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 piñata 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.

112 Responses to “101 things about Mexico City”

  1. Amy March 24, 2007 at 10:20 am #

    I love this!! It made me laugh… SO many great things about this Mexico! Many things you just have to laugh at and accept it and live with it- life is like that – Only in Mexico!!

    • Diana February 2, 2012 at 9:28 am #

      Add this… soda can be expected on plastic bags with a staw!! lol i love it! Im mexican

  2. Amy March 24, 2007 at 10:22 am #

    Oh, I forgot… you can add this- Along with the bank having lines on the 1st and 15th… Mexico is the only place I know where people line up to use the ATM machine. And these aren’t just normal lines… sometimes the lines look like they are at Six Flags because they are sooooo long!! I still don’t think I would stand in a line that long just to get some cash!!!

  3. Alan March 25, 2007 at 9:52 am #

    Hmmm! Great list (except it’s one too long 😉
    Thanks for the insight!

  4. Michelle in MX March 26, 2007 at 11:49 pm #

    I laughed and nodded! Whew! I’m thinking of doing a modified version for life closer to the boarder . . .

    Great list!

  5. Michelle in MX April 2, 2007 at 10:29 am #

    That is soo good that I’ve copied it and tweaked it for Ensenada . . . I even left some of your links because they are perfect! This was most delightful!

  6. Dennis April 10, 2007 at 9:43 pm #

    Funny thing is I never realized there were 102 until just now.

    • Gema January 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      103, we can complain about our city but God forbid someone from another country complains. I am Mexican, very accurate list. Funny but I laughed because most things seemed pretty normal everyday happenings hahaha.

      • Dennis January 8, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

        once again…not complaints…observations.

  7. Mexican April 16, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    This is soo true. I live in Mexico City and I HAD to laugh. Great job with the list.

  8. Alex April 17, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    I´ve lived in mexico city all of my life and I´ve got to say you did a fantastic job. How long were you in mexico city to find all this stuff out?

  9. Dennis April 17, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    I’m still in Mexico. I’ve been here almost 5 years.

  10. valeria April 25, 2008 at 12:32 pm #

    this is awesome! i laughed at every single point, because i mean, they’re true! i loved it

  11. miriam belmontes May 5, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    bueno pues yo soy de mexico y puyes dejenme desirle que no todo lo que dicen es sierto , algunas cosas si peroo pss otras no .
    como esoo de que los perros quee rollo jaja se les pirateoo eee .. porqueE noo es siertoo .. ocea ya no ayaban ke inventar para rellenar todos los puntos ok !

    • Areli November 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      Por dios Miriam nunca había leído algo con tan mala ortografía. Yo que tu dejaba de comentar publicamente, que vergüenza!

  12. Cheyenne September 5, 2008 at 4:55 pm #

    Oh my gosh!! I think all of these things are true and I laughed quite a bit reading them. I have been in Monterrey for 7 years now and had forgotten some of the things because now they seem normal for me. It was a great list! Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. Fay December 30, 2008 at 9:25 pm #

    Great post! I found your blog through Vimeo.
    Many of those sound familiar from my 3 years living in Mexico.

  14. jane February 25, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    thaxs for that;)

  15. johnny June 4, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    Amazing and spot on ! Is it possible to add any to the list, I have many you have not mentioned. I'm British and I lived in Mexico City.

    • Drpoulette June 5, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

      Hey Johnny…thanks for the comment. How long did you live in Mexico City? Send me an email with your other observations: http://ymimexico.org/contact-us/

      I'd love to hear the other ones from your observations and experience.

  16. Jaden March 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    OMG so flipping funny. dangerous but still funny!!!

  17. alex July 27, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Haha this is preety funny and weird. Its like a comunist country somehow..or so it seems to me. Im a skateboarder here in anaheim ca and i wounder how skateboarding is different there than it is here. I bet ppl come out of buildings next to skatespots with guns and threaten you haha i bet it happens. I wounder if its illiegal everywere and if they have signs saying ”no skateboarding’ if your a skater in mexico city send me an email tell me how it is out there skateboarding. I wanna go skate there someday. I have a friend named luis and hes from mexico city hes a blader hes also obssesed with volkswagens. Hes from the blading sceene over there hes a cool guy. Its weird how it is there.’

