Wednesday, May 31, 2023


I really should have taken a photo of yesterday afternoon's dinner at Alejandro's house, my first meal on this trip to Mexico.  It was very simple but so delicious.  Alejandro prepared chicken "tinga", which is simply a mixture of shredded chicken, onions, chipotle peppers and tomatoes.  In this case he didn't have any fresh tomatoes and he didn't want to make a trip to the market.  So, he did something a neighbor had once told him, and he added some catsup.  It gave it a slightly sweeter, different but interesting flavor.

We used the "tinga" to made "tostadas"... crisp tortillas with a topping.  We smeared "crema" (similar to sour cream) on the tortilla, spooned on some "tinga" and then some salsa.  The "tostadas" were so tasty!  I lost track of how many I had.

For dessert Sandra, Alejandro's sister, fried up some plantains (called "plátanos machos" in Mexico) and we drizzled on some more "crema" and some sweetened condensed milk.  Yummy.

I think in that one meal I gained back the few pounds that I had lost while I was back in Ohio. 

P.S.  We had leftover "tinga" for breakfast this morning.  However, this time we put the "tinga" on top of a "huarache".  A "huarache" is made from corn meal dough mixed with beans, and then flattened into an oblong shape.  " Huarache" is the Mexican word for sandal, and it gets its name from its shape, somewhat resembling a sandal.

Once again we smeared "crema: across the "huarache" and then spooned on some "tinga".  Alejandro added a slice of cheese and melted it in the microwave.  And of course, a few dollops of salsa to add a little spice.  Delicious!

Smooth Sailing

Actually, I should say "smooth flying".  Unlike my last trip to Mexico when my flights both going and returning were a bit of a nightmare, everything went smoothly with yesterday's travel.  .

As I mentioned earlier, the taxi to take me to the airport was picking me up so early in the morning, that I decided not to bother going to bed at all.  I did manage to take a nap for a couple of hours earlier that day.  I had ordered a taxi for 4 AM, but it showed up about fifteen minutes early.  When I got to the airport, I could not believe how many people there were at that hour.  Fortunately, even though I was flying economy, I have "premiere" status.  I didn't have to wait in a long line to check my luggage at the United desk.  The line waiting to pass through security was ridiculous long.  But there was a much shorter line for the "premiere" customers.  Perhaps because of the long line, TSA was not requiring anyone to take off their shoes or to take out their laptops.  That made security a bit less stressful.  

I was also surprised that most of the restaurants were open at that hour.  I had plenty of time to before my 6:40 departure, so I went to the Michael Symon (Cleveland's most famous chef) restaurant on the concourse.  I had a very good breakfast there... avocado toast... and the portion was quite large.  I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but I had two cups of much needed eye-opener.  I started reading one of my books while I nursed my coffee.

I arrived at the gate for my flight to Houston with plenty of time before they started boarding.  

Our plane had arrived the night before, so it was already at the gate waiting for us in the pre-dawn light.

It was a full flight, but I never have to worry about finding bin space for my carry-on.  Even when I am flying economy, I am in boarding group 2 because of my United credit card.  I used my frequent flyer miles to book this flight, and this time I did not bother to upgrade to first class or economy plus.  When I fly regular economy, I always choose an aisle seat.  Thus, I do not have any photos looking out the window to share with you.  In fact, most of the passengers had their shades pulled down.  I didn't see much of anything.

The flight to Houston arrived about twenty minutes early, so my three-hour layover was even longer.  I was thinking about having another breakfast (about five hours had passed since I had eaten).  I wanted to go to Ruby's Diner, a place where I have eaten several times when passing through Houston.  However, the airport is being completely renovated and I couldn't find it.  I thought perhaps it went out of business, but I later found it on the internet.  I wasn't in the right terminal, although in the past my route between gates always took me past it. 

