Q: So, you’ve been in Mexico City for almost a month now. How’s it going?
A: Very well, thanks for asking. All things considered, it’s been relatively stress-free, except for my painful lack of Spanish skills. Ay, soy novata.
Q: What do you like most about Mexico City, and Mexico in general?
A: In general, what I like most is that it’s not the U.S. (interview interrupted by laughter) No, seriously! Except for the alarming abundance of Starbucks cafes here in Polanco – the neighborhood we’re temporarily living in – it is very un-American. I go to the grocery store, and I stare at all the yogurt flavors that don’t exist in the U.S., or the spiky fruit and freckly veggies, and wonder: What the hell is that?
Q: Actually, we know what you mean.
A: Good, er, I mean, bueno. As for Mexico City, what I like most is what I like about all big cities — the wealth of culture and things to do and food to eat and things to buy.
Q: What else do you like about Mexico?
A: It’s hard to beat the near perfect Weather. Please capitalize Weather because it’s deserving of an honor like that. The Weather is amazing, because it’s so un-Weather like — sunny, high of 71 degrees, no humidity. Practically every day. And the food. I have died and gone to food heaven.
Q: And what do you like least?
Things I haven’t actually experienced yet, but am at high risk of encountering: earthquakes and crime. Mexico City, geographically, sits in a basin that’s like Jell-O. It quivers from earthquakes hundreds of miles away. And crime, well, it’s not so terrible that you constantly have to worry BUT it’s more problematic here than in other big cities. Oh! And I hate the smog and all the traffic, which oddly enough, was my #1 complaint about New York City, too. So my worst nightmare is being mugged in the subway (they call it the Metro here) on a smoggy day, just as an earthquake strikes, and I’m left under a big pile of rubble with no cell phone and I can’t call anyone and whine about my smog-induced asthma.
Q: Uh, OK. On to a happier topic: We’ve heard you found an apartment?
A: Yes! We move in on Nov. 18. It’s in La Condesa, the “Soho” of Mexico City. The apartment has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, a maid’s room on the roof (where we’ll put guests who drink too many margaritas) and its own private elevator entrance. We’re right next to the lush and popular Parque Mexico. Our place is on the 5th floor, but in Mexico, it’s the “4th floor” because the first floor is called “Piso Bajo,” or PB for short — just another one of those cultural differences. I’m also happy to report that our building was built in 1960, and the architect’s name even has a prominent plaque on the entryway wall, so it stands a good chance of making it through many more earthquakes before giving up the ghost.
Q: The plaque?
A: No, the building! The plaque is my way of assuring myself that the building is solid and strong – why else would the architect demand a plaque?
Q: I’m sensing that you’re a teensy bit nervous about earthquakes?
A: I love the word teensy. Anyhoo, yes, but it’s also kind of cool. Did you know there are BIG volcanoes here, too? Brendan can see them from his office every day unless there’s smog. So, it’s pretty wild – you have the bad — earthquakes, crime and smog, and the good — ginormous palm trees, mountains that spew, delicious food, artisanal tequilas and tons of things I want to buy for my new guest bedrooms. That’s another thing — Me and the huzzband can afford to rent a place with guest bedroom(s)! This is so not New York City.
Q: One last question: When do you expect to get out of the city and travel some around Mexico?
A: As soon as I possibly can (makes puppy-dog eyes at the huzzband).