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Our last few days in Cuernavaca

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

by Allison

While the rut of daily life with our kids prevails I had a great conversation with Matthias that has given me a second wind. Five weeks in Mexico sounds great on the surface, but he said he can understand how it wouldn’t be easy (especially since I’m by myself with 3 kids). But regardless of how difficult it is, he said he wanted to be the one that was figuring things out in Mexico, hailing taxis with a bleeding child in tow, deciphering the ER doctors, trying to get receipts so we might be able to re-coup some of the $500+ dollars in emergency room visits, taking trips to the Farmacia to get the right medicine, and all of this en Espanol. Matthias was so right, and his comments helped me to try and make the most of the rest of our time here. Our taxi driver on Friday mentioned that Xochicalco, some ancient ruins about an hour outside of Cuernavaca, was worth the trip. William and Julian were up for it so we decided to do it.

We hailed a taxi to downtown, and I tried to ask the driver where we needed to go to get to the ruins. I had an idea where we needed to go, but our taxi driver seemed to have different information. This was one of those taxi rides when I didn’t understand very much, but I more or less recognized the route and knew he was taking us to the Centro bus station. Even if he had been wrong I knew we could figure things out from there. It turns out there were buses leaving from the Centro station, but we had just missed the direct bus by a half an hour. It was already 11:00 AM and the next bus wasn’t leaving for another hour. The ride would have been about 1.5 hours to the site (plus another 1.5 hours back), and seeing as the kids are definitely NOT dying to take in ancient ruins, I decided we would just walk around town and see what we found. Right away we hear sounds of a sporting even nearby. We followed the cheering and quickly found a sports center that was hosting a tae-kwon-do tournament and a basketball game. We only spent about 30 minutes there, but it was fun to stumble upon the experience and just sit back and explore and enjoy it. It is a little weird when the spectators are paying more attention to us than their own friends and family. If I were a real entrepreneur I think I could make more money selling pictures with the guerros (light skinned people, aka our kids) like they did with the elephants at the circus. I might just be able to make a decent living. We spent a nice afternoon walking through town and finished it up with a little swimming and soccer.

One thing that has been really nice is having George and Ines around. The first time Theo had to go to the hospital for stiches George dropped everything and drove us right away. He was on his way to meet someone, but called and cancelled so he could help. Ines and her daughter Sonja stayed at the house and watched over William and Julian. On our way back from the hospital George and I stopped to get the antibiotics and pain medication the doctor prescribed. He asked me if I knew how to say “wax” in Spanish. I checked on my iPhone and he proceeded to ask them if they have moustache wax. They didn’t have it and didn’t know where he could get it either. He looks at me and says in English “They’re dumb as shit, ain’t they?” Now why he thought a twenty-something year-old young woman at a pharmacy would know where an old fuck like him could get mustache wax is beyond me. It is really hard to roll with these kinds of comments, and I find them fully offensive, but what are you going to do after he’s gone way out of his way to help you in your time of need? I’m not about to start harping on the choices of an almost 80-year-old man at this moment, or ever really. He knows what he is saying is not politically correct, or right, but he doesn’t care. Maybe the best I can do is just buy him a case of mustache wax when I’m back in the states and send it to him.

This week is the last week at summer camp and the kids are already starting to think about some of the things they will miss. This morning Theo fell and scraped us his knee quite badly, but this time all we needed was a Band-Aid and he was back up and running. This afternoon we returned to the hospital for the first set of stitches to be removed. The back of his head is healing up perfectly. They also looked at his cheek and it is healing up really well, too. Later this evening we had a great dinner at a new Taqueria. The tacos al pastor were delicious and this restaurant served them with a thin slice of pineapple which the kids really loved. As I was paying for our meal William and Julian were waiting with Theo on the sidewalk. I come out and see Theo is screaming bloody murder and holding his arm. William and Julian also informed me Theo stepped in a big pile of dog poop and his shoes are covered in dog doo. I suspect immediately that he has a nursemaid’s elbow. The first few times one of our kids had this we went to the emergency room, but we eventually learned how to fix it ourselves. I give it a quick initial try, but he screamed so much that I figure it would be better to get a cab home, clean his shoes up and assess the situation at home. When the taxi pulled up at our place I noticed Theo has been rubbing his shoes on my leg and now my thigh is also smeared up with dog poop. At least I was right about the nursemaids elbow and once we were home and got cleaned up a quick manipulation popped his elbow back into place and I was so very relieved that we didn’t have to return to urgent care.

I suspect we will return to this taqueria for tacos at least one or two more times before we leave. We have one more (planned) hospital visit to remove the last of the stitches, and we want to pick up a few more bootlegged DVDs before we leave. We’ve had a few more nice taxi drivers, one that was blaring Lionel Ritchie “All Night Long” on his stereo. The mambo-salsa party attitude this song conveys is quite an interesting juxtaposition amongst the gritty streets of Mexico but those kind of moments are what makes this place so fun.

