On my way to the metro, I walk by a car wash that is playing salsa music and a taco restaurant that is playing Gente de Zona’s La Gozadera. Yes, I live in Mexico City, a.k.a. Distrito Federal.
I walk along Avenida Insurgentes to the metro, trying to walk quickly in a crowd of people who take smaller strides. I miss Europe for a moment, and then decide I have to slow down and get used to the pace of Mexico City.
I step over a few holes and cracks in the irregular sidewalk.
I pass street vendors selling everything from breakfast to mobile phone accessories to shoe-shining .
I enter the metro station; people continue to sell food and drinks inside.
I wait on the platform and there is a poster welcoming the Pope to Mexico – he arrived this weekend.
I get on the metro.
People are still selling things:
A man selling a book called “Porque te amo, te educo” (Because I love you, I educate you), a psychology book about how to raise your child well
A man selling a music album, naming each and every song on the album
A young girl selling gum and candy
A man selling Kleenex – Guillén needs Kleenex, so he buys some
A man selling Kit Kat – Guillén says it can’t be real Kit Kat.
I look around, most people are sitting or standing, looking at their phones.
I count 8 women applying mascara. One woman is applying mascara the entire time I am on the metro with her. I wonder how many tubes of mascara she goes through per month.
I exit the metro and take the escalator.
Everyone stands on the escalator. I cannot walk up. For a moment, I miss the natural order of the Montreal metro: Standers on the right, walkers on the left. Again, I decide to embrace the way it is done here and I stand.
I see a sign at the top of the elevator that says “Goodbye DF, hello CDMX” – Mexico City has a new name.
I live in CDMX.