Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You have to listen to the notes they don't play

Did you hear we had an earthquake here on Sunday? Neither did we until we read the American news on Monday. Not a big deal, obviously. But the rainy season just might have started here in Mexico City. We've had spots of rain, and one true shower every day for the last week or so. It usually only lasts a short time and it is kind of fun to see clouds again. Of course, a little wet stuff won't stop the Morenos from getting after it. This past week was totally Gatsby-esque: fine-dining, playing the ponies, and an evening of jazz. Oh, and a tour of a hospital.

First, we went out Friday night to celebrate Sergio's birthday with a steak dinner. Sadly, I think Sasha enjoyed it more than Sergio as he had come down with a bit of a bug that seems to have been making the rounds.

Luckily, Sergio perked up in time for the races on Saturday.

We took a cab out with our friends and neighbors to the Hippodromo where we managed to keep our losses reasonable and even win a little bit on a fine filly named Miriam Love. Sadly, the pony named Sergito did not deliver the goods for us.
Trying to act like he's done this before.

We had a great time checking out the folks who hang out at the track and trying to figure out the racing forms. Sasha still can't differentiate between a "trifecta," "perfecta," or "quinnella" but she thinks it all sounds really, really cool.

No trifecta yet for these fellas.

We had to dash off, counting our leftover pesos all the way, and scoot home before going out to the centro to attend a jazz show featuring Anthony Braxton, a big-deal in the jazz world and possibly an even bigger deal at Sasha's old university where he is a professor. She used to make him deli sandwiches from time to time at Neon.

Sasha insisted on using the event as an excuse to wear the Diana Von F. maternity score her mom sent her. Straight out of Scottsdale (or Long Island?).

See Ma, I wear animal prints. Heck, I will wear anything these days.

The concert was cool, held in a great baroque-style theater overrun with a super young and artsy crowd. It lasted exactly one hour. (There was a running hour glass!) Apparently, all the young musical types in Mexico are jazzheads. The concert was part of a larger cultural festival going on in the historic part of town and there was a great buzz downtown. Sergio caught up on a little sleep during one of the more "challenging" passages of the piece---who knew brass instruments even made such noises? Sergio really needed his rest to get ready for the very stressful Rockets game on later that night. Pity it turned out not be televised...

Poor Sergio.

Things didn't go well for the Rockets this weekend, sadly.

But we turned our own luck around on Sunday with a very successful test-run out to the ABC Hospital of Santa Fe where we plan to deliver this baby. This new branch of the hospital just opened in January, and we hadn't been out there to check it out yet. At our doctor's visit last week (Mom and Baby looking healthy, growing and right on schedule!) , Dr. M suggested we take a practice drive out as part of our preparation for the main event. We couldn't argue with this sensible idea as we stare down the last month of this pregnancy, and frankly, it seemed the minimum we could do since getting dropped from our childbirth class before it even began! So even though we might not have a clue what to do with a birthing ball or how to breathe, we have got our route mapped out and our fingers crossed for an off-peak travel time for the main event cos Sunday morning's drive was a piece of cake.

25 minutes, door-to-door. On Sundays.

We took a little tour of the maternity ward, spotted some newborns through the nursery window and took note of the really important stuff like the flatscreen tv/dvd in each room.

Any suggestions on good movies to watch if we're settled in for a while? Sergio was thinking about finally watching LOST...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fiesta Forever!

It's like this everyday in Mexico.

This last week has been busy with parties -- culminating in Sergio's birthday today which meant cupcakes and (of course) a Hawaiian buffet at the office! And earlier this week , we spent a lot of time going to a string of despedidas and wishing people farewell. Summer is the beginning of the transfer season in this business, and already folks are getting ready to set sail to places like Bogotá, Beijing, Tijuana, Cairo...

Here are some of the folks we're bidding farewell in the next month or so:

Some of LouLou's fave babysitters.

Big hat stays, little hat's leaving.

Pregnant like us!

First, we went to a fantastic Dominican-style party last week at Sasha's colleague's place out in the Hills. There was a huge crowd of coworkers and the best home-cooked food we've had in Mexico, not to mention some awesome dancing till dawn (we left by 11 pm).

