Tag Archives: mexico city

once in mexico city, it proves impossible to leave. . . . and not for lack of trying!

i felt kind of bad for reggie. most of the trip he was worried i’d get kidnapped or murdered or robbed.

and remember that horrible margarita?? his horrible encounter with a margarita weighed upon me.

i figured a guy who’s flown out from savannah georgia should at least get a good margarita and dance with a pretty girl. but reggie being the captain of the operation said that seven a.m. we were clearing out.

at four o’clock in the morning, he woke me up to tell me that he couldn’t sleep and was going out for a bit. i remember telling him the business center was on the second floor in case he wanted to catch up with his facebook buddies and play farmville.

i woke up in a panic at seven twenty. his backpack was on the floor. his flip flops. his watch was on the nightstand. but there was no reggie. i called him and said “exactly where are you?”

“i’m at a salsa club,” he shouted.

okay, he got his margarita. and he broke some hearts in mexico city–we heard the cries as we cabbed it to the airport: “reggie, reggie, you’ ¡re tan hermoso, te quiero, quiero a sus niños!” i figured okay, i have to enjoy the flexibility of travel. that was quite an adventure. but there was much more to come. the cab driver dropped us at the wrong terminal and we had to double back in a train. at the boarding gate, i was told i didn’t have a necessary customs form. as the plane was boarding, i was sprinting across the terminal to the mexican immigration department so i could get the form. i ran back to the gate. suddenly, the boarding gate official was disdainful: the form was of no interest to him. i downed three ativans to quel an anxiety attack.

touching down in houston, i was picked up at the airport by f2fb friend #80 george yates who drove me into pearland where he and his wife (f2fb #81) derrellyn live with her mother, their son, their son’s best friend, their son’s best friend’s brother, and a few four legged species members. the yates family has been through some difficult times. but they have a strong faith system. i put the one souvenir from mexico city next to some of their icons. i figure the play-doh virgin mary in a bottle had found its home.

derrellyn and george really didn’t want their pictures taken but when we went out to dinner with andy (their son will’s friend who lives with them) and nikka (andy’s girlfriend) i got an age old question answered

i wanted to get will on camera. he wasn’t able to come to dinner with us because he was at work. unfortunately, the flip camera was giving me trouble. the yates have weathered some tough times and it’s not completely clear sailing for them, but they surround themselves with a lot of positive energy and they open their home and give that positive energy back to the world.

i flew home through memphis airport. i was and am exhausted. today is definitely a stay under the covers day. but my son eastman says i’m a warrior. i think that’s a compliment.

if you want to invade mexico city. ..

mexico city is a low lying valley, a crater really, surrounded by mountains. it holds smog and pollution and i felt the heaviness in my chest from the moment i left the airport. i sucked on my inhaler like dennis hopper in blue velvet and considered that if aliens from mars wanted to take over, the city was pretty much indefensible. and if the dudes from mars prefer carbon emissions to oxygen, it’s a natural. . . .

at the hotel, after a morning walk of well over three hours, reggie and i had a drink while we waited for yoshi. we had both heard that in mexico, everyone’s a little relaxed about time. while we waited, reggie explained that the whole time we had been walking around, he had been very aware of who was looking at us, who was a potential problem. he said i should be doing the same thing. and never look at something for more than three seconds. count to three. look at something else. count to three.

then yoshi arrived. it was awkward and funny and reggie got the whole thing:

yoshi is an actor who has worked primarily in performing plays for schools. he is working as a director of “life is a dream” (la vida es suena) first published by pedro caldron de la barca in the early seventeenth century. yoshi hopes to have the play touring by april. he is a fan of science fiction and most particularly of my grandfather fritz leiber. he found me on facebook because of being fritz’s fan. it was our first time meeting in person although we have corresponded for several years. yoshi had worked in the area of town where we were and he wanted to take us in the opposite direction from where we had been in the morning. we passed a protest march but yoshi’s explanation of what their beef was confused me. So we just figured it was a shout out to the madison, wisconsin protesters who, by the way, i hope to see next monday thanks to my facebook friend cory!

