Mexico City is a big place. We all know this, but unless you're right in it, a scale is just a fact that you can agree with and not much more. When you approach by plane, you get the overview and you begin to have a better impression of that fact. A city that stretches as far as you can see into the mountains in every direction.
When you land and take that taxi to your apartment, that impression may fade a bit as it becomes less apparent when you're on ground level, only going block by block. Maybe you hop neighbourhoods here and there, still only covering a small portion of the city. Roma to Condesa, San Miguel Chapultepec to downtown D.F.
Yesterday I had a day that gave me a bigger impression than flying over the city ever has. After a group breakfast, I was taken by a brewery we work with at Casa Barriles in a transport van out from the downtown area, through the city, to its outskirts and hours beyond to San Juan del Río.
The van was filled with Mexico's craft beer distributors, heading out to Cerveceria Primus for a brewery tour, some sensory training and a discussion on the state and potential of the craft beer industry in Mexico.
Thank you beer for letting us see new places and meet new people.
Driving through more of the city than we had done previously, passing out of the main district and into the countryside gave me more of an impression and made its scale more real than it seems from above.
Heading in one direction for hours and still being surrounded by city is an overwhelming thought when you imagine zooming out. You can fit the entire city of Vancouver 14 times into one Mexico City. Going from north to south would be like getting in the car and driving straight from Vancouver to Whistler and being surrounded by buildings, intersections, traffic, pedestrians the entire time. City block after city block for 100km. Then, you realize that is just one road around Mexico City, and maybe even just cutting around the outskirts.
Mexico City is a big place, and if you want to feel small while having an adventure, put it high up on the list.