The other sit-down restaurants in the airport are these places where you have to scan the menu onto your smart phone, order on your phone, and pay with your phone.  This dinosaur wants to have a menu in my hands instead of scrolling on the phone.  I want a waiter or waitress to take my order, and I want to be able to pay in cash if I so desire.  Sorry, but this old fart is not interested in patronizing these high-tech restaurants.

The plane I was taking to Mexico City arrived at the gate well ahead of the scheduled boarding time.

We would have arrived early on that flight also, but we had to circle a few minutes before we were cleared to land.

When I arrived at immigration, I did not have to wait in line at all.  Then I picked up my suitcase, and I was waved through customs.  I only waited a couple minutes before Alejandro showed up to drive me to the family's house.

The entire journey was hassle free.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Ready to Return


Looking down on the neighborhood that will soon be my permanent home

It's only been three weeks since I last returned from Mexico City, but tomorrow I am flying back.  Hopefully this is the last trip before I make the permanent move.  The owner of the condo that I am going to buy is currently in Mexico.  We are going to meet with a friend of his who is a realtor, lawyer and notary to make the transaction.  I will also be obtaining my Mexican residency visa.  Because I am married to a Mexican citizen, I can get it in Mexico City rather than having to go to a Mexican consulate in the United States.  I also need to get a private mail service, because the Mexican postal service is slow and untrustworthy.  I will go to an office of "Mailboxes Etc." (a company which used to exist in the U.S. but was bought out by UPS).  They will assign me a post office box in Florida which will become my new mailing address.  The mail is then shipped to Mexico, and I can pick it up at their office in the Mexico City neighborhood of Condesa.  

In addition to all of that, I will be playing tour guide for a few days.  If you have been reading this blog for a while, you might remember my former student, Meredith.  She and her husband traveled with me to Mérida, Yucatán, where I showed them the sights.  Well, in June, Meredith's sister Megan (who was also a student of mine) and her husband are coming to Mexico City for a week.  They have some friends that will be joining them halfway through their stay, so I don't want to intrude upon their plans.  However, I have told Megan that I am at their disposal if they need someone to show them around.  Alejandro and I have already told her that we would be happy to pick them up at the airport.  On their first night we are going to take them to our favorite restaurant, Angelopolitano.

So, it's going to be a very busy four weeks in Mexico City!

I have everything except my laptop packed and ready to go.  I printed off my boarding passes this morning, and a taxi has been called to take me to the airport tomorrow.  I just have to finish cleaning house today.  

I am keeping my fingers crossed that my flights will go smoothly this time without any of the hassles that I had on the last trip.  The volcano "Popo" seems to be quieting down, so with luck it will not cause any problems.  The forecasts here in Cleveland and in Houston, where I have a layover, are for good weather, so I don't foresee any problems there.

My flight leaves at 6:40 AM tomorrow morning, and the taxi is going to pick me up at 4:00 AM.  I would need to get up at 3:00 AM, so I decided that I am not going to bother going to bed tonight. 

Tomorrow at this time (knock on wood), I will be on my way!

Sunday, May 28, 2023

May Flowers

My garden may be neglected this spring, but the perennials that usually flower in May are blooming.

The lilac bush at the side of the house bloomed especially well this spring, and its heady perfume can be smelled some distance away.

The pink azalea with rosebud-like blossoms always blooms later than the other azaleas.  It is now starting to flower.

The deep purple iris in the front is always beautiful.  However, this year there are not as many blooms as usual.  The rhizomes (bulb-like roots) probably need to be separated, but that is something that I will leave for the new owners of the house... if they know anything about gardening.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Reading Material

As always, I have chosen a couple of books to read during my upcoming trip to Mexico.  The theme of my selected reading material this time is Greek mythology, and both books are written by authors whose work I have previously read.

In her novel "Circe", Madeline Miller draws on Greek myths, including "The Odyssey", to reimagine the life of the enchantress Circe and her love affair with the wandering Odysseus.  Circe is often portrayed as a predatory female, but Miller delves in the psychology of a misunderstood woman.  On an earlier trip, I read her novel "The Song of Achilles", a retelling of the story of the legendary warrior of the Trojan War.  It was a very good book, so I am looking forward to reading this one.