    • Mau June 6, 2013 at 2:34 am #

      Hi! I was born there, but haven´t been back to live in more than 9 years now, but anyways, you can skate anywhere as long as people don’t come to you and say something :) I used to skate at a church’s patio and the nuns were ok with us. Also skated at random places like theatres’ stairs and parking lots, you just need to find a place that is not full of people (which is hard). About being threatened, don’t worry, its funny because, as I learned from an early age, once you start going to the streets all by yourself, you realize everybody is watchhing is back against everybody else, that means you are also a threat to everybody, so its all in how you act that you will be left alone by bullies and criminals. A part from the negative things, that everyplace has, its a huuuuuge city and there is always somethign to do, literally always. Day, night, 4am, sunday, monday, food, museums, nightclubs, bars, exhibitions, street performance, tons of movie theatres, lots of friends to make, lots and loooots of parties everywhere, old historical sites, random activities, there’s a couple of forests surrounding the city, etc. If you plan to go, first try to research a bit on where to go or what you can do, most likely you will get lost a couple of times, but at least you’ll have an idea!

  18. Renata November 10, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Well… I am from Mexico and I have been leaving in Singapore for like 5 years and so I wanna move back and I wanted see how my country is doing and since as long as i can remember almos all of does things are right. What is even funnier is the fact that everything in Singapore works “perfectly” so I am gonna have to get use to everything again xD

    • Luba February 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

      Hola Renata… yo tambien soy de la Ciudad de Mexico y tambien vivi en Singapore… se a que te refieres. La ciudad de Mexico siempre sera interesante, con sus problemas y sus maravillas culturales… come un chilli crab en East Coast antes de que dejes Singapore!

  19. jesus March 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    And that’s what make is beatiful, I love my country and the culture of the city

    • Dennis March 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

      I love it, too! So much fun to be part of Mexico City.

  20. Gabriel Boorling March 17, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Understand this, do not sell Taco Bell tacos. Do not be fooled.
    The tortilla should be smooth, and that what they sell is toast like a taco, known in Mexico as “tostitaco”.

  21. Laura March 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Ii’m Mexican and I’ve lived in the city my whole life. While some of the remarks you make are wrong (or not a general thing, like the everyday carwashing, locals closed on Mondays or getting stood up all the time), I found your post really interesting because of the things that seem strange to you and I thought were nothing special. Like lunch hour, paying for a call and… well, is it so strange that people wear suits and ties?
    And just to contribute a little, the uneven streets are caused by the constant earthquakes there are and the fact that the city was build on top of a lake, so pretty much everything in the center is sinking.
    And, I don’t know if it’s true, but the white painting on the trees is supposed to stop the ants from climbing them. :)

  22. Desiree March 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Miriam Belmontes, cariño, aprende a escribir, y Renata, es mejor que te quedes allá…yo digo, no?.
    Dear Jesus, I laughed so hard! I don’t agree with everything but the rest is quite true. I must admit I am amazed that ordinary things for us like the guys selling stuff at intersections (and the clowns, firebreathers, midgets and other circus stuff you can imagine) or paying for a cellphone call is alien to you.
    By the way, No. 5 must say “If you don’t know what it is, just shut the hell up and try it.” Trust me, that’s why our stomachs are so endured.

  23. Ricardo March 18, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    Im from mexico city and Ive traveled half the world my friend…most of these things you say are true except one: in terms of customer service, Mexico City is ranked #1 worldwide; and not only in fine dining restaurants…mostly everywhere you’ll find the traditional mexican hospitality…specially there…

    so, next time, instead of going to the obviously cheap places where anything can happen…try some good restaurants so you can drop your chin down to the floor and re-write your statement about customer service…

    all of the rest is pretty funny and accurate

    nothing personal…:)

  24. Mike Richardson March 18, 2011 at 9:16 am #


    I have live in Mexico for nearly 18 years. This is so funny. If you are still in Mexco drop me an email.


