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Attack on the senses

A couple of very enjoyable days in Mexico City are over and we flew today onto the beachy Pacific Coast and Punta Mita.

First impressions of the Mexican capital are not kind. Journeying in from the airport in the west, once on the outskirts but now swallowed by this megalopolis, the overwhelming welcome is of noise, fumes, and of overcrowding.

We stayed near the huge Bosque de Chapultepec, one of the largest public parks in the Western Hemisphere and an area dotted with hotels, offices and signs of investment in half completed tower blocks, yet re-gentrification of this part town is far from complete and a walk from our hotel to the park was an ugly attack on the senses.

The park was great though and on Sunday we witnessed thousands of families doing the simple things as we walked amongst the museums, lakes and city zoo.

I love cities and will give anywhere the benefit of the doubt and sure enough with five centuries of history there were gems and awe-inspiring moments aplenty, none other than the area known as Zocalo, the vibrant heart of the Centro Historical where a compact grid of streets poured fervour and ceremony out of every street corner.

Then there were the beautiful tree-lined neighbourhoods of Condesa and Polanco encircled by 22 million people but as tranquil as a remote country village.

Gritty, overcrowded, smelly, polluted, busy and dangerous are all words associated with Mexico City, but beneath the headlines we saw some terrific architecture, proud monuments, a lot of green and pleasant land and happy people. we tasted some great food too.

Now to relax and do nothing apart from eat and savour tequila.

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