Friday, April 24, 2015

Mexico: Flying Home

Santi behaved better than I did on these flights! Really, though, he did awesome. Except when we were waiting to board the plane in Mexico and I accidentally bumped into him and he fell on the floor. That was a bad move on my part.

this was his activity of choice for a while: play with the magazines in the chair-back in front of you until they fall to the floor and mami has to pick them up. Repeat until your bored. Probably about 10 minutes later.

Our airplane flying across the map. Hey, it entertained me for a while, so I'm thankful.
His entertainment of choice: garbage truck videos. This is a guy playing with his collector's items: $180 Waste Management garbage trucks.

A short story I will title,

 "An Airport Experience"

First, we had an exactly 2-hour layover between our landing in Dallas to our takeoff to Seattle. That's exactly how much time you want if you're traveling with a toddler, have to go through immigration, then to baggage claim, then re-check your bags, but if you can find a layover that is longer- GO FOR IT!

Secondly, we traveled with as big car seat this time. Eduardo had a tough time boarding the plane with a medium-sized suitcase on wheels, a large backpack and the car seat, so he told us we will let everyone get off the plane before we did. There goes 15 or so minutes of our 2-hour window for the next flight....

We got off the plane and of course Santi wanted to walk at a fairly slow pace while pushing the medium suitcase on wheels, but I didn't get angry at him because he wasn't aware of the slight rush we were in. Then we all took a bathroom break, but we had to take turns since someone had to watch all the luggage (a large backpack, the car seat, my purse, Edu's bag, a medium sized suit case).  There goes another 15 or so minutes of our 2-hour window for the next flight....

Off to customs! The relieving part of it was that we saw new signs posted on in the halls as we headed to customs: "U.S. Citizen? Easy! Scan passport, answer a few questions, and you're done!" What a joy, we finally get a break! Eduardo is now a U.S. Citizen, so this is going to be a breeze!"   More signs, more hope, leading to no lines, a machine that scanned each of our passports and took each of our pictures... Then we presented the printed out customs form to an important person whose title escapes me at the moment, "X, X, oh...please head this way.."  Said the worker who noticed Eduardo's form didn't have a large, "X" over it, which means something has to be looked at. A new line. A new line that didn't move. 4 of us in that line, 1 customs worker that quickly turned into a customs worker leaving for their lunch break and a poor transition in their replacement. No one being attended... But JOY, a man saw us not moving, and no one at the desk they should be at, so he kindly guided us to another line with just one man in front of us. Whew!  There goes another 15 or so minutes of our 2-hour window for the next flight....

Oh but wait... There's more, much more: cue in another 20+ minute wait for someone to call out, "next!" so that we could move things along. Finally! Hi customs agent, yeah we went to Mexico to visit family! 12 days! (Smile, grin, smile...) then the man pipes up, "Jose you have a very common name..." (Eduardo's legal first name is Jose) "...I'm going to need you to follow me..."


[[3 years ago or so we had this same problem: Edu's common name, some bad guys have that name, the immigration workers have to make sure he isn't a bad guy. Two hours later, we missed our flight. Eduardo was sick, I was emotional, and I clearly remember us sitting on the floor in an airport in California - crying like a wee baby wanting her mommy.]]

Into the immigration room we go.  There goes yet 20 or so minutes of our 2-hour window for the next flight.... Oh good, here's our guy, coming up to Eduardo to tell us we're good to go! Oh, no? You have questions, sir? (Side note: the officer's last name was the same as Eduardo's - I guess it is pretty common!) Questions answered, we were then told, "I'm just waiting for a phone call, everything has to be processed via phone, sorry guys.."

Eduardo started praying out loud that we could make it to our flight on time, so I followed lead and gave the trip up to Jesus.

I kid you not. 30+ minutes later...we were give the clear to go.

WE THEN AWKWARDLY RUN AS FAST AS WE CAN (which is about the pace my dad walks at; fast, but not really legible to be called, "running".) And yes, we had to check in bags, empty out suitcases and laptops and take off shoes...

THEN THE CARSEAT GOT JAMMED IN THE CONVEYER BELT SCANNING TUNNEL THING. So some guys helped yank it out and a gal walked through the human scanners with it, then gave it a pat down.