  25. Dennis March 18, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Hey everyone…thanks for your comments.

    @gabriel – true…taco bell does not sell tacos.
    @Laura – good observations…but sometimes the cracks in the sidewalks are because there is a tree growing through it.
    @Desiree – if you’re a gringo in Mexico, it’s better to NOT eat something if you don’t know what it is…or you might be in trouble…BUT I HAVE learned to eat a lot of stuff I hadn’t eaten before.
    @Ricardo – I’m mostly speaking from a local living in Mexico City standpoint. I’m not a tourist. When it takes forever to get an appliance delivered because nobody cares, that is bad customer service. I have also visited some of the best places in Mexico and have experiences good customer service, but overall, from a local person’s point of view, it’s not that good. Treating me well because I can pay money for it does not equate with good customer service.

  26. April Therese Shannon March 18, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    This is too funny, I have been here for almost 6 years and I found this to be very observant and funny. I love the one about the obscene hand gestures, Im from NYC and I always say that gesture means something else, cant bring myself to do in with out feeling like im flicking someone off. By the way I have a pizzeria in the Center of Tlalpan called La Voragine. We have pizza with more sauce! But they still put ketsup on it which kills me. Oh well. Thanks for the laugh!

    • Dennis March 18, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      Thank you for the comment! (I’m giving you the thank you hand gesture right now). Maybe one day I’ll find your pizza place and try the pizza.

  27. erika diaz March 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    So, I live in Los Fresnos, Texas. While I was reading this I thought “Wow, that sounds a lot like where I come from” It made me smile and miss home a lot! (btw I’m in Maine). But honestly you can get it in South Texas (the Rio Grande Valley).

    I’m Mexican so yes I know this list is true :)

    oh and fyi Taco bell sucks if you grow up on real Mexican food.

    Man I miss going to Mexico :/

    • Dennis March 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      Ha. There’s been a lot of talk lately about Taco Bell and Mexican food. Taco Bell isn’t Mexican. It isn’t even good. But when you grow up thinking that is Mexican food, you can even come to miss Taco Bell (weird, right?). Thanks for your comment Erika.

  28. erika diaz March 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    oh and yes the white paint on the trees has to due with bugs…i think mostly ants

    All the trees at my school were painted white lol

    • Dennis March 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      everyone says that, but they almost always say it like they think that is why it’s on the trees. Nobody has a really definite answer to it. Nor do they know if it works.

  29. erika diaz March 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I think it does work. I remember climbing the trees at school and never having to worry about bugs. When I climbed trees at home I was always crawling with ants or some weird looking bugs..

    I’ve seen a lot of places in Texas that paint their trees white. We have some pretty big and gross bugs in Texas lol

  30. David Salas March 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    I’m mexican and I know every culture has their own weirdness or identity, in Mexico it’s a mixture of good and bad things “no personal space being the worst” But I’ve come up with a doubt, what does the hand gesture means in other places? I’m so used to thank people with it specially when you are in the car.

  31. Dario March 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Funny almost all, some despective things but this is about Mexico DF, not the whole Mexico country fortunatelly

  32. patricia March 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    cows in your front yard? where the hell in mexico city do you live??
    anyways, fun post.

    • Dennis March 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      I know, right. That’s not something we see often, but there was some farmer who let his out one day and they were right in front of our house eating grass. Never a dull moment.

  33. Regina March 20, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    Hahahahaha, wow, this was so great. :] I live in Canada now, but I’m from Mexico City and these are all mostly true. The ones I don’t agree on are: 1. The one about seeing cows in front of my house. Never seen one anywhere near my house in the 18 years I lived in the city. Or donkeys for that matter. 2. Things being closed on Mondays (some are, but most aren’t.)

    A los mexicanos: Gueyes, alivianense. Gente de otros lugares nunca van a ver a nuestro Mexico lindo como lo vemos nosotros.

    Yes, eating food off the street if you’re there for the first time could give your stomach problems for a day or two, but you definitely should try the stuff. SO good. There’s really nothing like it. :]

    • Dennis March 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      Thanks, Regina. Like I said before, the cow thing actually HAPPENED at my house. It is not an everyday occurrence, for sure, but it did happen. And…the things closed on Mondays are just, you know, important things like: electric company, water company, almost all of the museums, and other things like that. Not the grocery stores or anything, but there have been many times things have been closed because it’s Monday.

