The first month of the Remote Year experience begins in Mexico City. Mexico City or CDMX is the 5th largest city in the world, only outnumbered by Tokyo, NYC, Sao Paulo, and Seoul. I am living and working in quirky Condesa: one of Mexico City’s coolest hangouts and a neighborhood that is well worth the time to explore during any visit to here. It is filled with leafy streets and loads of Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture.”Condesa” means “countess” and it is named after María Magdalena Dávalos de Bracamontes y Orozco, the Countess of Miravalle, whose lands stretched from what is now Colonia Roma to Tacubaya.
It’s perfect for people like me who are lovers of brunch, style, architecture, and culture! Coming from Los Angeles, I am in complete awe with how lush this city is. I thought it would have similar vibes to my beloved neighborhood, Echo Park, but it is actually cleaner and way posher.
Mexico City overall has exceeded my expectations and broken my preconceptions. The culture is beautiful and friendly, and even though I am struggling with the language barrier, locals still try to communicate and accommodate. And again, it is very clean and safe. The sidewalks are swept and washed in the morning and trash is rarely found in the public places and parks. I also have not seen homeless people or animals roaming the streets which is a stark contrast from Los Angeles. The natural light is breathtaking. There are moments when the light comes through the trees and creates these dreamlike shadows that cast upon the sidewalks or buildings and you can’t help but feel happy. The whole city encompasses you with this light and energy. The city is HUGE and broken up by neighborhoods that offer a different look and feel.
The workspace, Publico, is only a five-minute walk from my apartment. A commute that enables me to grab either a street taco or vegan donut along the way. I’ve also found a delicious pour-over coffee shop, drip, to satisfy my specialty caffeine cravings. I feel right at home here. Everyone in the cohort is dedicated to work, whether full-time or freelance. I am still getting into the groove of that work-life balance and feel that it might take me a few more weeks to adjust. It’s inspiring to work aside people of all different careers, but I also am missing my team and the relationships at the office.
Aside from working, I was able to find Mexican Soul Cycle (Siclo) and a lovely yoga studio (Green Yoga) to help keep me balanced with this new taco diet. The studios are fabulous and I’m happy that others in Remote Year are equally committed to staying fit and healthy. It has also helped lessen some of the extra energy and anxiety I’m experiencing by packing up my life and traveling the world. I even found an organic/all-natural market called The Green Corner where I can continue to buy all my bougie food products.
I’ve only had time for a few cultural activities since I’m working during the week, but plan on checking out more museums and neighborhoods in the following weeks. So far I’ve had the opportunity to explore:
Chapultepec Castle has the rather dubious distinction of being the only castle within North America to ever house actual sovereigns. Named for the Nahuatl word chapoltepēc, which means ‘at the grasshopper’s hill’, it sits on what the Aztecs considered a sacred hilltop because the enormous palace offers spectacular views over the city and surrounding forest. It was originally constructed in 1725 on the orders of the Viceroy Bernardo de Gálvez, and was meant to be a large manor house for the Viceroy, who was the commander-in-chief of the Spanish colony, New Spain.
Frida Kahlo has been one of my favorite artists since art school. Her home, La Casa Azul in the Coyoacán borough of Mexico City is now a Museum and has had a wonderful history, homing not only Frida Kahlo and her family but also acting as a place of asylum to Leon Trotsky. Every item in the iconic blue home tells a story: the crutches, wheelchair and corset speak of Frida’s medical troubles and physical suffering. The Mexican folk art shows Frida’s keen artist’s eye, how devoted she was to her country and traditions, and how she loved to surround herself with beautiful things.
Along with the house, the studio of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is one of the most important cultural landmarks of Mexico City, both for being the place of residence and studios of two of the most important artists of the twentieth century, as well as being the first construction of the modern movement in the American continent. I was completely in awe after visiting both locations. The dichotomy of the colors and the art are absolutely breathtaking!
And the food, all of the food. I have not been disappointed yet with anything that I’ve had, and I’m kinda a big foodie (hate that word, but whatevs it’s true). The streets are wafting with smells of tacos where you can pick up an entire meal for less than a dollar, and they are tasty and fresh. Sorry, Guisados – I feel like I’m cheating on you!
Mercado Roma and Fractal Cafe are large communal food areas where you can get a variety of food options. I highly recommend Contramar for the raw-tuna tostadas. Enough said. Origenes Organicos and Los Loosers have fabulous vegan and vegetarian items sourced from local and sustainable places. Lalo is a cute, casual cafe by chef Eduardo Garcia. It is a perfect place for Sunday brunch where you will find friends and families, alike.
I have not had a chance to explore the nightlife because of my work schedule but went to a few hip bars last weekend. I absolutely love the smokey taste of mezcal and wanted to take advantage of it here in CDMX. La Clandestina is a cool mezcaleria, a place to hit for all your agave-based needs. It is a dark, dive bar that boasts a range of some 22 different mezcals to choose between. They also serve Oaxacan style food and probably the best guacamole I’ve ever had. GINGIN is another bar with an atmosphere of low lights and that the outdoors – thanks to the abundance of plants and woods. There is also a wall of skulls that makes it so unique!