Monday, September 05, 2011

Still Moving, Part 2

(in 8 more steps)

Hi All! Bienvenidos a México.

*Whew* It's been a crazy weekend, but Bub and I made it! How did we get here, you ask? Well.

Step 1: Say goodbye to the best puppy ever.
I am not about to say I didn't cry. Fiance's father was nice enough to drive us out to the kennel. We're boarding him over the labor day weekend and then F's parents will pick him him and care for him until it is cold enough in Mexico City for Mac to fly there (this may well be a month or two).
Once we got to the kennel I fought pretty hard to keep it together, because no one else at the kennel knows this backstory so I would just look like a jerk. But they put him in his assigned space, he turned to look at me with those "what's happening?" eyes, and F's father nudged me and said "what, aren't you gonna cry?"

F's father is the dad of 3 boys, so I don't think he was really prepared for me to actually start sobbing right then. Sorry dude. He took me out for coffee and breakfast after that - he's a pretty awesome guy, I am very excited for him and F's mum to be my in-laws soon.

Step 2: Take this very content cat...
And stuff him in a bag bound for the airport.

I'm quite proud of Bubba. He was very well behaved for how traumatizing I'm sure that ordeal was. Have you ever flown with a cat before? Fun facts for you:
  • When going through TSA, cat must come out of bag. (ok) Collar has a aluminum tag, so that has to come off too - hold on tight, if he gets away he's GONE with no ID (really?! we can't think of something else to counteract that one tiny tag?)
  • Dear Detroit Metro: Your light-show, whale-song tunnel art installation thing? That is flipping TERRIFYING to a cat. Work on that. Also, sorry to everyone who was in that tunnel around 5:45 Friday morning, I know you weren't expecting your peaceful whale songs to be interrupted by the best example of fear-induced Caterwauling I've ever been privy to.
  • The change in pressure as the plane lands will almost certainly cause your kitty to evacuate every bit of anything in his digestive tract - out both ends - simultaneously - through absolutely no choice of his own. The other passengers on the plane will go from cooing at how cute he is, to instantly hating you for bringing the source of such a foul smell to place where the air does not circulate.

Step 3: Get through customs
I have no pictures of this - The greeting at the gate for Mexican customs is a team of three military personnel with machine guns. I was not about to take a picture. They are nice people though, one of them helped me figure out I was in the wrong line. They also didn't give two poops about Bubba - for all the fretting I did about bringing him into the country. This may be due to the fact that he was covered in poop and puke and they didn't want much to do with that combo. I can understand that.

Step 4: Kiss fiance who is waiting on the other side of the customs gate, check into the hotel, become immediately aware of how much more hospitable Mexican hotel staff are than American staff.
I got a hug from the manager upon arrival to the hotel. Some of this is because Fiance has been to this hotel so much that they know him. Some of this is because they were eager to meet the gal he'd been talking about all week. Some of it is because they knew Bubba was coming along (this is kind of a special situation - usually this place does not allow pets. But they do very much like Fiance here.) But most of it is because they are genuinely NICE people, who want to make sure you are happy. So nice in fact, that this is what we saw as we came in the room:
A little hard to see, but there is a box of chocolates with a big red bow for me, and a food dish with a toy and cat food for Bubba. It was a really wonderful way to start off here.

Step 5: Wash. The. Cat.
This is a face that promises to murder me later. But I think deep down, he was happy to not be smelly anymore.

Step 6: Try to remember to keep your jaw from falling every time you look out the window. Makes it pretty obvious you're not from around these here parts.
But seriously. Look at that. Those surround the entire city. And that particular mountain range? When we finally get our stuff through customs and can start living in a house instead of a hotel... that will literally be. my. back. yard.

Step 7: Let's go to the mall! / Make friends
(why yes that is a HIMYM reference, in case you were wondering)
Our new friends, R & his girlfriend C, brought us to the mall in San Pedro. It is literally the biggest mall I have ever seen in my life. When I said this to C, she laughed and said "Really? This is the smaller one." And then we walked inside and I was almost run down by a little boy riding a giraffe. C laughed again and asked if those did not exist en los estados unidos (I think I was staring). These little mechanized animal carts are very common in Mexican malls. Parents can rent them for their children to ride around, and they come in all different kinds of animals (I saw a few bears, a dog, a donkey that was trying to be an Eeyore rip-off, and a pink cat while we were there). C also told me that a while back those little scooters were responsible for a wide-spread illness because they aren't cleaned between uses, and they're plush so the germs thrive pretty well on 'em.

R also took Fiance to get a haircut. They did a very good job, for Fiance and the hairdresser only being able to communicate back and forth with hand gestures. R asked me afterward to draw what I think of the hair. In my head all I could hear was the 80's hit Rico Suave*, so I drew this.
Fun fact - even though Rico Suave is sung in spanish, this was not a song R & C had ever heard. When I pulled it up for them to listen to, however, we all had a great laugh.

*Suave means soft. Which isn't a real great descriptor for Fiance, but the joke was too good to pass up.

Step 8: Eat some amazing food/ enjoy the uniqueness of restaurants in a new country.
That right there was my very first authentic Mexican meal. R took Fiance and I to a place called "Casa de Mama." I got chicken tacos. That little bowl in the background? It is full of limes. If you do it right, everything you eat in this city comes with a little bowl of limes, and you won't believe me until you try it, but you simply MUST put a squirt of lime juice on everything you eat. Including, and especially, your chicken tacos.
This is Fiance eating my jalapeño. Because I am trying to bring myself to liking spicy food with baby-steps - I tried the salsa, but the pepper was too far for day one.
Speaking of spicy food, THIS is a Michelada. Which... is... interesting. You can get one of these at any bar, and they actually sell a bottled mix for it at many convenience stores. I asked R what was in it, but I think the language barrier got in the way of the full enchilada here. What I did get for sure was: chile powder, worcestershire sauce, lime, salt, and pepper. That is what comes to you in the glass with ice. Over the top of it you pour your choice of beer. It's... not the worst thing I've ever had to drink. But it will take some getting used to. :)

While we sat and drank, C surprised me when she asked Fiance (who had wrapped a napkin around his head to keep the sweat out of his eyes) if he was a ninja. I don't know why that was so amusing to me, I think because while the little bit of spanish we know paired with the little bit of english R & C know lets us communicate just fine, there are some random words that you would not expect to hear. I think Ninja is one of them.

These were soo good I took a bite before I took a picture. Shrimp tostadas. The cilantro on top with the requisite lime juice: UGH. So good. Unfortunately for C, I think her food was overshadowed by the lemonade she ordered... which even when watered down was a little much.

This was at the Applebee's. If you're not as familiar with Packers lore as I am (being raised in the great city of Green Bay), this is a statue of Bart Star - a legend of the Packer's past. Why there is a statue of him in a random Applebee's in Monterrey Mexico is past me, but I was super geeked.
And this dude. We didn't even eat in this restaurant, but as we passed we saw this and had to stop and take a picture. Fiance has a video, I will try to get that from him ASAP. But. This chicken mascot was dancing to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. And when I say dancing, I don't mean he was bopping along. I mean he was actually doing the dance. Having been in charge of a college mascot for a few years, this warmed my heart, and I could not stop laughing to save my soul. After the song ended, they played the Mario "Game Over" noise, and he fell on the ground. It was great.

There have been other observations, but this is already a pretty big dump of words and pictures. Oi. Until next time, ¡olé!

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