      Ah..y nunca dije que Mexico no es lindo. Estas solamente son observaciones. Ninguna de ellas las digo de mala onda. Me encanta vivir en el DF. Supongo que es mucho mejor vivir en Mexico que vivir en Canada, pero no lo se. (por cierto, seguro has visto cosas diferentes en Canada.)

      Oh…food on the street has become good. You just have to know how to find one that won’t leave you hurting. It takes a trained stomach and good skills to pick out the best places.

  34. talom March 21, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    wow its crazy how i live in mexico (not mexico city) and i seriously didnt know more than half of these. I always hear all these horror stories from people that live in mexico city but it seems like such a thrill. Basically Mexico city and any border town/city is a no no for me to live in xD visiting is ok though. Just like anywhere it depends on your neighborhood. My dad sais the white tree trunks are for ants to not climb on it? i still dont really get that.

  35. Florsie March 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Dennis, i’m not so sure about things not being open on Mondays. I mean, I don’t think I have seen that. Museums are closed on Mondays but I think that happens everywhere.

  36. fa March 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    ¿qué tal los viene-viene? estoy segura (casi) que en ningún otro lado del mundo existe ese concepto… “viene, viene, viene… ahí está bien joven, si le encargo namás sus 25 pesitos”… ah y para todo usamos diminutivos, yo me declaro culpable. lindo artículo.

  37. Eliza Rain March 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Great! Another fact: Public bus = Xtreme sport. xD

  38. Jiji March 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Although some of these facts do occur often, I find many of them to be one in a lifetime situations: I don’t believe they deserve to be in a 101 things about Mex City. I have lived here for the last 16 years and I didn’t identify with many of the facts on the list. I think Mex City is one of the most underrated cities in the world and it is our job, the ones who live here, to make sure that people who don’t know what this is city is like understand that it is a ultra modern, cosmopolitan and historic megalopolis that yes, has it’s problems, but overall is a city unlike other and in an extremely positive way!


    • Dennis March 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

      Ha. Well, I think they do deserve to be in a 101 things about Mexico City. I never said they were problems. That’s the point you missed. In fact, I (and many of the others who have commented here) believe that these things are pretty common and make Mexico City what it is, which is what I like about the place. So, if your experience has been different, that’s fine. These are things I deal with on a day to day basis.

  39. leo March 23, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    well, some stuff happens in all the republic, and some dont, i prefer Monterrey

  40. Stephen March 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Hahaha this made my day!
    I also live in Mexico City and yeah the cow thing may sound strange to some people but I do have encountered some of them, a couple of horses and the weirdest one being a flock of sheep in the middle of the street while the shepherd ate in the sidewalk, couldn’t pass, had to made a u-turn.

    • montse November 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      What part of Mexico city?

  41. Marisol March 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    I am from Mexico City, now living at Canada.
    Most of the list is true and funny, but I agree with Ricardo, customer service in Mexico is the best ever!

    • Dennis March 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

      There is a difference between customer service and hospitality.

    • montse November 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      I don´tthink is a good sevice,usually people dont even smile,I think they are trained to say Hola buenos días en que le puedo ayudar,but it really sounds robotic,but I don´t blame them the salary suck.I live in USA for 11 years and now that I´m back I can notice that.

  42. David Salas March 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    It is a big city, it almost feels like it is alive, and it is not good nor bad. You will find that society can be very corrupt and naive, yet good at heart. It is surreal, like a dreamscape or a passage from a novel.

    ps. the worst thing about it is that there are no decent online stores 😉

  43. Paco April 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Hey man! Pretty darn funny. I lived in Mexico City for 24 years and most of these are true. I just want to point out: do you realize there are 102 points on your 101 list?

    • Dennis April 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

      Ha. Paco, yeah, I realized there were 102 a few months after I wrote it. Oh well. It’s a bonus.

  44. xtremex April 6, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    viva mexico cabrones!!!

    hahaha very nice post about “my mexico” querido
    that very nice wen our ppl is talking about “your home”

    because “mi casa es tu casa” :) noce post

  45. Enrique Kaufmann April 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Thanks for such a funny list. A few comments that I am happy to make:

    1. Good distinction between hospitality and customer service. In fact, I do find that the first thing out of a clerk’s mouth in a store in Mexico City is “no hay” meanwhile you have a perfect and unobstructed view of the item you wish right behind him/her.