we also had a meal at a very famous café:

so us revolutionaries had a meal together. reggie ordered a margarita and it was hideous, which was a decisive factor in what happened later. . . .

after lunch we wandered around the park across from the palace of the arts. there were hundreds of booths and vendors. homemade ice cream in flavors like rose, burnt milk, cactus. handmade jewelry (alas, no rosaries). embroidered smocks. we saw a lesbian rights parade. we saw kids crunking in a gazebo. a police officer came into the gazebo and i wondered if i was going to end up in a mexican jail with these kids–but he had brought bottles of water for the kids.

reggie bought roasted corn mixed with chilis, chopped onions, mayonaise–all in a styrofoam cup.

i said in the previous post that i thought there were three mexicos. the night before, i had glimpsed the very wealthy mexico–blessed with jewels and fine clothing. in the morning, i was lucky enough to have reggie with me to watch over me–so i could see the mexico that was the most poor, the mexico that rises early to scrape out a living. but this mexico in the park was the families out walking and enjoying themselves–the vibe was one of celebration and the people were more comfortable with themselves. they had nice clothes and i suspect some money in their pockets. but my feet hurt and my inhaler had been getting a workout. as the sun started to dip behind the mountains, it was time to let this cinderella and her blister inducing slippers go home. i asked this dude for a ride to the hotel. he said no.

but it was a fun day with yoshi maeshiro, facebook friend number #79! but, alas, we discovered that we both had tried to track down enrique celis, my other facebook friend in mexico city. he was yoshi’s acting teacher and had once facebook friended me in order to invite me to a play he was directing. enrique is now officially invited to chicago for the f2fb new years resolution, but yoshi has an invitation whenever he wants!

Viva Ciudad de Mexico!!!

mexico city is quite dangerous, what with kidnapping and murders by drug entrepreneurs and the police. reggie was told ixnay, that u.s. army personnel were most definitely not to go to mexico city and especially not to escort fifty year old matrons to international travel. I am glad he didn’t tell me that until the last night. how he changed the mind of his commanding officer is his own business but I believe that my breathtaking stupidity and the possibility of my causing grave embarrassment to the government was a factor.

reggie sent me a text the morning of the flight to houston, where we were scheduled to meet. No jewelry, no nice clothes, no heels, and could I visit a tanning salon? i was cool with everything but the last one. I get claustrophobic in those booths. we made the trip from houston to ciudad de mexico with no trouble at all. well, except for figuring out how to get out of the airport.

mexico city is built on the inside of a crater, surrounded by mountains. It holds within the bowl all the smog and pollution imaginable, as well as the hopes and aspirations of twenty million mexicans. I saw the first of three types of mexicans when we arrived at the hotel melieta. women were dressed in evening gowns and wrapped themselves in furs though it couldn’t have been more than sixty degrees. men wore tuxedos or dark black suits. i thought “mexico is a pretty wealthy country” and felt pretty silly in my black running suit from target. then reggie told me we were at the wrong hotel. a short taxi cab ride and we were at our hotel. reggie fell asleep immediately. i stared at the moon and could just make out the mountains in the distance.
i woke up and i thought it was ten o’clock. after all, that’s what the clock on the building across the street said. so i forced reggie to get up. he told me the first rule: that since my passport stuck out of my fanny pack just a little, i was to let him carry my passport.
we went to a second mexico city. In this mexico city, blue tarp tents lined the streets. families cooked tortillas, sausages, waffles, chickens. mothers with toddlers on their laps sold candy and cigarettes. old men sold sunglasses, cellphone covers, bootleg cd’s (I nearly bought the entire last season of Glee) . I saw an old man laying out a blanket and offering for sale a pair of red shoes with the heels ground down and a selection of car parts. boys in nascar-like jumpsuits sold newspapers to the cars stopped at the intersections—pink for excelsior paper, green for the guardian. women washed windows of stopped cars. the police were everywhere. the smell of urine, feces, overcooked meet and sweat–sometimes the smell of food was good and sometimes i thought i would throw up. reggie told me the second rule: i was not allowed to point at something, i was not allowed to look at something or someone for more than three seconds unless I was wearing my sunglasses. there were not many people who would outright say “can you spare some change?” but everybody had a business.
we stopped to have breakfast at macdonald’s. because reggie said I wasn’t going to eat out of a truck until we were ready to leave because he didn’t want to be around when there were consequences. in the ladies’ room, the toilet paper dispenser was held together with scotch tape. I broke it apart without meaning to. i went to wash my hands and i took apart the faucet. i decided the safest thing to do was sit down to ask reggie about his strategies. . .

