Patrick going to Mexico City. Advice appreciated.

2023 Feb 4, 4:55pm   2,149 views  95 comments

by Patrick   ➕follow (49)   💰tip ($1.87 in tips)   ignore  


Patrick says

I'm actually studying Spanish intensely for a few weeks, because I'm going to go check out Mexico City with the wife.

We just went there last summer. Don't miss Teotihuacan or the Anthropology museum.

The subways are safe, at least during normal hours on the tourist lines. Food is delicious. Even the locals strictly drink bottled water. Don't even brush your teeth with the tap water.

I can order food in Spanish but that's about it. My fluent wife was a big help but there are many People that are happy to practice their English to help you with directions.

Have fun, we did.

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1   Bd6r   2023 Feb 4, 5:13pm  

Bulletproof vest?
2   Patrick   2023 Feb 4, 5:20pm  

Yes, that's one concern.
3   Tenpoundbass   2023 Feb 4, 5:38pm  

My buddy went to Cancun a few months back. Before he went, he said when I get my hotel room, the first thing I'm going to do is smoke a big fat joint right in front of the place.
I said, hey I know it seems lawless with the Cartel violence and all, but Mexico will arrest non criminals for Criminal acts, Pot isn't legal in Mexico. Of course he debated that with me. Guess what happened to him. Some Mexican Marines were driving by and smelled Pot, and stopped and started searching and hassling everyone around him. He said he ditched it, as soon as he saw them stop and look like they were coming our way. They searched everyone and luckily nobody had nothing on them, and then they went on their way. He said he couldn't stop thinking about our conversation about it. He said it was exactly what I said would happen. Although I said the Federales were going to be driving by on their way to arrest El Chapo's nephew, but will catch a whiff of your pot, and stop and sort you out then continue on their way to catch their most wanted fugitive. It aint all cool like in Seattle, I told him.
4   ElYorsh   2023 Feb 4, 5:42pm  

Best time to go to CDMX (that's how it's called now down there) is during the main week of spring break... Semana Santa. It's the time of year with the least amount of people around so it's easier to go around the city. Everything is open and you get treated better as a tourist during this time.
5   clambo   2023 Feb 4, 6:07pm  

I recommend a visit to Plaza Garibaldi some evening.
Uber works in Mexico except pay in cash; drivers want to be paid in cash.
A good art museum is Ruffino Tamayo.
A good excursion if you have time is Valle de Bravo, a cute town by a lake.
I don't know if there is public transportation there, a bus maybe?
6   Onvacation   2023 Feb 4, 6:52pm  


7   RayAmerica   2023 Feb 4, 8:15pm  

Be on the alert at all times for pick-pockets.
8   WillyWanker   2023 Feb 5, 1:02pm  

I was in CDMX for a little over 3 months in 2021. Had a wonderful time there. Incredibly nice people and completely different than what I expected.

We rented an apartment in Polanco area, which is safe and secure and walking distance to many of the best restaurants the city has to offer. The museums are excellent and the shopping is very good as well.

You can have tacos al pastor for very little money or go to world class restaurants that are a fraction of what you would pay in LA or NY.

There are some places we did not venture into, because of what we were told as far as danger. But, then, we aren't out to score a bag of weed or other things so our main concern is for fine dining and good wine and safe surroundings. One minor blip with AirBNB, but otherwise very good. We watched Somebody Feed Phil for good ideas on where to dine, he was spot on.

I'll post more details, if you like. We had an awesome time and we came back agreeing with Trump: Mexico doesn't send their best. Mexico's best people stay in Mexico.
9   Ceffer   2023 Feb 5, 1:07pm  

A loud cell phone too close to the pyramids will amplify into a radiation beam into outer space and you will be abducted by a UFO
10   cisTits   2023 Feb 5, 3:58pm  

On your way there, stop by The Titty Twister. Selma Hayek got her start there.

Famous trucker stop right across the border. Right on top of an Aztec zigurat.