On my last trip I started reading Margaret George's historical novel "The Confessions of Young Nero".  Some historians say that the infamous Roman emperor has been unjustly vilified. (He definitely did not "fiddle while Rome burned"!) George's meticulously researched novel gives a more sympathetic portrait of Nero.  For this trip, I have chosen another one of her novels, "Helen of Troy".  It will be interesting to see how she interprets the legend of the beautiful queen whose face launched a thousand ships.

Friday, May 26, 2023

How's "Popo" Doing?

When I talked with Alejandro last night, he said that the volcano Popocatépetl seems to be settling down.  However, this photo from yesterday, which I took from the Mexican webcam site, shows that "Popo" is still spewing gas, smoke and ash.

 It is blowing toward the southeast, away from Mexico City, so he has noticed a negligible amount of ash in the city.  Mexico City International Airport remains open, and even the Puebla airport is open again.  Hopefully I will not have any problems flying to Mexico City next Tuesday.   

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A Highly Recommended Movie

A few days ago I watched an excellent moviie on Netflix.  It is a 2021 Danish movie entitled "Skyggen i mit oje" or "The Shadow in My Eye".

The movie takes place in 1945 during the final days of the Nazi occupation of Denmark and is based on a true story.  I'm not going to give away the plot, but it is a powerful story that ranks with the recent remake of "All Quiet on the Western Front" as a harrowing depiction of the horror of war.  

Usually, I will watch a movie while eating my dinner, and when I finish my meal, I save the rest of the movie for the next day.  This film, however, was so gripping that I HAD to continue until the end.  The seemingly disparate threads of the story may seem a little confusing at the beginning, but they all come together.  Emotionally, it is not an easy movie to watch, but it is a superb piece of filmmaking.  Highly recommended!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Another "Popo" Update

The volcano Popocatépetl continues its recent eruptions.  Here are some images from webcams that I just found.  (Mexico City is two hours behind Eastern Daylight Time here in Ohio, so it is still dark there.)


The area around the volcano is on a "Phase Three - Yellow" alert, one step below a "Red" alert in which mandatory evacuations are enforced.  Some of the news reports however make it sound as if the tens of millions of people that live in Mexico City and Puebla would all be evacuated.  It is only the small towns at "Popo's" base that are on alert.  And this is nothing new.  In 2000 thousands of people near the mountain were evacuated from their villages when the volcano had its largest eruption in 1200 years.

One article I read this morning said that "huge swathes" of Mexico were covered in volcanic ash.  Given the fact that Mexico is large country, 1/5 the size of the United States, that statement gives an exaggerated impression of the extent of the ashfall.  Alejandro told me yesterday that the ash in Mexico City was not noticeable, and that the airport was open.  The area most affected is the Valley of Puebla to the east of "Popo".  There the airport has been closed since last weekend, and the city of Puebla is covered in a fine layer of volcanic ash.  Here are a couple of phot that I found on the internet from Puebla.

Before finishing this blog entry, I checked the webcams again, and it is now daybreak.  From Tlamacas at the base of the volcano you can see the plume of smoke and ash rising from "Popo".  It's heading in an easterly direction toward the Valley of Puebla.

This is the view from the village of San Nicolás de los Ranchos, on the Puebla side of the volcano.  I suspect that the haziness of the photo is due to the ash in the air.

Monday, May 22, 2023

"Popo" This Morning

I took a look at the website of Mexican webcams this morning.  "Popo" is still spewing ash, but maybe a little less than during the weekend.  When I talked to Alejandro last night on Skype, he said that it was raining, and the precipitation fell as a dusting of snow on the peak.

A view from the village of San Nicolás de los Ranchos to the east of the volcano (on the other side from Mexico City).

A view from Altzomoni, a peak located in between Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhautl.  The winds seem to be blowing the ash toward the east... good news for Mexico City, bad news for Puebla.