    2. I would add the musical car horns and the typical “mentadas de madre” with the horn that I hear outside my window non-stop, all day long as well as the strange noise police cars make to “clear the road” or just say hello to their buddies.

    3. Not sure about Monday closures. Some restaurants and all museums are closed, but that happens in many other countries as well.

    4. Also, streets and street corners may be “owned” by a variety of urban fauna from the “viene-viene” to whom you must “entrust your car” for a couple of dollars to the street food vendor who will sit 20 people and have another 10 standing around completely blocking the sidewalk.

    5. Building numbers on a particular street may be exponential; so you go from number 32 to 1024 next door. Also the street may end right at the number before the one you are going to also a building may have more than one number (1024, antes 22, pero si preguntas es 35-A).

    6. There are literally thousands upon thousands of public phones from a myriad companies and none ever work. Telmex will sell you a pre-paid card that you’ll be able to use nowhere and the notion that you just made Mr. Silm another free 50 pesos will piss you right off.

    …and many more…jajaja. Thanks for this opportunity to laugh at ourselves instead of crying…jajaja.

  46. Beto April 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Mexicanos y mexicanas:
    Por favor entiendan de una vez que este post fue escrito del “Punto de Vista” de un EXTRANJERO en México, por lo que sería difícil corregir, o hacer sugerencias a menos que estuvieran en la misma situación.

    • Dennis April 26, 2011 at 8:41 am #

      Beto…es cierto que soy extranjero, pero México es mi casa ahora. Son observaciones y cosas que HE VIVIDO desde 2001. Si alguien no ha tenido la oportunidad de vivirlo, no es mi problema. Solo estoy reportando lo que he visto y experimentado en mi rinconcito de la ciudad.

      • Norma Ileana January 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

        Dennis este post ya tiene algún tiempo de publicado y simplemente sigue siendo objeto de sonrisas para muchos. Es totalmente real, vivo en el DF desde el 2000 y en verdad que es una ciudad con la que se puede tener una relación amor odio muy intensa. Alguna vez uno de mis jefes me dijo, hablando del servicio a clientes de la empresa donde trabajaba: somo super amables, pero no resolvemos nada, eso si, al menos la gente llega de malas y se va de buenas. Muchas cosas nos faltan en la ciudad, nos vendría muy bien un poco de orden. Pero todo loq ue describes, sin duda, hace de del Distrito un lugar único e inigualable para vivir. Felicidades.

        • Dennis January 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

          Gracias por tu comentario, Norma.

  47. wergbst May 3, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    too many related to car driving. i live in china and there are lots of similarities somehow. atm queues, sweeping the street outside your place, no privacy…

  48. Karla May 16, 2011 at 3:02 am #

    Im from Monterrey (north), not mexico city!
    And I had the same impression as you! xD

  49. Zupr June 6, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Well I live in Mexico city.. and not all the things that I read are true, actually I think that you are exageretin’.. yes, trafic exist, many people sell in every corner, smog is part of our lives, but i think is not weird that people suit ties or is it?
    So if your are going to talk about a culture, first of all you have to respect the way they live, and second you have to talk about real thinks no thinks that you think it may exist

    • Dennis June 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

      Nothing I said on the list was to disrespect the culture. In fact, it is because I like the city so much that have made this place my home by my CHOICE. I didn’t even say these things are weird or strange. I simply have observed them through my time here. If that, in your opinion, constitutes disrespect, I’m afraid you don’t know me. Thanks for commenting.

    • montse November 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

      @ZUpr you may think it is normal that everybody wear suit ties,but if you live in another country you can see that it is not common.

  50. Ricardo Ibarra June 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    I do have to admit that everything you mentioned is true, and yeah, you made me laugh a lot. I’m Mexican, 22 years old, always lived in Mexico City.

    Congratulations on your observations. Where are you from Dennis?

