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  • How do I get to and from the airport?
    One of the recurring themes you'll hear about transportation in CDMX is: Uber. It's as safe as Uber anywhere and stunningly inexpensive. Like in most major cities, they're generally readily available when you need them, too. The Uber app on your phone just works - no need to do anything different, other than to ensure you've got mobile data coverage in Mexico. An Uber from MEX to Condesa (the neighborhood we're staying) is around MX$150 - 400 ($8 - 22) depending on time of day, traffic, etc. If you're more adventurous and have some time on your hands, you can take the subway to the house. It'll cost you about MX$14 - 19 ($1).
  • How do I get around town?
    Uber or walk. CDMX is an amazing walking city within neighborhoods but isn't ideal for walking from 'hood to 'hood because of the overall sprawl. Also, much of what you'd see intra-hood isn't super interesting. One can only appreciate so many bodegas and auto repair places. You can definitely take the bus, especially during the day. It's fun, easy and interesting. Also, if the subway happens to be convenient for where you're going, that's worth a shot, too. As with any big city, just be sure you know where you're going, stay out of dodgier neighborhoods and be very mindful of pickpockets.
  • Do I need any special visa to get in or out?
    Nope. Just your passport. Actually, you definitely do need a visa of common sense. Like any country, Mexican customs take their job seriously. Every bag is scanned by customs (seems they got rid of the Mexican stoplight, at least in Terminal 2). The authorities are also quite vigilant with dogs that sniff for food or other stuff you might be bringing into the country.
  • Can I share a ride to the airport with someone? are arrival and departure times on Thursday and Sunday, respectively, for those who shared them: ARRIVALS (Thursday, 4/20) DEPARTURES (Sunday, 4/23)
  • Any tricks for getting through immigration faster?
    In Mexico, no. Depending on when you arrive, though, it'll probably be fairly quick anyway. In the US, if you don't have Global Entry, you might consider getting the Mobile Passport Control app (Apple or Google Play). Evidently it can help speed things along quite a bit but can mess with your Global Entry status if you have that so I'm told you should just do one or the other.
  • I hear Mexico City is unsafe?
    What you've heard is not wrong. Here's what the great Oracle (ChatGPT) had to say, after pointing out that it doesn't have data past September '21: Crime rates can vary depending on the specific type of crime, the time period, and the neighborhood or district within a city. However, here's a general comparison of crime rates in Mexico City, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle based on available data up to September 2021: As with any major city, crime statistics vary considerably based on where you are (think: Fort Apache, The Bronx vs. Bronxville or Bay View vs. Seacliff). Where we're staying (Condesa) is quite safe - very walkable and lots of people around, day and night. Roma Norte is the same. We'll be in El Centro and Doctores during the day on Friday for the street art tour and the museum visit; those are dodgier areas but we'll be a) with a guide and b) aware of the fact that they're dodgier areas. On Saturday night, if all goes according to plan, we'll be at the soccer stadium. There'll be dozens of thousands of other people there so the biggest risk will be pickpockets or some three-sigma event. I haven't experienced or read about a real presence of hate or politically-motivated crime in CDMX but there's definitely an undercurrent of "Fuck America" amongst the Mexican population (for good reason, frankly). So let's just not be those guys. Naturally you should trust your gut. If you're just not feeling something, pull the ripcord and head back to the house. The good news is that you're 15% less likely to be insulted in CDMX than in NYC.
  • What's the story with COVID?
    Here are statistics from the New York Times from last month (it seems that they've moved to weekly stats in the US and Johns Hopkins wound down COVID stats aggregation as of March 10): If you're vaxed and boosted you'll almost certainly be fine but it's probably best to keep a mask with you for times when you're in a denser crowd with less ventilation, e.g., on a bus or flying / in the airport. This remains a very personal choice, obviously, so no judgment if you mask more or less than others.
  • Can I drink the water in Mexico City?
    In short, no. See more here. While it's fine to brush your teeth with tap water, we'll be sure to have large jugs of bottled water (trying to reduce to plastic consumption) in our houses. You might consider bringing a refillable water bottle with you or just reuse a smaller bottle. When we're out we'll stick with bottled water. Ice in most places, with the possible exception of street carts, is purified so just be thoughtful when considering purchasing a drink. Limited amounts of exposure to tap water, e.g., with cilantro on a taco el pastor, will be fine but you might consider taking Pepto as a prophylaxis each day. If you get the Full Monty, you can go to any pharmacy to get the necessary antibiotics. This might take a bit of effort as Mexican farmacias no longer dispense antibiotics without a prescription but it's doable.
  • What's with the air quality in Mexico City?
    It's true that the air in Mexico City is pretty crappy (literally) and it's 1.5 miles above sea level so you might consider taking a break from your marathon training program. This site provides real-time monitoring of air quality in Mexico City. In short, you'll be fine but it's worth monitoring.
  • Any sartorial guidance?
    Most of what we'll be doing is decidedly casual. Given the weather forecast, maybe shorts or light pants and t-shirts or whatever during the day and jeans at night. Friday night is a bit fancier so maybe jeans and a collared shirt? Definitely no need for a blazer, let alone anything nicer than that but Mexico City is pretty fashionable (especially where we'll be) so no need to dumb it down if you're a bit of a dandy (you know who you are).
  • What's the weather going to be during our trip?
    See here.
  • How do I pay for stuff?
    You'll want pesos for buying tacos, beers, etc., on the street. As you probably know, you can use an ATM pretty much anywhere to get the best exchange rate. Pretty much every store and restaurant will accept credit cards so it's good to have a Visa or Mastercard, ideally one that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. It's also good to have low denomination dollars (singles, fives and tens) for tipping, etc., as the greenback still goes further than the peso for most Mexican folks (in spite of the peso's recent rally).
  • Who's paying for what?
    To avoid dealing with lots of credit cards, etc., let's use Splitwise to keep track of expenses. Here's the link to subscribe to the Splitwise event. I (Mike) am more than happy to pay for stuff, e.g., housing, since I feel a deep sense of gratitude (and guilt) for y'all coming. We'll figure all of that out after the trip.
  • What's the time zone in Mexico City?
    Mexico City is aligned with Mountain time in the US during our trip. They dropped daylight savings this year so they're aligned with MDT and CST.
  • Will my phone work in Mexico City?
    Yes but ensuring you don't have to pay a ton for cellular calling and data service can be a bit tricky. If you're on an unlimited plan with Verizon or AT&T, Mexico calling and data are included at no additional cost (more info here for Verizon and AT&T). For T-Mobile it seems that calling and data from Mexico are included but bandwidth levels vary by plan type. If you don't have an eligible unlimited plan, you can likely pay a small fee to activate Mexico calling and data during your trip (more info here for Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile). You might need to choose the best local network when you land - you can do that by manually choosing the network on your iPhone or Android device. If you're on some other mobile OS you're on your own.
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