martes, octubre 11, 2005

A LATE DEPARTURE AND A "PICARESQUE" EPILOGUE

Understandably, something happened. It always does. Luckily, it was the only regrettable episode we experienced. And, if you consider the flying time that we saved and the stop and airport-roaming that we skiped, it might have been a profit rather than a disadvantage.
It definitlly happened to be a very exigent and demanding timetable. Taking off at 630am!!?? For God's sake!! I was not born in that freaking country!! Come on mate!! I was forced to have siestas when kid back in El Escorial!! How that in hell you wanna me macking it at 5a!!!?? No way dude... I really tried my best... I even told Olea to set his alarm and commend himself to San Josemaria too, with the help of God, getting up on time. Unfortunatly (or not?) it didn't work. We got up at 6a, so really thight to make it at IAD by 530a...
Really depressing... How much was the next tik gonna be? Could I get a flight? For how much? After all the rubbish we had from the whole Canada affair (Vive le Quebec libre!!!) it became really frustrating having one more trip spoileed this way...
Quick shower... bad looking... some cursing... loads of shitting...
And finally jumping onto the car. No much traffic really... As for DC standards easy flowing stream... pleasant weather...
And we got to IAD. Say bye. And head to the USAirways desk.
-Sorry madame. Apparently I didn't make to my flight to Charlotte this morning. I was transfering there to Mexico City. What can we do?
Some options.
1- Jumping on the next flit to CLT. But not on time to transfer to MEX.
2- Waiting till 2morrow for the same flit, same time, same fare!!?? No penalties??!! well... doesn't look bad at all... not that bad those Chap11 airlines...
3-Fly on US to LA and then to Mexico... well that'd mean a lot of miles on my account... but I don't really see the point in getting to Zimbabwe on my way to Argentina...
4- Get to the UAirlines and ask them to have you on the non-stop flight at 5.30pm.... they can do that?... yeah, I'll writte "face value" on the ticket and you'll need them accepting the endorsement... sounds like a really good option to me... not that bad at least... Early in the morning I was ready to pay an extra $400 tik...
well... and then like at any other airport... get here... get there... talk to X... yell at Y... don't look to frustrated... mind the cops... don't look to suspicious...
It might become to long. So let's sumarise somehow.
I made it through the checkpoint, previous stripping and of course, as an added tip from the TSA guys, xtra searching, since, I don't know why, I was "randomly picked to perform xtra security procedures..." I cannot wait to see what's gonna happen when I make to Jamaica... I can already feel somebody's finger doing dirty stuff looking for either cubans cigars or jamaican botanic... I think I'll have beans for breakfast on the morning...
Not an easy airport to hang in IAD. I mean. It's a cheap one. No many facilities on the so called "Dulles Air Shopping Center". Which is good. Good for you and your checking account. But pretty bad for ur stomach. We should be used by now but there are certain things that really go beyond any reasonability (??). Just get to McDonald's at IAD. If you get any chance, after a 15min-queue, to be served by any of the indis scullions and didn't throw up in view of the smashed chips on the floor, the black greasy nails, the mousthached upper-lips, the nose-rubbing and the subsequent food handling... certainly mate you deserve the best recognition...
Besides that, the BigMac you get... a bleak bun with almost nothing in it but a sad black-looking leave of letuce, no pickles, no BM sauce, no onion... and don't even try to complain... you' ll be looked at with what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about-I don't-even knoew-what-a BMc-is kind of expression...
Nothing really relevant at the lounge. Flights to Vegas and SFran. Some American Expats...
And then, after like 5hrs waiting our flight was next. A bit of everything. White fellows with two suitcases full of US-bought shirts, one paischa with his cowboy hat ready to get to Sonora, (I' m starting to think how much I wanna get to Mexico and how little I care about english-speaking caribbean... but certainly at this point, we gotta look at it more positively, a profitable experience rather than anything else... it really sucks that whole story about PRico and the waiting and all the shit...), another native guy with a bohemian sombrero and a D'Artagnan looking goat-beard, one more dude on corporate suit and spardilles... (nice combination...)
Boarding. Sitting by a dutchwoman speaking a decent spanish and reading a dutch author book about The Forgotten Children of Guernica... very colourful... very diverse...
After a 5hrs-flight we landed. Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juarez. in the next days we'll see how franchmason the institutional-Mexico is.
"What is masonry?" would eventually ask an argentitnian touristwoman "a philosophy meant to improve the human being through hard labour to accomplish the search of supreme common well-being" would respond the tourism student guiding us at the National Palace... Definitely Peru became too expensive... otherwise... we should have staid in Spanish America... there is much more to learn and experience from our perspective... indeed, Jamainca was the backyard for the wars in Cuba...
After making it wrong on the customs and going to the flight-transfers section, I fianally found my way through tourists entry kiosks. I got N$500 from the cash dispenser. It might seem excesive. But actually, it' s a bit less than $50 and you manage it not wisely, but not stupidely, it lasts and lasts as the unbeareable Duracell bunny. N$7.5 withdrawl fee. Not even $1. You amercican bank willcharge you more than the mexican. No doubt Europe is a better neighbour than the US.
If you wanna get somewhere in the city you need to get to the "Authorised Taxis Office" which is right passed the main gate on the Ground Transportation area. You cannot miss it. A huge banner with red letters on a white background. N$150 for a one passenger trip to Colonia Benito Juarez (mas de lo mismo). Once again I got slightly confused with the fare. It seemed a lot... but... just arrived you do what are told... and it turned out to be fair and reliable.
After the first minutes on the cab I felt somehow phiscally unconfertable. Red irritated eyes, a sever dryness... it was nothing but the beginning of the adaptation to the DF climate. 2,200 mts. alltitude and high rates of contamination.
I was really shocked about the cabbie. Huge culture. Paused speaking. Wise (indoctrinated?) speech. All and all, politically concerned and what appeared a solid line of arguments. It prove a very succesfull topic to bing out the Obrador affair. It would be too long describing what the whole story is. I don't think I have the knowledge nor the skills or expertise needed to somehow sum up what the story is. It has become the controversial issue in recent mexican politics. But from what I experienced in DF (it certainly is not a representive sample for he was overwhelmigly elected mayor of the city but his publi support in other areas of the country is kinda weak, specially in the north) there is a sharp line dividing opinions, confronting leftwingers and rightwingers, which in a country with a broader middle class would not represent a mayor problem. However, in Mexico due to its social structure and the neigbouring of so extremists countries in their beliefs (USA, Cuba, Venezuela,...), the next presidential elections in 2006 will have a huge interest. More than that, the presidential campaigns. Hopefully Mexico will not suffer a new Colosio-like fiasco and the mexican democraty regime will go ahead and will prove strong enough. I found on the web a spanish written essay that depicts, on my opinion, quite fairly the whole lot (http://www.monografias.com/trabajos15/lopez-obrador/lopez-obrador.shtml. I attach the following by kind permission of Iris Gastelum Gerardo, studend of the Journalism College of the University of Sonora, Sonora, Mexico). All that just to share with you, from the dark of the night, as the Scotland the Brave chords come from London, how impressed I was with the driver speaking. He was pro-Obrador. 1-0 on the scoreboard.
What he came to say might summed up as follows:
- He works very hard.
- He tries to follow a life without all the convenience civil servants enjoy.
- He is under death threat, but he is determined to push ahead with his reforms. "If they kill me, there will always be somebody ready to take over... there is no reverse..."