    • Dennis June 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      Hey Ricardo…thanks for the comment. I seem to have made some people mad with my observations, but I repeat they are simply things I have lived here and are no way intended to disparage anyone or their culture. In fact, they are now a part of my life. I am originally from Florida but now live in Mexico City. Thanks again for your encouraging words.

  51. Francisco June 28, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    OHHHHH MI GOD!!!!! I live in Mexico city and i am laughing because all of this is true. I can’t just one, i believe all of them are funy and true.

    One thing that you didn’t mentioned, directly, is that people who invites you to there house will tell you to arrive a 8 pm when they really spect you to arrive at 10 pm. That really drives me crazy.

    • Dennis June 28, 2011 at 10:18 am #

      Gracias por tu comentario, Francisco. The time thing definitely takes some getting used to, especially for a gringo.

  52. Roberto July 13, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Jaja, I laughed. I grew up in el DF during the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s. My little sister still lives in Coyoacan. I must say that what Dennis has written rings true from when I lived there and when I visit mí hermanita. I understand the chilangos taking offense to the realities of their culture. This doesn’t mean that Dennis is pointing out the failures of el DF but simply the reality of living there. How many times do you chilangos complain about waiting in line at the Banamex simply to cash a check? And customer service comes at a price in the form of a good propina. I live in the states and never have to tip anyone to pull into a parking place at my local supermarket. I miss mi Tierra Linda but am not ashamed of admitting the often too funny realities of living there.

  53. Dennis July 31, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    Dear friends…you don’t have to agree with my list. You don’t even have to like it. But you should respect my site and not post groserias or profane words. I also would like to ask you to not take offense. If you’re mean to me, I don’t have to publish your comment. Thanks.

  54. nath August 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Hey Dennis… I really liked your list is totally true and very funny :), but Im really curious, (i was trying to find it in the other comments and someone asked you.. David Salas.. but i found no reply) what does the gesture with the back of the hand usually means to you?
    btw I agree with you, I don’t think you where disrespectful in any kind, and nobody should be aggressive to you.

  55. Francisco August 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    “You can fit 15 people in a Volkswagen beetle.”
    im mexican and we just called it “bocho” :)
    thank you for post 😀

  56. Mikitzin August 23, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    I’m mexican and this list it’s really funny, almost the whole list it’s true… but in some points it’s just random stuff… in what city of México are you?

  57. Camila August 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    I have lived in mexico city for about 13 years now and I’m extremely curious: In what part of town did you live to find a COW in your front yard?!?
    I’ve lived all over town and that has never happened to me.. I don’t think I have even seen a cow in the city.. Or a front yard..

  58. estrella September 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    haha sooo true, I don’t live in DF, I live in Monterrey, but its (almost) the same here :)
    some of the things are nice little cultural differences, others are really weird at the beginning, but you get used to it (and even might like it, like I am really starting to like the musicians in the bus 😉 ).
    I do agree on the customer service, which is good in some places (restaurants, cinema) and is just not existing in others (mostly related to important things like education, cable/internet service or bank). And the burocracy I won’t even begin to explain 😛 you have to have lived and survived it to be able to understand ^_^
    Really funny is also that they invite you to their homes in -wherever-, even if they don’t even know you more than 5 Minutes. so the “mi casa es tu casa” is applied even to the houses of family living in Veracruz or Oaxaca while the person offering it lives in MTY 😀 awesome ^___^
    Also another fun-fact: I am a german teacher and my students here are teaching me mexican school-culture: answering cellphone calls in class is seen to be normal (and the situation was, if asked, always reeeeally important haha)and being late or missing class because your dog is sick is seen as a valid excuse

    ^__^ I’m lovin’ it

  59. Carlos Rivera September 27, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    Sigh, oh double sigh. Your post is very sad because it is true.

    This is why my country needs a new political system, accountability, and good policing.

  60. Daniela September 27, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    I see how people can be hurt, we have a sensible heart! … I loved the list, I’ve been living out of Mexico for 6 months now and all those little things that you mention I kinda miss.. And at the same I know they are not all that good… But they really say a lot of who we are, good and bad, charming and fashionably late. There are some things Im not proud about, but I guess every country has them.. We mexicans know how to laugh at ourselves so I really laughed an enjoyed it, the things that Im not proud I just try to change on my everyday life and I think that’s what people should do instead of being ofended. Remedios Varo picked Mexico as her home too, because we are as surrealist as anything can be.. And I love it! Thanks for reminding me of this crazy stuff!