Finally, a view from Amecameca, a city on the western (Mexico City side) flank of "Popo".

Sunday, May 21, 2023

"Popo" Is Restless

The volcano Popocatépetl (known as "Popo" for short) has erupted numerous times over the centuries that records have been kept.  There was a major eruption in 1947, but after that the volcano was mostly quiet for nearly a half century.  Then in 1994 it came back to life spewing gas and ash and prompting the evacuation of nearby villages and the beginning of scientific monitoring of the peak.  Over the past three decades Popo has been fuming and occasionally erupting.  In 2000 there was another major eruption, and tens of thousands of people living close to the mountain were evacuated. 

In the past few days, the volcano has once again become very active.  There are some photos from the Mexican webcam site that I often look at.  This webcam is situated at Tlamacas, the site of a mountain-climbers' lodge which was shut down after the peak was closed to climbing due to increased volcanic activity.

11:00 P.M., Friday, May 19th

1:00 A.M. Saturday, May 20th

Mainly quiet at 8:00 A.M. Saturday, May 20th

Spewing ash again at 3:00 P.M Saturday, May 20th

6:00 P.M. Saturday May 20th

8:36 A.M. Sunday, May 21st

Most of today, the mountain was obscured by clouds, but just a couple hours ago, the clouds parted enough to reveal that Popo was still spewing ash.

Usually, it is the Valley of Puebla to the east of the volcano (the other side from Mexico City) that is most affected by falling ash.  Schools in several towns were closed on Friday, and yesterday Puebla Airport was closed.  This morning the citizens of the city of Puebla woke to skies gray with ash. However, this time Mexico City is getting some of the volcanic ash.  Mexico City Airport was closed for six hours yesterday and, according to Alejandro, a few hours this morning.  His sister has been sweeping a fine layer of ash from the terrace.

One of Alejandro's mountain-climbing friends ascended the mountain Iztaccíhuatl this weekend, and he took this spectacular video looking toward Popo.

You may be asking, "Why are you moving to this land of erupting volcanoes?"  I really don't think that I am going to have a role in the remake of "The Last Days of Pompeii".  Mexico City is more than forty miles from Popo... Pompeii was only ten miles from Vesuvius.  I certainly wouldn't want to live in one of the villages on the flanks of the mountain, but I think it would take a cataclysmic eruption to effect Mexico City.  (Fingers crossed.)

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Neglected Garden

May and June are normally the months that I spend working in the garden.  However, this month I have been busy getting ready for my departure on May 30th, and I will be in Mexico for almost the entire month of June.

I have managed to clear out the weeds in the flower beds in the front of the house... although I have not done as meticulous a job as I usually do.  At least the house will have "curb appeal" when I go to sell it this summer.

As for the gardens in back of the house, they will probably remain neglected.  When I return from Mexico, I will be too busy preparing for the final move and selling the house.   Oh, well.  My days of slaving away in the garden all summer are coming to an end.

Thursday, May 18, 2023


When I returned home from Mexico last week, the azaleas in front of my house had begun to bloom.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

A Stack of Vinyl

Over the course of the last year, I have been cleaning out the house in anticipation of moving.  One thing that I found was a stack of vinyl records from back in the day when I had a stereo console in the living room.  Some of these albums are more than fifty years old.  I even have the records that my high school band recorded.  I know that vinyl records are making a comeback, so I set them aside thinking that I might be able to sell them.

My listening tastes were not normal for my generation.  While other people my age were listening to the Beatles and other rock groups, I was listening to classical music.  I also had a selection of Mexican and Spanish music and a few movie soundtracks as well.

Yesterday, I was searching for a store that buys vinyl records, and I found a place not too far from me.  I went there with two bags full of albums.  As soon as I walked in, I got the vibe that they wouldn't be interested in my old-fogey records.  They said that they would look through them and that I should come back in an hour.  I ran some errands and returned.  They said that they didn't want any of them.  So, I hauled the two bags home.