THEN THE CONVEYER BELT SCANNING TUNNEL STOPPED WORKING. And it was the only one being used at the time. I started laughing; Eduardo anxiously gave me a, "is this really truly actually happening right now?!" smile.

QUICKLY EVERYONE TRANSFER ALL YOUR BELONGINGS TO THE OTHER BELT THEY ARE JUST NOW OPENING! Barefoot. It was like synchronized swimming without the water. The line of 10 or so people all moved together in frantic, rushed harmony. Picture them, once given the command to switch lines they each lifted their bin with their laptops, shoes and belts, awkwardly danced over to the other side, slammed their bins down and then repeated the whole thing for their suitcase and carry on personal item.

WE THEN AWKWARDLY RUN AS FAST AS WE CAN (again, about the pace my dad walks at; fast, but not really legible to be called, "running".)

Up stairs, escalators and those moving floor things.

Oh and then we arrived in Seattle, stood up rejoicing, and the power went out in the plane. That means the door cannot open…



...It just lasted for 5 minutes, but still... c'mon! Haha. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mexico. Day 12 [Tepotzotlan]

Let's be honest, we have been here before many years ago, but I didn't even remember. And the real reason we took this quick trip during Santi's nap on the second-to-last day, was because I needed/wanted to buy gifts for friends and family. Mission: accomplished.

Blended mango over shaved ice?! YES!
Candies covered in bumble bees! Yes, these are the candies I brought home for my family and friends to taste :)

A little clothing stand for tourists to buy (beautiful) clothing. I put beautiful in parenthesis because a lot of the younger, "cooler" generation of Mexicans would not describe these garments as beautiful. But I just love them and would wear them if my husband thought they were as cool as I think they are.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mexico. Day 11 [Amusement Park in the Mall]

This is a true story, and apparently not-so-rare in Mexico: a miniature amusement park in the mall. Our plan for this almost-last day of Mexico, was to visit the war trucks and tanks museum right off one of the main freeways. When we showed up, we were sadly surprised to find out that it was closed. This is normal for many museums and exhibits for Mondays: they close for repairing, cleaning, and the like. Interestingly enough, right in front of these war tanks was a big mall. We decided to take Santi for a walk inside, since to him it was just as good as any museum (he loves simply walking around the mall and going into shops). Little did I know the surprise awaiting us on the bottom floor of this 4-story building...

an amusement park.

That's right, and not just a 2-rider for babies. This "park" had bumper carts, a rollercoaster, a farris-wheel, a train, an egg beater (the ones that make you dizzy), a mini elevator type scream-machine (is that what they're called? You know, you sit on it and it brings you up then drops you down like an elevator...), the spinning tea cups ride, and many, many others. Also, a whole second floor for birthday parties that included a McDonald's-looking play area complete with a handful of ball pits.

Better than any museum with war tanks in it, if you ask Santi.

Side note: we guided him to certain rides, but whenever we gave him the option of choosing what he wanted to do next, he chose this little train/truck/car ride in the photo above. He ended up going on it four times. So much joy in something so basic.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mexico. Day 10 [Aunt Lilia]

My Aunt Lilia's birthday bash! Aunt Lilia is one of my papa-in-law's sisters (he has 4 total). She lives in a beautiful neighborhood right next to the city called Tepotzotlan. We were going to visit that city this same evening, but it was pretty close to Santi's bedtime by the time we left, so we saved that trip for a few days later. I ate carne asada (red meat right off the grill!) for the first time in years, and it was delicious! My Uncle Raul, Lilia's hubby, prepared it. We had a great time with family, catching up, eating tres leches cake (3 milks sweet cake) and played at a nearby park. It was lovely.

my mami and papi in law!

now mami Isa has 2 daughters since Cris and Pablo are now married!

The Mexican tradition, after singing "happy birthday", is that they chant "take a bite, take a bite!" so Santi got the first bite. Since, at that time, we were waiting on allergy results to see if he has a dairy intolerance, we just let him take a small bite, then we gave him a piece of wheat bread hahah. He didn't complain!