Thursday, January 11, 2018

I'm Not Here as a Tourist

Morning view from the rooftop

Alejandro's mother continues to show improvement.  Yesterday she ate for the first time since entering the hospital, and she has been moved out of intensive care.  However she has made the decision not to receive dialysis, so it is anyone's guess how long she will be able to continue with her drastically reduced kidney function.

It has been a stressful time for Alejandro and his sister Sandra.  They have been taking time off of work (Sandra returned to work today), and have been taking turns being at the hospital.  Although they were only allowed limited visits with their mom, they needed to be there at all times in case an important decision needed to be made.  Sandra has been spending the days at the hospital, and Alejandro has been there each night.  He has had very little sleep since last Friday.

I do not know how long I will be at the family's house.  Before I can go to the condo that I am renting, I need to get a key, since the lock on the front door to the building has been changed since I was last there.  I called the cleaning lady yesterday.  She has a key, and she is going to be at the apartment to clean on Saturday morning.  I told her that I would meet her there, and hopefully the doorman will have a key for me.  Even if the key situation is settled on Saturday, I will surely be staying at the Alejandro's family's house longer.  The condo is more comfortable and in a much nicer neighborhood.  But I need to be here, not just to lend moral support, but to try to help out where I can.

The weather here has been typical of Mexico City in January.  The nights are chilly with the lows usually down to the 40s Fahrenheit.  In spite of the winter temperatures homes here have no central heating.  I am sleeping in Alejandro's room which is downstairs... and the downstairs, which does not get much sun during the day, is always cold.  I have been sleeping under a couple of blankets.  So much for the stereotype of tropical Mexico.  Climate here is all about altitude, and Mexico City has an elevation of over 7,000 feet above sea level.  During the day it is sunny, and the temperature usually goes up to the 70s.  Alejandro's father often spends time on the "azotea" (rooftop terrace) warming up in the sunshine.

Yesterday morning I woke up before 7:00.  Sandra took her seven-year-old son Ezra to school and I went along.  We walked the several blocks to the school just as the sun was coming up.  Ezra is a very good student, and enjoys school.  He always wants to be there in the morning as soon as they open the door.

Sandra and I returned to the house; we had breakfast, and soon afterward Sandra left to take her turn at the hospital.  I washed dishes and did a little cleaning in the kitchen.  I then had some time to set up the computer on the kitchen table and write emails and work on the blog.  

In late morning Alejandro returned from the hospital after another sleepless night.  He should have gone to bed, but there were things to be done.  We went to the "tianguis" (outdoor market) which is held each Wednesday a few blocks away to buy fruits and vegetables.  The warm sun felt wonderful.

I then helped him prepare the "comida", the afternoon dinner which is the main meal of the day.  He roasted poblano peppers over the flame of the stove, and put chicken breasts in a pot to cook.  The peppers were put in a bag to "sweat", and after they had cooled off, we rubbed the blistered skins off of the poblanos.  I shredded the chicken breasts, while Alejandro cut the peppers into strips or "rajas".  The "rajas" were then mixed with the chicken.

After we had prepared the main dish for dinner, Alejandro had to run another errand.  He had to take some documents that Sandra needed at the hospital.  I went along with him, and traffic was the typical Mexico City chaos.

By the time we had returned to the house, Alejandro's dad had brought Ezra home from school.  The four of us had dinner.  The chicken with "rajas" was served with sour cream, and some leftover rice and frijoles were heated up to go along with it.

After dinner, I washed the dishes.  Alejandro got a bit of much needed sleep.  Ezra was upstairs doing his homework.  When I was done with the dishes, I went up and helped Ezra with his English homework.  His lesson dealt with food vocabulary and the verb "to like". "Pam likes salad, Sam doesn't like ham," etc.   

In early evening Alejandro left for the hospital, and Sandra had returned home by nine.  She fixed us a light "cena" or supper.  By then it was ten, and I went to bed under my blankets.  Such is my non-touristy life here.


  1. A lovely snapshot of "a day in the life".......

    Dana J

    1. Thanks. All pretty mundane stuff, but that's the way most of this trip is probably going to be.