Before I arrived in Mexico City, my premeditated fears revolved around pollution and crime. My vision included a heavy dark cloud settling over shanty towns that stretch to the horizon, people lurking in dark alleys ready to pick your pockets clean. I honestly wondered why we were stopping in Mexico City at all. And for a whole month? I was scared, and ultimately sad to leave Europe. Little did I know I was going to discover my favorite city to date: an overgrown paradise with blue skies and gracious people ready to hand you the shirt off their back. I’ve found a safe, tropical city with everything from the bizarre to the familiar, the romantic to the extraordinary, the tragic to the glamorous. In some neighborhoods, like Condesa, healthy restaurants and yoga lifestyles abound; in others, sheer survival is the goal with lean-to’s tucked in between buildings. The city itself is filled with entrepreneurs: people have fruit stands, juice carts, an endless supply of chips and cheese puffs, they sell toys and trinkets on the sides of streets (and in the streets). They sweep the dirt patches under Palm trees, grill blue corn tortillas on coal fired metal sheets from the sidewalks, and peddle knife sharpening services at dusk. The only people sitting around seem to be the tourists.
Since I travel with Remote Year, I have immediate access to locals who help manage our group and provide expert advice. I’ve fallen in love with this city, but it hasn’t been without the help of our local City Manager, Paulina Torres. Paulina is a Remote Year City Manager from Mexico City, has lived in the US, Spain, France, and has traveled extensively. Here I interview Paulina about staying healthy in a city which reaches a capacity of 30 million people on any given day. To me, these answers could be coming from the average New Yorker. Maybe we’re not so different after all.
What do you do for exercise? I go to cyclo [spin] and take yoga classes.
Do you run or bike outside? Yes, I use ECOBici [shared bike system] to get around and I’m currently waiting for my bike to be delivered.
How often do you go out with friends? 2-3 times a week.
What is your favorite cafe in Mexico City and can you work from there? DOSIS. Yes, I do, but they do not have plugs [outlets].
What’s your key to staying healthy and happy here? Eat well, love what you do, live in the present!
What are your favorite things about Mexico City? I like how much culture we have, the art world, the different neighborhoods we have, the food, the people.
How often do you get out of the city? 3-4 times a week.
What is your favorite day trip outside of Mexico City? San Miguel de Allende or Grutas de Tolantongo.
What’s your favorite meal in Mexico City? Caldo de Camaron or Mojarra al Chile Limon
What’s unique to Mexico City that you can’t find in, say, San Francisco (where I know you lived)? There are actually many similarities and that is why I love both so much! I do love the rush of the craziness Mexico City has that SF doesn’t. The rush of being in a city with many different vibes, moods, and types if people. You can be fancy one day, hipster the other day, and get into the crazy hoods.