I was in Mixquic of Mexico City on November 2, 2022 to enjoy their Day of the Dead event.
It's a famous event in Mexico City where you see so many families visiting the graves of their loved ones.
Worthy of another article I'll publish down the road about the event itself.
When I was done witnessing it anyhow, I went to get some food.
There was one restaurant that gave me a "gringo menu" with English and elevated prices beyond what was advertised in Spanish at the front of their restaurant.
I got up and left to eat somewhere else.
For some down syndrome level reason, the fat man owner of the front was confused as to why someone would find that offensive.
After getting some food elsewhere anyhow, I went to enjoy some show in the town that you can see here.
After that, it was sometime between 12 AM to 1 AM.
And it was time to get home.
Stopping by some nice lady selling pulque, I asked her "where to find a taxi in this town?"
"At this hour, there isn't" she said.
But she did suggest that I go down a certain busy road where I'd have the best luck at catching one.
So I took her advice while buying some of her pulque for the road.
You see, Mexicanitos? Treat your customers like normal people and you get business. You don't and they leave. Hard concept.
Anyway, I began walking down the road she suggested and tried catching a taxi while simultaneously waiting for Uber to get me a ride.
Whichever I could catch first.
There were very few taxis though passing by.
And there was only one Uber driver in the area on some road that was not too far away but technically in Estado de Mexico closer to where Chalco was.
And he wasn't moving.
The dude wasn't even confirming the ride or denying it but you could see where his vehicle was.
Most likely he was asleep.
Or jerking off to Lesbian Russian porn.
But this was not the hour to be jerking off.
I want to go home!
And he wasn't responding to my request for a ride.
With seemingly no other Uber drivers in the area.
Here was where I was standing that night.
Contemplating a possible night to sleep by that tent you see in the photo above.
It wasn't too cold that night and what's the probability that some homeless dude stabs me to death while sleeping there?
Given no taxis were stopping and no Uber rides were available with no buses either, that was a real genuine possibility.
Just sleeping by that tent.
Or maybe just walk it until I reach an area that has more Uber rides?
It was then I turned around and saw a taxi stopped on the side of the road with some people standing next to it.
The light in a sea of darkness.
The Gang of Gringos Want to Go Home
I walked up to the taxi and there was one skinny white American guy with blonde hair and glasses.
There were two women with him.
One of them was a German and the other was a foreigner of whatever nationality.
The German seemed to be the Spanish language negotiator for their group trying to get an agreement on a ride out of Mixquic.
They were living in Condesa.
I was living in Iztapalapa.
Without hearing what the taxi driver was saying though, I could tell right away that this group was going to take "the gringo price" up the ass.
The gringo price being a higher than normal price for being gringo as I wrote here.
Her Spanish wasn't actually that good and any Mexican with an IQ above 70 (which translates to half the population) would have charged her way more than others.
She was as stereotypical gringa as it gets with how she was talking, her accent, fairly weak Spanish, etc.
Almost to the point I wanted to negotiate for them.
I even told the American dude "you guys are going to get the gringo price" and he laughed.
They seemed friendly though and quickly let me join them for the ride.
At first, I had my doubts about joining them because, like I said, I knew they were going to get hit with a heavy price but it was closer to 2 AM by this point most likely and there was just nobody else that would take us out of this area.
Mixquic -- which is in Tlahuac -- is like Milpa Alta of Mexico City where it's just a MASSIVE pain in the ass to escape because NOBODY wants to take you out of there.
Then the German lady -- who looked up at me to confirm where I am going -- tells the taxi driver "Iztapalapa."
To my sheer luck, he didn't say "alla no voy joven."
Though, given Iztapalapa would be along the path to Condesa, I guess he would've had no choice but to drive through an area known for being dangerous anyhow.
Then the damage came.
He was charging us each individually (which is not normal in Mexico City) where he wanted 900 pesos from each of the other 3 gringos and he wanted 250 from me.
Which 250 actually isn't a bad price to leave Mixquic to Iztapalapa.
At the time, Uber was telling me something slightly lower than that (240 something?) and, at that hour, I guarantee you no other taxi driver would be using the meter and would rely on negotiations if I had found another taxi.
All of them guaranteed would have wanted that more or less (perhaps more depending on how many dollar signs he saw seeing a gringo).
But for the other gringos?
Even if it was just 900 pesos for all 3, that still would've been a rip off.
When I was apartment hunting from Milpa Alta, I saw Uber rides to take me from Milpa Alta to Cuautepec for 500 pesos (which is from one extreme end of the city to the other).
Now this dude wants 2700 pesos to go to Condesa?
With my 250, we probably paid his rent for the whole month given Mixquic is probably one of the cheapest areas of Mexico City outside of living in Malacates of Cuautepec or maybe some rural shack on the outskirts of San Bartolome of Milpa Alta.
