Valentines, Bowling, and a Train Ride

Monday was Valentine’s Day, and I woke up to find a basket of candy and a sweet note. In return, I pulled out the giant chocolate turtles I bought at the chocolate museum last week, so our day was filled with chocolate and love. (You can say, “Ahhhhh” if you want.) That evening, we invited the other Teca Once missionaries to join us for a Valentine’s dinner at Terraza Grill. Sickness and injury kept some of them from coming, but we did have the Wrights, the Davises, and the Frandsens join us. The following evening, the Everetts invited us all to their apartment for a Valentine’s Family Home Evening. They instructed us each to come ready to share something we’ve learned about love on our mission. I said that I’ve learned that you don’t have to be able to talk to people to love them. Ron said he’s learned that he and I can spend twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week together, and not get tired of being together. (You may “Ahhhh” again if you’d like.) Thursday, the Lomas Ward Relief Society held a Galentines activity, which Pat Wright and I attended. So we did manage to get in a lot of Valentines Day celebrating this week.

     

This is the waiter preparing my steak medallions. It involved flames, but I didn't capture them in the photo.
     
Our Relief Society activity.

Across the street from Teca Once is a building that looks kind of like a potato cellar. It has a bank and some shops in it. A few weeks ago, we noticed a sign for a bowling alley in front of it. That piqued Ron’s interest, so he went exploring. The building has a second story, which we’ve never been on, and it houses a very nice bowling alley. After talking to the manager, Ron said he thinks it had been closed due to Covid and is just opening back up. Friday evening, we went there and had a Teca Once missionary bowling party. I discovered that when you don’t do something for over a decade, you can’t do it as well as you once could. I was never a really good bowler, but I used to be able to do it a lot better than I did that night. None of us were ready to go pro, though some of us were better than others. That made it so that every strike and spare anyone made was celebrated profusely. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. On one of my turns, the ball slipped off my fingers on my back swing and went flying backwards. I think that got the biggest laugh of the evening, though if it had it hit someone, it could have had tragic results. I wish someone had captured it on video. I’m sure it would get millions of views on YouTube. At the end of the evening, Tracy Frandsen came out the winner.


The Wrights were the first ones down to Teca Once's lobby on our way to the bowling alley. They told Leila and Abram what we were doing, so when the rest of us stepped off the elevator, this is what greeted us. They are so cute!
     

     

Here we are checking out the scoreboard.
     
Ron in action
     
Me and Pauline Davis
     
     
The winner!

This week at the office we were given an assignment which will require us to go to Monterrey next weekend. We realized that meant that Saturday would be the last Saturday we had to do something with the Wrights, because they go home at the end of February. I told Pat to pick what she wanted to do, and we’d tag along. They had something in the afternoon, so we, the Wrights, and the Davises went to Chapultepec Park Saturday morning. The Everetts told us they had gone on the train ride there. None of us had, so we did that. It was a little train that runs on wheels not tracks, and goes along the paved paths in the first section of the park. (Chapultepec has three sections which total almost 1700 acres.) We have spent quite a bit of time in that section of the park so we’d already seen most of what the ride took us through, but Chapultepec never disappoints. We passed a group of people doing yoga, a salsa dance class in a gazebo, a course for people learning to ride bikes, A couple who appeared to be having a late Valentine’s picnic, an area where they appear to be building a water park (we’ll be anxious to see it when it’s done), a carousel, fountains, and monuments. One area of the park was a “food court,” vendor stalls lined many of the paths, and at one entrance, we saw a “Bookmobile.” 
     


It's winter, so the ground under the trees is dry and not green, but the park is still beautiful.

     

          

This is the Monumento a los Ninos Heroes (the monument to the boy heroes.) Behind it you can see the castle peeking over the trees.


We saw some American tourists taking a photo like this and decided to try one ourselves. Our pose was supposed to frame the Angel of Independence, which is further up on Reforma, but as it turned out, Ron's head is blocking the view of the Angel. Lean, Ron, lean!
     
Vendors lining the path in the park.
    
