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Calgary to Mexico

Made it overnight from Calgary to Mexico City and on to Puebla today.

This is a delightful fine city – about 21C each day and an elegant colonial street scape. We are staying in a hotel that is a converted nunnery- the hotel Quinta Real. Just back from a generous supper at a high end restaurant where Elaine had a big slug of cognac to help her cope with a bad cold. Maybe the rays tomorrow will fix her up.

These overnight flights – not always needed for Mexico – really start you off strangely for a holiday. But the new Aeromexico service Calgary direct is just too alluring – even if it means a midnight launch.

The ritual – stand around at the airport for hours because someone wants you there hours ahead of time – jam onto a plane like cattle and leave at least an hour late. Try to find a posture that will allow drifting off for a couple of precious hours without invading neighbor space or they yours. Fuss and fidget – try to distract. Then about the time you despair, daylight outside and descent. It’s the same on Europe flights unless you’ve got a few hundred to blow on first. You still are at odds with yourself, just with more room.

Then the real trial. The customs ritual as bleary folks shuffle through criss-cross lines to meet a bored official. You and a hundred and a half close friends sort out luggage that arrives slowly and always gives one pause – did it make the flight?
Then out of the protected terminal and into the real – and different – world. Navigation in a changed culture is always interesting, particularly when addressed with sleepless capacity.

Sure, in Holland or Germany – no problem. But let a Latin or Asian culture intercede and complications multiply – exponentially – by distance from the terminal. The closer you are to the maw of the airport, the more universal the reach of our world Lingua Franca – English. And the more familiar the arrangements.
All that attenuates dramatically as you leave the protected world.

Sometimes for the better! We were shocked how easy it was to get out of the hammering world of the globe’s biggest city and rolling on a bus outbound for Puebla.
What a smart arrangement – just walk down to the end of the terminal. There’s a tidy bus station with 8 slips in front of desks with the name of your destination noted above the counter. Buy tickets and in 15! Minutes, we’re on our way. And Mexican intercity busses are deluxe – lots of room – maybe 30 seats total.

So more lolling in and out of consciousness, trying to see a bit of greenish brown dry country including the twin volcanoes we pass by. And watching out of one eye a smash and crash violent futuristic movie with Spanish soundtrack.

Arrival at 10 am in a sunny and bright bus terminal. 12 minutes to sanctuary according to google. The little chap won’t let you away from the bus without making sure your ticket matches your luggage. Then figure out the taxis. Here you pay in advance at a wicket in the terminal, then they summon the cab. No Uber in evidence.

Me directing the cabbie through the puzzle of one way calles toward the centró.
At the hotel, the usual distortions and courtliness take over. I sit and have a welcome coffee while talking to the check in clerk – very facile in English.

The room isn’t available.

Now out into the sun and streets to keep moving and therefor upright. Torn between the countering drives to explore or pass out. In a semi fog, we go the end of the street and turn right.

Now we’re talking! A pedestrianized tree-canopied alley pulsing with color, light and sound – overfilled with bustling, hawking happy folks. Dress shops, zapaterías, street vendors. Many little kids all with those importuning dark pools of eyes usually reserved for paintings on black velvet.

Drawn on and on. Past sunlit squares. Duck into a supermercado to get some water. Pay carefully inspecting the money denominations. Head back to hotel.

Check again. The room isn’t available.

To our vast courtyard for a gracious brunch – glacially delivered – which we just manage not to fall face-first into.

The room isn’t available.

Now lounging in the sun in the courtyard – between doze and stupor. Getting the rays we intended. Thinking vaguely of escape from -20. Cloying clothes we’ve now been inhabiting for 36 hours straight. Just about to keel over.

Check again.

We’re in! Through a maze of stairs and byways in and out of sun to the rear of this sprawling building and home.

A handsome room with most mod cons – and frescoes! Hardly notice before comatose fully clothed.

We made it!!!

Starting out with a handicap, as in horse racing or golf. We know you’re not going to be in first class shape for the first bit. Just get over it. It’s the price of being in another world!

PS. If you like these travel observations and aren’t on our past Camino or San Miguel lists, flash a reply asking for more and Suzan will put you on our list to receive them..


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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