My trip started out July 12, going down to San Diego as my friend and I booked a flight out of Tijuana Airport. Being that it was a direct flight leaving Tijuana at midnight, it was a lot less costly.
Things went pretty smooth until we got to the check in counter, as my friend had too many check in bags. Many of the bags contained clothes and Christmas gifts and a Christmas tree for friends in Guadalajara,
however, lucky for us they took on an extra bag at no extra charge to accommodate. As we proceeded to the boarding check in line, we had a few obstacles; with too many carry on bags, we started combining two of the bags together. Unfortunately, scrambling to get my things out of my luggage, stuffing it into hers, to make matters worse, she had a pedicure set that couldn’t go on the plane. So, we had to take the pedicure set and put it into the suitcase’s and then we had to take the other suitcase in the check-in counter. Thank God the girl there spoke English. I hadn’t realized that I had the Missal and Rosary in the plastic bag. Thinking it rolled down the conveyor belt and my Missal and Rosary got lost, latter realizing I left it in her apartment, ha. Thank God for Friday the 13th.
After that, things went smoothly but as we were approaching Mexico City Airport, there was a big lightning storm about twenty or thirty miles south of the airport. This cost me some anxiety. You could see the lightning bolts flash across the sky, and when the plane started to land, my fears dissipated.
Our landing was bumpy; the pilot hit the brakes kind of hard, which actually propelled me forward to having brace myself from falling out of my seat. I swear, I could smell the burning rubber from the tires and as I was leaving the plane, I voiced my trepidation. Except for the pilot, the stewards found my quip humorous.
In Mexico, anytime you use someone’s services, there’s a tip involved, including the taxi driver after the trip of course.
Finally making it to our destination, friends accommodated us. But unlike most U.S. apartment dwellings, there’s no elevator. And yes, we went up a flight of fifteen stairs with seven bags and my friend was unable to walk well, much less carry any bags, as you can imagine, I was exhausted with carrying all the bags up those stairs. But, on the bright side, I was lucky to have a room with a bathroom. In Mexico, some bathrooms are a combination of shower, wash basin and toilet. There’s no separation, except for a drain in the center of the floor. If you use the shower they have a squeegee in there.
Makes me proud to be an American. Europeans and other continents tend to think we’re spoiled, but au contraire; I’ve come to the conclusion that our architects have a better concept of people’s needs, cleanliness and privacy.
Also, I was lucky to have a chapel next to my room, which at one time was used for Mass in the area.
After checking in, I decided to go for a walk to check out the neighborhood, the district called Federal. What I liked was the many merchants stands and variety stores every where; taco, fresh juice, fruit stands, etc. Also to my delight, a couple of internet stores that opened at 11:30 AM on weekdays. Charging about eight pesos per hour.
Strolling around, I noticed a beverage delivery truck which had a security guard, carrying a shotgun. I began noticing a multitude of security guards in my travels and when I greeted them with a ‘hello’, they don’t smile.
They must sell a lot of brake pads here as every one speeds, and to get them to slow down they put bumper guards on the street every three to five blocks. So everyone speeds and brakes, speeds and brakes. The right of way belongs to the driver. Who gets there first. I saw a lot of dented cars. I thought the body shop business would be the thing to get into down here, but I noticed that many of the vehicles don’t bother to get their dents fixed. One disappointing note, was that many of the places have graffiti on them. I suggested to my friend that they pass laws here like they have in the States, which helps suppress vandalism.
They have many small buses which carry about 25 to 30 people, allowing solicitation on the buses. When they stop, a seller would get on, try to make a sale, then get off at the next stop, then go on the next one back.
Another thing that bothers me is that the bakeries, the goods are out of the opening, in and out of the store. And of course the flies and the bees going in and out of the pastries.
My trip to the Basilica and Cathedral of our Lady of Guadalupe was impressive, but the image of Our Lady is in a new modernistic temple. It rained nine out of ten days that I was there, but most of the time it would rain after 5 PM every evening. The only two times it rained early in the day were the two times we were on the bus to Guadalajara and back.
The first Sunday Mass was edified by a new constructed church which still needed a floor, pews, and so on. What puzzled me was first, they had the men and women separated in the pews. Women sat on one side, men sat on the other side and hardly any of the men went to communion.
I was lucky to meet a seminarian after Mass and he spoke English and I was surprised he had heard of me and read my booklets, which made my day. After meeting with Father and everyone else, We were taken to lunch and the place we went to is in another county Texecoco. We went to this restaurant that had an outdoor section with roofed typed booths, a big table enclosed, located along the perimeter of the field. In and around the inside of the area they had a playground with swings, a a jumping playhouse, etc, and small pony rides for children, very impressive, and a singer, on guitar. I bought one of his C/D’s but can’t find it. One of his songs was played State side.
