Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sonething different...

You hear about how violent Mexico is. You see movies where people are kidnapped or killed for no apparent reason. But you never actually believe it. Until you see it that is (or evidence that the potential exists anyway).

It was a barmy day. I was with Wineera-the-Younger, chatting, walking and generally chillin', when lo and behold we stumbled across an oddity in the KFC drive thru. The first thing that caught my eye was the chap in the back seat facing the wrong way. Hmmm. The second; the chap in the front having aviator-type galsses on and something beside him up against the door. Switch back to the backwards facing dude in the back seat. He also has something beside him sticking up and visible for all the world to see. (It sounds somewhat perverse at the mo' but believe me it ain't) And of course seens as I'm the world's fastest weapons recogniser, it took me a little bit longer than most to realise these two were carrying very visible automatic or semi-automatic weapons/assault rifles/whatever they are called. Following this slowly acquired insight, I registered the huge, black, tinted windowed vehicular monstrosity in front of them. Aha! Lightbulb! Someone who thought they were important was being followed by his (or her) well-armed bodyguards. Doubtless the chap driving the black vehicular monstrosity was not the "important" one, just another lacky. Needless to say we didn't peer too hard at the dudes with guns, or try to look in the car (not wanting to prove that old saying "Curiosity killed the Cat" to be true by being shot whilst being curious). Just a somewhat casual galnce in their direction and we were on our way. But come on, if you were that concerned about your safety (or that paranoid) where was the lead car with the well-armed-tough-guy-looking bodyguards, or indeed the convoy of your protectors. I mean if you can afford 2, why stop there?

That was my introduction to the well armed contingent of bodyguards. There are however very visible (but not visibly well armed) bodyguards hanging around the place "babysitting" rich parents and their kids. They look and carry themselves like your typical Hollywood Secret Service Agents or Hollywood FBI dudes. Slicked back hair, sunglasses, steely look and all.
It can be fun playing "Spot the rich kids' bodyguard".

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Wedding Experience (Part I)

Now I say "Part I" because I forgot my damn camera. Yes the Maori that never usually leaves home without it, left home without it on the only day that she never should have. So I now have to patiently wait for the boss to get another invitation or I have to find out where and when some other Mexican nuptials are happening and crash them. Bearing a gift of course.

This wedding was of the brother of one of the security guards that works in the plaza where the office is. It was awesome! Course I started the festivities almost falling on my arse and landing on the wedding present in front of a handful of witnesses, sober I might add, but it got better from there.
The food was never ending, homecooked by the family and delicious. The beer was free flowing, bit warm but cost nothing. The Tequila if you were keen was bountiful, and the PiƱa Colada simply delish.
Accompanying the food was a Mariachi contingent. This is the main reason I was bummed about not bringing my camera. I thought they were pretty cool, doing their thing and everyone was enjoying their performance. Which only made the lack of a camera all the more annoying.

On the bright side tho', some poor sod decided to sell balloons. The helium inflated ones that have cartoon characters on them and foam hands or feet stuck to them. Well the chance to be a kid again is never far from my mind, so I just had to have one. Persuading the boss that it would be a good idea to buy one for me was a lot easier than I thought, so "Sponge Bob" and I become inseparbale. Even when I coerced some poor young Mexican lad into teaching me how to dance- Mexican style. Old Bob kept getting in the way everytime I was being spun around (yes I'll balme it on Bob not my two left feet) so I called it quits, and gifted the balloon to a young girl. The lack of manners is a global thing- her father made her say "thankyou"- but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt 'cos she looked real gob-smacked when I gave it to her. My lack of a balloon was short lived tho'. The balloon salesman turned up with more, and this time there was one with a cow with lipstick imprints on it and "muchos besos" (lots of kisses). That was the signal for me to start bashing everyone at the table on the head and saying "a beso for you, a beso for you..." etc. Some people thought it was funny. Some didn't. Oh well. Anyway, Wineera-the-Younger decided she needed a balloon aswell, so off I was sent to get another "Sponge Bob". Returning to the table triumphant, I challenged the youngster to a war. Seeing two grown women fighting with balloons must have been quite a sight for the somewhat conservative audience I'd wager, but it had us collapsing with laughter. I'd just like to point out that it was I that was victorious. Her balloon disentegrating with a most satisfactoryly gratifyingly explosive bang. Choice bro!

Hometime saw us (me) hiding a bottle of Tequila under my jacket. Not 'cos I was nicking or souveniring it, but 'cos the securtiy guard had given it to me and told me to hide it from my boss. Turns out that she had turned it down, as had my sister. Not this Maori! Free alcohol (free anything) and I have no shame. I'm sure I can find a use for it somewhere, sometime.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Its a fantastic thing I have to admit, being in a country (or working for a company) that makes a long weekend out of one that doesn't technically exist. We were on holiday from April 28 to May 1st, that is Saturday thru Tuesday. Bloomin' wonderful! Ok, seens as I wasn't exactly working by this time it didn't really make that much of a difference to me, but the company was off for the Monday when most everyone else had to go to work. Sweet!
And of course, being the sibling of one of the pieces of furniture that occasionally functions as a teacher comes with its perks- the boss took pity on us and took us out of town. Superb! We ended up in a place called Cuernavaca. Nice little spot, good weather, also known as Eterna Primavera (Eternal Spring) and friendly people. Cuernavaca CastleBit of a pain in the bum to get there though as we had to go through D.F (Mexico City) which even when you are one hundred percent sure of the route can be a gamble with getting lost or not. There's a road that's called Periferrico which is similar to the M25- circling the city. There endith the similarities. Where the M25 has sign posts and fair warning before your exit, the Periferrico will anounce your exit at the exit or just after it, the road will fork unexpectedly with no signs as to which direction you should head to continue on the same road. Its fun, unless you have to be somewhere by a certain time to pick up your holiday home key. Nevertheless we made it. Drama and all.
Chilled out for a day or so by the pool- yes the pool- ate some good food then toddled off to the cheap Silver Capital of Mexico (well at least of this area of Mexico) to do a spot of shopping.
The streets in Taxco are lined with silver. Every street you walk down has more than one silver shop on it. Shopping was to be done, and the feat was accomplished quite well and very expensively (relatively speaking of course). Course this meant (means) that the welfare bill I now owe my sister passed ridiculous with the purchase of the first ring. With the purchase of the second ring, ridiculous looked as tame as "a liitle bit". Sigh. What can you do? When things are just begging you to buy them and they look fantastic on you, how can you in all good conscience refuse? You just can't. It wouldn't be right. Besides someone poured a lot of themselves into the making of such a wonderful piece, and you would be doing an injustice to, and not supporting the artisan (and his or her family) if you decided not to buy it now wouldn't you? (Do you think I'd do alright as a sales rep?)
To recuperate from the added pounds of silver, we decided to "do luch" in the centre of town. Bit of a boo-boo that one. Turned out that Dr Simi- a chap that has made millions selling dodgey drugs to the poor of Mexico- was taping something for his TV channel. This meant that for the duration of our meal we were subjected to some horrendous wailing that was apparently someone singing. It did not however diminish the certain glow that I had acquired after spending a lot of someone else's money. Thank goodness!
Tuesday saw us return to Metepec and the real world. I had to start work at seven in the morning on Wednesday. Yes my run as a bludger had officially come to an end. I was now gainfully employed. Again. Butchering the English language and getting paid for it. Again. Sigh.
Bring on the next holiday I say!