|Jim S. arrived here on Wednesday afternoon -- he will be teaching the 9th thru 13th but had to arrive
early to set up the PC's and make sure everything was working correctly. Until this past Tuesday the
plan had been for him to use the training CICS region on our mainframe (the same region I am using for
my class) but then on Tuesday, the day before he was coming here, it was decided that he is supposed to
use the training dept's AIX machine instead. Naturally he was a bit nervous about it until he was able
to spend Thursday and Friday making sure everything was setup and it would really work. Wednesday night
Jim and I went with Enriquez into the center of Mexico City for dinner. We walked around the area by
the National Palace and looked through the cathedral there and also looked at the Templor Mayor (surely
spelled incorrectly) .-- the ruins of an ancient Aztec temple that was discovered just a few years ago
right next to the cathedral and the National Palace. The Spaniards had torn down much of the Aztec
temple and used its stones to build the cathedral and over the years the very existence of the ancient
buildings had been forgotten until some excavation work in the 1980's unearthed parts of the ruins. It
was very strange and erie to be wandering around that area at night... the plaza between the cathedral
and the palace is huge and there were hundreds of vendors there, selling food and drink and souveniers
and crucifixes and rosary beads and newspapers and magazines and clothing and everything else imaginable...
it was dark.... there were floodlights illuminating the cathedral and the palace but not in the middle
of the plaza... and the air was thick with smoke from all the charcoal and wood fires where vendors were
cooking food to sell and the smells of all the foods being cooked.... hundreds and hundreds of shadowy
forms moving about in the night, maybe at a guess three or four thousand people???.. No tourists that
I could see, just Mexicans.... although there may have some in the crowd... Enriquez said it was dangerous
to be there after ten p.m.but it was only about eight or so when we were there... I think I've mentioned
that there is security everywhere... that is, lots of security guards etc.... in the area where we
parked by the cathedral I saw a dozen or so policia in a group, all wearing kevlar vests and carrying
riot helmets with face shields... although it was dark, so I can't be sure, I did not see any police in
the crowd in the plaza... [The next night we drove past the same area with Carlos and Hector, from my
class, and Jim was very positive that he did not want to get out of the car and walk around because it
was now getting near ten p.m. so I guess he was more nervous about the area than I was... I figured two
male North Americans with two male Mexicans would not make the most inviting targets for muggers...]
Enriquez drove us around the downtown area and found a very nice restaurant for dinner... I had had to
take two of my loperamide hydrocloride caplets after work, but I felt better that night and enjoyed my dinner...|
I had to get up very early Thursday morning to take a cab to another company site about ten or twelve
miles away to be there for a teleconference.... I did not have time for breakfast and so had to survive
on coffee and (bottled) water until lunchtime... which was after 1:30... that is early for people here,
they usually eat lunch at two, so I would stop class around 1:30 for lunch so that we could beat the
rush at the cafeteria... That night Carlos and Hector (who are with a major computer consulting company
but were in my class because they are going to be working on this project for our customer) took Jim and
me into town for dinner... we had a good meal... looked at some of the fancy stores downtown... and then
drove around while they pointed out various sights to us... Not only had I now gone out for two Mexican
dinners, I was also eating Mexican food for lunch everyday in the company cafeteria... and am beginning
to think I really like real Mexican (not Taco Bell) food...
Jim and I were both really interested in seeing the pyramids at Teotihuacan so we went to the hotel desk
and booked a car and driver to take us there on Saturday morning.
On Friday I finished my class... I was feeling kind of exhausted when reached the hotel... I met Jim
downstairs for dinner in the hotel restaurant but I really didn't feel that well... when I got back up
to my room I took a couple of my Imodium type pills and also some ibuprofen because I was feeling very
feverish... it was a horrible night, kept waking up every hour or two... by morning I had taken two more
pills in ten hours than you are supposed to take in 24... but the ibuprofen had gotten rid of the fever...
so I figured I would give our trip to Teotihuacan a try...
Our driver and guide was an elderly man named Manuel (with an extremely difficult to pronounce Spanish/Basque
last name)... we set off in his large white Chevy van.... stopped at a gas station for gas... no self
service here... there is an attendent at each pump... Jim wanted to buy some soda (he is diabetic and
drinks vast quantities of diet Coke)... but Manual told him to stay in the van... there was a young
woman standing next to the van waiting to take any orders for stuff like soda or cigarettes.... Mexico
is very labor intensive... people working very low wage jobs... also vendors every where along major
roads... standing on the shoulder of the road selling newspapers (as you might expect) but also everything
else imaginable, including things like car floor mats, small carpets. etc...) plus there are lots of people
running out to wash windshieds for a tip... or performing fire breathing stunts at intersections... There
is a lot of wealth here, but also absolutely overwhelming poverty... millions of people living in tiny
cinderblock or brick shacks... or even just frames of scrap wood covered with oil-soaked cardboard...
We stopped at the Basilica of Guadalope on the way to Teotihuacan.... Teotihuacan is mind-boggling...
Jim and I climbed to the top of both the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon... very difficult
climb at this altitude... we had to stop to catch our breath three times on the way up each pyramid.... I
took some pictures... I will have to scan the pictures and a map to be able to describe this place....
The pyramids are huge and are part of a vast site, three or four kilometers long, filled with ancient
temples and structures in addition to the two awe-inspiring pyramids... and there are areas that have yet
to be excavated. It was just incredible... but I was feeling somewhat sick all day and was feeling a bit
of heartburn... (and getting throroughly sick of the smell of charcoal fires...) Jim was wiped out also...
we had left the hotel around eight a.m. and got back around three p.m... and I had had very little sleep...
We stopped in the hotel restaurants and ordered salads for lunch (since we hadn't dared eat anything since
breakfast) but neither of us could eat... I felt too sick and Jim was afraid that he might get sick... he
was in Mexico once before, in Cancun, and ended up very sick for weeks... so we went to our rooms... I
took more pills and a nap... I was feeling really bad, fever and chills... when I woke up from my nap I
showered and came down for dinner, steak and baked potato, etc. but could barely eat anything... back in
room, watched tv, very restless sleep, kept having to get up... Montezuma's revenge... but slept soundly
from seven a.m. until ten a.m.... had o.j. and coffee for breakfast then hiked up the road to the shopping
mall where I accessed email from a CyberCafe... Also bought some Kaopectate there since not only had I take
all my imodium stuff but it also was no longer helping at all.... had tea and a piece of cake for lunch
and then wandered around the hotel (cactus) guarden, enjoying the warm sunshine... tonight met Jim for
dinner downstairs, had some chicken consume, ordered dinner but could not eat much... had a cup of absolutely
delicious cappuchino however...
Back up to my hotel room to prepare for Monday's class and to write up the text of this note which also
formed the basis of e-mail I sent home during the day on Monday.