There are some other places that buy records, but I don't feel like traveling all over town just to be told they aren't interested.  I know I could probably put them on eBay but, preparing for my move I have too much to do to bother with that.  There is a turntable in the apartment that I am going to buy.  I'll ask the owner if it still works, and, if so, I might select some of my favorites, and take them down to Mexico.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Packing Up

Two weeks from tomorrow I fly back to Mexico.  Ever since I made the decision to move down there, on each trip I have been packing items to leave in the apartment.  If all goes according to plan, this will be my last trip before I make the final move.  So yesterday, I started packing my big suitcase.  Within two hours I had it mostly full.  There are still some nooks and crannies that I can tuck some small items into.

I have packed some of my music CDs, books, treasured handicrafts (carefully wrapped in bubble wrap), and some artwork (including a couple of my own paintings).  And there are even some clothes in the suitcase.  I have plenty of clothes at the condo already, but they serve as extra cushioning for the fragile items.  

I still have to pack my carry-on luggage.  I might work on that today. 


Sunday, May 14, 2023

The Next Step

I just returned from Mexico City last Wednesday.  I haven't even put away my suitcase yet, but I have to start packing again.  In just a little over two weeks, I will return to Mexico, and on this trip, I will purchase the condo that I have been renting since April of 2017.

As you may recall, the owner of the apartment is a Mexican who lives with his wife in Chicago.  He was a pilot with Mexicana Airlines, and that is why they purchased an apartment in Mexico City.  After Mexicana went bankrupt in 2010, the apartment was rarely used.  They didn't want to sell it, but they were reluctant to rent it.  Serendipitously I made contact with them, and they agreed to start renting the condo to me.  It was an ideal situation for us all.  They only charged me for the months that I was down there, and I paid the condo maintenance fees and real estate taxes (which they deducted from my rent).  It saved them from making trips down to Mexico.

After Mexicana went bankrupt, Eduardo, the owner, worked for several other airlines.  In March of this year, he retired.  They wanted to sell the apartment, and, knowing that it had become my home-away-from-home, they wanted to sell it to me.  Although the property is quite expensive, we agreed on a price.  Eduardo has to make a trip to Mexico City this month to take care of some business, so I am going down there too so that I can make the purchase.  He has a trusted friend in Mexico City who is a realtor and lawyer, and he will help us with the transaction.  I also plan to get my Mexican residency visa while I am down there.  Normally, U.S. citizens who plan to move to Mexico, need to make an appointment at a Mexican consulate in the U.S. to get a visa.  However, because I am married to a Mexican citizen, I can obtain it in Mexico City. 

So, the next steps in my move to Mexico City will take place soon.  After I return to Ohio, I can put the house up for sale.  Hopefully, that won't take too long, because I am eager to begin my new life in Mexico.  On the other hand, I hope it doesn't happen too quickly, since there is much that I need to do prior to making the permanent move.  

It would seem that the process is progressing along the time frame that I had hoped for.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there are no snafus along the way.  I am both excited and scared!

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Back to Plan A

As you know, I am planning on moving to Mexico this year.  I was going to buy the condo that I have been renting for the last several years.  However, property prices have gone up in Mexico City, and the dollar has gone down a bit against the peso.  I would have to pay much more for the apartment than I will get from the sale of my home.  Granted, comparing Mexico City with suburban Cleveland in like comparing apples and oranges.  For someone from Manhattan or San Francisco, prices in Mexico City are a tremendous bargain, but for me the price was high.

While I was in Mexico on my last trip, I was looking at local real estate listings on a website that is somewhat similar to "Zillow" up here.  The prices for many properties in the neighborhood were exorbitant.  The owners of the apartment I rent were definitely offering me the place for a reasonable price, especially considering that they are leaving all the furnishings in place.  However, I also saw that there were a considerable number of bank foreclosures that were incredibly inexpensive.  Alejandro and I even walked around one Sunday afternoon, looking (from the outside) at some of properties that were listed.