Wear a steel neck guard, tho. Fucking vampires love that place too.
11   Booger   2023 Feb 5, 5:22pm  

It's a shithole country.
12   cisTits   2023 Feb 5, 5:49pm  

cisTits says

On your way there, stop by The Titty Twister. Selma Hayek got her start there.

Famous trucker stop right across the border. Right on top of an Aztec zigurat.

Wear a steel neck guard, tho. Fucking vampires love that place too.

13   Patrick   2023 Feb 5, 6:10pm  

A great hazard to my financial well-being right there.

Fortunately, I'll have my wife with me, so I'll be safe from such things.
15   FortwayeAsFuckJoeBiden   2023 Feb 5, 7:37pm  

- sometimes if they absurdly deny you access, just means they want a bribe.
- follow speed limits, cops corrupt worse than US
- id stay out of tourist areas, too expensive and a ripoff.
- bring cash so cc not compromised
16   Onvacation   2023 Feb 5, 8:10pm  

FortwayeAsFuckJoeBiden says

- bring cash so cc not compromised

Figure out which bank or credit card you have has the lowest fees and use an ATM attached to a bank. Warn them before you leave. I wouldn't use my CC anywhere else other than a bank though the locals use cards for everything.

When we were there 500 pesos was like $25. We would take 5 to 7,000 Pesos out at a time and pay cash for pretty much everything. There where a lot of nice little restaurants where good food with drinks would set you back less than 500 pesos. Internet reviews will guide you well. Plan it so you run out of money at the airport shops while you're waiting to fly home.

Don't book excursions ahead of time. It's a lot easier to plan while you settle in.
17   Onvacation   2023 Feb 5, 8:19pm  

@Patrick What area are you staying in? We stayed at Wyndham Garden in Polanco just 2 blocks from Chapultepec park and it was very nice.
18   PeopleUnited   2023 Feb 5, 8:24pm  

It’s probably safer than Chicago, except the water. And don’t hold your cell phone in your hand walking down the street. My dad had his ripped right out of his hands by a thief last time he was there. If it does happen, yell “stop thief” and point at him, the locals don’t like thieves either and might help apprehend the thief.
19   Patrick   2023 Feb 5, 8:26pm  

Onvacation says

Patrick What area are you staying in? We stayed at Wyndham Garden in Polanco just 2 blocks from Chapultepec park and it was very nice.

@Onvacation I don't know yet, but I'll check out that Wyndham Garden in Polanco because I have one hotel recommendation now!
21   beershrine   2023 Feb 6, 1:07pm  

Be safe brother, I'm done with Mexico after a friend towing his boat was accosted by a group of Mexican federales with M-16s. Most looked like kids and shook him down for all his cash.
22   NuttBoxer   2023 Feb 6, 2:10pm  

Patrick says

Don't even brush your teeth with the tap water.

We've always brushed our teeth with the water in TJ, not any cleaner for sure. Nothing will happen as long as you don't swallow(insert puns here).
23   Ceffer   2023 Feb 6, 5:39pm  

They say don't even eat greens, and washed fruits and salads if you are really hep on avoiding dysentery. Anything that utilizes the water supply can carry the agents. Always eat cooked and drink bottled water, but take water purification tablets to add to water if you must use the domestic supply. You could also take a hand pump filter like they use in camping to avoid Giardia.
24   WookieMan   2023 Feb 6, 6:28pm  

I don't get the negativity towards certain countries. Maybe because Mexicans are shorter and I'm 6'3" 220lbs. My wallet is also in my front pocket, so good luck picking that without my dick feeling it. Or maybe it's my experience in Chicago. Never had a negative experience in Mexico. I know a lot of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans though.

I got negative feedback about DR and Jamaica here. They were 100% fine. Left the resort as well. Non-tourist areas. That's the way you get the most authentic food. Same with Mexico. I really wouldn't worry about much Patrick. Don't walk around like an obvious tourist. Get the Spanish game up and you'll be fine. Front carry the wallet and act confident.