Lovely ladies of NIV.

That's not Ed McMahon, trust us.

Urania's house has a super view of the city and when we weren't sampling Caribbean delicacies, we were sitting on the terrace, relaxing with our pals and neighbors.

Also pregnant like us.

Just a few days later, there was a blow-out at our apartment complex complete with a pastor taco truck and mariachis. A lot like our wedding reception actually!

Toward the end, the apartment complex gave in to its college dorm-like tendencies and the party devolved into a drinking games, and a sexy dancing contest. Naturally, Sergio won both.
Sorority-style poses.

Okay, he won the dance contest.

Then things got really out of hand:
Oh dear.

Amazingly no one died.

Yep, it has been a fun-filled week or so. In the middle of all this celebrating, Sasha also attended a baby shower for one of her fellow pregnant ladies where she learned that fewer than 5% of pregnant moms deliver on their due date and that babies are born without knee caps. It was all pretty mind-boggling.

Six More Weeks!

Now that we're in the homestretch, we're starting to realize that an actual baby will be moving in with us soon. We've even set up the crib, and there's a car seat coming any day now (thanks, Kathe and Dali!), but perhaps most pressing on our prep list: we need to convince LouLou to give up "her" room. We've been advised by our dear friend and dog expert Bookie on getting the dog ready for the new arrival. Apparently, she needs to learn how to play second fiddle. Oh boy.

Looks pretty comfy, don't she?

Monday, April 14, 2008

A and A and S and S

From left to right: Ashley, some lion, Adam.

Likely the last group of visitors we'll receive before the arrival of our permanent resident this June, Adam and Ashley came on down from Austin for the weekend. Adam is Sergio's old housemate/landlord of many years, as well as a teammate from Sergio's brief, undistinguished age-8 soccer career (go West U Cobras!). Ashley is Adam's lovely fiancee from Jersey. They're hitchin' up this summer!


After we opened our gifts of JIF peanut butter and UT baby gear (Hook 'em!), we had a nice dinner at a cozy Argentine/Italian bistro in our neighborhood with inexplicable yet not untasteful photos of naked women on the walls. And speaking of tasteful:

It's all about aesthetics, people.

Saturday we hit the town so as to show our guests DF at its most bustling.

This place is nuts!


I'll use this lightpost in my head.

S&S debate the next step.

This is an example of what Sergio calls "faith-based" recycling in Mexico City. Our guests are always surprised to see here that we throw all our bottles, cans, cardboard, etc, straight into the trash. There is no kind of organized municipal recycling system in this, one of the largest cities on Earth. Nor does there seem to be any kind of municipal garbage service. Rather, most trash is collected by private contractors, who then profit by extracting recyclables and taking them in themselves for cash. Thus, all garbage trucks have stacks of recyclable items in bags and bundles on top of them like in the photo above, and trash collectors are regularly seen rifling through your garbage bags looking for cashable items. It's a free-market dream, or nightmare, depending on your point of view.

More DF randomness: a pre-teen drum-and-bugle corps practicing on a lovely day in Alameda Park. Our favorite was a burgeoning punk in the back row rockin' his own sideways style:

Yeahhhh, BOY-EEEE!

And no trip to DF would be complete without standing in front of a monstrously large flag. "Enormous Flag Weaving" seems to be the third-largest industry in Mexico, after oil production, and "selling crap on the street."

Also, there's some drug trafficking.

Sasha took advantage of our trip downtown to shop for lampshades. For any imaginable item, there's likely not only a store but an entire district that sells it. We had heard of one such area for lampshades and after a few inquiries and popping into some strange alleys, lo and behold...


The rest of us played little-to-no-part in the lampshade adventure but hey what the hell...
Sergio's drinking for three!

The next day we joined A&A for the first soccer game...

...but did not quite have the energy for the second:

The man loves him some futbol.

Instead, we headed home and prepared a nice Sunday dinner for our sunburned and weary travelers. It was great to see them, and we know theirs will be the loveliest wedding of the summer. Until then,


That is all.