Mexico - Part Three     (Mon. 11/09/98 - Wed. 11/12/98)

Enriquez had said we should go to the Beer Factory for dinner Tuesday night after class... that's a brew pub in the mall near here, also it's a restaurant/grill.... but I am still not too keen on drinking a beer... have been drinking Pepsi and Coke the past three days... and Monday began drinking some kind of carbonated apple juice (sounds weird but actually was not bad)... plus lots of bottled water....trying to avoid dehydration. Ha! Not that drinking bottled water was able to keep me from becoming sick. But I had been using tap water to brush my teeth... and one always must wonder about the water used to wash the lettuce, etc. used in salads. *sigh* (and *moan*)

Last week I decided that I really liked Mexican food... real Mexican food, not Taco Bell stuff... but after the past few days I don't know when I would be able to face Mexican food again... which is too bad because it really is interesting and tasty... but I had a tough time Monday at lunch just sitting at the same table with my students because they were all eating Mexican food in the company cafeteria here.. I had a dish of fresh fruit and a slice of pie... I had been worried that I was going to gain weight here because of eating without being able to exercise (there is a gym/fitness center at the hotel but because of the thin air, just climbing stairs or running across the road leaves me short of breath)... but thanks to La Tourista I have actually lost weight... I weighed 81 kilos on the scale in my room when I arrived and Monday morning (eight days later) I was 77 kilos.... Maybe I could do an infomercial on TV for the new Mexican Wonder Weight Loss Plan!

On Tuesday I was so sick... Enriquez was worried about me, insisted that I see the company doctor. She spoke about as much English as I speak Spanish... in other words, just about none... but we discovered that the word for diarrhea sounds the same (and is spelled almost the same) and somehow we got through an examination, diagnosis, and prescription... She indicated what to take and how often via sign language... pointing at some pills, holding up two fingers (for take two) and then pointing at wristwatch and then counting to eight on fingers... okay, take two of these every eight hours... etc. When I finished with my class Enriquez drove me to a pharmacy so I could fill my prescription for antibiotics, etc. and then dropped me at the hotel. I declined the offer to accompany him and Jim and others for dinner. I dragged myself up to my room and crashed for awhile. Went down for dinner very late, can't even remember what I ate, not much of anything...

Back to my room. Pack for early morning departure. Sleep in short intervals. Many visits to bathroom.

Morning comes at last. No time or energy or appetite for breakfast at hotel. Checkout. Cab to airport. Good-bye Mexico City. Have a problem checking in... give the clerk my ticket and my passport... he asks for my entry document. A visa? What is he talking about, don't need a visa for Mexico. He tells me I either have such a document or I am in the country illegally. I don't need this nonsense right now. What document? Then I see a pile of documents at the next counter. Dig in my carry on bag. You mean this carbon copy of something that Mexican customs/immigration gave me when I came in? Yes. I am much relieved at this... and that I actually kept the document... it had just been handed to me with no explanation and I had just shoved it in my bag along with tickets and passport, etc... I came across it when packing to leave and had come very close to throwing it away as being just a useless piece of paper.

Have coffee and doughnut. Buy some chewable PeptoBismol tablets (recommended by company doctor). Buy some souvenir tshirts. Can't find functioning video monitor listing gates/flight times so head for the gate area and search until find right gate for my flight. It is too early to board but I park myself on a seat near the gate and attempt to read. I had intended to stop in a duty free shop and pick up some cigars to give to people back at my office. I had bought some at a cigar shop in that mall near my hotel but had planned on picking up more at the airport. Now that I have passed through security and have found my gate I do not want to go back.

Eventually we board... take off... fly to Chicago. Ah, welcome home! Back in the U.S.A.! Through immigration... get luggage from carousel... find men's room... go through customs... Find my way to the terminal for my flight to Providence, phone home, eat a bagel.

The Mexicans I met were friendly people, very hospitable. The pyramids of the Sun and Moon were just awesome. It was a very interesting experience and I never want to visit Mexico again. It took me two weeks to fully recover from the dysentary. I do not want to get sick like that again. It is more than that, however, it was also the ubiquitous security, the armed guards everywhere... I mean everywhere... and the security gates and fences and barbed wire and razor wire and... perhaps I should have felt comforted and secure by these armed guards everywhere, but intead it felt claustrophobic and oppressive and reminded me of the year when I had taken a job as a teacher in a prison.

To Mexico Part One

To Mexico Part Two

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