Mexico, in general, has a strongly defined image among the international community. I have never said “I’m Mexican” in front of people from other countries without having everyone automatically scream things such as “tequila,” “fiesta,” “vamos a la playa,” or “qué calor.”
If you are like many of my international friends who have never been to Mexico City, chances are you have a preconceived notion of the city, including the climate. If you were to come and visit me, you might think about packing your sandals, sunblock, Ray-Bans, sleeveless shirts or any other item appropriate for an eternal summer. In reality, you would probably be freezing. On average, the temperature in Mexico City is 64°F/18°C during the summer, and 55°F/13°C in December and January. In comparison, Paris gets hotter in the summer with an average temperature of 68°F/20°C in July and August.
However, what comes as more of a surprise to visitors than the weather, is the lack of central heating and air conditioning. Most buildings don’t have central air conditioning because no one ever gets to use it due to the cooler average summer temperatures in central Mexico. In the winter, residents deal with the cold. According to a 2010 New York Times article, Mexico differs from the United States in that Americans “heat the room or house, while Mexicans heat the body”. In most properties, private or public, poor or wealthy, a small space heater is often the only thing breathing warm air.
The use of artificial temperature regulators is, in great part, a matter of culture. In Mexican culture, people rarely acknowledge feeling any kind of discomfort regarding the temperature. Instead, they wait for their bodies to adapt and feel good.
So, the first impression expatriates have when they begin to pack their bags for a visit to Mexico City may be just a paradigm, corrigible with just a quick check of a weather app.
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