George

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

This is George

By Allison
“Allison, I tell you. If you ever decide to get rid of this bastard I’ll take him. I mean I never had any faggoty tendencies in my life, but I LOVE this guy. When you are done with Matthias I’ll marry the son of a bitch!”

George is our landlord. We are renting a bungalow on his property in Cuernavaca for our month long stay. He’s a lawyer, a gambler, a drinker, says whatever the fuck is on his mind and not afraid to start drinking in the morning. We found him on a Yahoo Group. Matthias called him before we left for Mexico to ask him about the place he had for rent. We were interested in seeing a few pictures, and George answered “Let me sober up and I’ll send you some pictures.” A few days later we had them (although I’m not quite sure he ever truly sobered up). When we arrived in Cuernavaca and saw his place we knew we wanted to stay. George and his wife Ines are very kind and helpful, their property is BEAUTIFUL and George is quite a character.

George was born in Latvia around 1940. His mother left his sister behind and took him to Germany with one goal: survival. They survived the raids in Dresden before they immigrated to the United States. He grew up in Chicago, joined the army and served 3 years in Panama. Eventually became a lawyer (not one of the discerning types) who ended up defending the Chicago mob amongst other unsavory characters. This guy lived a life and half by the time he was of age and has enough stories to fill a lifetime.

Being around George is hard in one respect and that is keeping the potty talk in check with our kids. Fortunately his swearing and the random kid comments seem to fly right pass one another. I don’t think I’ve heard one fucking sentence from George without a god damned swear word. He refers to all women as “broads” (myself included) and is lose with the N-bombs and not-so-endearing terms to Asians that rhyme with the word “clink.” He speaks freely of the various periods in his life in the US Army, marriage to his first wife (a bitch) and his whoring around. He definitely loves to talk about his penchant for pussy (which he refers to as “doing the bungi-bungi”). He drove us all to his favorite restaurant in Cuernavaca and this guy walked in with (according to George) a whore. “Well if that ain’t a fine piece of ass than I’m a fucking monkey’s uncle.” He brought his own cooler with booze to the restaurant. After downing about 4 rum and cokes in ~90 minutes, he made himself a 5th, placed it in the cup holder between himself and the passenger’s seat and drove us home. Drinking and driving is taken much less seriously in Mexico, and I know he’s had practice at it. I was a bit nervous of George driving down the long windy road and sending the car off the cliff into the wooden ravine, but only in theory. Once we got into the car he re-assured us “Man I know this road by memory. I could drive this shit with my fuckin’ eyes closed.” When we got home “Well, did I drive you drunk home safely? Ha ha!” When got out of the car, everyone retreated to their separate quarters, that is until George came back to our bungalow with more rum and OJ, plopped himself on our couch and told stories for another couple hours.

But he really loves Matthias. I think he is bored here and missed his connected life in the states. He told me seeing Matthias in the prime of his life, full of piss and vinegar was “like a breath of fresh air.” Even as liberal as Matthias is, and George as conservative as he is (he has no room in his life for a liberal president, and certainly not a black one), they got along. George had 2 bitches (he really means he had 2 girls) with his first bitch (he really means wife). After years of whoring around he let her keep everything and picked up and left. Later down the road he paid for their college education, and it now does NOT sit well with him that they went out, did the bungi-bungi, got knocked up and are sitting on their asses wasting their education. He’s mentioned many times that he wanted boys, and seeing Matthias with so much life left to live and with three healthy boys must remind him of a good period in his life. The ex-pats he knows here are all bitching about their physical ailments and/or dying. You don’t hear that kind of whining out of George. He’ll tell you getting old is a bitch, but it stops at that.

Yesterday George said he would give us a ride in the morning because he wanted to see where our kids are going to summer camp. Camp starts at 8:30, we walked into George’s house about 8:10, he put his beer down on the table, grabbed his keys and we were off. He also offered to pick us up, and at 2:00 PM sharp he was standing outside the kid’s summer camp on the street, a huge smile on his face and beer in hand, ready to take us to our next outing – a small pueblo 30 minutes from Cuernavaca called Tepotzlan. On our way back we made a quick stop at his casino to collect his winnings and lay down another bet. It was a really nice afternoon.

Today Matthias left and George was happy to give us a ride down to the bus station. When we said goodbye Matthias even got a hug out of George, and I think that George is not a hugging type of guy. I think he was genuinely sad to see Matthias go, or on the other hand, he might have had to hit the casino again anyway, so it was on the way. I guess we’ll never know.

Bumps in the Road

Friday, July 15th, 2011
By Allison Well, we are back in Mexico again. This time I will be here for 5 weeks with all 3 boys and Matthias is here for the first 2 weeks. We did this last year as well, but last year ... [Continue reading this entry]

Mexico City

Saturday, May 19th, 2007
Wow, what a city! When we started our trip a lot of people warned us not to go to Mexico City, because it’s dirty, chaotic, polluted and dangerous and we decided not to go. Then again we ... [Continue reading this entry]