Mexico: Day 1 - Benito Juarez

This is not my photo, as it was much darker when I landed, but it's pretty similar in feel

I have always wanted to come to Mexico City. In reality, I'm only at the airport and that's as far as I'll be going into D.F. while I'm here, but when the pilot announced we were making our descent I ripped open the window shade and began searching for signs of life below. It was about 6:45 AM when we made it below the cloud line -- the orange hues of the sun tickling the horizon, the contrast turning the puffy, rain-filled cotton into grey, brooding columns of smoke. There was enough light to make out the topography, but the early morning was still in its initial phase and the city lights still flickered like stars.

Then we cleared the clouds entirely and there it was: sprawling for miles, weaving in-between mountains and valleys, the headlights from a million cars racing wildly through the avenues like worker ants. Mexico City seems like the biggest city in the world, and as the plane hung a sharp left, turning the fuselage towards the towering buildings and frantic streets, I could see the scope of what I was dealing with; it was awe-inspiring. Even if I never get to venture into the many calles and edificios of the Distrito Federal, I'm happy with this one moment for now. At least I can now see Mexico City in my mind when I hear it mentioned.

There's not much for food at Benito Juarez aeropuerto, so I just grabbed the familiar cup of Starbucks, planted myself in a chair, and broke out the laptop. The one nice thing about Mexico City is that the dialect of Spanish is perfectly clear. That's why I love watching telanovelas that take place here; because I can actually understand what the actors are saying. Ordering a tall Pike's Place is like watching Amores Veraderos (my favorite soap opera no longer running); they're not over-enunciating because they're on TV, but rather simply because that's how they talk -- every syllable is pronounced perfectly. I'm eavesdropping on about four different people as I type this. The businessman next to me is talking to his wife about his kids. I feel much more fluent than I actually am.

Palazzi isn't due in until later tonight, and it's too early for Jake to check in, so I've got about another hour before I head over to the gate. I think it's duty free time. There's nothing more fun for an obsessive spirits geek than perusing the various big box selections and limited edition packaging in the airport liquor store.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll