Old City New World

By Padova, Nino | Sunset, March 2016 | Go to article overview

Old City New World


Padova, Nino, Sunset


For years, the Mexican capital has lived in the shadow of the world's great cities. !No mas! North America's largest metropolis is cooler, cheaper, and crazier than ever. Get ready to be amazed.

We're somewhere on the outer flanks of Mexico City's busiest market when Arturo Anzaldo asks me the question: "How do you feel about bees?"

It's after breakfast and the air is thick and gauzy with the smell of cooked meat. Arturo walks a little ahead of us, trim and alert, a small messenger bag pressed to his waist. Vendors shout out from behind their stalls--"!Pasele, guero!" (Come here, white person!) "?Que te damos, joven?" (What can we give you, young man?)

Even by Mexico City standards, Mercado de la Merced is bewildering. To enter it, you wander through a chaotic street bazaar that stretches for blocks in every direction. The market itself spans the length of four football fields near the Centro Historico, and is broken up into mini neighborhoods: the produce neighborhood, the cheese neighborhood, the neighborhood that sells nothing but fake flowers. In its heyday, Merced disgorged hundreds of tons of food daily, and though the Walmarts and Sanborns have since muscled in, it still remains the largest single retail market in Mexico City. Which is another way of saying it's one of the biggest in the world.

I'd met Arturo just a couple of hours ago, but already I like him. He has that mix of cheer and earnestness that makes you want to follow him. He runs food tours for a company called Eat Mexico, and is the top guide. You'll need a good guide, people told me, especially in La Merced. But then again people say all kinds of things about Mexico City: Don't breathe the air. Don't eat the street food. Don't trust the cab drivers. Someone warned me not to wear my wedding ring because it would increase my chances of being kidnapped.

No one said anything about bees.

We're heading through the sweets neighborhood--dried figs, gummies, amaranth bars by the kilo--only it's hard to focus because I keep closing my eyes on account of all the bees. "Don't worry," Arturo says, "they're harmless." I'm swatting at the air, potentially making them less so, and before I know it, I'm running full-stride down the aisle--away from the candy, away from Arturo, away from the bees--and the whole time I'm thinking, This is amazing!

It's the same thought you have flying into Benito Juarez International Airport at night, 21 million faceless souls flickering up at you. Or after your first brush with rush-hour traffic on the Circuito Interior, or your first mouthful of alpastor, or each and every time you set foot on the Zocalo, the great ancient square and thumping heart of the capital, as alive and mad today as it was SOO years ago when Cortes wrested the city from the Aztecs. Amazing. It's everywhere in Mexico City.

But for the uninitiated, Mexico City can be an unwieldy beast to negotiate (its nickname, after all, is El Monstruo). First off, it's enormous, spilling out over 600 square miles and hundreds of different neighborhoods, many of which bear the same name. And it's all set in an active earthquake zone 7,300 feet above sea level near two simmering volcanoes. It's not the sort of place you want to run blind.

Which is why I hired a fixer. A local who knows the scene, has connections, and can shuttle me around D.F. (short for Distrito Federal, as Mexico City's main tourist quarter is known) for the next few days. His name is Sebastian Mancera, a friend of a friend, and he's right behind me, running through a cloud of supposedly harmless bees.

Wow, that was intense!" We've exited the market and are standing in a cobblestone plaza of a 17th-century church that looks every bit its age. Sebastian, tall and loose-limbed, claws through the bag of tiny dried fish he picked up from a vendor who specializes in pre-Hispanic snacks. Namely, bugs. I forced down pinches of dried ahuatle (water-fly eggs) and chicatanas (giant winged ants) but cut the tasting short at gusanos de maguey (live worms). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Old City New World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.