Hi everyone! 😀
What is the first thing that comes in mind whenever you hear something about Mexico? Nowadays, maybe you’d remember the ballad of Trump and Mexican Walls. Or since FIFA World Cup 2018 just ended up a couple of months ago, maybe you remember that time when they beat Germany 1-0.
Well, I grew up with Mexican telenovela so that’s probably something that I would associate with when I heard about Mexico. And burrito, of course! 😛
Anyway, on this week’s $10 series, I would like to thank Adrien from Strangers Abroad Podcast for covering Mexico City in the series. So, here we go!
Here’s How to Burn Pesos in the Capital City of Mexico!
Mexico City is one of the most vibrant places you could visit. Filled with colorful houses, overflowing gardens, and outstanding street art, there is more than enough to look at for free. However, if you have a few pesos to burn, ten American dollars can get you pretty far in this juggernaut of a town.
Eat lots and lots and lots of snacks
Mexico is the land of snacks. The streets of Mexico City have every kind of snack vendor waiting around parks or on street corners, waiting for your pesos and small talk. There are mango stands with slices of this juicy orange fruit stuffed in plastic cups that you can drown in vinegary salsa or chili flakes. Sometimes they are poached on a stick and sliced into roses. These range from 40-50 pesos (around $2 USD).
There are also nut and beans stands with dry roasted legumes from giant lima beans to tiny peanuts covered in every spice imaginable. You can typically mix and match and depending on the bag size range from 10-40 pesos ($0.50 cents to $2 USD).
There are ice cream and popsicle stands that offer as wide a variety of flavors as the fruit that grows there. ($2 USD)
Buy A Book in Spanish
Mexico City has a range of wonderful bookstores that sell books in English and Spanish. You can get hit in the face with that wonderful old book smell walk into some wonderful used bookstores like Bibliofilia near the city center or EXIT La Librería in Cuauhtémoc.
The stores are filled with the comforting aromatic punch of aging pages, like opening a smelly cheese. These books range from 40-100 pesos ($2 to $6 USD).
Then there are bookstores with books whose spines are in tack as you get to unpeel the plastic and be the first to crack it open. Some great ones are Libreria Rosario Castellanos in Condessa and Books, Books, Books in Miguel Hidalgo. New books typically range from 60-200 pesos ($3 to $12 USD).
Some stores also offer coffee + food like Cafebrería El Péndulo, which has multiple locations around the city. Nothing pairs better with your new Octavio Paz novel than a freshly made cappuccino.
Eat street food
Honestly, you can’t avoid the street food if you tried. From empanadas, gordos, tortas, sopas, and quesadillas, this city is perfumed with the smells of simmering meat mixed with caramelized onions, peppers, and chilis. Typically only costing $0.50 cents to a dollar per dish, this makes it very difficult to resist chowing down at each one you bump into.
The experience is more of a dinner and a show because you can watch the food be made right in front of you. The patting of tortillas, stirring of beans and meat on giant round cast iron pans that they shlep back and forth every morning to make the people passing by stop. It is hard to control yourself.
If you’re lucky, you can find one of the women making blue corn tortillas. This is made with special blue corn that gives the tortillas and extra nuttiness to their flavor. You can watch the woman’s hands become bluer by the hour as she squishes the watery mash of pulsed corn into perfectly round patties to then squish and sizzle on a hot frying pan. They are stuffed with chorizo, queso, chicken, or pork.
Go to Pyramids
A day trip to Teotihuacán takes about an hour to get there and roughly 100 pesos round trip via public transportation ($6 USD).
Once you’re there, you can walk around the ancient citadel that used to house one of the largest civilizations in the New World. There are ancient pyramids that are so mysterious even the Aztecs didn’t know who made them. The city was rediscovered by the Mexica’s and who later became the Aztecs and repurposed into the capital of their civilization.
Contributor: Adrien Behn from Strangers Abroad Podcast
Adrien Behn has self-produced Strangers Abroad, a travel+storytelling podcast. Strangers Abroad is a series of conversations she had with strangers that she met while backpacking throughout Latin America for 5 months, overlapped with her personal stories about being a woman who travels alone. The podcast aims to focus on the self-growth and eye-opening experiences that happen to individuals when they travel abroad. She is a travel writer, live storyteller, and intense pie baker. She desires to hit every country before she dies (with modern medicine, she still has plenty of time).