Walking down the street today I thought of home depot. One man was throwing an 18 inch machete to a man up a tree. He missed with the that throw. At first I thought about the regulations and OSHA, then I remembered I’m in Mexico and walked around. That’s always one of the first things I notice here. Everything is a bit dangerous, or at least unsafe. There are always various levels of obedience toward the law, but that covers a wide area. You start to learn what to watch for in the employees. I’ve seen people get sick as often from expensive restaurants as street food.
I passed by a thrifty, a place that sells ice cream here, and there were four employees inside. One of the guys was on all fours and one of the girls sitting on his back. I didn’t go in for the ice cream, mostly just to experience the laugher that comes from kids getting caught. The ice cream was a bonus.
There was a heavily secured construction site I passed too. By heavily secured I mean there were three guys in two big holes in the ground staring at the mariachi band walking by. There are times I’ve passed bigger construction sites with children playing soccer in them. México is nothing if not surprising.
It’s getting to the end of the month here, and I’m finding a groove to fit into. I’ve been looking for martial arts to practice that fits into my schedule, but it’s difficult here. I found a Tai Chi place that teaching in the mornings, but I’ll have to look to getting a couple mornings off during the week. Hopefully it will work out soon. If not, I’ll find a way.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get my visa in a couple weeks, but I expect it to take a month or two. That is the more typical timeline I’ve heard from the other teachers here. It really depends on what country they are from, though. The Spaniard has been working on his for four months. I know a girl from the Phillipines who has been jumping through hoops for months and has yet to arrive in Mexico. The laws keep a close eye on the citizens of poorer countries.
I’m still trying to get the Herald out of his comfort zone. He has a friend in Spain who can get him a job but he hasn’t accepted it yet. He’s in the same boat I was. A job with no future and not enough reasons to stay. It’s always a choice though, risk what you have to travel the world or stay where it’s warm and safe. Usually safe seems like the better option, but it has it’s own perils. The world is dangerous, but the reward potential is much higher. To see things no man can see, do things that no man can do. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find a six demon bag along the way.
I wound up sick last weekend. Nothing horrible, but it really sucks to be sick this far from your support group. At home I can whine and get soup or ginger ale. Here, I can’t even find ginger ale most days. At least saltines still exist. The good thing is no matter where you go in the world you can find soup of some sort. Here it’s menudo or posole. Back home I’d hit Vons or one of the Korean Restaurants. Vietnamese pho was always perfect for the cold days, not that there are many in San Diego.
The worst part of being sick here is the morning class. I have to head South. It’s not very far, but it’s in the industrial zone filled with chemical factories and God knows what else. There is a tunnel I have to walk through to get under the main road and it always smells like someone just threw up crackerjacks. Acid, sugar, and corn smells fill the air in the worst way possible. For some reason it always reminds me of elementary school, when someone would vomit and the janitor would cover it in wood shavings before cleaning it up. Ah the things that catch our minds early in the morning.
The good thing about that class is that I’m free at 8 am when all the street food is out in force. There are awesome restaurants with everything Mexican, street tamales, tacos of every variety, breads, juices, and more I have yet to find. All of it is so cheap it’s still amazing, and I rarely eat expensive food here. I’ve yet to be dissapointed by anything I ate early in the morning on Chapultepec. Well, except when I eat too much. That threshold is much lower than it used to be. I just need to find a place with chile rellenos I like close by. My father once asked why I like to keep trying new places after I found someplace I like. It’s simple, there is always something more to be discovered.
In some ways I feel settled here, in others I feel like the rug is about to be pulled out from under me. I expect something to go wrong, and, if it doesn’t, I worry. No plan is ever perfect, nothing ever runs as it should, but here it is. The city is chaotic, but it makes sense. The people are friendly, and there are always people to talk to. I hang out with a nerd crowd on Fridays for board games and movies. I have other teachers to talk to. At least once a week someone stops and asks me directions to someplace in the city, always in Spanish. That one weirds me out. How does that thought process look. “I’m lost. Hey look, a giant white man. He’s tall, maybe he can see where I’m going.” Nothing about it makes sense, but it happens all the time. I’ve asked other teachers and so far, it only happens this often to me.
I wandered South and East on Saturday, winding up at Parque Agua Azul. I was surprised to find a park surrounded on all sides by traffic to be so calm. It’s in a run down part of the city, South of the Walmart on 16 de Septembre with two major lanes of traffic running through it. It was nice, clean, relaxed. I wandered for a bit and found an atrium with parrots and something that looked like a genetic experiment to cross a duck with a turkey. That bird was creepy. It kept making noises like it was trying to cough up a hairball. They had a nice orchid garden inside a pyramid shaped greenhouse and a small art exhibit. I didn’t stop at the museum, but maybe next time.
Outside the park was a street market, similar to the swap meets of San Diego. It looked like it went on forever, but it couldn’t have been very big. Everything was crammed together, close and tight. They had pipes, books, food, traditional Mayan art, and weapons. I only got through two rows before I decided to head back home. I’m sure they’ll have it every weekend so I’ll make a trip back one day to see more. I love that there is always more to this city than I can easily find. Places I’ve been a dozen times change vastly depending on the time of day, the day of the week, and the mood of whoever is there.
In the end, it seems like I fit in here. That won’t always be the case as I travel through the world but I’m not worried. If nothing else it will be an adventure.