El DF

The Federal District is what Mexicans call Mexico City. It is an old place, it is a big place, and it is a grand place–or was when I was last there twenty years ago. Do you know on that recent list of top restaurants in the world, Mexico City’s restaurants figured more than once? Not that that’s where I’ll end up, far from it; but there’s a trickle down effect. When I wrote my sister she registered envy: real tacos al pastor.

Real tacos al pastor indeed, and Sanborn’s and tortas at La Castellana on the corner of Las Flores and Insurgentes (it may nowadays be called Revolucion, I think, anyway, I know the subway station), where you get the best sandwich in the world. That reminds me, the streets of the Mexican capital change names sometimes after a couple of blocks. Wonderful place to get lost in because so few things are numerically designated. Socrates street, Seneca, Miguel Angel Quevedo and San Jeronimo Lidice, such names you will find, but not the more plodding designations of Bogotá where they all have numbers, mostly go in sequence, and announce whether they run north-south or east-west or go diagonally.

We are paying to stay at the right location, two blocks from the palace of fine arts. Plenty of subway stations, plenty of the heart of downtown, plenty of shaded avenue and parks: most places worth being at within walking distance. I didn’t really drink coffee twenty years ago, so that is something to discover this time around: the cafes. I’ve always wanted to take my wife there, and now at the best part, when the rainy season is waxing, sending daily predictable showers between 3-4PM to 5-6PM, cleansing the air and the patient ivy, gurgling down the boles of hoary trees. I love that city when it rains, love how Mexicans do restaurants, rejoice in the urbanity of a large scale metropolis, can’t wait.

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