Mexico Through A Cab Window

Mexico taxi window rush hour

A Rainy Welcome

We arrived in the rain, heaving our multiple bags into a cab whilst trying not to trip on the slippery pavement. Without any pre booked accomodation, we had picked the most promising sounding hostel on Lonely Planet and proceeded to flag a cab down to take us there.

The raindrops on the window of the taxi turned it into a kaleidoscope, transforming the twilight sky and city lights into a blur of light and colour, giving everything a somewhat glamorous glint. The cab weaved through the rush hour traffic, the rosary hanging on the rear view mirror swinging from side to side with each abrupt lane change.

I love the way a city reveals herself to you, from the initial moments as semi abstract scenes flashing by the window of a taxi or train from the airport, to the first time you set foot on her streets, taking the tentative steps round the corner, unsure but hopeful, just a little bit apprehensive but excited at the same time. Like a good mistress, she is complex, but alluring, never revealing all, just enough to tempt you round the next corner, in search of just a little bit more.

México City, or more accurately, Distrito Federal, is quite dramatically different from Havana from whence we came. The largest metropolitan area in the northern hemisphere, it is a prosperous city with a rich and diverse history. Originally built by the Aztecs, it was subsequently conquered, razed and built upon by the Spanish Conquistadors, not unlike Cuzco, in Peru, in the case of the Incas.

Where Havana was characterised by lack, Mexico City was laden with excess, at least to our eyes. The streets were lined with stores selling all manner of products, often stacked right up to the ceiling. Our month in Cuba had us accustomed to limited choices, sparse shops and simple restaurants, but Mexico City offered us a full view of capitalism, unfathomably myriad choices, but also accompanying malaise of poverty and homelessness, of those who somehow fell by the wayside of capitalism.
There were streets just dedicated to selling ball gowns, rows of stores with their puffy, chiffon gowns draped on mannequins, all frozen in time, locked in an eternal wait for their prince charming to take them to the prom, and streets selling just kitchen wares, plastic containers of every shape, size and colour, alongside cheap melamine plates and bowls, lined up behind the glass of the storefronts.
The rain and rush hour kept traffic crawling along slowly, the streets clogged like the veins of a man fat on a diet of tacos and guacamole. I leaned back on the seat and closed my eyes, listening to the bustle of the traffic outside and the patter of the rain on the windows as life in DF unfolded outside.
raindrops on the window mexico
I left my job as an advertising Creative Director in August 2012 to travel Africa and South America for a year with my wife, documenting these beautiful places with my Fuji X-Pro1. View the rest of my RTW adventures on Handcarry Only and follow me on my journey by subscribing/following/bookmarking.