Monday, June 25, 2007

Mexico 8: Mexico City 2

The metro of Mexico City. One of the world's busiest subway systems, probably carrying even more passengers than New York City everyday. It is also the cheapest subway systems costing 2MXN pesos (SGD$0.30) per ride regardless of distance. This is due to the substantial amount of subsidies supported by the government in an effort to reduce traffic and pollution in this crowded city.

However, Mexico City, due to its altitude and climate, the polluted air gets trapped above the city and is unable to be diffused. Mexico City is still one of the world's most polluted cities.

It can be quite crowded and uncomfortably warm in the station and in the trains. Just like most of Mexico, there is no air-conditioning in the trains, but rely on opened windows for natural ventilation. As with most buildings, air-conditioning is a quite a rare item in this city. Due to its mountainous altitude of 2200m, it enjoys relatively cool climate than its low-lying deserts and coasts. With May being its hottest period, daytime temperatures can climb to around 30 Celsius. However, with an altitude of an average of 2200m, travelers may find breathing in this city difficult. To add to the difficulty, the air can be polluted.

Despite it being one of the world's cheapest and crowded subways, its train arrival have very high frequency of around 2-3 minutes. In fact, it is more frequent than Singapore's MRT services. And of course, being a much larger city, its train station and number of subway lines are even greater in number and more complex.

Mexico, the host city for two World Cup occasions, and this is one of the stadiums. A true football nation, Mexico is.

Pemex, the only petrol station in Mexico, where some industries like oil and banking are tightly controlled by the government.

If any travelers would like to think Mexico is a backward country with cheap prices, it is always better to think twice. Using the Big Mac index, which is a rough guide to the cost of living of every major cities in the world, the cost of Big Mac in Mexico City is MXN29pesos (SGD$4.10) or a Big Mac meal costs MXN48(SGD$7.00), which is slightly more expensive than SGD3.85 for a Big Mac in the state city of Singapore. Perhaps, a reflection of the prosperity of Mexico City, a reflection of the wide income disparity of the citizens.

The Revolution Square in Mexico City.

Gatherings and protests do take place in Mexico City. But when it does not, it becomes a venue for dating couples. Amazingly, Mexicans are observed to be less inhibited when they display signs of affection than most Canadians.



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