Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Moving Day, Again

We finally have a home base!

Yesterday we moved out of the Hotel Texas and into the Lutheran Center. This is where we’ll live until December (notwithstanding a few excursions to Cuernavaca…but at least we can leave most of our stuff here).

(Above: The bed at the Hotel Texas was, er, a little short.)

And what a relief it is to finally unpack our suitcases and put our stuff into drawers. The last two weeks have been an itinerant adventure, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes totally exhausting, but always feeling like some kind of weird pseudo-working vacation, always moving as if we were on the lam. Now we find ourselves settling into a spacious upper room of a house with a kitchen and dining area and common space - and no one else has moved in yet, so it feels like our own private house, which is nice except for the reverberating echo downstairs... Hopefully now we can begin to put down some roots, if still-temporary ones. An added gift: Last night we also retrieved the extra baggage we had left here when we stopped by two weeks ago. It was kind of funny, unzipping those suitcases and finding all of these things we had forgot we packed. Like Christmas in August…

(Above: Our new digs!)

Several people have asked me about a mailing address at the Lutheran Center. I’ve been reluctant to give one out, since the organizers of the semester program seemed to discourage mail due to the slow and unreliable Mexican postal service. However, the Lutheran Center’s website does list a mailing address and a street address, so I’ll include them both here. There have been rumours circulating that one of the professors for the program will be going back and forth from Mexico to the U.S. throughout the semester and that we might be able to send mail through him. More information on that option as it becomes available. In the meantime, I wouldn’t send anything more than a postcard to the following address.

Mailing address for the Lutheran Center:

Centro Luterano
Apartado Postal 20-416
Mexico DF 20 01000

Street address for the Lutheran Center i.e. where we actually live (for either visitors or all you Google Maps enthusiasts):

Calle de la Otra Banda #54
Colonia San Angel
Delegacion Alvaro Obregon
Mexico DF

You can also check out the website for the Lutheran Center at http://archive.elca.org/mexico/.

The Lutheran Center is located in the San Angel neighborhood of Mexico City. Earlier this century San Angel was a separate little village a few miles away from Mexico City, but in the last 50 years it’s been swallowed up by the beast of the big metropolis.

For those familiar with Chicago’s layout, the San Angel-Coyoacan area of Mexico City is, geographically, like Hyde Park. All tourist maps of Chicago show basically two areas: the Loop (and some parts north of it) and Hyde Park. There’s a giant sea between the Loop and Hyde Park where they don’t advise tourists to go. (Anyone who’s lived in Chicago knows this is a bit of a crock – you totally miss out on Chinatown, Pilsen, Bronzeville, etc – but that’s another story.) Anyway, just like in Chicago, tourist maps of Mexico city show basically two areas: There’s the Centro Historico, the center of things, and then there’s a giant urban sea where they don’t advise tourists to go, and then there’s the San Angel/Coyoacan neighborhood with a few tourist sites worth visiting. Adding to the coincidental similarity, San Angel borders the UNAM – Mexico City’s largest university (with 250,000 students!) – just like Hyde Park includes the University of Chicago. There are a million ways in which this analogy doesn’t work, I’m sure, but geographically, it gives you a sense of where we’ll be in this massive city.

We haven’t explored much yet, but what we have seen is kind of surreal. Right across the street is a fairly ritzy shopping mall, complete with a Ben & Jerry’s stand (and, EJ, a Telcel store that sells iPhones!). We walked to the nearest grocery store, a Superama, which is owned by Walmart. The Superama takes debit cards, which is Super-helpful. Therein lies one of our dilemmas: These American-style places are both convenient and weirdly comforting, but we don’t want to hole ourselves up in them with the rest of Mexico outside.

This morning we walked to the Metro stop which is not too far from here and Chris left for work. This afternoon she said it was about a 40 minute commute each way, to and from the northeast side of the city where she’ll do most of her research.

And on a chronographic note, today also marks two weeks since we arrived in Mexico. Two weeks down, fifty to go.

1 comment:

mom said...

Nice pedicure Chris!!