April 2008T his is my tale of two cities and two cultures – experienced in just two days!
It is a tale that encompasses cosmopolitan Mexico City – the old Tenochtitlán and the pre-Hispanic holy city of Teotihuacán with its Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon; a tale of sore legs and aching back; of climbing innumerable steep, narrow and uneven stone steps to get to the tops of pyramids (well, one of the pyramids); and then of walking endlessly over uneven pavements and cobblestone streets to see many and varied parts of Mexico City.
I first visited here 37 years ago, and also on a number of occasions subsequently on business. I still have memories of smog and chaos then but now I am amazed at what I find with changes for the better that have obviously transpired over recent years. Decorative high fences surround heavily forested city parks. Mansions in local style painted with bright colours or draped in ivy now stand in landscaped surrounds serving as offices along tree-lined smaller cobble-stoned streets.
Flags fly in the breeze. Luxury hotels, exclusive art galleries and spectacular monuments intersperse the length of long tree-lined boulevards. Specialty stores of the best European fashion, kitchen and furniture companies stand side-by-side with Mexico’s finest – all cutting-edge in design. Fine food and fresh produce seems to be everywhere. What I used to regard as South American understated ‘chic’ is definitely alive and thriving in this city.