Holidays and Celebrations

Monday was a holiday, so the offices were closed. It seems like I say that a lot, but the Church’s employees here assure us that they do not get more days off than do the employees in the United States. We met Alfredo’s oldest daughter, Daphne, during Living Legends and have seen her a few other times since then, but we’ve been wanting to meet his other two children. He suggested we meet for lunch on Monday, and we agreed. We went to a restaurant called Casa de Tono, which is famous for its pozole, a type of Mexican soup. We had pozole and flan, both of which were delicious. And we had a delightful time getting to know Saúl and Noemí, Alfredo’s two other children. Daphne is in college studying to be an engineer, Saúl it about to graduate from high school, and Noemi is an already an entrepreneur. She bakes and sells cookies. Alfredo brought some to the office one day, and we told him he was like a drug dealer who hands out free samples to get people hooked. It worked; we ordered a couple dozen cookies. I asked Alfredo's kids if they’d ever heard of Yellowstone Park. They hadn’t, so I told them a little about it. I told them the most important thing they needed to know was that they could come visit us if they went there. I then asked them if they knew what the word “nag” meant. They didn’t, so I said it was ask for something over and over. Then I told them they should nag their dad to take them to Yellowstone Park. Saúl immediately turned to his dad and said, “We want to go to Yellowstone Park.” Good boy! We would love having visitors from Mexico once we return home!

Friday was Cinco de Mayo, which is a bigger holiday in the U.S. than it is here. Despite what we have been led to believe in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day. It commemorates one particular battle in which Mexico defeated France. The battle took place in Puebla, which is about the only place in Mexico where they celebrate it. However, we did celebrate on Cinco de Mayo because it was the Camejos’ 35th wedding anniversary. The Camejos are the couple who replaced the Wrights. They are from Mexico and don’t speak much English, so it is good for me to be around them—it forces me to use Spanish. To celebrate their anniversary, we and the Deavers took them to the restaurant at Campo Marte. We chose that restaurant for two reasons. First, it is in a beautiful old building which neither the Deavers nor the Camejos had seen before. Second that restaurant is catering one of the events we’re having in conjunction with the visit of the Tabernacle Choir, and Ron and I wanted to test the menu items we’d selected for the dinner to make sure they are good. They are! We had a fun evening. The Camejos both have outgoing personalities. Eric Camejo especially loves to joke. After church today, the Teca Once missionaries got together for a “break the fast” dinner. During it, Ron said he liked putting lime in his water. They love limes here and squeeze fresh lime juice onto their tacos, pozole, etc. I said, “Todo es mejor con limόn” (everything is better with lime.) Eric said, “Todo? ¿Le gusta limόn con leche?” (Everything? Do you like lime with milk?) We laughed at that. A little later, we were talking about chocolate, and I said, “Todo es mejor con chocolate,” and before he could say anything, I looked at him and said, “Incluso leche,” (even milk.) He laughed at that. So I now know enough Spanish to joke a little bit.

Eric Camejo took this picture of the three of us "Amigas." You can see the Auditorio Nacional in the background. It is right by Campo Marte.

We went to the Auditorio Nacional again this week. We have visited there so often that Adrian (the man from the Auditorio who is working with us on the Choir events) and I are on “kissing each other on the cheeks” terms when we say “hello” and “goodbye.” After our visit last week, Hector, who will be over the sound systems for our reception and dinner, and Eric Lara, who is over security, asked if we would set up an appointment so they could go check things out. Ron set it up, and we thought there would be just the four of us going together. When we went to the motor pool, we saw that there were two other men going with us. When we arrived at the Auditorio, three other cars of employees from the Church pulled in too. It was as if everyone who has an assignment heard that we’d made an appointment to check things out and decided they better come too. I think there were twelve people there besides me and Ron. The questions they asked Adrian reminded me once again what a huge undertaking this project is and how many details there are that have to be worked out. For example, one man said, “We will have ten buses bringing the choir and orchestra members to the Auditorio. Where will they pull in to drop them off and where will they park?” Another said, “We have a caterer coming to bring dinner for the choir and orchestra members before the concerts. Where will they set up for the dinner?” We had to discuss where the VVIPs will enter and park, what doors the special guests will come in through, where the outlets for microphones are, and on and on. The logistics are mind boggling. Saturday morning we turned on the TV for a little while and watched some of the pomp and ceremony of the British coronation of King Charles. When I saw the troops standing in formation on the field, all I could think was, “I wonder who was in charge of figuring out where each unit was going to stand?” When I saw the carriage driving down the avenue with waving spectators being held back by police officers, I thought, “Someone had to plan the route, and someone had to be in charge of security for all this.” I looked at the crowns and robes, and thought, “Someone was in charge of getting those ready and having them in the places they needed to be.” After helping, even in a small way, to plan the Choir’s visit, I don’t know if I’ll ever again be able to attend an event without wondering about all the people and planning it took to put it on.

Last week I wrote about going to Chapultepec Park and riding the train as far as Los Pinos. That was as far as we got last Saturday because we spent so much time at Los Pinos that afterwards we went to get dinner instead of getting back on the train. This Saturday we decided to go back and finish riding the train’s route. So we, the Deavers, and the Barnetts all went to Chapultepec Park again. (The Frandsens are in the United States for a few days, so they didn’t go with us.) The train is a nice leisurely way to see quite a bit of the first section of the park. (The park has four sections, which combined cover almost 1700 acres.) After we finished the train ride, we walked back to the monument for a Mexican Air Force squadron who fought in World War II. Ron and I showed the others the Secret Garden, which is hidden behind the monument. None of the others had seen it before. It is a lovely, peaceful spot where they have reclining benches and play relaxing music. While we were there, we and the Deavers struck up a conversation with a man sitting on a bench near us. He was Mexican but had spent a lot of time in the United States and spoke fluent English. He recommended places for us to visit in Mexico City. Most of them we’ve already been to, but he did bring up one we hadn’t heard of before. He showed us pictures of it, and we all said, “We want to go there.” Then today before church we were speaking with a man in the ward, and he was telling us places we should visit. Again, we had already been to most of them, but then he brought up the same place the other man told us about. He said we really should go there, so that sealed it. We’re planning to go there in two weeks. At this point, we only have six Saturdays left in Mexico, and one of them is when the Choir will be here, so we will be tied up that day. Our Saturdays are becoming very precious.

Ron took the previous picture of our group on the train. Debbie Barnett took this one so we could have a photo with Ron in it.

Chapultepec Park is well used on Saturdays, and it is fun to see what everyone is doing there. In this area they had sectioned off part of the road and set up a course for people to pratice riding bikes through.

     

We rode past the carousel, which is the first double decker carousel I've ever seen. Seriously, it has two levels!
     
This is one of the "food courts" in the park. I think this might be the place Ron and I ate the first time we went to Chapultepec Park, but we were so new then and so lost in the park that I can't be sure.
     
The World War II monument is behind and up an incline from this beautiful fountain.
    
I zoomed in on the last photo to get this close-up of the statue of David. When we went past it, Dave Barnett said he thought it was very nice of them to have a statue for him.

     

Here are the guys looking at the tree they call "El Sargento" (the sergeant.) You can see the World War II monument in the background. The secret garden is tucked behind it.
     
Ron checking out the reclining bench in the secret garden.
     
Dave and Jake Barnett
     
You can tell how relaxing this place was just by looking at Tom Deaver's face.

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