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Column 080315 Wall

Monday, August 3, 2015

Our 2015 Summer Visit to Mexico

By Allan Wall

My family and I recently returned from our annual summer visit to Mexico.

As a little background, I resided in Mexico a decade and a half, where I worked as an English teacher.  There I met and married Lilia, and later our two sons (David and Raphael) were born.  Several years back, I received a job offer stateside and so we moved here to the U.S.  But we visit Mexico at least twice a year, in the summer and at Christmastime.

Spending time in Mexico twice a year is an effective way to  visit my wife’s family, friends, old sites, and to reconnect with the country.

We drove into Mexico and the border crossing and trip went smoothly.  I know that security is a consideration in Mexico, but we’re careful and didn’t have any problems. Nor did we have any automobile problems, which can occur on a long trip.

We visited my wife’s parents (she is an only child) and also saw and sometimes ate with  relatives and friends. 

Our visit coincided (coincidentally, I assure you!) with the escape of Sinaloa drug lord Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman.  I remember when I discovered it, the morning of July 12th.  As is our custom, we would stop the car at a street corner and buy a local newspaper.  We bought the paper, and I saw the headline about Chapo’s escape.

Here we go again!

This time Chapo escaped from the “maximum security” Altiplano prison at Almoloya via a mile-long tunnel.  And this wasn’t some tunnel furtively scratched out of the ground in odd moments by a prisoner.  This was an industrially constructed tunnel, with light, ventilation and a motorcycle running on a rail system. Not to mention that the designers and builders of the tunnel had to know exactly where Chapo’s cell was located.  

This was an inside job, that had to involve a number of people inside the prison.  I wonder if they’ll ever catch Chapo again?

We like to go to a movie when we’re in Mexico, as the cinemas there are very nice and more reasonable in price than where we live in the United States.  We watched the Ant-Man movie, the latest in the series of movies derived from Marvel Comics.  When I was younger I was a collector of Marvel comics (mainly the Fantastic Four and Spider-man), but I really didn’t know that much about Ant-Man.  It was a well-done movie, typical comic book material. 

The cinema business is a big one in Mexico, and many English-language movies are shown.  If the movie is considered as being for children, the dialogue is overdubbed in Spanish. But if it’s not, the dialogue is left in English and there are Spanish subtitles at the bottom of the screen.  I grew accustomed to this while residing in Mexico, and even though I know English, I find myself reading the subtitles.  

My elder son David, who turned 16 when we were visiting Mexico and already had his learner’s permit, was able to practice driving in Mexico.  Driving in Mexico, especially urban driving, was a valuable experience for him.  After we got back to the United States, he felt it was easier, having driven in Mexico.  And, since we returned, he took his driving test, passed and received his license.

(Speaking of driving, we concluded after our visit to Cuba last summer (see article here) that driving is worse in Cuba than it is in Mexico.)

While in Mexico, my sons and I took walks in the neighborhoods in the vicinity of the house of my suegros (mother-in-law and father-in-law).  There are always interesting things to encounter, with a multiplicity of businesses in such neighborhoods.  There are mom and pop stores that sell snacks and soft drinks, and also mechanical shops and other businesses.

One day the boys and I were walking down a sidewalk and witnessed a collision about half a block in front of us.  We couldn’t tell at the time, but what had occurred was that a small car had run a light and collided with an ambulance.  The good thing is, nobody seemed to be seriously hurt, but the vehicles were banged up.  Other ambulances arrived rapidly, and eventually an insurance man got there, but we never saw the police arrive.   People seemed to handle the situation fine without them. 

Anyway, that was our summer Mexico visit, and we hope to return at Christmastime.

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Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.

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