Anyway, I didn't protest because 250 is close to what I would've paid to any other taxi driver anyhow and the next one showing up probably would've been a 30 minute wait.
Just amused me anyhow that this dude was making bank on this trip for a Mexican taxi driver.
Good for him anyhow. Doesn't cost me anymore and you know this dude could at least get his kids a nicer Christmas present in the following December.
.....or perhaps a nicer motel for his mistress when the wife won't fuck him on New Years. Whichever works!
We got into the taxi anyway and the ride began.
And something else that came to my attention during the night.
The Wanderlust Gringo
During the ride over, I made some small talk with the taxi driver as I was sitting next to him with the other 3 gringos in the back.
He was a good sport and very nice guy.
Even had a laugh with him about that 3000 peso price tag he dished out.
And made some small talk with the other gringos in the car too.
What was more interesting though beyond everything else in this experience was just listening to them talk.
They were all part of the same group.
Didn't find each other randomly while looking for a ride like how I found them.
And they were all new to Mexico.
The German lady though had spent some time in Colombia on a study abroad but that was it as far as her experience in Latin America.
Given she studied in Barranquilla, I can guess that we probably studied in the same study abroad program that I wrote about here.
Not like Colombia has too many study abroad programs anyhow (at least not when I was a college student almost 6 years ago).
But everyone else? This was their first experience in Mexico and broader Latin America.
And we went through our usual questions.
"Where you from? What you doing here? What do you like about Mexico? Etc."
But, like I said, I did more listening than talking.
Because I genuinely found it interesting to hear their "fresh" perspectives on life down here.
I'll be honest in that it intrigues me the idea of bringing gringos down here to experience what has been my life for a decade.
Especially gringos from my old life back home.
Like I wrote here, a guy from high school I know named Seth was writing me for a few months about life down here and was very interested in coming down.
His interest since then has seemed to die down (or at least his messages have) but I was interested in helping him move abroad with advice.
I wouldn't mind either somehow forcing my family to at least visit me down here.
Perhaps claim I'm getting married with a wedding set but then reveal to them it was a big lie to get them to see life down here.
My sister -- many months ago or maybe a year ago now -- even entertained very briefly for a day or two the idea of visiting me.
Of course, if it was family, I'd do my best to bring them into the most scary, life threatening ghettos possible.
Like this Sam Kinison bit here.
Sam Kinison Marriage & Hell, Married Twice bit
"OK, I'm your guide to Hell. Follow me everyone. I've been through this neck of the wood a FEW FUCKING times now."
So, when the opportunity arose, it was interesting to just hear the "fresh" observations about life down here by someone with no experience whatsoever.
What do they find interesting, shocking or unique that any other gringo with years here is normalized too?
Any cultural observations too that I'm normalized too that would be shocking to a new gringo?
Like this article I wrote here about gringos back home finding it different at the amount of wires they see in the streets of Mexico versus back home in the photos I post on Facebook.
As I wrote in articles like this one here, I remember my own fresh observations when coming to Mexico for the first time around a decade ago.
"Why are Mexicans so loud? Why is their trash everywhere in the streets? Why do tamales taste like shit? Why are there armed military looking vehicles riding around? Why do I want to fuck every big booty Latina I see?"
And, as you can see, sometimes the observations are negative and sometimes positive.
Like with the German gal of the group during our taxi ride, I'd call her the "wanderlust gringo" for some of her more positive comments.
Where the gringo with limited to no experience is seeing everything through honeymoon glasses like I wrote here.
But that's not everyone in the group.
So what were THEIR fresh observations?
The Fresh Gringo Observations
Along the ride over, the very first observation I remember hearing was a comment about how poor and dangerous the area looks.
We were in Tlahuac still leaving Mixquic and they thought the area outside looked sketchy as hell.
Here's some photos I took of the general area when they said that.
And, to be honest, it looks normal to me.
Maybe not Disney Land but it looks OK.
Then there was an observation about "things like they about Mexico."
And the American dude said he really likes Latin music.
"Cool, which type?" I asked.
And he struggled to name what exactly he liked but went on about some dates with some women he had down here and the music he heard and how fun it was.
Leaving it as PG friendly, I see. Yes, it was the dancing he liked and not the big booty Latinas.
And actually, during the entire ride, you would've thought he was describing heaven based on how positively he was describing his experience with whatever women he met here in Mexico on dates dancing to Latin music.
By far one of the few times where he seemingly really liked Mexico.
Almost with wanderlust.
Then the German gal cut in to say she really likes salsa.
We can tell she must've visited Cali in Colombia.
Cali Pachanguero Grupo Niche
And salsa is pretty cool actually.
At least she didn't say vallenato.
Anyway, I don't remember everything they said as it's been a few months now but I remember listening anyhow to the general conversation while making small talk with the taxi dude.
