Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I am officially in Cuernavaca, Mexico!!! I got here, but not without a hassle. My flight arrived to Dallas (from Austin) over an hour late, which was stressful because a) I was supposed to deliver Janae’s passport to her so she could board her flight and b) I had to catch a flight myself that was already boarding when I was “checking in.” Needless to say I was running through the airport like a madwoman! But, I made it…without my bags!
I arrived to the airport in Mexico City around 4 p.m. and made my way to the immigration lines, then to baggage claim. Well, baggage claim is not so simple here. It was pretty shocking- little kiddos running around screaming everywhere and bags were not going around on a conveyer belt like in America. The baggage claim part was confusing and it seemed like no one knew what to do or where to go…or it could have just been me. In the airport in Mexico City, there are people putting all of the suitcases on the floor and you just kind of walk around and find yours. Not very many people could understand English (I know, I know I’m supposed to be speaking only Spanish, but I was completely freaked out) so, I ended up asking people at the service desk where to look for my bags and they informed me that they didn’t make it to Mexico City yet, they were on a different plane than the one I was on and that they would have to be delivered to my temporary address here in Mexico. They reassured me that my belongings would get to me the next day and I had no choice but to trust them. So, I go through customs bag less, feeling so naked, and meet up with Janae’s parents and our chauffer at the restaurant, Freedom, in the airport located right outside of the “customs” area. Boy was I happy to see Janae’s parents! So, we had some Mexican beer and waited for Janae (because she was unable to get on the flight with her parents) - I’m telling you, it was a hassle!
So, we leave the airport and our chauffer drives us to Cuernavaca, which was about an hour drive from Mexico City. It was dark outside at this point and we couldn’t see much of the scenery, but we were able to see outlines of mountains and Mexico City reminded me of Israel. The buildings were old and there was a lot of congested traffic with horn-happy drivers. There were tons of busses and taxis and we saw an above ground Metro. Public transportation= no es una problema! I’m not sure if this is only for Mexico City or for all of Mexico, but it is mandatory to not drive your car (if you own one) at least one day a week. Supposedly the last number on the license plate dictates which day you are not allowed to use your car and you are heavily fined if you do. This is what I have heard.
I arrived a la casa de mi familia around 8 p.m. and was greeted by mi mama, Susana, and another study abroad student, who I am rooming with in this house, Pricilla. She is from Houston and goes to The University of Houston and is 22 also. We are getting along great and I’m so happy she is here with me at the house to go through these daily challenges; it’s kind of like I have a built in buddy. I had not eaten anything all day (except for a potato bagel from Einstein’s that my mom and Ben brought me when they met me at the airport in Dallas- thank you guys so much for that!!!) so I was hungry and Susana warmed up some soup for me, which is hard to describe- it was green and had a smooth texture and now that I think about it kind of tasted like broccoli and cheese, but not really, I also had some chicken, which was delicious and some cold french fries, which were not so delicious. I sat in the kitchen at a little bar that they have and ate my meal with Pricilla, Susana and Juan (mi papa). Susana sent one of her older sons to fetch some “sweet bread” for us, which were like pastries, and we dipped them in hot chocolate.
The house I am staying in reminds me a lot of Israeli homes also. The floors are made of marble and there are little collectible tokens and trinkets everywhere! The house I am in, and most of the homes I have seen around Cuernavaca, are built tall and have multiple stories. Like, from the garage you walk up a flight of stairs to get to the front door, and on this level there is the living room, the kitchen, bathroom and mine and Pricilla’s room and then you can go upstairs again to get to a master bedroom. The bathroom is two rooms, one with a sink and the other with a toilet and shower, but there is no tub, just a door that you shut when you shower. Susana and Juan do not have little children so the place stays pretty quiet. There is not a TV in the living room or in the room Pricilla and I are staying in. It’s weird because I am so accustomed to falling asleep with noise (like TV) because Chris snores, but I found it peaceful to get sleepy playing sudoku in complete silence.