Let me first preface this post by saying, for those who don’t know me very well, or follow me on Facebook/Instagram, I have a sister. Well, she’s not my “biological” sister, but we definitely could be sisters. We are both only children, raised by finicky, persnickety, paranoid, germaphobic, and over-protective single mom’s with A-type personalities; me in Toronto, and Paola in Mexico City. So we basically share the same child-hood experiences. I met Paola while I was working at an investment bank. The team I was on wanted to hire a coordinator to help organize our shit…well mainly my boss’ shit…I didn’t need any help, my shit was already chaotically organized. Anyways, we interviewed a couple of people and narrowed it down to two candidates, Paola and some old boring lady. My co-worker, the only real “adult” on our team, wanted to hire the boring ol’bag (I don’t blame her, the rest of us behaved like children on a sugar high), but I, being the youngest and craziest on the team, wanted someone fun and cool to hang out with at work. However, according to my co-worker and boss, “Lesley getting a new best friend at work”, and “ok, but she’s really pretty and has nice accessories” was not a convincing hiring argument. Luckily, the deciding vote was our VP who voted for Paola (mainly I think because she was young and impressionable and wouldn’t be a stick-in-the-mud to work with). YAY! Hence “CHEXICAN’S” was born! That’s a term we came up for ourselves (Chinese mixed with Mexican). Pretty clever, I know. In fact, I was so excited about my new work bestie (she had no idea what she was in for) that I decided to celebrate her Mexican heritage and impress her with my knowledge of Mexican culture by taking her to Taco Bell on her first day. In hindsight, this might have been a slightly racist bad idea on my part…however, she did love the fries supreme and forgave me anyways. Water under the bridge as they say.
So where am I going with this? Well, while this blog will be about various experiences (mostly travel and food related) and opinions (mostly non-sensical) that I have, it will also be about the crazy and hilarious adventures that we Chexican’s find ourselves in (and boy are there quite a few…I swear, we are magnets for bad luck…especially when we are together).
So here goes my first “Chexican” post…
CHEXICAN’S TO THE RESCUE!
So my Chexican counterpart and her adorable toddler, and 2 wiener dogs have been visiting her mom in Cuernavaca (one hour south of Mexico City) for the past couple of months now, and since I’m not currently doing anything meaningful with my life, I decided to go down and see if I could raise more havoc in her already chaotic life. Being the wonderful host that she always is, she insisted on picking me up from the airport (although, I think it was less out of hospitality and more out of a fear of me getting kidnapped due to my extreme naiveté and her extreme paranoia). Due to Mexico City’s notorious traffic, and her uncanny knack for operating on “Mexican Time”, she was of course 30 minutes late in picking me up. I should mention at this point that I was starving. But it’s yotally fine, as I can’t complain because I’m habitually late myself, but in those 30 minutes alone at the Mexico City airport, it was, no exaggeration, like fighting off rabid shoppers at a Best Buy in Pensicola, Florida on Black Friday. Taxi drivers took one look at my massive bubble-gum pink suitcase, designer hand-bag, and Asiatic features, and nearly tripped over themselves lunging for my suitcase while steering me towards their taxi…I think I can still hear “QUIRES TAXI!?” ringing in my ears. I eventually managed to fend them off by camouflaging myself as part as of an elderly Chinese tourist group. Thankfully, I only had to endure the stink-eye of the flag-covered tour operator for only a few minutes (like I really wanted to be part of their group anyways) before I spied Paola sprinting towards me waving like a maniac with her cousin trailing behind her.
