I have had a past phenomenal week. And I mean that in the sense that everyday in the last few days of my life have been filled with joy. So why am I writing so late in the week you may ask? Because the drama with the computer continues and it is a right pain to write on a phone when so many wonderful things have happened.
To be orderly let’s start chronologically:
Monday: I recieved really good news. In the form of $4k a year scholarships for my school. Which is great! Well it’s not the biggest amount ever, but even $50 helps, so thank you governor!
I’m pleased as punch when I recieved my email, and it’s a great way to start the day. It means that I filed my FAFSA on time, and if I can read the stars that perhaps I will get the internship that I want for the fall semester and the Bureay of Engraving and Printing. (keep your fingers crossed for me, please)
Feeling energized, I was “screw it, I’m going to bust out a 10k” and I ran exactly that. I am proud of myself if for no other reason than I was able to complete 10 kilometers and not be dead by the end of it, and able to walk on Tuesday. Amazing what a hot shower and a long stretch will do for you, no?
My goal is to be able to come in under 1hr 15min, and I think I am on a good pace for it, as I finished in 1:18hrs. In an ideal world? Under an hour, (but lets face it, I’m a ways off) Theres a half marathon in September I was invited to, but I will wait and see what the time brings for September.
I got back just in time to hop into the shower before the compadres came into the house, for a breakfast at our place. Alejandra was there, which was nice because she works 6 days a week and I have barely spent any time with her. Plus she also brought a lot of sweet bread from her bakery which is delicious.
And Lucha brought chicharito which is tasty when coupled with frijoles. But it leaves you feeling full for the rest of the day. The commandres are as crazy as ever, and by the time of 1600 my aunt was hungry again, but before she could ask what was for dinner, the comandres said that she was trying to run them out. So my aunt has earned a new nickname for herself, and there is nothing like watching them finish a bottle of tequilla (the drink of choice around these parts) and be absolutely ridiculous.
I find that they speak a bit fast for me if I don’t pay careful attention, which suits me fine to sit in their company, but when I catch wind of their stories, I find myself doubling over in laughter. But colorful language comes in and out of one ear, and watching my aunt get silly with them I think does her a load of good.
My grandmother peacful as ever sits there smiling with the nonsense. Although there was a bit of drama when my grandmother said that according to her I came to Mexico to spend it with her, but Alejandra was quick to defend me (I told my grandmother to stop sucking on lemons she was being so dour) and said that no, I was here to experience Mexico and not sit watching telenovelas with her.
The rest of the day passed without incident.
Tuesday: My grandmother left for Guadalajara today. We popped her on a bus and she took the 6/7 hour ride where is it hot. I say this because I spent the rest of the day in a sweater.
She was in her right sour mood, but after a couple of hugs and kisses and promises that I would see her in a matter of days we waved her off.
And off to central Mexico we went!
To do the tourist loop, my aunt and I went to Bellas Artes, The MUNA, Torre Latino, and Mercado de San Juan. Not a huge walk but plenty of photo opportunities. And we took the metro in, which is an experience of itself, but it ran smoothly if not crazy with the people who want to peddle everything from mixtapes to razors.
I saw the crooked and sinking churches that make the tower of Pisa look weak by comparison. One leans this way and the other directly facing it faces that. The reason being that Mexico city was once a lake, and so the earth beneath the church is soft and the heavy (such heavy stones!) building materials keep coming down, down.
The churches are by far the best because while they may be poor in appearance, walking between the pews you feel a drunkard. It’s super cool and I took a fair few pictures.
Bellas Artes is all arte nuveau and had an exposition of the world around us, around themes. The photographs were gorgeous and all I wanted was a poster of one photo in particular, all monchrome and of the ocean in Japan, but they didnt sell memorabilia. The sky and water were different shades of grey and I would have easily bought a poster. But my photos will have to do.
MUNA is an architectural masterpiece and full of Mexican art of all the different periods, and this time I was able to take pictures (because we paid for a strip of paper that allowed it, silly things). The place is like a palace, and you feel a princess in there with the spiraling staircases and lions of bronze and beautiful stonework. Plenty of light filters through the window and while I liked the exposition in Bellas Artes more, this was great.
We sent postcards from the central post office in Mexico which is also another thing in and of itself in its spelndor. All metal work and absolutely rich. It fascinates me that the people in Mexico were not content with what they had and so they took great lengths to mimick the European way of architeture. Sometimes the Mexican filters through and the result is splendid. Although I find that I could easily work in a place like that post office. Please let me know if the cards ever arrived.
Appearantly Mexico doesn’t have the best record for making post cards arrive on time.
The Torre Latino has some of the best views of the city, some 42 stories up in the air, and you can see how expansive the city is. Its a full panorama view filled with the poor parts the rich parts and everything in between. The city teems with people moving here and there and traffic.