There was some conversation about "what areas to visit in Mexico City" and they asked me for advice.
I recommended Lago de Reyes Aztecas as we passed by it at one point and I genuinely like the area.
More on that lake in this article I wrote here.
But one thing that was funny was how the other girl -- not the German one -- voiced concern about how fast the taxi driver was going.
And the American dude agreed and went on about "how come there are no seatbelts here?"
From there, they all began making concern about the drive itself.
Too fast. He's not stopping at the stop signs perfectly. No seat belts.
The taxi driver looked to me while making small talk and -- assuming he speaks a tiny bit of English -- asked me "what are they talking about?"
I told him.
And, while riding along some fast road but with little to no traffic, began speeding the fuck up.
Is that a red light? FUCK THAT RED LIGHT.
And would honk his vehicle to let anyone know that he isn't stopping.
We had a laugh.
They shat themselves.
The first, non-German gal then legit said "is he going to kidnap us?"
I didn't translate that for the taxi driver. Just let that slide.
But then the dude slowed down a bit as we reached some point with more traffic.
It was closer to this point that we crossed into Iztapalapa anyhow.
And you should've seen the American guys face.
I couldn't see the non-German girl's face and the German girl looked normal.
Perhaps she saw areas that look equally as trash in Quilla.
But the American dude?
Looked like he saw Satan.
"Where are we?" he asked.
And, in no short time, he even said "Mexico City is really like this?"
By this point, we were probably somewhere south or to the east of Cerro de la Estrella.
Maybe San Juan neighborhood?
Turning onto San Lorenzo Av. and going to Colonia El Manto.
I begin directing the taxi driver anyhow to what roads to turn onto.
"Is this area safe?" asked the American guy.
"What is he talking about?" the taxi driver asks me after probably 20 comments already by the other American guy about how this area is scary to him.
"Tiene miedo aqui" I tell him (he's scared here).
"Mejor lo dejamos en la calle para que sea la novia de alguien" the taxi driver responds half jokingly.
We eventually get to Colonia El Manto anyhow in maybe 5 minutes more of driving.
And he drops me off in front of my house along Cipres street.
I pay the man his 250.
While getting out, the German gal jumps out of the vehicle to take my place sitting next to the taxi driver.
Assumingly to help him find their own apartment since she's the Spanish speaker of their group.
And the taxi driver asks me about which direction to take on the next street.
They leave the area anyhow and I finally returned to my apartment building.
After the Escape from Mixquic
Above all, it's just interesting to me to see the fresh observations that the fresh gringo has in Latin America.
No matter how negative or positive that they might be.
As I wrote before, you have gringos who show up here acting as basically the Ambassador to whatever Latin American country.
Always saying something positive and never anything negative.
Then you have others who shit themselves at anything seemingly not so "first world."
With people who are more nuanced and in between.
Regardless of who they are, there's just something different about getting those fresh observations.
What does a new gringo in town -- with absolutely no experience down here -- find unique or different (in a positive or negative manner) that is normal to me now?
Sometimes you can learn from those observations.
Other times they are just humorous.
For example, when I was still new to Latin America, I remember being in a Bolivian city called Cochabamba.
And I asked a British guy I knew at the time named Alex about why you have these random people walking up to cars in traffic behind a red light squirting water onto their windshields.
"How do they know that the person wants a cleaning service?" I asked.
Especially when the drivers don't seemingly make any gesture asking for their services (at least when you stop to watch the interaction).
He found that humorous.
"Oh a first world gringo with his logical way of looking at the world. Here, nothing is logical."
That was one of MY fresh gringo observations.
And yes, it was stupid to someone with years here.
Did YOU Have Fresh off the Airplane Gringo Observations?
And so now to be the one who gets to see how the latest fresh off the airplane gringos see the world down here?
That's interesting to me.
No matter how dumb or intelligent the observations might be, it's interesting.
And yes, seeing their scared reactions going to Iztapalapa at 3 AM is funny also.
If I ever do get a family member down here to Mexico City, you best believe I'm taking their ass for a similar ride to Iztapalapa at 3 AM.
It's like a right of passage.
You can't claim to REALLY know Mexico City until you are shitting bricks in Iztapalapa at 3 AM.
No family member of mine anyway is going to escape that experience.
......Now you wonder why they don't visit me. Sad face.
Anyway, we'll get there when the day comes.
And, just like with those 3 gringos, I'm sure I'll have a fresh out the oven batch of gringo observations to be entertained by.
But, until then, how about you tell me what were YOUR fresh gringo observations when arriving to Latin America.
They don't have to be stupid either.
Just any initial observations and things that surprised you when you first showed up.
As you can tell by now, I enjoy hearing them.
If you got anything to add anyhow, drop a comment below in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.