Hello, world. My first day of classes is tomorrow at Tec de Monterrey, starting on my Master's in Economics and Public Policy. I'll be in 4 classes this semester and they're all from Monday-Thursday night from 7-10pm. During the mornings I'll be helping out the professors w/ research.
So far, I guess I'm neutral on being here. I've met some cool people and had some fun nights out. The people here have been really friendly (drivers not withstanding, who are all major-league assholes). And I really think I'll like my classes and doing the research. Like I've mentioned before, I think my biggest problem so far is living in the part of the city that I live in, Xochimilco (one of Mexico City's 16 boroughs). I live here because it's within walking distance of the university, but I definitely might move somewhere north once I have my car after Christmas. It's really far south, and all the fun places to hang out are really far north (it's a 30 minute taxi ride even without traffic). There's nothing especially historic / interesting in my neighborhood, just kinda random suburban sprawl; it doesn't really feel like I'm even in Mexico City. If I had to live anywhere, it'd be in Condesa or Polanco, two cool neighborhoods up north. I had to go to the U.S. Embassy Friday and it was nice to be in a part of town that actually felt like historic Mexico City. The embassy is near the city's biggest park, Bosque de Chapultepec and its most famous statute, El Angel, southwest of the city's historic zone.
Overall, I can't say I'm a huge fan of Mexico City yet, hopefully it'll come. The weather is pretty amazing year-round (low 70s), but the extreme sprawl of the city makes it feel kind of lame, especially considering that I'm at the far outskirts of the sprawl. Interesting how my opinion of the city is definitely based on where I live .... though I think many Lincoln Parkers would feel the same way about Chicago if they were forced to live in Morgan Park without a car. In terms of high-rises, there really is no clear downtown at all the way there is in Chicago for example. The newest area of building is Santa Fe, an upscale business district west of the city where it seems like every building is less than 10 years old. The public transportation in the city is good, but due to the huge size of the city (I've read it's between 30-40 miles north to south and approximately 20 miles east-west) it can take nearly 2 hours on public transport to get from one part of the city to another. Traffic can be terrible, taking a couple hours to drive north south during rush hour, and traffic can stay bad until 9 at night. I haven't noticed the pollution, nor have I really noticed being 7,000 feet above sea level.
Wednesday afternoon, I'm going to a World Cup qualifying game between Mexico and the U.S at the 105,000 person Estadio Azteca. The World Cup is in South Africa next summer, and while the United States is in good position to qualify, it is far from certain that Mexico will qualify. I'm very excited about going to this game. The U.S. has never won in Mexico, so a victory would be a great way to cement a solid summer for the Yankees. The game is at 3pm Chicago time, check your local Spanish channels (and probably Fox Soccer Channel), it'll be there somewhere.
I can't say I'm totally happy now, but I'm certainly glad I moved here since this was something I had on my mind for a couple years. We'll see how it goes.
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4 weeks ago