I have some thoughts I'd like to get down about our time in Mexico, which I hope to flesh out in the next week or so once I get a few more pressing items squared away. But here are a few highlights:
--Mexico City exceeded my expectations, by quite a lot. I found it (or rather, the central part of the megalopolis in which we spent nearly all of our time, which is still rather large in and of itself) to be clean, safe, relatively easy to navigate, and all around really pleasant and fun. Caveats: I really like big cities, and I speak just enough Spanish to get by most of the time. (More on the latter point later.)
--If you like contemporary and/or modern art, you could easily spend a week in Mexico City doing little else.
--Fancy restaurants in Mexico City are for suckers. The most expensive meal we had there wasn't even the 5th best. (I will have a great deal more to say about food.)
--Speaking of food, Oaxaca should be on every food lover's list. Less of a taco and torta town than Mexico City, it's mostly about mole, Oaxacan cheese, and tamales. I had a plate of enchilladas with mole rojo that is among the best things I've ever tasted, anywhere. Seriously.
--There are a lot of tourists in Oaxaca, but most of them are Mexican.
--Turns out I really like mezcal. A lot.
--There are a LOT of police in Oaxaca city. More per capita (at least visibly) than I've seen anywhere else I've been. I suspect that this has more to do with the recent history of civil unrest than with the drug war, but I haven't really had a chance to look into that. In any case, it felt very secure, though it was kind of surreal to see a minor scuffle on the Zocalo elicit a response of approximately 100 officers.
--The people with whom we interacted (with exactly one exception) could not have been more friendly, hospitable, generous, and patient with our limited language skills.