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Friday, November 28, 2014

Western Hemisphere start

After my unplanned diversion in Amsterdam it was a smooth trip home where I had ten days to recuperate and get ready to leave again for four months to Mexico and South America. First, the ferry to Seattle where I stayed with Demian and family for a couple of days then flew to Albuquerque where I visited my cousin Lance and his wife Kathy for a few days. I always enjoy time there. It's such a beautiful area and an interesting city.

Lance and Kathy are great to be with, very involved in their community with a huge circle of interesting and equally engaged friends.

We walked in the bosque (forest) that flanks their home near the Rio Grande,

admired the Sandhill cranes that stop in a nearby field on their way south, stalked by the wily coyotes,

celebrated Lance's 70th birthday in company of many friends (one of whom is a retired Met opera singer who treated us to a tune from the Mikado with custom lyrics honouring Lance), accompanied Kathy as she conducted one of her historic walking tours of downtown Albuquerque,

The high end part of town
Andaluz Hotel
Yes, we got our kicks

attended a Sunday morning concert at the Church of Beethoven, visited galleries in Santa Fe, attended a Turkish Thanksgiving celebration, went to a tapas exhibition, new shows at the art gallery, ate Kathy's fine cooking and generally enjoyed our time together.

Flying is so much fun. Just before boarding time in the Albuquerque airport on the way to Dallas Fort Worth enroute to Mexico, an announcement came on advising us that, due to high winds, the flight would be delayed. Stand by for further announcements. I was to meet my friend, Phyllis, at the airport in Mexico City as she was flying in around the same time and we were traveling together in Mexico. This was her first time there, she speaks no Spanish, so it was particularly important that I connect with her. The tension mounts. We did take off an hour or so late and got to Dallas Fort Worth in good time for me to make my connection that also was delayed about half an hour. Arrived in Mexico City and was greeted by a humongous line at Immigration. Two officials to process what must have been multiple planeloads. That took over an hour. Grrrrr! Arriving at our agreed upon meeting place, there was Phyllis! A big sigh of relief. She has some mobility issues so had whisked through the immigration lineup in a wheelchair and arrived much earlier. A wild, high speed taxi ride, blasting through red lights to Anys Hostal, my preferred accommodation in Mexico City, a greeting by the ever gracious Alfonso and a most welcome bed ended a long day.

It's warm in Mexico City!! Ahhhhh. Seems like I've been cold since Cappadocia. Our first day was a Monday when most of Mexico City's attractions are closed. Lonely Planet said the National Palace, the federal seat of government containing many Diego Rivera murals and all sorts of palatial stuff, was open. No dice. So we wandered the streets around the huge zocalo,

sampled a huaraches for lunch,

had a beer on the roof of the library overlooking the ruins of the Aztec capital, toured the Metropolitan Cathedral, a monstrous, opulent Spanish colonial pile built on the site of the Aztec city, Tenochtitlan, which the Spaniards destroyed.

Having gotten a late start and still a bit weary from the long day of travel, we headed back to Anys to rest after which we went out for a nice pozole dinner

followed by a game of crib and an early end to our first day.



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