we found a beautiful church dedicated to the carmelite nuns. i wanted to find a rosary to wear on my neck, it was the one thing I hoped to find in mexico city but i spent so much time marveling at people, at buildings, at strange things that i didn’t have time to shop. but i did have time to ask the blessing of st. teresita of the nina jesus.

and then it was time to meet yoshi maeshiro and enrique celis, the whole point of this operation . . . .

f2fb friend #77 might have to kill me!

ton kambich is a tough guy, served in world war 2 and jumped out of planes into dangerous places. later, he let his softy side flourish. he and his wife carolyn opened a montessori school in northfield just outside of winnetka (not to say winnetka is a dangerous place). the couple was instrumental in the opening of the victoria montessori school in entebbe, uganda.

so i had to ask him about my trip to mexico city. about which i have been stressing. and about skydiving which is what captain reggie wants to do later in the month.

i don’t know. i’d love to have a rumor that i’m part of the c.i.a.

i pack and leave tomorrow. viva ciudad de mexico!!!! and from there, to facebook friends in houston. then memphis. then home. . . for a day and a half and then cleveland, ohio. i’m getting some wear on these treads.

tony says it’s fine about if the two releases don’t work. the third thing you do is clutch yourself in a particular manner and kiss your ass goodbye. please don’t tell me this is how the adventure will end!

thank you mr. clark (or maybe mr. jones)

as many of you know, i am betrothed to mr. william clark, originally born in caroline county, virginia. but some of you might not know that my fiance has been dead since 1838. he’s buried in st. louis. please don’t tell him. it would break his heart.

he was a farmer, a soldier, a part-time botanist, zoologist, astronomer and cartographer. he was appointed governor of the missouri territory and he most famous for traveling with merriweather lewis across the vast united states after president thomas jefferson purchased the land from the french. you can read about his adventures in my facebook friend lanny jones’ book “william clark and the shaping of the west”.

i met william (i can call my fiance by his first name although most people refer to him as mr. clark) in person when i was in new york. new york was a scary trip for me. i was getting phone calls from my father every few hours–he is convinced his wife barbara is trying to commit him and indeed he was institutionalized very briefly after my visit to tallahassee. i was swindled out of some money on thursday evening of the trip by a member of the harvard club (an ex-member, but still, you’d think harvard people would be better than that) and i had an anxiety attack nearly every minute of every day. but i loved seeing the museum of sex, touring the city with john r. douglas, meeting vince p. and nearly meeting a passel of celebrities.

when i travel, i bring talismans. lucky charms and not in the form of cereal. i have a lucky flight plan of a long ago trip that keeps planes aloft so long as i am on them. i have several rosaries, gifts from my sons. and i now have a diminutive replica of my fiance when he was just an explorer. thank you, mr. clark, i shall travel with him always in my little medicine bag.

btw, william clark actually has his own facebook page. that’s how we met!

my next major trip, well, the one after the western illinois, is to mexico city. i understand i will need my inhaler and a desire for adventure. it will be the first time i’ve been in a country where the primary language is not english. ciudad de mexico, un que lugar hermosa!!!

thank you mr. clark, i will travel always with this reminder that i am officially a member of the club of adventurers! unless your biographer mr. jones sent it, in which case i will still take it with me!