How is it I have been so lucky? Six-and-a-half weeks in Mexico and no banditos, no mugging, no interminable illness, no kidnapping, no theft, no rip-offs; only warm, friendly people who open their hearts and homes, shopkeepers who I’ve never met before telling me to come back and pay later when I don’t have any change, people who give and give and give even when it’s clear there’s nothing much left in the coffers. Where is this other Mexico I’ve heard so much about that keeps evading me at every turn?
Today I arrived in Mexico City and it, at least, is as big as they say it is. It must be, because somewhere out there is the poverty, the gangs, the filth that seem to represent this city to so many. Not here in La Condesa, a leafy, quiet neighbourhood close to the centre of the city. A wander through the streets conjured up images of Paris or San Francisco with a cosmopolitan array of cafés, restaurants and people. It is delightful here.
And I know this place does not represent either the city or the country of Mexico. I have spent enough time in the latter to have some sense of the place. Yet, in a sense, it does represent Mexico – a land of countless aspects. This is a big country where there seems to be no typicality, no stereotype that could accurately represent it.