27 reasons we should all consider living in Mexico City

Mexico City, MEXICO: Jugglers perform during the Epiphany Day parade in Mexico City, 06 January 2007. This Christian holiday honors the Biblical story of the three kings who traveled to the town of Bethlehem to present their gifts to baby Jesus. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Gobbling late night, or rather very early morning, flame broiled tacos al pastor in one of the thousands of small stands sprinkled across the city

A taco stand in Mexico. (Rutlo/Flickr)

2. Driving one of the city's five million cars, unhindered by any but the most basic, and widely ignored, rules of a civilized road

(Fidel Barrera/Flickr)


3. Buying chewing gum, pirated movies, and just about anything else imaginable from vendors plying the packed tunnels and cars of the subway system



4. Drinking fine Mexican beer and an aged tequila or three with friends through an afternoon and into the night in a one of the hundreds of neighborhood cantinas

(Gary Denness/Flickr)


5. Joining the bicycle fests along the main thoroughfares that attract tens of thousands of riders every Sunday morning



6. Celebrating legalized gay marriage and other gifts of a politically progressive city government

(Alfredo Estrella/AFP Getty Images)


7. Strolling the narrow and chaotic streets and the sprawling main plaza of downtown

(Tristan Higbee/Flickr)

Many of the oldest buildings were thrown up by the conquistadores using lava rock and other stones, torn from Aztec temples and palaces.


8. Oggling the naked protesters who arrive each spring to march along the central Paseo de la Reforma to demand God knows what

(Alejandro De La Cruz/Flickr Commons)


9. The chaos of hopelessly tangled traffic

(Omar Torres/AFP Getty Images)

It's quite often made far worse by any of the several thousand protests marches and street blockades that hit the city every year. But, hey, the chaos can be fun.


10. Cafe con leche and a steaming plate of chilaquiles — fried corn tortillas sauteed in spicy salsa and topped with an egg or chicken — in one of the ubiquitous Chinese cafes



11. Leaning back for a three-dollar, hot-towel and straight-razor shave in an oh so traditional barber shop

(Danny Playami/Flickr)


12. Slouching with hipsters in pulquerias, the once nearly extinct traditional and now rediscovered bars serving pulque, the viscuous and lightly fermented cactus juice that's provided a buzz here since long before the Spanish Conquest. 

(Omar Omar/Flickr Commons)


13. Spending long afternoons in any of the fine museums across the city

(Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP Getty Images)

The Anthropology Museum itself requires a lifetime of dedication to take in.


14. Often very wet business lunches that can last three hours or more.

(Josh Bousel/Flickr)


15. Siestas. Siestas. Siestas.

(Jacob Patton/Flickr)


16. The many thousands of small shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe that pepper street corners, offices, shops and repair garages around the city.



17. Strolling mariachis and norteño bands and troubadours who fill bars, restaurants and streets with song

(Thomas Milne/Flickr Commons)


18. Awe-inspiring afternoon and evening thunderstorms during summer's rainy season that wash away grime, nourish gardens and flood streets

(AFP/Getty Images)

Tlaloc, the rain god of the Aztecs, lives.


19. The jugglers, acrobats, clowns and fire eaters that entertain motorists snared in traffic

(Alfredo Estrella/AFP Getty Images)


20. Challenging lungs' resilience by breathing air filled with toxins, suspended particles and other goodies that once was estimated to be akin to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day

(Jorge Uzon/AFP Getty Images)

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Okay, this one isn't that fun.


21. Christmas week

(Yuri Cortez/AFP Getty Images)

When red poinsettias cloak the streets and parks, family and friends gather for parties lubricated with spiced and spiked punch, and children beat the hell out of treat-filled piñatas. Also, the streets become — for a short time at least — wonderfully quite.


22. Baroque Roman Catholic churches and temples offer the finest architecture of the colonial era

(schizoform/Flickr Commons)


23. Slipping out of town to one of the many acquifer fed spas that dot the countryside

Les Estacas Nature Park outside of Mexico City. (JPLatting/Flickr Commons)


24. The thick, hand patted corn tortillas, hot off the griddle, doused with salt and perhaps a bit of hot salsa

( jeffreyw/Flickr Commons)


25. Eating ant eggs, fried worms, corn fungus and other grimace-inducing delicacies of the Aztecs

(Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP Getty Images)

They still enjoy a huge following across the central Mexican highlands.


26. Sunday evening strolls through the Zona Rosa, the domain of Korean immigrants and gay clubs

(Robert Blackie/Flickr)


27. Jacaranda season, February through April, when the blooming trees native to India blanket the city in regal purple

(Mark Carter/Flickr Commons)