We finally manage to get all my bits and pieces together and maneuver our way through the throngs of mainly Asian tourists and “QUIRES TAXI” drivers and get into the elevator that takes us to the parking lot. Now pay attention, because this is where the story begins (I know what you’re thinking, ‘What!? This story is just beginning, I’ve been reading this forever’). We go down one floor and as fate will have it, it is not our floor. Instead, a skinny Latin looking dude (think Mexican Michael Cera) with a small cat carrier is standing on the other side of the door. He hesitates for a second before getting on but decides to go for it anyways. We all squeeze a little bit and let him on. Now, being the curious animal-loving-person that I am, I can’t help myself but stick my nose down to peer into the carrier and ask “esta un gato?” (“Is it a cat?”), he smiles and shakes his head and says, “no it’s a puppy” in English. I look at my friend and her cousin and as if on cue, we all coo “ooooohhhh puppy”! When we start unload out of the elevator, he asks us if we by any chance know of a vet in Mexico City. As it turns out, he was in Mexico (2 hours from Mexico City in a town I don’t recall) with his wife and kid visiting family for the last few weeks. While in Mexico, they decide to adopt a puppy for their 3-year old daughter and take it back to Chicago with them. They go to the vet, get all the shots and paper work the day before they were to leave and innocently assume that all is well. Unfortunately, all was not well. They get to the UNITED check-in bright and early and the snooty check-in lady tells him that the puppy doesn’t have all the necessary shots and won’t let them take the puppy. Now imagine that you are this guy, you promised your daughter that she can take this puppy home and now this annoying, heartless idiot is telling you that you have to break your daughter’s heart and leave the dog behind. What would you do? Well, he did what any super dad would have done! He moved his flight to later that afternoon and told his wife and daughter that he would try and find a vet to issue the proper paperwork and catch a later flight home. So, after hearing this sob story, Paola’s cousin makes a few phone calls and despite it being Sunday (in Mexico City where everything is usually closed), we find a vet that is open. Here is where the story gets a bit sketchy. Paola decides to ask the question we were all thinking but not voicing…”So, if you can’t get the proper paperwork for the dog, what will you do with it…” And he says….”I don’t know…I guess I’ll have to leave it somewhere”. Wrong answer (or as it turns out, right answer). For those of you who don’t know Paola…she is obsessed with dogs. Actually, obsessed would be a mild term describing this infliction that she has with saving dogs. She currently has three dogs, two of them rescue dogs, one of which her mom found on the street in Mexico City. She starts to get this panicky twitch in her eye, which I am well acquainted with, and at that moment, I knew that we were done for. I think that the average “nice” person would have given him the vet’s info and sent him in a taxicab to the vet. Instead, Paola, still slightly crazed by the thought of this poor puppy being left at a bus stop or something, decides to offer this guy a ride to the vet. I know I can be quite naïve, but I have picked up a few “do’s and don’ts” while travelling the world by myself. Offering a random guy in Mexico City a ride was a definite “don’t”. But I decide to bite my tongue as Paola’s eye was still twitching and I didn’t want to unleash the Mexican fury on myself and end up getting ditched on the side of the road. But seriously, this guy could have had gun or something and then we would have really been screwed…especially me, since I was lugging 20K worth of camera equipment around with me. Anyways, we all pile into the car, strap the puppy into the baby car seat and slowly inch our way into traffic. Thirty minutes later, we pull up to the vet. Again, most people would have let him out and wished him luck and moved on with their lives. But no…Paola the Dog Savior announced that we were all getting out and going in to see the vet. Me, her, her cousin, the puppy and this random guy all squish into this tiny Mexican vet office. After the usual introductions, we re-told (well, Paola re-told) the tale of this desperate man and his homeless puppy. I’m not sure what happened in the next 30 minutes…my Spanglish was not good enough to keep up with the conversation, but I could sense that it was not good. Paola kept looking at me with her twitchy eye and though I am not clairvoyant, I could tell she was thinking, “omg…what am I going to tell my mom if I show up with you and a puppy?”. I mean, understandably, her mom would have probably tossed all of us out on the street the minute we pulled up with another dog. We were already, 3 adults, a toddler and three dogs in a 2-bedroom condo…adding a puppy into that mix would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. There was a silence that fell over the room as we contemplated the fate of this innocent puppy. Suddenly, A MIRACLE! (Actually, I’m not sure if it was a miracle or if the guy offered the vet a bribe in Spanish that I didn’t understand), but for some reason, she re-looked at the dog’s paper’s and said she must have read them wrong and that she could issue the dog the necessary shots and paperwork! HALLELUJAH! We were saved! Literally, because the wrath of Paola’s mom would have been a death sentence. After much re-assurance from the vet that all is good, the puppy gets it’s shots and we order a taxi for the guy to go back to the airport – just in time for his flight. Did I mention I was starving at this point? In anticipation of delicious Mexican cuisine, I only had a coffee and some almonds for the past 18 hours. When we finally leave the vet and make it to her cousin’s house I gobble down a ginormous American sized bag of Cheetos while Paola chows down on some brain quesadillas. Yes, you read that right, “brain quesadillas” and no, I did not eat any brains. Best part of this story, in all of the panic and chaos, we didn’t even get the guy’s name. So I guess, all’s well that end’s all?