A bookmobile

After the train ride, we hopped on a bus and rode to the historic section of the city. The Wrights had some errands to run in that part of the city. On our way, we stopped to see the Palacio de Correos de México, the city’s central post office. It was built in 1907 and is an opulent building. A section of it is still a functioning post office, but more people go there just to see the building than to mail a letter. One of the highlights of the building is its elaborate staircase. We went to see it and found that a concert of opera singers was taking place by the staircase. The woman who was singing when we arrived was performing an amazing aria, and we couldn’t resist staying to listen until she was done.

The grand staircase in the Post Office.

     

Even this functioning part of the Post Office is elaborate.
     
An unexpected opera concert.

After leaving the post office, we started walking towards the store the Wrights needed to go to. Our walk took us by Café de Tacuba. The Wrights and Davises had eaten there before, but we never had. Pat told me it was worth seeing and asked the host if we could walk in just to look. The host said yes, so she and I went in. By the time we came back out, the others had decided that the Davises and Ron and I would stay and have lunch there while the Wrights ran their errands. I didn’t complain. Café de Tacuba has been a restaurant for over 100 years and has a lot of interesting history. (For example, in 1936, the governor-elect of Veracruz was assassinated while eating there.) I’d heard that the building it’s in was originally a hospital, so the waitresses dress in old nurse’s uniforms. I wanted to verify this, so I went to the internet. There I found one site that not only backed this story up, but said it had been a psychiatric hospital run by a convent, and that it is haunted by the ghost of a nun who was murdered by a patient who was in love with her, and that it is in her honor that the waitresses dress like nurses and orderlies. That makes for a really sensational story, but that was the only site that told that story. Others said the building had originally been a convent, while others said it had been a residence, and these sites said the waiters and waitresses dressed in traditional clothing. I’m not sure which version is correct, but I found information on a site run by the government of Mexico City, which I figure is probably the most reliable site. (I went to the restaurant’s own website, but it only had menus and didn’t tell its history.) The government site said the building was originally a palatial home, then for a short time a dairy, and then it became the restaurant. It also said that the rear part of the present-day restaurant was part of a hospital for women. It was a fun place to eat. I loved the tiled staircase, the stained glass ceiling, the murals on the walls, the mariachi band that wandered through as we ate, and on top of all that, the food was good.

     

This is one of the waitresses. I'll let you decide if she is wearing a nurse uniform or a traditional waitress uniform.
     


     

My quesadillas with guacamole.
     
You can see Ron sitting at a table, wearing a light blue shirt, and facing the left wall.
     


When we finished eating, we had the task of finding our way home. The easy thing to do would have been to call Uber, however, we decided to take public transportation. There was a Metro station right by the restaurant, so we went there. Here’s the deal, we know how to take buses to certain places we go often, but when it comes to venturing further out, we’ve always relied on Jerry Wright, who is really good at figuring out how to get around on public transportation. In the Metro, we asked one of the women working there how to get where we were going. She gave us very detailed directions, which included riding the metro and getting off after two stops, where we’d switch to a different line, and then riding to another station where we’d switch again. Ron has the Moovit app on his phone, so he checked it and it had us riding the metro to the last stop and then catching a bus. We decided to trust the woman, so we got off the metro at the second stop. At that point, we couldn’t see where to catch the other line, so we walked around until we found a map of the city’s public transportation system. We were standing, trying to make heads or tails out of it, when I felt a hand on my shoulder and a man’s voice said, “What are you guys doing here?” We turned around, and it was Jerry and Pat Wright. We couldn’t believe that after splitting up and riding the metro to a different part of the city, we met up again! So we had Jerry to guide us home. His route was the one Ron found on Moovit, so we figure from now on, we’ll trust that App—it obviously thinks like Jerry.

For the past two weeks as we’ve travelled around the city, we’ve started seeing Jacaranda trees in bloom. We love those purple flowered trees, and it is fun to us to see them coming back into bloom. It doesn’t seem that long ago when they were in bloom before, so I guess time is passing more quickly than I realize. We’re down to where we only have four months left until we go home.

    


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