06 September 2015

On Mexico City

El Angel de la Independencia
As noted in my excuse for posting the letter from TMFKATB, I spent all last week in Mexico City for work. Can I just go on record on how much I enjoy this sprawling, chaotic world capital? It's an amazing place. It is a place that never disappoints and that was certainly the case again this trip.

The days were long and busy, but when you are working with some really great people and have a view like the one in the picture to the left, you get by. My company's office tower sits on the Plaza de la Reforma, one of the main drags in the city, and overlooks the famed statue, El Angel de la Independencia. Meetings took me to different parts of the city and it was fascinating to take it all in.

It is city, like many big metropolises, where every street, every corner tells a different story. Perhaps due to TMFKATB eight months living in this country, I was a little more sensitive to what was going on around me. This was particularly true as I walked through the area around my hotel each night. This led to dinner one night at an amazing Yucatanese restaurant and then on my last night there, a gorging dinner at my favorite taco joint in the whole of the city, El Caminero. The tacos there are about a buck a piece and they are nothing like the "tacos" one gets at Whack in the Crack for .99 a piece. No, the ones at El Caminero are, unlike those from the aforementioned Whack, in fact delicious and are not a lump of carne misteriosa that looks more like a sebaceous cyst in a sealed shell. They are amazing.

I was the only Americano at el Caminero the night I ate there and I loved taking in a futbol match on the TV with several other patrons. It was fun to talk with them about the game and to have them ask me if I was Cuban (my DNA may say otherwise but in my soul, I'd like to think si, soy un poco Cubano). As I spent time there and with my Mexican colleagues, I was reminded of the many letters from TMFKATB speaking of his love for this people. I get it.

Speaking of TMFAKTB, while he was still serving in Tuxtla Gutierrez, he sent us a picture of some cookies that he insisted we had to try. Over the next few months, we tried to find them everywhere, except of course here in the state in which we live because we live under the iron fist of Martha Stewart and there's no way that would be allowed. No way. Anyway, after a tear through several straight out of Mexico markets in the Phoenix-area, I was told that the maker did not import that specific cookie to the States. So my only mission on this trip, besides El Caminero, was to find those friggin' cookies. I tried for three days and every tienda or bodega I went into did not have them. Finally, on my fourth and final night, in a driving rainstorm in which the side streets of Mexico City turned to rivers, I went into an OXXO and there they were - the last two bags of said cookies in the whole place. Here's the proof:
Mission Accomplished!
They really are good, by the way. One package will make it's way behind the Zion Curtain to a certain young man here sooner rather than later.

As I left Friday morning, I got a little emotional in the Mexico City Airport as they repeated the final boarding call for the first flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez no fewer than four times. I thought of what was going through The Boy's mind nearly one year ago when he first stepped foot in that same airport awaiting a flight to Tuxtla. He was a brand-new missionary, barely speaking a word of Spanish. He called us one final time from that airport that day and it was safe to say he was a little overwhelmed. What a difference a year makes! The eight months he was in Mexico will benefit him the rest of his life.

And I, for one, am looking forward to years of playing "Whose Spanish is Better?" with him. Bring it on!

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