Several people have asked me what Mexico City is like. Here’s my answer.

Mexico City is more colorful than any city I’ve seen in the US.

Mexico City smells like meat being cooked, because meat is being cooked. Everywhere. There are a bazillion taco (and burrito, etc.) stands and restaurants on every corner and on every block.

Mexico City also smells like pollution.

Mexico City is dirty.

It doesn’t get hot here. During the day, the temps are in the 70s. At night, it cools off even more. The city is at a whopping 7,940 feet, with its highest elevation at 12,980 feet. That’s freaking incredible. But yeah, the weather is fantastic.

I think Mexico City might be more crowded—in terms of car traffic and walking traffic—than any city I’ve ever been to, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Moscow. The metro during rush hour is mind-boggling.

For being such a huge, crowded, dirty, and polluted city, I think it is actually quite pleasant. The old colonial architecture is beautiful, as are the newer, more modern buildings and skyscrapers.

I’ve seen amazingly few gringos here. I thought there would be a lot more, but I guess they just go straight on through to Cancun.

Most things about Mexico City really don’t seem that foreign. There are 7-Elevens and Circle K’s. There are Wal-Marts and Costcos. I just bought some peanut butter at the store tonight (which was a near impossibility in China, Kazakhstan, or Ukraine). The most foreign thing for me is definitely the language.

Mexico City is like a more dirty Beijing mixed with a more colorful version of greater Los Angeles.