possibly dating back to the 1968 Olympic Games when the sprint records tumbled. So far I’ve noticed no obvious effects but the most strenuous activity of the day has only been carrying my bag up a flight of stairs. It was lovely to have a bed to sleep in after two nights in airports and before 8pm I’d nodded off.