Wednesday, January 27, 2010

36 Hours in Mexico City: A Travel Guide*

*Not associated with the New York Times article that pissed me off and I admit that writing this was like shooting illegal immigrants packed in a van fish in a barrel.

Last week, when the editors at George Magazine pitched this assignment, I said, "¿Donde esta mi tickets de plane?" On the way to JFK, I stopped at my storage place for my cabana wear, bulletproof vest and self-contained-breathing-apparatus.

Friday 5 P.M.

While you're waiting on line for a cab, take a moment to appreciate that late afternoon Mexican sun. Don't forget that sun gods have been worshipped in this ancient land from the Toltecs through the Mayans and Aztecs. No sun? That damn Smog God has been out of control lately.

Warm smog is still better than cold, New York sleet. Take a deep breath and clean out your system.

Friday 7 P.M.

Stop coughing. Time to go out to dinner. In Honolulu, you're greeted by hot mamacitas bearing flower leis. In Mexico City, you're greeted by armed health officers bearing sky blue masks. It's the only blue sky you are going to see in this part of the country so put yours on before you head out into the streets -- oh, and that swine flu is a bitch.

Friday 9 P.M.

It's time to grow a pair and try the exotic, mysterious, gastronomic treats that the natives call Mexican food. At Taco Bell in the Polanco district, the ground chicken tacos (121 pesos) and Coca Cola (110 pesos) are "muy delicioso!"

Friday 11 P.M.

Tequila is for gringos and sterlizing machete wounds. Buy a bottle of Mezcal Xanaxupchuck from a street vendor (30 pesos), steeped with chicken livers and corn fungus inside the bladder of a prepubescent drug mule, this stuff is more that a few steps up from that gimmicky worm-flavored peepee you can get back in the States. Find a stoop and enjoy a front row seat for the nightly drug trafficking battle. You don't want to end up in the trunk of a 1993 Ford Taurus (457 pesos) so tip everyone you meet liberally.

Saturday 11 A.M.

After a quick breakfast at the Taco Bell Drive-Thru, Double Sausage and Huevo Breakfast Gordito with a side of Cinnamon Toast Chimichanga with Cheese (76 pesos), it's time to engulf yourself in the world of Mexican Art.

Cavemen in France may have invented the mural but the Mexicans perfected the form and created iconic masterpieces of political and social commentary.

Marvel at the attention to detail, use of tropical colors and thoroughly modern design aesthetics.

A tour of Mexico City's vibrant art scene would not be complete without a stop at the Museo Frida Kahlo (admission - 5 pesos). No artist before or since has been able to paint breasts this beguiling using only a single No. 47 Black Sable Eyebrow.

Saturday 6 P.M.

Get in touch with your inner Aztec by visiting Aztec Land brought to you courtesy of the Ford Motor Company (admission - 4,003 pesos). Enduring contributions by the Aztec civilizaton include chocolate, popcorn and chewing-gum-snapping prostitutes. Sample all these pleasures (package deal - 511 pesos) but save time for a truly remarkable experience. For a few pesos more (3 pesos), ritually behead a young Juarez woman that has been used, abused and abandoned by a Texas billionaire.

Saturday 8 P.M.

¡Holy guacamole, Batman! It's dinner time and there is no better place to fill your bat cave with gastronomic splendor than the sleek new Taco Bell in the ritzy Sante Fe business district. Order the provocative Surf and Turf Special (344 pesos). It's a bottomless, cardboard container of premium All-Beef Tostados and Fillet of Fish Burritos with a side of french fried patatas. Wash it down with "cerveza de ninos." Coca Cola is a local favorite (110 pesos).

Saturday 10 P.M.

Sitting in the relative safety of your hotel room fantasizing about the caliente women of Telemundo Mexico is for wimps! Take off all your jewelry, remove any article of clothing worth anything, and leave behind all body hair, moles, or canker sores that might look valuable. Then hide your wallet in a plastic bag submerged in the tank of your toilet and, ignoring all those warnings from the U.S. State Department, head downtown. No really. Remember to bring one ATM card for the eventual kidnapping. The only thing worse than ending up in the trunk of a Ford Taurus somewhere in the bowels of Mexico City is ending up DEAD in the trunk of a Ford Taurus somewhere in the bowels of Mexico City.

Take a taxi, rental cars refuse to enter the downtown area even if you bribe them with carrots or lumps of sugar, to the teeny-weeny, La Perla (cover - 1,230 pesos) and enjoy the nightly drag queen cabaret. Yes, I do expect you to risk your life. Is it better than the relative safety of Lucky Chengs back home in the East Village, NYC? No, and the food isn't nearly as good, but did I mention that these are hairy, Mexican drag queens?

Saturday 1 A.M.

While you are downtown, and all hot and bothered by the cabaret show, don't miss a traditional Mexican cockfight. Michael Vick recommends El Palenquito and who are we to argue? Enjoy the spectacle of two proud, strutting cocks engaged in fisticuffs with the multigenerational crowd of mostly heterosexual locals (cover - you'll have no money or shoes by this time so its a quick trip to the alley and bruises on your knees).

Sunday 11 A.M.

How about a free bicycle ride courtesy of the Mexican government? In a pathetic attempt to curb the eye-watering air pollution that has inflicting every breathing organism in the city with countless variations of repiratory disease, the government provides free bicycles at kiosks along the Paseo de la Reforma.

Possible dangers in Mexico City include being kidnapped, stumbling into a drug battle, and breathing the air but those activities are akin to snuggling up in your favorite blanket on your favorite couch in your favorite home compared to crossing the street. Traffic accidents have killed more locals than Spanish smallpox. Wear your helmet!

Sunday 1 P.M.

On your way back to the airport, have your cab driver stop at any roadside stand to pick up some authentic Mexican cacao and Pre-Columbian artifacts. A careful purchase (20 pesos) can help defray the entire cost of your trip. My vacation was expensed so I'm going to save my money for those exorbitant iron lung rentals I forsee in my future.

Other Wasted Weekends

36 Hours in Rajasthan, India
36 Hours in Zagreb, Croatia


  1. The discussion on the U.S. beer market inevitably turns to Budweiser and its corner on the American suds market, no matter which segment is discussed.

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  2. Hey Concept,

    I never expected the unique combination of American suds and a pitch for an Indian travel site -- on a post about travelling to Mexico!

    Well done, my friend!!!

    Please come again,

  3. mexico city is a very nice city but have so much pollution and disease!

  4. This blog is amazing!!!! i love to travel everywhere and to know new thing all the time. actually i apprached
    costa rica investment opportunities
    and it was a fantastic experience.

  5. While I appreciate a good satire article this one is badly written and is not funny in any way. As you would expect, I am a mexican woman currently living in beautiful Mexico. I know how an american could react negatively to such country (I lived in Livonia, MI for 6 years and It was WONDERFUL) but wouldn't change living in Mexico for anything in the world.
    Coming to Mexico as a tourist you will encounter a lot of friendly people (we LOVE tourists) since a lot of people this is their income, but not only tourism oriented people welcome americans, in general we are open to making new friends.
    As for your concern for security, it's understandable, but one has to be careful and have common sense traveling not only in Mexico but in all countries. I am 25 years old and NEVER in my life my family and I have suffered any robbery, mugging, kidnapping, trespassing or variations; we all take the proper cautions. My advise with all readers in this article is, don't get all your facts from one source, talk to friends, read tourism articles, don't let your fear get in the way on traveling to Mexico or any other country.

  6. Dear basatot,

    Thanks for the comment. Great advice, and personally, I had a teriffic vacation in Mexico a couple of years ago.