Dispatches From Mexico City: Que Frio!
My goodness it’s cold.
I’ve only lived in Mexico City for about two-and-a-half years, but in that time I don’t remember it getting this cold. Last night temperatures fell to 1°C (33.8°F). The Secretariat of Civil Protection is warning people to prepare for the cold as temperatures are expected to drop even lower.
Of course, as a Canadian, part of me finds the whole thing kind of ridiculous. After all, this is patio weather in some parts of my country. I remember feeling a small sense of superiority when I first moved here and saw people walking around in winter jackets as I enjoyed the breeze in a t-shirt. Canadians are stubbornly proud of their ability to handle the cold.
But you do become acclimated to local weather and the cold here is compounded by the fact that most of the apartments and buildings – ours included – don’t have heating, so there isn’t really an escape from the low temperatures. Even my dog is wearing a jacket for the first time.
The weather is unusual for a city where the average temperature in December is 13°C (55°F). Indeed, we’re only a few degrees off from the coldest day ever recorded in the city, −4.4 °C (24.1 °F) on February 13, 1960.
There have been other alarming weather phenomena recently. Some areas of the country are experiencing hurricane-force winds of 176 km (109 miles) per hour. Northern Mexican states are seeing snow, causing officials to open emergency shelters and close some highways, and at least one death. One friend posted a picture on Instagram that her father had taken of snow in the Torreón. It was the first time the town had seen snow in 20 years.
Meanwhile, the cold doesn’t seem to be hampering one of the most famous Christmas traditions in Mexico. Millions of parishioners have made their way to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the northern part of the capital. The site is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world. According to Wikipedia, 6.1 million pilgrims visited the Basilica de Guadalupe in 2009.
People come from all over the country and the world to visit the site. Most arrive on trucks or in cars, but some people make the journey on foot. The most devoted enter the church on their knees.
It’s just one of the many events going on around the city to celebrate the holiday season, each one bigger than the previous as we near the 25th. I’ll keep you posted on what else is going on. For now, I need to get ready to go buy a Christmas tree this afternoon.
Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico City, covers the entrepreneur’s journey and business continuity for ChannelE2E. Each Tuesday or so, he offers views about his adopted hometown — his personal Dispatches from Mexico City. Oh, but sometimes he pops up in his home nation of Canada.