    • Dennis September 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Daniela.

  61. Rafael October 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Hey Mate! I just had to laugh my ass off at this list. I’m 21 years old, lived here all of my life (well, been living in Emiliano Zapata, a small town a bit south of Cuernavaca for a couple of months now), but maaaaan didn’t I laugh at it. Some are really not funny, just true, and it’s a real eye-opener for those of us that have lived here forever and take a lot of stuff for granted. But there’s some that I really want to comment on:
    6&7) Actually almost ANYTHING can be served on a tortilla.
    12) Taxis are actually no longer green, but they were for quite some time, only recently they were changed first to white with a thick red horizontal stripe and now half wine red and half gold with decals.
    16) Definitely won’t happen to almost anybody, but where I live, again a bit south of Cuernavaca, some 80km southbound from Mexico City, you can actually see cows eating on the side of the road more often than not, and it’s plain weird and hilarious.
    31) They’re expensive if you go to a regular store. (Heavy hint at #21 here haha)
    35) It should be more like “If you ask for directions, there is a very very VERY slim chance the person will actually know how to get there.”
    41) Truer than every. Bloody phone company took 2 months and over 30 phone calls to get my internet service up and running last time I moved house.
    43) They’re mostly in English cuz for B-rated (kinda equivalent to US PG-13 rating) movies and up, Spanish dubbing is dreadful. Only A and AA-rated (equivalent to G and PG in the US) are usually dubbed, and those dubbings are actually good and sometimes downright funny.
    60) I’ve even seen strippers, George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden “piñata-fied”
    62) Three-milk cake is hands down the best I’ve ever tried.
    83) Corn on the cob with mayo and cheese (I don’t like the powdered chili) is awesome! But don’t forget the esquites as well! (Boiled corn grains with lemon, mayonnaise, cheese and powdered chili served on a styrofoam cup, eaten with a spoon)
    101) Personal space? What’s that? Subway trains at rush hour are a GREAT example of this!

    Thanks for this list, it’s really good, and at some point or other, it’s all true (Even the cow thing as I already said!).

  62. Mariana November 10, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    I <3 Mexico

  63. Erin December 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    “In terms of customer service, Mexico City is ranked #1 worldwide.”

    Really? According to what source? Or is that just your opinion?

    Over the last decade, I have lived in four different cities in Mexico; my experience (and there is a general consensus with just about every foreigner I know here) is that the customer is always wrong in Mexico. It is only when I place a call for customer service for a product issue in the U.S. that I ever receive a response such as, “We are so sorry for the inconvenience,” and, generally, an actual solution to resolve the problem. In Mexico, I generally get an excuse as to why it is my fault (yeah right), a shrug, or a blank stare.

    Other Mexico City phenomenons that still tend to throw me off after ten years:

    You can drive past a cop faster than the speed he is going and there is no problem.

    You will see police officers talking on their cell phones, chatting with each other, and smoking a cigarette rather than “directing” traffic or doing anything else useful or helpful.

  64. Emma January 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    This made me nerly wet myself! I actually thought it was serious and was going to be facts – and although some of these were, they were just so funny.


  65. Brianna February 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Ohmygosh. Thats funny, I live in canada and im doing a project in class about mexico , I SO WANNA LIVE THERE !! I laughed really hard

    • Dennis February 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      Glad you liked it, Brianna.

  66. Carlos March 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Who wrote this? a lot of this isn’t true, I am a mexican living in Mexico city and i have never seen a cow in the front yard for example

    • Dennis March 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      Hi Carlos…thanks for your comment.

      I wrote this.

      Just because you haven’t seen a cow in the front yard doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened to me. I am writing from experience.

      All of these things come from my experience of living in Mexico City…read the comments. Not everyone agrees with me, but all of this is from my experiences here.

  67. Chilaquil de coraza April 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    103. You can’t wear sunglasses or caps nor use your cell phone inside a bank.

  68. Laura April 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    LOL! I’m Mexican and chilanga, and have lived in Mexico City all my life and I loved your list! Come on people! Have a sense of humor!

