La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Friday, October 01, 2004

I really should have started blogging as soon as we crossed the border. There is a lot to tell.

We left Austin nearly two weeks later than planned, since the Mexican government messed up my visa--sent it to El Paso, rather than Austin. So after much nail biting about all the electronics we were going to import, we decided to go ahead and enter the country as tourists. So, August 21 (or thereabouts), we loaded the car and left Austin. Well, between loading the car and leaving, the trunk got jammed shut, so we had to unload the Jetta through the backseat and reload. Also, I realized my box of books wouldn't fit, and had to have them shipped.

So we headed southbound, and the border crossing was anti-climatic. No one wanted to search us. No one cared what we were importing. I could have brought so much more beef jerky if I had only known!!!

Our stay in Monterrey was nice, at some old hotel where Pancho Villa once rode his horse into the lobby during the Revolution. Now owned by Radisson.

The trip from Monterrey to Queretaro was also not eventful. Well, we did get pulled over once for going too fast through a wide space in the road between Matahuala (which is too small and poor to be on the government tourist site) and San Luis Potosi, but the Federale that pulled us over just told me to make my husband obey the traffic signs--grab him by the ear if need be. (There was no traffic sign, and the Fed had what must have been the only radar gun in all of central Mexico.)

We arrived in Queretaro really 4 in the afternoon, but I had pre-paid our room. Turns out it takes a lot less time to go from Monterrey to Mexico City if you're in a Jetta instead of a bus. Since I had only made the trip at least seven times round trip on bus, I had no idea. The good news was that we found a Sushi Itto nearby and had a decent dinner.

We arrive in Mexico City on Monday morning around noon as planned. I took a cab to CIDE, and taught my first class at 3:30. Everything seemed to be going well, except that the couch we thought would be in the apartment was gone....and the carpet smelled like dog pee....but otherwise, we were off to a good start.

So much for good starts.

By the following Monday, we had been pulled over by the police under dubious circumstances (I get conflicting explanations of whether they were justified or not); paid our first bribe to avoid having the car towed; been surprised when our cable internet was installed within 4 days of calling (though it took 5 hours to install); sat around an empty apartment while one man ripped out carpet and installed linoleum in the 2 bedrooms; joined Sam's Club. After two weeks, I still didn't have a desk. After three weeks, we still didn't have a couch. On the other hand, I figured out how to hook our digital projector to my laptop, so we were able to watch Master and Commander and Lord of the Rings 3 (rented from Blockbuster...where they honored my membership from two and a half years ago) on the wall of our bedroom.

Now, a little over 5 weeks after we first left for Mexico City, we have furniture and things have settled down a bit.

I hope that regular blogging about academic and political subjects will resume shortly.

Oh, and I plan to add an occasional tidbit about living in Mexico City.

For instance, yesterday I headed to BuenaTierra for lunch. It's in the neighborhood and has good breakfast, though it's a bit overrated and the fresa and mamón young Mexicans that hang out there can be a little tiring. So anyway, people kept asking this guy at the next table for his autograph. He was with a striking woman who was probably in her mid thirties but dressed like she was 20, complete with tacky porn-shades. (Trends are a little slow down here.) According to my waiter, who told me in English, lest they overhear what we were talking about, that he was the "keeper" for the Mexican national soccer team. (I assume that meant goalie--but he didn't seem that big. I thought goalies were always really tall and big.) Valet parkers, waiters, and staff from the nearby restaurants all came to get their pictures taken and to get an autograph. He seemed gracious enough. Another woman joined the couple and they smoked up a storm, and the women laughed a little too loud and obviously while the man talked on his cell phone about heading to Acapulco this weekend. The new woman asked him, "Aren't you married?" (in Spanish of course) and the original woman at the table quickly chided her friend and told her not to ask him that. I got the sense that he was married, but maybe separated. In any case, the two women giggled and flirted like girls half their age, and generally made a spectacle of themselves. I just kept wondering who told her those porn shades looked good, and why didn't the nice soccer guy tell her they looked to ridiculous.

That's life in the Condesa. Muy mamón. Look it up.

posted by Michelle @ 7:42 PM,


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