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Another hour to kill at the airport in Mexico City

Another hour to kill at the airport in Mexico City

— After nearly four weeks in Mexico City, I checked out of my room at 3 am in anticipation of my 6 am flight. I figured I’d need about 15 minutes to wait for an Uber, a half-hour for the ride to the airport, and another half-hour for check-in and security, putting me at the gate an hour before the 5:15 am boarding time — a comfortable cushion. Instead, it took two minutes for the Uber, 20 minutes for the ride, and less than ten minutes for check-in and security, putting me at the gate about 45 minutes earlier than planned.
Counting down the hours in Mexico City

Counting down the hours in Mexico City

— It’s hard to believe, but by the time I publish this post, I’ll have about 72 hours remaining in Mexico City. The time really flew by. I feel as though I’ve learned a lot of Spanish here, but that I have so much more left to learn. In this age of instant gratification and unlimited information, I have to remind myself I didn’t learn English in four weeks, nor French, nor German, and frankly, at this point, I probably already speak Spanish better than German.
Two weeks of Spanish classes down, two weeks left in Mexico City

Two weeks of Spanish classes down, two weeks left in Mexico City

— I’m halfway through my four-week Spanish course in Mexico City, so I feel I’m in a position to review the first two weeks somewhat objectively. Honestly, I didn’t have a whole lot of information about the school before I signed up to come here. I’d seen the school’s website — which I wouldn’t expect to be entirely objective — and had seen a few positive reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook — neither of which I trust much.
Cheap beer in Roma, Mexico City

Cheap beer in Roma, Mexico City

— Yesterday I decided to go out around 4 pm for my daily beer time. I walked down a nearby street and noticed a number of places had happy hour beer specials on Tuesdays and Wednesday, and some of them were dirt cheap. In particular, I ended up in a supposedly “Irish” pub where they were offering one-liter drafts of Dos Equis for 49 pesos. How can one go wrong? The thing about a ridiculously cheap beer is that it lowers the barrier to ordering another one.
First day of Spanish classes in Mexico City

First day of Spanish classes in Mexico City

— I looked at the exam questions with a blank stare for several minutes before realizing I was never going to write down anything if I kept trying to think of answers in English and then write them down in Spanish. Instead, I thought of anything I could in Spanish, and if it vaguely answered the question, I wrote it down. The director asked me a few questions in Spanish and then decided to place me in a beginner class that started last week.
The old and new basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

The old and new basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

— While looking through my photos from last year, I noticed one from our Mexico City pilgrimage that never ended up on the blog. There are two basilicas of Our Lady of Guadalupe shown here. The old basilica, on the left with the golden dome, while still beautiful outside and inside, has suffered such extensive damage from earthquakes and an unstable foundation that it can no longer handle the throngs of pilgrims who visit this important holy site.
It pays to have a backup plan or three when travel plans fall through

It pays to have a backup plan or three when travel plans fall through

— Kathryn and I have two weeks of vacation coming up next month. How we’re planning to spend those two weeks has changed three times in the past two months. Plan A: Learning Spanish in Mexico City Our original plan was to return to Mexico City for two weeks of Spanish classes. We had picked out a school and had reserved fifteen nights in a two-bedroom Airbnb with a rooftop patio in the hip Roma Norte neighborhood.
Last photos of the border wall at Calexico near Gran Plaza Outlets

Last photos of the border wall at Calexico near Gran Plaza Outlets

— During last month’s aborted trip to Mexicali for Chinese food, Kathryn, Dan, and I made a stop at the Gran Plaza Outlets in Calexico, California, for a bathroom break and, for Kathryn, a quick, successful bit of shopping. While we were there, we also took a number of photographs of the nearby border wall between the United States and Mexico. Today, while scanning headlines from the past several days, I learned that this very same stretch of border wall behind the outlet mall will be the first to be replaced during the Trump administration.
Puerto Vallarta: Running the gauntlet at the airport

Puerto Vallarta: Running the gauntlet at the airport

— Prior to our recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, I hadn’t arrived in Mexico by air since a 1989 vacation to Ixtapa with my parents. So, in stark contrast to my previous experience, I was pleasantly surprised to see Puerto Vallarta has a clean, modern international airport terminal. Complete with air-conditioned jetways, no less. Although the walk from the plane to the immigration hall was a bit long, the checkpoint was efficient, with passport scanners and barcode readers for the tourist cards.
Puerto Vallarta: Day trip to Sayulita

Puerto Vallarta: Day trip to Sayulita

— An update from Puerto Vallarta on Friday, morning in Mexico. Kathryn and I decided to take a day trip yesterday to Sayulita, a village on a small bay some distance north of Puerto Vallarta. We traveled there by bus, one of the ones the locals use. I’m not sure how long the ride was, maybe a bit over an hour. The trip there and back only set us back 100 pesos for the two of us, so it was a cheap excursion, at least for the transportation.
Puerto Vallarta: Much ado about nothing

Puerto Vallarta: Much ado about nothing

— An update from Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday, dinner time in Mexico. Well, after all the preparations, Hurricane Juvo was a bust. Kathryn got some internet time today to track the storm. It has already passed us and has been downgraded to a tropical depression. The employees of the resort, who just this morning were bracing for the worst, have already brought back the chairs and umbrellas around the pool area, and it looks like dinner service will take place by the ocean as normal.
Puerto Vallarta: Still awaiting Juvo

Puerto Vallarta: Still awaiting Juvo

— An update from Puerto Vallarta, Wednesday morning in Mexico. We’ve been gearing up for Hurricane Juvo since Monday, but it’s taking its sweet time getting here. When we left the U.S. on Saturday, it was forecast to hit Puerto Vallarta directly Monday evening. Hurricanes are unpredictable though. The latest report is it’ll come ashore as a category-three hurricane much further south in the state of Jalisco, then follow the coast north toward us, probably having weakened to a tropical storm by then.