Friday, March 12, 2010
Mexico City is not at all what I expected. My image was of a hot, dirty city, teaming with people. In fact, the weather was delightful, 75 degrees, dry and crystal clear skies. The city is very clean. It is, however, teaming with people. Traffic seems heavy 24/7. I knew that was going to be a problem as we flew in. We arrived at 10 pm and, looking out the window of the plane, every highway seemed gridlocked.
Speaking of the flight, it was among the more interesting I've had. We flew over thunderstorms, which normally would have made me pretty nervous. However, the flight was perfectly smooth during this period and the flashing lights from the lightening in the clouds below was spectacular. Oddly, as we approached Mexico City, it got very bumpy under clear skies. Go figure.
Getting back to impressions of Mexico City, I was struck by how little English is displayed around the country. When I'm in China or Europe, I'm always surprised with the amount of English signage. In Mexico, there's none. Similarly, the English TV options in the hotel room are very few, far fewer than in countries much further away. I guess I admire the Mexicans' refusal to concede their culture to the Gringos from the North.
Of course, the most fascinating part of the trip was the meeting with the foreign minister. It was an important meeting dealing with some very significant issues. Unfortunately for me, most of the meeting was in Spanish. Of the approximately 20 people in the room, I was the only "mono-lingual" one there. A sad example of the failure of the American education system. Still the meeting was very successful and my team is hopeful of a continuing business relationship.
Hope I get to come back. If I do, I will spend more time investigating the rich history of Mexico, of which I only observed snatches traveling from one meeting to another.