I finally got to the hostel. Hostal Casa Vieja, Mexico City, Mexico
Cerrada de Londres # 7, Colonia Juárez (Between Sevilla Ave. & Toledo St.)
Not a very nice looking driveway. At leaste, the first view was kind of shocking... Cars paked randomly blocking each other. Grooved tarmac... A warm detail. A woman peering through his window and asking, glad to break monotony of his evening, what door were we looking from. On a bend on the wall, was #7.
Check in. Passport details. Which one my room is. Actually I got a twin for single use. For a couple of nights. The guy who booked it didn't show up,... So I had that concession from "Diego?", the manager/owner of the hostel,... he was more a kid than an adult... maybe a bit complexed with "being the servant"... I gave him a good rating on www.hostels.com but rather cos I felt the obligation to help mexican business to pull ahead than cos he made me feel at home... to be honest, he should have tiped me the last day and not the opposite. The whole stay costed me N$540, but I paid N$600,... I mean... $6...?
I droped the bag. I asked Diego how much should I be charged for a chela: N$12. I got down at the very precise moment they were shutting down the bar right down the corner, "Restaurante Nuevo Londres" where who lately resulted to be a good man to hang out with directed me one block away. After a "Is it safe?" I got a "Don't worry... you'll survive..." on my benefit I'll say that most of the warnings and worries I had, I got them from the mexican guys I hang out with... no drama, no histeria from my side,... or at least selfinflicted... but when you have Victor warning you "Te van a violar y matar,... cabron,..." ... what you want me to do...? What can you expect...?
Well, i finally pulled into Gallego-kind-of-joint. Actually much cleaner. I finally got to talk with perito who pretended being a cop, he flashed a embroided badge he had on his wallet dusty and ripped... ok... if that made him happy... what should I awake him...? but keep some distance... and then the bartender, who apparently was the son of the owner. Being on the other side of the bar made him a bit wiser... at lease during labour hours...
They happened to be good guys to talk to. Some good bar chatting, a couple of chelas on the house, not too teasers...
By the end of the session I thougth he cheated me, charging N$20 per beer ($2!!!). But considering what time it was I' ll give them that I paid much more than tha a certain after hours in Madrid.

Bueno, este post (¿cómo se dirá en español?)lleva mucho tiempo coleando. Hay que acabarlo como sea, aunque sea en castellano. Lo siento por los catalanes. Me llevaría más tiempo hacerlo en argentino y ya huele no acabarlo. Quiero decir que después de las copas andaba con hambre, así que subí a casa, le pregunté a Diego cuanto me pedirían por un taco, le enseñé que llevaba como 8 pesos. Aparentemente, con eso me daban un taco de sobra. Me voy hasta la taquería, que luego resultaría un sitio estupendo en el que comería un montón,... llego con cara de tonto, de no saber de que va el tema... "Ponme unos tacos... ¿De que? no sé... que tienes? res... tripa... bueno,... ponme lo que sea... para llevar o para tomar... pues... no sé... para llevar... me da el plato y tiro para casa "¡Pero el plato no mi joven!" bueno... cara de imbécil... de date prisa y acaba ya... que esto parece que estamos en Baltimore de lo mal que nos sentimos los dos. Tenga joven, cóbrese. Mucho gusto. Adios, hasta mañana...
A la larga... me convertiría en un experto de las taquerías... hasta hablaría de toros en ellas...

2 Comments:

Blogger Rod said...

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29 octubre, 2005 06:38  
Blogger bloggrez said...

'A 24-hour brain dump'
In this story today, P-I reporter John Cook previews Seattle Mind Camp , the brainchild of Andru Edwards .
Just like so many Americans my friend loves the clubs and club music lyrics so he went ahead and built an awesome website about club music lyrics. When he's in high spirit he goes to the site and start reciting all his favorite club music lyrics. Says it's good for the heart. Guess what? I gave it a shot and it works great!

29 octubre, 2005 22:04  

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