Thursday, August 6, 2009

The trips home

In the opposite order of our arrival in Mexico, we left. The kids and I first flying to Utah on July 5th and Dave starting his drive on the 6th.

The flight was mostly uneventful (just as planned) with a few crying bits courtesy of Charlie. He has been so excited to go on a "big airplane". Whenever we'd see an airplane in the sky he'd say "I go in", and for a month I've told him he would get to soon. So at the airport, I showed him the airplanes and he couldn't wait to get in. But as soon as we were in it, he would see another out the window and whine to "go in". No amount of explaining would satisfy him that we were in an airplane already. He didn't like sitting in a seat and wouldn't take a nap at the proper time, so became pretty cranky. Then we had to rush out of the plane in Pheonix to catch our other flight. Jane pushed the luggage cart through customs and to our new gate like a trooper, but both Milli and Charlie wanted me to carry them. Not even close to possible. Hence more crying. But we made it to the gate with no time to spare and were very glad to see my mother when she picked us up at the airport in Salt Lake.

We stayed with my parents for the night and woke up early to go to the house. The kids ran around looking at everything. Every sentence was "Remember this..." , "This is the best day of my life" or "I love this house". We immediately started to unpack all of the boxes in Jane and Milli's room so they'd be able to sleep there that night.

Dave's trip was equally uneventful. He did choose a different route home though. Instead of heading for the Laredo, TX border crossing, he took the coast up to Arizona. This route is supposed to be faster, but you have to stay a night in Mexico, which now that we're old pros, we were willing to let Dave do. He said it was wonderful to be on cuotas (tollroads) almost the whole way. He stayed in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MX the first night; Pheonix, the second; home by the third.

Tope (speed bump) warning sign. We won't miss these.

Hmmm... hard to decide which way to go.

We'll miss the old Pemex stations...back to pumping our own gas.
We're very glad to be home, especially the kids, but we will always treasure our memories of Mexico. And we hope to make it back in the near future, at least to visit.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our last Saturday night

Almost the whole year we've kept up a tradition for Saturday nights. We'd head to the Ajijic, San Antonio or San Juan Cosala plaza mejor and eat tacos at a taco stand.

My favorite are in San Antonio. Dave, Jane and I get the Tacos Adobada. Riley, Charlie and Milli get the Bistek. Adobada is Bistek with a spicy sauce on them.
Dave likes the Tacos al Pastor in Ajijic best, they are pork done on a spit.

San Antonio has lots of toppings which is pretty unusual in Mexico. Most tacos stands we've been to only have onion, cilantro and lime to put on them.

The kids always get soda with their tacos. Saturday is one of the few times we let them get soda. I usually get horchata, a rice and cinnamon drink that reminds me of watery rice pudding. Charlie often ends up drinking all of my first cup full.

Frequently after we get tacos, we go to the nearby heladeria (ice cream shop) and get ice cream or popsicles. My favorite is a lime popsicle or a Magnum bar. I know Dave will soon start having Magnum bar withdrawals. He ate a ton of these. We've had them before in Europe, but never seen them in the US. The ice cream and popsicles are usually made right in the store. (Except the Magnums).
I was glad we had our last Saturday night free to have our tradition one last time. We'll miss it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So about our car...

Over the past year our car had taken a real beating. The curbs in Mexico are uneven height, you have to parallel park almost everywhere and people will hit your car and drive away as a general rule. The bumpers on both ends are scratched up. The hubcaps (especially on the right side for some reason) are beyond description. But the overall body hadn't had much happen to it. Until one day when our neighbor started some work on the water system in the area directly in front of our house. In fact, on the afternoon in question, I exited my front gate to take a walk and I found a ditch in our driveway that completely blocked us from leaving our house by car. No notice. It even seemed a surprise that someone lived there. Luckily I had about 1 hour till I had to pick up the kids from school. They assured me "no problemo". But having heard that enough that I knew I needed to check again when I got back from my walk. The owner was there and again told me it would be ready in a half hour when I needed to leave.

So they filled in the ditch directly in front of the house with enough room for the car to exit on either side of a metal pipe sticking 3 feet out of the ground. I got out and back in safely. Dave was not so lucky. Later in day he left to run an errand and when he got back was driving through the gap when the car slipped on some rocks and slid backward toward the pipe. The pipe scratched a line across 2 panels of the car.

Dave was so upset that it had happened, he looked for a body shop and made an appointment almost immediately.

He wanted to get it fixed in Mexico, if possible, because he knew it would be loads cheaper. It was. The bid was for 1200 pesos, less than $100.

Shortly before the day of our appointment I was trying to parallel park at Milli's school and hit the bumper of another car directly below the scratch. Not our best driving week. Luckily the other driver said "esta bien" and I didn't have to worry about paying him off. And the painter didn't charge us any more because of the new damage.

We scheduled to take it in on a Friday afternoon and pick it up on Saturday afternoon.

As promised, it was done. But it was the wrong color.

So we scheduled again. The weather was too wet.

And again. Not sunny enough.The shop is very unprofessional and is exposed to the elements as you can see.

And again. Not finished. Sanded but not painted.

Keep in mind every time Dave has to take it 30 minutes away to the shop and take a bus back. And then take a bus there again to bring it back home.

Finally we took it in the next Friday afternoon to be finished by 6pm. Dave calls me from the shop says that it is not done but he will leave it overnight to be finished by morning. We had planned to attend the circus that evening. So Laura picked up me and the kids and Dave took the bus and we met at the circus. We were late but we got there. While we were there it started to rain. We were all going to take the bus home, but Laura crammed all 8 of us in her little car and took us home.

Now we get to the day we were going to go to Selva Magica and Guadalajara. We finally get the car back at 4pm after being promised it by morning. It looks good. The right color and cheap, but certainly not worth all the hassle.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Now that we're home...

I guess I should catch up on the last month in Mexico.

The last place on my "places to visit" list that was left to visit was Guadalajara. Sure we've been there any number of times, but only to the airport, mall, and Costco. Not exactly historic. So on our last Saturday we planned to get going at about 10am and head up to Selva Magica and then take a tour of Guadalajara Centro. Unfortunately we had a holdup with some repair work on the car (I'll blog on that later) and didn't get off till about 4pm. No Selva Magica! But we did make it for a late tour of Guadalajara after first getting on the wrong bus, and squeezing in a KFC (yuk) dinner. Unfortunately most of the tour was in the dark and hence no good pictures but here's what we got.
We sat up on the top of the double-decker bus. The kids had fun bus surfing and grabbing leaves off the trees that barely missed our heads: 2 lawsuits waiting to happen in the U.S.

This is a side view of the Cathedral that is featured on almost everything Guadalajara. The 2 spires.