Water I can't speak to. I always forget and use the tap water to cepillar los dientes. I've only gotten covid in Mexico, otherwise I've fared well. No gut issues or nausea. I really wouldn't worry much about crime. I've walked around wearing a $1k watch and never got fucked with on 5-6 trips now in obvious tourist spots where criminals would target you.

Mexicans get a bad name because of the border and cartels. Most border crossers are from Central America. Unless you're getting into cartel games you'll be fine. They kill a gringo it makes national news. Only carry what you're willing to lose, but that's the case in almost every country on the planet.
27   zzyzzx   2023 Feb 8, 8:51am  

Have you been robbed yet?
28   mell   2023 Feb 8, 8:58am  

zzyzzx says

Have you been robbed yet?

Hope not. Should Patrick have gone for a trial run in Chicago or Baltimore first? Level 1 so to speak.
29   WookieMan   2023 Feb 8, 9:05am  

zzyzzx says

Have you been robbed yet?

You have to be a complete idiot to get robbed in MX. You're far more likely to get robbed at Navy Pier or the Mag Mile in Chicago than Mexico. Key in foreign places is learning to pretend to be deaf. Just completely ignore vendors as they're likely a decoy. Have nothing in your back pockets. Wife can have a purse, but make sure you have her valuables on you and it's not expensive. My wife is bringing the fanny pack back when we travel. Though she left it on the plane once....

Mexico is a pretty conservative place. Traditional values and religion. They rely on tourism and business travel. Unless you're going into a known cartel region, I think most people would be surprised how nice it is. Rough around the edges for sure as far as structures and trash, but the people I've encountered have never been negative. Nothing stolen. Not even the threat of it.
30   Eric Holder   2023 Feb 8, 1:00pm  

WookieMan says

zzyzzx says

Have you been robbed yet?

You have to be a complete idiot to get robbed in MX.

And even if you are: what exactly would they get from you? Credit cards? Zero liability so no loss. Expensive cameras? Nobody carries these anymore because phone cameras are good enough. The phone itself? These are good for parts only so I doubt anybody really wants them anymore. What remains is stupid stuff like jewelry and Rolex watches - don't wear these on vacation and you'll be fine.
31   NuttBoxer   2023 Feb 8, 5:07pm  

Eric Holder says

The phone itself? These are good for parts only so I doubt anybody really wants them anymore.

I've sold a blacklisted phone to a Mexican, and they knew it was blacklisted. Apparently still ways to use them down south.
32   Patrick   2023 Feb 24, 9:49am  

Got back from Mexico last night. Overall the trip was good, a lot of memorable sights. There was some pain too. Taking the overnight flight there was a mistake, because it's impossible to sleep on a plane.


Tiny mosquitoes in the hotel lobby, but nowhere else. Weird.

Everyone hopes for tips, about 15% is normal like in the US. Lots of beggers.

If you run out of cash pesos, you're fucked. Many things require cash, not credit cards. Example: getting into the pyramids at Teotihuacan an hour out of town.

Prices in general seem to be about half of US prices after you convert to dollars.

There are police everywhere, and well armed. We saw two police running with guns out. There is a pickup with a machine gun mounted on it, with a guy ready for action, in front of the court building.

The weather is good, just a bit too hot in the middle of the day. The sun is brutal, but then it's at 7000 feet and far south.

It's poor, but functional. I'd almost say well-run except for the poverty. Not nearly as bad as Oakland though.

There are no empty storefronts at all, unlike San Francisco, which is full of them. Not only that, there are "stores" set up on sidewalks all over the place, some in tents. Why do we have empty storefronts when they don't?

No black people around. I was usually the only blond person in the street and it feels like a foot taller than most men. They talk about "the three cultures" which are Indiano, mestizo, and European. It's about 25%, 50%, and 25%. There were some Indians buying a bus ticket who didn't seem to know Spanish.

