If you think travelling on The London Underground can be stressful at times, spare a thought for the millions of people who use Mexico City’s Metro System every day, especially during peak hours when folk are attempting to get backwards and forwards.

Having said that, rattling along at high-speed beneath the streets of Mexico City is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. In light of how cheap it is to travel by metro, doing so soon becomes surprisingly addictive. At just two pesos per ride, it is undoubtedly one of the cheapest forms of public transport in the world.

Consisting of eight different underground lines stretching to all points of the compass, the metro provides the only sensible means of getting around such a gigantic city should time and patience not be on your side. Despite my initial misgivings about using the metro, I soon realised that there was simply no other way I’d be able to see certain parts of the city if I didn’t take the plunge beneath street-level to ‘ride the rails’.

My first ride took me south towards the city limits, to the ‘suburb’ of Xochimilco. A desperately poor neighbourhood, it’s popular amongst visitors to the city since a network of canals blesses the area, thus enabling boat rides to be taken.

Something else in Xochimilco’s favour is the fact that it lies in a relatively unpolluted area of the city, a reassuring truth which became immediately apparent as soon as I stepped off the train and breathed a sigh of relief at having survived my first trip on the metro without being mugged or expiring as a result of suffocation.

My second experience of using the metro was far less pleasant in the respect that the train I was on stopped at one station for twenty minutes before moving on due to a technical fault. I’d never suffered from claustrophobia before, but the heat, the lack of fresh air, and the pressing presence of a carriage-load of people almost got the better of me on the way to Mexico City’s affluent and undeniably pretty district of San Angel.

However, that experience was nothing compared to when I made a beeline for the city’s northern bus terminal at 10 p.m. on a Friday evening. It seemed that half of the city’s population was on the move. I soon realised that there was no wonder people often fell onto the rails through no fault of their own.

The platform at The Zocalo stop was crammed, and as soon as a train stopped, all of the people aspiring to get on it surged forward without showing any consideration for those wanting to get off. As a result, panic ensued, with many people getting stuck on the train, unable to alight where they needed to.

Too courteous to brazenly barge forth with my backpack, I made no progress until the third train squealed to a juddering halt.
Squashed amongst people vying to get home to their loved ones after a hard week of work, I sympathised with what at first seemed like a futile plight.

On the back of subsequent and equally-as-nightmarish changes of train at the Hidalgo and La Raza stations, it was with great relief that I arrived at the bus station, only to face a crisis of entirely different proportions: how to buy a ticket to Oaxaca City without any knowledge of the Spanish language whatsoever.

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