(Published in the New Sunday Express, February 18, 2007)

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Mexico is a lot like India, with its layers of ancient & modern cultures, knuckles of snarled traffic, and an obses-sion with bean-based meals. The people, in both countries are warm and loving. It is also refreshingly different: Clean public parks with func tioning fountains throughout; inner city great for walking through the historical centre; immaculately maintained museums; and quiet, efficient domestic airports

Indian tribals often come out of the hills to perform cleansing rituals upon placid urban citizens. The prime location is Mexico city’s main square, El Zócalo, in front of the city’s stunning 17th century Cathedral

Canoodling in public parks is a national sport. Lathi charges are not ordered by police nor women chastised for loose morals. (Conversely, pelvic thrusts are not encouraged in production numbers on the national soaps). Mexico is a Latin country: public displays of affection are thought to ease urban stress – but is also deeply conservative, like India

Mexico loves social-realist art. Communism is alive and living. This Aryan worker is the centerpiece of legendary artist Diego Reviera’s mural masterpiece at the Museo Delles Artes in Mexico City

An exhibit in the amazing Museo Anthropologica: Fertility gods are as popular in ancient Aztec as they are in ancient India

Mexico is a bit like India, but with all the water features working

Mexican girls love to stand seductively against walls: It’s a Latin thing

The Camilla Parker-Bowles disco look is popular amongst Mexican hijrah who are much scarier than the Indian variety

Like New Delhi, Mexico City is a celebration of great architecture. This building the central court of the Museo Anthropologica was built in 1963

A Mayan leopard mask in the museum

You can’t bee too big or too blonde in Mexico City

Mexico is obsessed with blondes, big breasts and fortune-telling (preferably all at once)

Mexico city is like Bombay: Power-blondes do power lunches power-dressed. One can’t sport too much dead animal

Mexican boys are keen posers: the homeboy look is big



Like in India, the police are everywhere. The security forces here guard a cruise ship port from hijackers.

Seniors are provided for in Mexican society. The parks are full of the elderly playing cards or reading newspapers in the morning sun

The Mexican macho man is a mixture of beans and bravado

Hotels: Good value for money in Mexico, at all levels. Choose hotel to match wal-king itinerary. Casino Real or J.W. Marriot or Four Seasons are popular with locals.
Mexicans, like Indians, love to create funky altars. This attractive real estate agent was photographed at Zihua Beach on the Pacific Coast.
Best Time to Go: Post Christmas until 6 January, when traffic less. Or any time in Mexican Winter (1 Dec – March).
Best way to get there from India: Definitely British Airways via London, so as to avoid big U.S. airport. Local airliners Mexicana, Click and Aero Mexico are excellent.
Side trips: Yucatan Peninsula (Manyan Ruins; Merida); Guatemala (Fascinating); Miami (exciting night life), Ixtapa-Zihua (charming beach resort)
Friendly and familiar:
Layers of ancient and modern cultures; knuckles of snarled traffic; obsessed with bean-based meals; warm and loving.
Refreshingly different:
Clean public parks with functioning fountains throughout; inner city great for walking through historical centre; immaculately maintained museums; quiet efficient domestic airports.

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