We bought the tin cups my mother bought in the stores lining the street, next to the street that sells only lamps and my aunt tells me that each street has dedicated items for sale. The kitchen stores are always my favourite, but sadly we were running out of time before the rush hour traffic (because otherwise you’re looking at a 2 plus hr drive home) and so we hopped again on the metro and made it home by 1830.
In the evening we beat out the thunderstorm by seconds into LunaPark and stood in queue for After Earth; but I think most of the people were there for the Monsters University premier. The line was about half an hour long but we even made the previews. The neat thing about Mexican movies is that the seats are assigned so you’re not necessarily always left with the worst seats in the house if you arrive late. Nor will there be hodgepodge spare seats and friends tend to want to group together. I think it’s a good idea. And even though I wasn’t such a fan of the movie, it was fun and cheap – I mean less than 8USD a ticket per person! I havent seen prices that cheap since before 2005, in just about all honesty.
Wednesday: We had (yet another; like do they ever end? I’m not complaining) breakfast turned lunch turned meal for the rest of the day with the friends that were supposed to come over last friday, (at the time of writing 2 Fridays ago) and instead went to a brunch line breakfast.
It was a smaller group this time, but Sandra and her baby boy were there as we were celebrating both her and her mother’s birthday. It seems like it is birthday season around these parts. The man playing guitar brought cake and sang us the mananitas.
Sandra had invited me to spend the day with her so as we said our goodbyes I bid adieu for the night to my aunt and went to run errands and hang out with the little children. Which honestly was a lot of a better proposition than the curtain hanging that my aunt had planned for the day.
By the time that we were fed (another brunch), Sandra’s husband had come back into the house and the child who had been fed of marshmallows was rearing to go. We left him with daddy for a girls night out, and while some places (where we wanted to dance) had a dress code, the karaoke bar sure didn’t.
Drinking Almond Tequila – which is totally a thing here and btw delicious I am bringing some back – I was introduced to the finer side of tequila and not what I have become accustomed (to avoiding) to drinking back home. It’s a perfect type of drinking as it goes down smooth and tasty and leaves you feeling soft and silly in the best way possible.
So we pick up Sandra’s sister-in-law Chela (who has the same big smile as her brother) and head to the karaoke bar, where yours truly bust out a rendition of one manner or another of “Living On A Prayer” (I still cannot believe that I did this, this is what Dutch Courage will do for you) there was great applause and Sandra took a few great pictures of the spectacle. (Well if you’re going to do something, do it right)
Chela dances semi-professionally in her spare time everything from the Salsa to the Fox Trot, and when the boys came around asking to dance it was a joy to watch her dance and even teach the boys a thing or two.
She’s going to Cuba this November for a dancing competition and I am SO JEALOUS because I want to visit Cuba. This is on my bucket list of places I must visit before I die. (Naturally I will be going in her suitcase) The boys asked me to dance but already fairly drunk and being white, this does not make a good dancing combination. Especially not when there are professionals in the room although everything is in good humour and salsa music is a wonderful genre and I was pestering them for the song titles to everything.
(Now I am semi inspired to learn to dance properly because there is only so much shuffling that I can do.)
By the time we got back it was already 0300 and Sandra and I spent the next hour talking nonsense that people will talk at 0400
Wednesday was also the day DOMA was struck down and SCOTUS punted Prop 8, so while not outright bad, I am thrilled at the DOMA decision and bless Kennedy for being a decent human being. Prop 8 was interesting in terms of the split. Either way I am thrilled and it means good things to come.
Thursday: Woke up with a mild hangover, and spent the morning hanging out with a 2-year-old playing spider man and watching Wimbledon matches. (an aside, WHAT is going on in Wimbledon this year?!?)
I was reminded what bright lights and noises are and how horrible a macaw can be in the morning. I was also shocked to find that children here eat eggs half raw, blended and spoon fed. Naturally this makes the egg wary part of me shiver, because I can just about eat eggs in omelette form once every other week, but like that? Yeesh.
Still little children are adorable and when little Roberto went giving porras to his cousin Ollie and “hombre anana”, I could not take the adorable. He likes to watch “Cars” from Pixar and has a McQueen we also raced about town. He showed me his family and generally because I am a corazon de pollo I was happy to oblige him.
By about Mexican lunch hour we had made it back to my aunt’s house (we missed having tamales, damn) for a chicken and salad lunch and spent our time hanging out until about 1700. At which point I had to pack my things because on Friday we were to catch a flight to none other than Cancun.
Friday: Waking up at 0400 is hard. And even though we were in bed by 2130 it was still something fierce getting out of bed and making the last-minute additions to the suitcase. Our taxi never showed up, which really you don’t want to find out about when the bus that will take you to the airport leaves at 0500. Pilar rang Lucha and really bless Lucha because she comes out in her PJs and takes us to the bus stop which is 5 minutes away.
But really, damn that “24/7” taxi service because no one picked up or was waiting for us.
So we get to Toluca and it is freezing and 0600 and our flight doesn’t leave until 0840. I pull out my PJs and throw them on myself and fall asleep in the cafeteria until 0800. The airport is tiny so it wasn’t a problem outside of the freezing conditions of Toluca which is easily 3 degrees colder than Mexico city.