Traffic is horrible, but there are no good options. We tried to take the subway but it had problems and we were told to get off and take the bus. This happened twice. Uber is not a bad bet if you can stand the traffic. It's safer than a street cab because you have info about the driver.

Plenty of broken sidewalks and things to trip on that would be legal liabilities in the US.

Some gays and trannies on the street. Smelled weed a few times, but not nearly as much as you would in SF. In fact, smells were a big part of the experience there, some good (food) and some not (sewage). When you blow your nose, it's dirty from the air.

Lots of American tourists, obvious from a mile away.

Mexican women tend to be very beautiful when young, but then quite fat when they get a bit older, at least among the darker ones. The European Mexicans are taller than the mestizo or Indians, and look much richer. Very hierarchical.

Not uniformly friendly or hostile. Some people really nice, some not. About 20% masked idiots. One guy in a mask even asked me to stand on the vestigial dots on the floor when I changed money at a cambio place. I refused.

I'll post some pics.
33   Patrick   2023 Feb 24, 9:59am  

People dancing in the street for no particular reason:

34   Patrick   2023 Feb 24, 10:00am  

Funny walk signal animation:

35   Patrick   2023 Feb 24, 10:00am  

There is a ridiculously large flag in the main square, the Zocalo, and the military puts it up and takes it down each night:

36   Patrick   2023 Feb 24, 10:01am  

Food was cheap and good, and we never got sick. We were careful to avoid the water and anything that might have been washed in water, like lettuce.

I could not bring myself to try the brains or eye.

Divide the peso prices on the menu by 18 to get US dollar prices.
37   clambo   2023 Feb 24, 10:04am  

That guy has a lot of meat choices; I don't see so many in Baja Sur.
38   casandra   2023 Feb 24, 10:19am  

I agree about with all the stuff to trip on on the streets and sidewalks. Pot holes and holes in the sidewalks everywhere. HOWEVER, no one is tripping in them or braking their ankles like they would be here if we had such infrastructure problems. The people down there have learned to live with these nuisances where as the people in this county have not learned how to take care of themselves. Lawyers here to sue for everything, even if you get fat from eating too much McDonalds.

And yes a lot of beggars. Even children selling chiclets, HOWEVER, they have a mother within arms reach. They may be poor but I would bank that the family unit they have is far better than the broken welfare family we have created in the United States.
39   Patrick   2023 Feb 24, 10:20am  

When you arrive, they take your picture and a photo of your passport and give you a receipt which says you MUST (in capital letters) go online to a certain URL and fill out the "FMMI" form or you will not be allowed to leave the country.

So we tried to do that, but the URL they gave was invalid (missing the .html). I figured that out, and then you have to first create an account with the government with the captcha rigamarole, then take a photo of your passport (which they already have from your arrival), but when you try to select the image, the web page won't let you on an iPhone. So I used my laptop to log in again and upload the photo of my passport there, which works.

Then you have to validate the OCR of your passport data, enter another captcha code, and submit.

Finally they tell you to click to download the FMMI form to fill out, but that doesn't work. I'm a web guy, so I looked at the developer console and they had javascript errors which prevent the page from working. Not sure why they even deployed it with fatal errors, since it's literally not possible to use.

So you both MUST and CANNOT follow their instructions. Pretty frustrating.

I asked the hotel concierge who said to just fill out the paper form at the airport, which was not listed as an option on the receipt I got from the entry immigration booth.

At the airport on the way back, I asked for the paper form and was told that everyone knows the online form is broken, and that they had decided to just let you show the receipt from immigration instead.

But then no one ever asked for that either. It's all pretty messed up.
40   Patrick   2023 Feb 24, 10:23am  

casandra says

They may be poor but I would bank that the family unit they have is far better than the broken welfare family we have created in the United States.

@casandra I strongly agree with you. I'm pretty sure everyone in Mexico comes from a normal family with a mother and father, and that this helps maintain some social order. You see families everywhere.

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