I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but one of the best parts about living in Mexico City is the ease in which we can travel the rest of the country. Unlike living anywhere in the US, we don't ever need a car to travel, and in-country transportation is inexpensive. This all couldn't be more true for Cuernavaca, the capital of the State or Morelos, and without traffic just over an hour away. We recently did what lots of Chilangos (natives to Mexico City), and took a weekend trip to the City of Eternal Spring.
This article originally appeared on Medium.
I’ve spent the last few weeks wrestling with the realities of America’s current policies and attitudes towards immigrants. In my first article, La Frontera: Real Stories from the US/Mexico Border, I provided a glimpse into my experiences volunteering in Agua Prieta, Sonora with families and individuals attempting to legally seek asylum in the US. Most importantly, I spoke of the lasting power of the stories I heard, the conversations I had, and the people I met. All of this continues to swirl around inside my head, making it difficult to fall asleep some nights.
Although I was only there for two weeks, the circumstances created an ideal environment in which to establish deep connections within a short amount of time. I’m still in contact with a few families whom send me occasional updates on their progress towards crossing the border. It’s difficult to explain, but I feel the need to make sure they reach the end of their journey safely; a deep desire to make sure they understand that I want them in the United States. The fact is that some families will encounter few barriers in our complicated immigration system, however, the majority with face seemingly insurmountable challenges.
It is a well known fact that I love coffee, and am always looking for a good excuse to try out new coffee spots and cafes, and there is no better excuse than moving to a new city! Consider this post your ultimate guide to staying caffeinated, finding a great place to get some work done, or to discovering your new favorite afternoon break scene.
I've divided the map into three price categories:
$$$ - expect to pay prices similar to what you are used to at home.
$$ - a little expensive for Mexican standards, but won't break the bank.
$ - my kind of price!
Remember to keep coming back to this post. I will continue to update it as I also discover new places, and will make sure to always highlight a few of my favorites.
So where am I loving right now?
Boicot Café: Still one of my absolute favorites! You can't go wrong with lots of table space, great wifi, delicious food, and some of the best cold brew in town.
Cicatriz: Cafe by day, and bar by night, Cicatriz has become one of my new go tos. The space can fill up around lunch time, but during any other time of day, you can spend hours here without feeling guilty. Huge bonus? Every table gets a wine bottle of water, so no need to lug your heavy water bottle with you.
Otro Cafe Anzures: Anzures is a smaller residential neighborhood wedged between Polanco and Cuauhatemoc, which you could easily miss. However, I would recommend a trip for a relaxed lunch or snack at Otro Cafe, which isn't too far from parts of Chapultepec Park. The coffee is reasonably prices, and there is a full food menu.
After 6 months of living in Mexico, we finally made it to the famous pyramids of Teotihuacan, one of the country's most iconic pre-hispanic sites. Situated less than an hour from CDMX (that is without traffic), this is a must-do for anyone visiting. The scope and expanse of the ancient city is breathtaking, and provides a glimpse into the advances of these cultures. While you can easily visit the site on your own, we opted for a group tour that also included the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Roman Catholics in the world. I had few expectations for the basilica, but was blown away by its size and mid-century modern architecture.
What: Teotihuacan and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Where: Teotihuacan (here), Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (here)
Closest metro station(s): Teotihuacan is only accessible by car or bus, but the basilica is only a few blocks from the La Villa-Basilica metro stop.
When: Teotihuacan (9-5 every day), Basilica ( 6am - 9pm every day, museum closed on Mondays)
How much: Teotihuacan ($70 MXN), Basilica (free)
La Frontera is neither Mexico nor the United States, but rather a space of its own filled with contradictions; a place where one day can drag on forever for the families trying to reach a new life. For those of us privileged enough to help them (even just for a few days), and willing enough to live uncomfortably in the grayness of their situation, it’s an opportunity to better understand the realities of seeking for something better without really knowing what you’re seeking for.
In just the first three days, I’ve witnessed a young family reach their “promised land”, yet I know that the drawn out process of being granted asylum may at times feel harder than the situations they leave behind. I’ve been welcomed each morning at the migrant shelter with smiling faces, even though they have every reason to give up. And I’ve watched countless Americans and Mexicans cross the border freely on a daily basis as if there is no border, meanwhile a migrant family sits in the 100 degree heat for days hoping for a chance to do the same.
If you think you understand the border, think again. I am quickly learning that the complexities of the issues for both the migrants and the United States are beyond the capacity of any news organization to explain accurately. I am witnessing the consequences of decades of failed policies and promises by my government to find a workable solution. I am meeting courageous families who are willing to endure almost anything for an American Dream that on many days I no longer believe exists. But most of all, I am worried that most Americans will never take the time to appreciate this always changing 1,000 piece puzzle.
Today I spoke to a mother with a 10 year old son who enjoys coming to my arts and crafts time each morning. They are from a part of Mexico that has recently experienced a dramatic increase in cartel violence. She told me that two months ago cartels entered their town and have made it so unsafe that schools have closed; her son no longer has any opportunities and the government has not been able to successfully intervene. You may at first wonder why this family just can’t move elsewhere in Mexico, I certainly have, but the reality is that most of us will never experience true systemic violence on this level. Luckily, most of us will never fear for our safety in a way that makes us feel the need to cross a border into an unknown world in hopes of finding peace.
Walking enthusiast, and kitchen experimenter currently living out my dream in Mexico City, Mexico.
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