Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

More fun facts about Mexico City

I should write about the conference, but it's almost too much and I need to digest. Meanwhile, here's more of my letter home from camp.

The climate here is very equable -- contrary to what you might think, it doesn't get hot, because we're up in the mountains. It can be a touch humid, and air conditioning is uncommon, but you don't miss it much.

The traffic in this city is beyond description, the drivers beyond belief, and the street vendors, who stand in the middle of it all, beyond comprehension. How it is they don't have a massacre of the innocents every day is inexplicable.

The peso has gained quite a bit against the dollar recently and it actually priceds aren't all that cheap here. In fact, the lead story in the business section today was that Mexicans are busy gobbling up foreclosed properties in the U.S. Don't tell Lou Dobbs or his head will explode.

The stereotypes are true, if a bit exaggerated: they're into bureaucracy and elaborate paperwork. For example, I tried to make a local call last night to a friend here and I couldn't get an outside line -- instead I got the hotel operator, who by the way does not speak a word of English. She told me I had to go down to the front desk and make a deposit. At the desk I handed the young woman a 200 peso bill, and she then filled out an elaborate form, which we both had to sign. Then I could go upstairs and get an outside line. Of course there were no instructions about this in the room. Of course, they already have my credit card, so the point of all this is hard to discern. I could tell similar stories.

As for comments on the previous post:

They do have Mexican food, obviously, just not at the Banamex Center. It's mostly in the street stands and neighborhood joints, however. The fine restaurants, including the hotel restaurants, don't really serve much Mexican food. They seem to be ashamed of it. Of course, I'm sure there are many restaurants that serve Mexican haute cuisine, but not right around here, and this is the tourist district. So it's sort of odd.

I have indeed had some tequila. They definitely aren't ashamed of that, and the margaritas are good and they don't skimp either.

Since I'm attending the AIDS conference, the only way I'd be aloud to visit a brothel would be to make sociological investigations. I'd have no problem finding people at the conference who could tell me where to find them, however, and which ones are safe to visit. Not that I would do that anyway.

So, more on the conference tomorrow, WiFi willing. Access at the center was very spotty today and became impossible in the afternoon. I'm not sure what's going on, but if you don't hear from me for a while that's why. Hoping to have luck though, I do want to blog more from the conference.


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I have a friend from Mexico, and he has told me that the city is always crowded regardless time. I think I would get very stressed out. said...

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