101 things about Mexico City

We were taught to be students of the culture in order to effectively minister. Here are 101 things about Mexico City that we have observed since getting here. They aren’t good things or bad things. Many are just different.

  1. There are 31 speed bumps between my house and my work.
  2. You will get stood up. Bank on it.
  3. If someone talks about “your house,” they are really talking about “their” house. (My house is your house)
  4. The banks will be packed on the 15th and the 1st of the month.
  5. If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it.
  6. Brain can be served in a tortilla.
  7. Stomach can be served in a tortilla.
  8. There are many different types of mole (a typical salsa). It takes a while to find one that you like.
  9. There is no taco bell.
  10. There are more people in the city at night.
  11. Asking, how long will it take to get there is considered a stupid question.
  12. Never say, just follow the green taxi.
  13. Motorcycles don’t have to stay in a lane.
  14. Car alarms are ignored. Always.
  15. You can get your side view mirrors stolen off your car.
  16. You might see cows in your front yard.
  17. Dog poop happens.
  18. Bus drivers are not afraid to hit you.
  19. If you get there on time, you’re early.
  20. The electricity can go out for no apparent reason.
  21. You can buy almost anything on the side of the road.
  22. Dogs are used as a house alarm.
  23. Dogs bark at all hours.
  24. There will be someone trying to give you a flyer at a speed bump.
  25. You will tip someone everyday.
  26. Clowns juggle at intersections.
  27. Stores might be open at the time they say they are open, but probably not.
  28. Nobody will leave a message on your answering machine.
  29. Nothing ends on time.
  30. You can get knock offs of just about everything.
  31. Electronics are expensive.
  32. Fruit is cheap.
  33. If you miss your exit, you change your plans (usually).
  34. The map book has over 200 pages (for the city).
  35. If you ask for directions, chances are the person doesn’t know.
  36. There’s one gas company…government owned pemex…no competition there.
  37. The gas guy for your house may try to rip you off.
  38. They paint lines on the street by hand.
  39. McDonald’s has gigantic playgrounds.
  40. Lunch is at 2 or 3 pm.
  41. Customer service…what customer service?
  42. Pizza has very little sauce (if any).
  43. Movies are mostly in English with subtitles.
  44. You should really only plan to get one thing done in a day.
  45. If someone will be late or not show up to a meeting, they will probably not call you to tell you about it.
  46. Stopping at a red light most of the time is optional.
  47. There might be a pothole big enough to eat your car in your lane at any time.
  48. The pedestrian does not have the right of way.
  49. You will be offered just about any type of “fruit water.”
  50. Smog (cough, cough) what smog?
  51. You should get your car washed everyday like everyone else.
  52. If someone thanks you by showing the back of their hand (in a sort of obscene way), it’s normal.
  53. Don’t pronounce English words with an English accent or nobody will understand you. For example, you must pronounce “hot dog” with a Spanish accent.
  54. By the way, a hot dog is the full thing (dog, bun, ketchup, etc). A salchicha is just the hot dog and can be used as a pizza topping.
  55. Ketchup goes on pizza.
  56. Music can never be played too loud.
  57. Stores hire dancing girls to promote their products.
  58. The best way to park your car is backing it in.
  59. A money loan to a friend should be seen as a gift.
  60. You can get a piƱata of whatever cartoon character you can imagine.
  61. The word translated right now can mean anytime in the (maybe) future.
  62. Cake can have the milk IN IT (and it’s good).
  63. You can watch soccer 24 hours a day.
  64. If you need to change lanes, just stick your arm out the window and the other person is obligated to let you in.
  65. You can back up in your car even if there are people coming up behind you.
  66. You can do just about anything in your car if you put on your flashers.
  67. If you need windshield wipers, the best place to buy them is on the side of the road.
  68. Hardly anything is open on Mondays.
  69. You can get stuck in traffic going to the grocery store.
  70. If you see traffic in an unusual spot, chances are there’s a traffic cop directing (creating) it.
  71. Pretty much everyone has a cell phone.
  72. If you call a cell phone, you pay for the call.
  73. You get 100 outgoing calls per month on your home phone.
  74. Traffic roundabouts are dangerous. You could get stuck in one all day.
  75. You can get a pre-paid minutes card for your cell phone while waiting at an intersection.
  76. In just about every parking lot, someone will ask you if you want your car washed, whether it needs it or not.
  77. Parking is almost never free.
  78. I hope you like mayonnaise. It will be loaded on your sandwich.
  79. Left turns are usually a no-no. You must make a u-turn.
  80. You better know how to parallel park.
  81. You don’t walk on the sidewalk. You walk on the road.
  82. Uneven pavement is a fact of life.
  83. You can buy corn on the cob smothered with mayonnaise and chili powder.
  84. Popcorn at the movies must be accompanied by hot salsa.
  85. Japanese peanuts aren’t really from Japan (or are they?)
  86. Lots of people wear suits and ties.
  87. Pizza is 2 for 1 on Tuesday.
  88. Movies are 2 for 1 on Wednesday.
  89. Everything is “straight ahead” if you ask for directions.
  90. The trunks of trees should be painted white…I think it has something to do with bugs.
  91. If you see a cop with his lights on, it just means he’s patrolling the neighborhood. It’s not because you did something wrong.
  92. You might get a receipt for the slip of toilet paper you buy at a public restroom.
  93. Babies should be covered all the way pretty much at all times.
  94. Children are not allowed to drink cold drinks or they will get sick.
  95. Baby car seats are optional.
  96. A traveling market can take up a whole street (and cause more traffic).
  97. Coca Cola from a bottle goes great with tacos.
  98. Grasshoppers can be eaten live.
  99. You should sweep the street in front of your house everyday like everyone else.
  100. The garbage men sit in the back of the truck and sort the trash.
  101. Personal space doesn’t exist.
  102. You can fit 15 people in a Volkswagen beetle.