For example, this house, just a short walk from the apartment was one of the listings.

It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and is twice the size of the apartment where I stay.  It is listed for 858,397 pesos, or about 49,000 U.S. dollars.  Now this place is actually bigger than what I want (after all, I am downsizing), and at my age I don't want to deal with stairs.  However, it is typical of the bargains that we saw in the neighborhood.  I was beginning to seriously think that I should buy one of these foreclosures.  Even though I would I have to ship more furnishings from Ohio and buy stuff in Mexico, I would still be coming out ahead.

Alejandro mentioned this to his friend who is a realtor, and he said, "We have to talk."  So, we got together one evening at a coffee shop and discussed the idea of buying a foreclosure.  It is much different than buying a property from the bank in the U.S.  While buying a foreclosure can be an excellent investment, it is not a good idea for someone hoping to immediately move into a place.  The residents of these properties have not yet been evicted, and the eviction process takes up to two years in court before the place is vacant.  Because the house or apartment is still occupied, it is impossible for a prospective buyer to see the inside.  (Well, there is no way that I am going to buy a place sight unseen!!!)  Furthermore, the evicted residents often take everything that they can from the property, right down to the kitchen counters and bathroom toilets!  So, I immediately scrapped Plan B and went back to my original plan of buying the condo that I have been renting.

I am making progress on Plan A, and I will discuss that in my next post. 


Friday, May 12, 2023

A Funny Sign

While Alejandro and I were walking around the neighborhood of Colonia del Valle on my last trip, I saw this sign which caught my attention and made me chuckle.

The caption says, "If he can't do it, do it yourself."   Actually, in more affluent areas such as Colonia del Valle or Nápoles where I rent a condo, dog poop on the sidewalks is not a big problem.  Most dog owners are responsible and clean up after their pets.  However, in working class neighborhoods such as the one where Alejandro lives, there are a lot of street dogs. There you do need to watch where you are stepping. 

What is ironic though, is that the condition of the sidewalks in Alejandro's neighborhood is much better than in some trendy districts such as Condesa and Roma.  There, a combination of soil subsidence, earthquake activity, and tree roots have left the sidewalks uneven, broken, and with gaping holes.  So, no matter in which part of Mexico City you are walking, watch your step!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

A Grueling Return

A couple of days have passed since my departure from Mexico, and it was certainly one of my less pleasant travel experiences.  I have been very lucky.  In spite of all the horror stories you hear about air travel, my flights have generally gone smoothly and according to schedule.  My luck ended with this last trip.  You may remember from last month, that my flight itinerary to Mexico was changed at the last minute due to bad weather in Houston.   It was a journey of three flights (Cleveland to Washington Dulles, Dulles to Houston, and Houston to Mexico City), and I didn't arrive in Mexico City until 1:00 A.M.  My bad luck continued on my return to Ohio this week.

My flight from Mexico City to Houston was supposed to leave at 11:35 A.M. on Tuesday.  Alejandro and I left his house around 7:00.  We had plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the airport.  Then we said our farewells, and he went home to fix his dad's breakfast.  I still had plenty of time to kill.  I had purchased my tickets with frequent flyer miles, and then purchased an upgrade to first class.  As a result, I was able to go into the United Club lounge to pass the time more comfortably.  It was then that I noticed on the board, that my flight to Houston was delayed due to bad weather.  As time passed, the delay became longer and longer.  No flights were getting into or out of Houston.  I had a two-hour layover before my flight to Cleveland, but with the lengthening delay, it was obvious that I would miss my connection.  Eventually the 11:35 flight was delayed until 3:30 P.M.! 

I went to the front desk at the United Club to inquire if I would be able to get a later flight to Cleveland.  There was one later flight, but the connection time would be very tight.  I would only have 40 minutes to go through immigration, collect my suitcase, pass through customs, recheck my bag, pass through security and go to the gate.  So, I asked if there was another route I could take, for example, through Chicago.  She said that there was a 2:00 P.M. flight to Chicago, but it was completely full.  She said to come back to the desk at 1:00 to see if any seats should become available.

