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Street names in Mexico City

B.C.Canada
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Street names in Mexico City

Can someone explain about the street names near the Federal District which are Doctors names. A friend has sent his address and it is Doctor Francisco Balmis, in Colonia Doctores. What does this mean. Also what is the Federal District all about? Thanks for any explanations.

carlosgirl

Whittier, California
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1,371 posts
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1. Re: Street names in Mexico City

Hola Girl,

Nomenclature of streets in México (not only Mexico City) is mainly related to the name of the "colonia" (section, sector, district, parrish, etc.). The Colonia Doctores' streets, as an example, are dedicated to honor doctors in world's and national history (ie. Dr. Manuel Carmona y Valle, Dr. Pasteur, Dr, Francisco Javier Balmis, etc); the Colonia Industrial has names of factories and companies throughout México; and some times names not related to the name of the colonia and simply numerical like "Norte 25" or "Oriente 158". But always make sure to write down in your correspondence the house number: Dr. Francisco Balmis # 41; or Norte 25 # 265.

There is also a big difference with the US or Canada in this aspect. While in the northern neighbors the streets have an orderly style, lets say:

12130 Main Street - this house is located on the 121st block of Main St., lot # 30 (which gives you an idea how close or far are you from your destination);

in México the numbers are in regular sequence (of course odds in one side, even in the other side):

Insurgentes Sur # 1870 (for a northern traveler it might indicate "lot number 70 on the 18th. block of Insurgentes Ave... cool, very close")... BUZZZ! Wrong! This might indicate a long drive or an endless walk!

One more thing. Do not expect to find visible signs with the name of the streets. Some colonias have them well located, others such an unreadable plaque, and others no plaque at all.

KM

Acapulco, Gro.
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2. Re: Street names in Mexico City

The Federal District was established after the model of the District of Columbia, intended to raise the capital city above politics. (Oh, well.)

Mexico City is the oldest, highest, and largest capital city in the western hemisphere. Identifiable "neighborhoods" are called "colonias" and, as stated above, the streets in a colonia usually follow the theme of the name of the colonia.

An address such as you suggest would probably be in this form:

Name

Dr. Francisco Balmis, No.___

Colonia Doctores

postal code, Mexico, D.F.

If you're interested. Francisco Balmis sailed from Acapulco aboard one of the Manila Galleons to innoculate people of the Philippines against small pox.

B.C.Canada
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3. Re: Street names in Mexico City

Thanks to everyone who explained the nomenclature of the Colonia Doctores in Mexico City. I found the history very interesting and did some further research on Dr. Balmis. Now may I ask you KM about this area of Col. Doctores. I have read a post about this neighbourhood stating that it would be an area to be avoided if a person was visiting. I plan on visiting Mexico City in July and my friend has invited me to stay at his home on Doctor Balmis Street. I have never been there before and I met my friend in Zihuatanejo. He along with his many friends are wonderful, warm people and made me feel like family. I am a bit concerned about the area, and if it would be safe for me to wander about there. I am a single female. I really am looking forward to a fantastic trip to one of the most exciting cities in the world. Thanks for your commments and advice.

Carlosgirl

Whittier, California
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4. Re: Street names in Mexico City

Hola Again Girl,

Dr Balmis St. is one busy artery of Mexico City. My uncle has his office on Doctor Navarro St so I used to wander on the opposite side of the Colonia Doctores (Doctor Balmis St.) where the City Attorney's Office is, which is kind of safe. I believe if you are staying with your friend, he won't let you roam on your own or at least he'd tell you where NOT to go (in my personal opinion do not go to the southern neighbour "colonia" Buenos Aires!). Depending on where your friend's house is on Doctor Balmis, you might be close to the "Obrera" subway station which is a great mean to travel easy and cheap. In short, be cautious as you'd be anywhere else and enjoy your stay.

Clearwater, Florida
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5. Re: Street names in Mexico City

Colonia Doctores is considered one of the more dangerous neighborhoods to be roaming about, if you're not familiar with it. People you know who live there will know when and where to go. Adjacent Buenos Aires is even more dangerous.