25/02/2019

“Hay más tiempo que vida”, said the taxi driver. There is more time than life.

We were welcomed to Mexico by a stream of ‘Buen dia’s and smiles. The driver, thrilled to be introducing us to his native city, didn’t seem one bit fazed by having to drive in circles around several blocks in search of our hotel.

He even managed to cheer us up, three severely jet-lagged Londoners, at 5am after a 12-hour flight, with Mexican proverbs and an impromptu tour of the area.

what3words is about to be launched in Latin America, so we, Ivan, Maddie and Michelle, spent a few days in Mexico City developing an ad campaign with a local creative agency, La Sociedad. None of us had ever been there before, but armed with Maddie’s rusty Spanish we set out to make some cool work, eat tacos, and squeeze some culture into our free time.

Mexico City is vibrant and colourful, with buskers and mariachi bands brightening up every corner. Big and bustling, it verges on chaotic. It’s hard to set specific meeting points, and easy to get lost. To make things more confusing, it seems that most streets were named after only a few heroes, so there’s quite a lot of repetition. ‘Juarez’ and ‘Chapultepec’ keep popping up in street, place, and landmark names, and it’s no surprise people sometimes end up at the wrong ‘Calle Juarez’, hours of traffic jams away from the intended ‘Calle Juarez’.

Resourceful locals rely on landmarks and descriptions, which are often long-winded and difficult for foreigners to follow. As a matter of fact even they struggle with descriptions. One of our agency contacts told us his father hates inviting people over because the only way to direct them is with a 12 step instruction list, and he often still has to fetch them from a nearby orchard.

Being there on business, we had no time to get lost, so we came prepared. Our first meeting was at the agency’s office, and its 3 word address had been shared with us. All we had to do was type it into the Cabify app to get a ride straight there. After that, every meeting spot or filming location had a 3 word address attached to it so we never wasted time trying to find it. Even recommendations for places to visit in our free time were shared with us with 3 word addresses!

We also all had the hotel’s 3 word address saved on our phones, a lesson we learned after one of us went for a walk one morning, couldn’t remember the hotel’s street name, and ended up having a nice, if not slightly rushed and panicked, tour of the area.

With what3words and the very handy Cabify integration that allowed us to enter 3 word addresses as destinations, and the amazing team we were collaborating with, we managed to get all our work done on time. Better yet, we had lots of free time left to take in as much of Mexico City as we could.

We got lost, intentionally, because we now had the luxury to, and knew we’d find our way back easily. We stared in awe at the artifacts in the epic Anthropology Museum, and at the beautiful stained glass in Chapultepec Castle. And last but not least, we sampled some of the city’s many taco stands, and enjoyed Mexico’s world-renowned cuisine.

Our foodie recommendations? We found Tacos El Güero at ///found.padlock.vibes, although they may have moved since then, and restaurant El Tizoncito in Zona Condesa, at ///trainers.spiking.rapport (this one’s permanent!).

We used what3words in both English and Spanish in Mexico. Did you know that the app is available in 24 other other languages? Try it now.