Our visit to Guadalajara was nice. They have nice buses for the trip and show movies. In Guadalajara I stayed with my friends friend, these were the recipients of the imatation Christmas tree and such in Mexico. They had six children and I noticed other relatives came in the night to stay there. Unfortunately, they’re was some remodeling in the kitchen and for a couple days it was dusty. Also, the back door was out and I had some problems with the mosquito’s. I was doing a good job defending myself but I got about twenty bites on my arms and legs so I had to sleep under the sheets.
I noticed the mother had to use an old time wringer washing machine w/o the wringer. All it does is agitate, she had to wring the water out by hand, tough job, especially with six kids. They had a Spanish/English text book with pictures, it was produced by Disney and printed in Columbia, noticing some of the comparison of characters, like for instance, for a doctor, was depicted by a female and the nurse was depicted a male, and this was from a company founded by a Christian, going against Christian principles. The highlights of Guadalajara, not as much smog and not too many small shops. They had a nice shopping area about three blocks from where I was staying. They even had a coffee doughnut shop.
On sightseeing, we saw one of their big indoor marketing centers, which was impressive, however I didn’t bring that much money to buy things. The main highlight was the Cathedral of Guadalajara, it was simply breath-taking and brought many visitors to tears. They have about twenty sections devoted to different saints; St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Dominic, St. Anthony, Pope Clement III, four sections for Our Lady and they have Our Lord on a life-size Crucifix with a golden crown on His Head and dressed in royal robes, not to mention the section dedicated to Our Lord. They have six, five foot high solid brass or gold plated candle stick holders. They have a five foot wide, about eight or ten of them, white and gold painted pillars that go all the way up to the ceiling. Its mind boggling. The front door was about a foot thick and about thirty feet tall. They also have horse and coach rides in the area. A lot of the street signs there are on the corner resident buildings, not on the poles, this is how you tell what street your on. The two most popular cars they use for taxis’s are the V W beetle and the 1993 four door Nissan Sentra. They also have a lot of little cars, by a lot of the main auto companies; Ford, Chevy, V.W, Honda, etc. which are not sold in the United States. I know they are assembled here which caused me to speculate why Mexico doesn’t manufacture and produce their own car which they do not have. I could only surmise that this country must be internationally controlled, even more strange is that China is supposed to be going to sell their little cars soon in the U.S. and I think they’re going to be assembled in Mexico, this also adds a little intrigue to the situation. Back to Mexico City, the following Sunday Mass, I got to meet another priest and gave him some of my literature and then we went to my friends home for breakfast. After breakfast my friends took me to see a castle called the Castillo de Chapultepec, it’s an old castle which people from all over the world come to visit, however by the time we got in we only had one hour to visit and we missed about 40% of the exhibits, but it’s a must see if you go to Mexico City and it’s high above Mexico City, there’s quite a view and quite a sight, it was a kings palace, the paintings were awesome. After this, I asked friend who’s driving us, if we have time to see downtown Mexico City, so he took us by the main Cathedral and the presidential palace. We didn’t get to see the inside of the Cathedral but from the outside you can tell it was a lot older then the one in Guadalajara. Across the plaza from the Cathedral was the presidential palace. I was hoping to meet with a traditional bishop, but he was scheduled to fly out of Mexico that afternoon and we already decided to visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica again to say goodbye. Then the bishop called back and thanks to a delay in his flight he had time to meet us at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and we could have lunch after. So we decided to meet at the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe section. The bishop was waiting for us, thank goodness when we arrived and he wanted to pray for a while in front of the picture. Now, when your visiting the picture they have four moving walkways, two in one direction and two in the other direction. After a short time of prayer the bishop wanted to take a last look at Our Lady and went on the moving sidewalk on his knees, so he went both ways on his knees. After this as we started to leave a young couple noticed that the bishop was priest and stopped him to bless a religious article, unfortunately this started a kind of stampede of people wanting blessings, etc. and it almost got out of hand, thank God, we made it out of there and finally had lunch. We all made it to our destinations on time. My outlook on Mexico is that even though they are a poor people they have basically the same culture and are Catholic oriented. They have close family ties, even with relatives and they all help each other closely. They are very polite and courteous, except when there driving and then its every man for himself. You see little shrines to Our Lady and Our Lord through out the neighborhoods on the sidewalks of Mexico. The children are not spoiled like they are here in the States, but I often wonder why we overly voice an objection to the Mexican illegals and we kind of ignore the Chinese, Russian and other illegals that are coming across our borders, at least the Mexican’s are Catholics for the most part.
A trip to Mexico is worth having, except if you have respiratory problems or weak kidneys. Ole! P.S. I’ve got eight new grand kids now, four girls and four boys. Ha.
In Christ, Joseph Date around 2004.