The flight to Cancun was much more pleasant than from Washington DC to Mexico, and the seats plush and they even gave a snack!! Interjet wins this round. We were met by Mariana and her first born Derek (who here is my nephew) and we hopped into her ginormous truck.
Cancun is hot. And I mean humid and hot. I am also not used to hearing so much English and I have found where all the tourists come. From the dry high altitude of the city to sea level humid Cancun took some adjustment.
My three nephews were like “who are you” at first but by the evening Derek had come out for a run with me. Bruno would not talk to me until the next day for being shy.
Being so tired, we basically did nothing but sleep and sit in the air conditioning and the patio when the sun went down.
Saturday: Beach day!
We started the day by having brunch eating tacos cochinitas which is simply fabulous. The meat is prepared in a special way that is juicy and tender with onion and just the juice of Habanero sauce. Mario likes to eat Habanero by the spoonful, but to each his own. I ate about 4 tacos because I liked it so much and washed it down with fresh squeezed and oh-so-tasty orange juice pulp and all. I left feeling stuffed and happy and wondering why they don’t have food as good as this back home.
When I finally roused my aunt we went to the beach. And the kids here have it beautiful. A jewel of an ocean and a beach. White sand and layered sea that gets darker the deeper out you go. The sky too is layered and absolutely breathtaking. Our oceans are grey and dirty, and theirs is white. I could spend all my ten days here.
But SPF 100 is a thing here and absolutely real and warranted because the midday sun is not a joke. We had our camastros and palapas and liters of water to get us through the day. Luckily no one got burnt although my aunt didn’t get into the water, so it was Derek and I.
Warm beautiful water and beautiful waves was absolutely stunner. I can see why people envy this beach. Ours is nothing to compare.
We are in a McDonald’s that had one of the best burgers of my life, a McNifty (or something) but the soft serve ice cream was a disaster. Also service was despicably slow as I am pretty sure it was only 1 person doing everything.
Then waiting for Mariana to come get us (she lives some 20 minutes from the ocean) I bought myself another “Chester”, or another wall iguana, this one we named Derek, in honor of my cousin/nephew/whatever.
He has to make it two flights back home, and is made of ceramic, but damned if |I won’t try to save him. He’s tri color and big eyed expression caught my eye and I was like “this is what I have been looking for” I am also really excited to put him on my wall next to Chester.
Sunday: Beach day pt 2! It rains by the street here and where on one avenue its dry, the next it’s pouring. But we nonetheless bought our tortas and headed to the beach even if the sky was grey.
The waves were bigger today, which made for great body surfing and the water just as warm if not warmer. Pilar even got into the water with us for a while, and Bruno came along too. I think they don’t get out to the beach enough which is a real pity because they were born to love that water.
When it started raining we were in the water and I was laughing like, “this is my life? for real? I cannot complain this is what pure joy feels like” rain drops over head, waves crashing against you, floating in the water in between and water blue as the poets try to describe. Even if I didn’t get my smoothie this morning (they bought soy milk today huzzah!) it didn’t even matter for everything else.
Waters of orange and Jamaica topped everything off, except maybe the shower I took once I got home. I had sand in places there should not be sand, but that compares nothing to Bruno who rinsed off but ended up with more sand on him than he began with. He had hiccups the whole way home as we squeezed into the car after Mariana Mario and Mariano came back from their film, World War Z. (I think we made out better in our day)
Bruno and Derek are real loves, soft and sweet with big eyelashes and freckles who look just like their dad. Both like hugs and eating eggs in the morning. Bruno is the darkest of all as I think he has a thing against wearing shirts, and while I have not yet talked too much with Mariano as he’s the most serious, I can tell there’s a big heart in there too. Mariano and Bruno have 13 months between them but Mariano easily looks like he’s 11/12, and he’s actually 9. Bruno is 8 and Derek is 13.
The kids are fascinated with my Samsung phone and often ask to play Subway Surfers or Candy Crush on it. It’s odd because I don’t much feel an aunt or an adult most days but seeing them I can’t not draw comparisons to “when I was their age…” (oh god, what happened?) and just generally want to cuddle them.
And yes, I got a bit sunburnt today, because I thought that with the clouds it wouldn’t matter, but nothing fierce although it means that SPF100 away!! (not that I want to stay pasty white) My aunt says clouds can make sun burns worse, and I am now inclined to agree seeing my tinged red back after all those clouds. It doesn’t hurt but I understand what she means.
Tomorrow my cousin Jorge said he’d come by and take us flying. (HOW COOL IS HE?) He also does diving, so I will be asking him about that as well. They say that the reefs around here are stunners. Being the fish lover as I am this is simply a must.
Take advantage while you can, right? (I will talk him into both, I swear)
More to come later. (As I have written over 3300 words and I think that it enough for a day. It has also taken me about an hour to write this, so.)