  69. Mayra Garica April 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    My grandparents live in mexico and when my sister and I go there, we diffidently experience every single one of these! haha great job on this

  70. Yamillicious! June 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    jajajaja Pinche Gringo!!
    Esta Excelente!! aunque concuerdo con comentarios anteriores, como que no siempre te lavan el carro, te lavan el parabrisas a fuerzas….
    y es cierto los arboles se pintan de blanco por las hormigas ….

    • Dennis June 6, 2012 at 12:09 am #

      en la parte de la ciudad donde vivo, es casi obligatorio lavar tu carro cada dia. Se me hace increible que mis vecinos tienen a alguien que lave su carro todos los dias. Yo ando con el carro sucio..jaja.

  71. Orlando June 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Oh men, 2 days ago i was in SA, Tx and the police arrested me and my friend on the highway, because of speed limit and dont stop immediately (we continue 10 minutes without stop), and when they asked us why we dont stop because of the lights and their car behind us, i tried to point them the # 91.
    This post could changed things that day, LOL

  72. shinjimx June 5, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    The cow thing, quite controversial hehe actually I saw one in the middle of a city, but it was in Xalapa, Veracruz, but as you said, just personal experience. Actually you have very valid points about Mexico City, and quite hilarious. And for what I’ve read, most comments are supportive, just few annoyed (guess everyone is entitled to their opinions). BTW, I’m a 32 year old “defeño”, and I approve this post XD

  73. Erin June 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    These are too funny! My parents currently live in Mexico City and I’ve experienced so many of these things! My favorites may be buying fireworks on the side of the road and the complete absence of smog!

  74. Neri Rodriguez July 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    About 9. there is no taco bell in Mexico

    I don’t know if there are Taco Bell in Mexico City, but in Monterrey there exists 2 Taco Bell restaurant, but there are not quite famous or popular.

    • Dennis July 22, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

      I didn’t know. My friends from Monterrey have told me they have eaten there, but across the border.

  75. Mariana Mex August 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Amazing! I just posted this on Facebook because it’s fascinating to see how foreign people see us. So many things that I see EVERYDAY and take them as normal… paying for a parking lot, the days that the banks (and the super market) is full. You made me see what we have that captures non-mexican’s attention. Congrats! :)

  76. JinX Moon September 6, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    five years and still a hot topic. you must be proud. I’m Mexican too by the way, but i still don’t know why show the hand backwards is rude

  77. Alex February 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    I had to laugh my ass off, I had all these points in my head but never took the time to write a list….good observations, I think I could add a couple more though, but ohh so true…like the one about lines for the ATM, some of these guys look like they’re checking their e mail for God’s sake!!

    An ruinning a perfectly good pizza pie with Ketchup, Westecheir Sauce and other spicy condiments is just sacrelegious!!

  78. Memo November 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    I ave never seen a cow in Mexico City!!


  1. Finding direction » Blog Archive » Dennis’ 101 things about Mexico City - March 25, 2007

    […] Anyway, I thought you might enjoy Dennis Poulette’s list of 101 things about Mexico City.  Most of them are true here too, although some are different.  We’ve had what we consider to be pretty good customer service, for example.  And the traffic circles/roundabouts/glorietas aren’t quite as bad here as they are in Mexico City (they have some big ones there – kind of like getting caught up in a tornado). Technorati tags-Dennis Poulette, Mexico, mexico city, Other missionary blogs, Practical matters, vanPopularity: unranked [?] (Posted by Jim) […]

  2. Missionary Blog Watch - April 3, 2007

    Short visit to Mexico…

    It’s turning out to be very popular – Dennis Poulette’s post 101 things about Mexico City. Michelle used the idea in her post 55 things of Ensenada.
    Interesting point of comparison……

  3. Saving You Dinero » Visiting Mexico on a Budget - June 11, 2009

    […] 101 things about Mexico City […]

  4. 101 Things About Mexico City | My Life as a MexiKen - March 27, 2011

    […] Ken I did not write this (Dennis, a missionary operating in Mexico did, and here is the original post), but it’s too good not to share. We have found pretty much everything he writes to be true. […]

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