Yes, we all know Mexico has incredible beautiful sandy beaches, sombreros, tequila and burritos. Most of us are also well versed in the Aztec origins of chocolate and chilies. We know there are a bazillion resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula with everything from dune buggy rides to swimming with Dolphins. However, there are a cruise ship load of other things about Mexico that will spark your interest.
Mexico City is the second largest conurbation in the world, behind Tokyo. A conurbation is, according to Wiktionary, “a continuous aggregation of built-up urban communities created as a result of urban sprawl”. Mexico City sits on the site of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, which at the time of Spanish arrival in 1500, had a population of just 250,000. Today the population of Mexico City (as of 2010 census) is 8.85 million. Since the total area of the city is just 573 square miles, Mexico City has the highest population density in the world: 15,437 people per square mile.
There are 69 official languages of Mexico, including Spanish. As Mexico is a pluricultural society there are a vast number of separate languages and dialects of those indigenous languages. About 14% of the population identify themselves as belonging to an indigenous group, but just 6% of those people speak an indigenous language. Of the unofficial languages present in Mexico, English is the most prevalent. There are small isolated areas where German, Arabic, French, Filipino, Chinese, Hebrew, Korean, and Italian are spoken.
Frida Kahlo was a hugely talented and world renowned Mexican artist. Her work represents a great love for her nation, and the indigenous traditions of Mexico. Despite being crippled by Polio as a child, she went on to lead an incredible life. The obscure little known fact about Ms. Kahlo is that she had a torrid affair with Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Kahlo’s husband, artist Diego Rivera, had invited Trotsky to stay with them while he sought political asylum in Mexico. Unfortunately, when the affair was discovered, Kahlo and Rivera moved house. They left Trotsky to live alone, and shortly thereafter he was assassinated.
Biodiversity refers to the number and variety of species of plant and animal life in a region, and Mexico holds 12% of the world’s biodiversity. In terms of reptiles, Mexico has the most biodiversity of anywhere in the world: 707 known reptilian species. They are second in the world for mammals, with 438 known species, fourth with 290 amphibian species and also fourth in flora with 26,000 species.
There really is a lot more to Mexico than resorts and dolphins. In fact, as a pluricultural society there is an endless amount of history and tradition to explore. The beaches are great, but look beyond the sand and surf for the really interesting stuff!
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