I went back to the desk at 1:00, and, yes, there was a seat.  And after a two-hour layover in Chicago, I could take a late flight to Cleveland.  I wouldn't have first class seats, but that didn't matter to me.  So, she booked the flights, and I immediately left the United Club to go to the gate for my Chicago flight which would be boarding soon. 

I got on the plane bound for Chicago.  Although I didn't have a first-class seat, I was in one of the emergency rows, so I had more legroom than other economy seats.  My suitcase was still checked to go on the Houston flight, but an attendant asked to see my luggage claim ticket.  She took a photo of it and said that hopefully my suitcase would make it onto this plane before takeoff.   We were delayed a little before we pulled away from the great, and I thought, "Good. That will give them more time to load my bag." 

We pulled away from the gate about ten or fifteen minutes late.  But then, for some reason, we were on the runway for more than an hour.  I don't know if we were waiting for our turn to take off, but my two-hour layover was evaporating.  By the time we landed in Chicago, I only had forty minutes before the doors would close on my Cleveland flight.

Usually on my return to the United States, be it in Houston or Chicago, going through immigration has been a snap.  There hasn't a line at all.  Of course, my bad luck was continuing; there was a long, long line.  Nope, unless my Cleveland flight was delayed, I wasn't going to make it through in time.  The one good thing was that my suitcase did make it onto the flight, and I retrieved it to pass through the formality of customs.  I went to the desk where I would have normally rechecked my bag, and I was rescheduled for the first flight to Cleveland the next morning.  I was also given a voucher to spend the night at a hotel near the airport.  While waiting for the shuttle to take me to the hotel, I called my friend Frank, who house sits for me, about the change of plans.  He would spend another night at the house and be at the airport to pick me up.  I also called Alejandro to let him know that I was spending the night in Chicago.

I didn't get much sleep at the hotel.  I needed to be at the airport around 5:00 A.M.  There was a shuttle leaving the hotel at 4:30. So, I asked the front desk for a wake-up call at 3:30.

Next morning, I boarded the plane for my fiight to Ohio.  I wasn't in first class (hopefully I will be reimbursed for the downgrade), but I did have a window seat.

We finally took off and were flying over the suburbs of Chicago and then out over Lake Michigan.

It's a quick hop from Chicago to Cleveland.  After less than forty minutes in the air, we were crossing Lake Erie, and coming to the coast of Ohio near the city of Lorain, about thirty miles to the west of Cleveland.

Through the morning mist you can make out the skyline of downtown Cleveland.

At long last, after a grueling 24 hours, we landed at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, and the journey was over!

Monday, May 8, 2023

Heading Back


(photo taken from the internet)

My time in Mexico City once again has quickly flown by.  Tomorrow morning I will board my flight to head back to the United States. The plane leaves Mexico City International Airport at 11:30 A.M., so I don't have to be there at an extremely early hour.  However, Alejandro and I will leave his house around 7:00, after he walks his nephew to school.  We will have a leisurely breakfast at the airport, and he can still return home to fix breakfast for his father.  After a two-hour layover in Houston, my flight to Cleveland will arrive around 8:40 P.M.

I still have not made my flight reservations for my next trip.  The owner of the apartment I rent in Mexico City, is going to be down here from mid-May through early June.  I am hoping that it would bepossible for us to get together in June, and that I could at that time purchase the apartment.  I hope so.  I am eager to start my new life as a permanent resident of Mexico.

The Museum of the New Fire

After blogger Scott and I had visited the archaeological site on top of the "Cerro de la Estrella", we descended the hill and visited the small museum which deals with the New Fire Ceremony of the Aztecs.

 As I mentioned in the previous post, the Aztecs believed that at the end of every 52-year cycle, there was the danger that the sun would die.  Priests would go to the top of the "cerro", and, when the movement of the stars convinced them that the world was not coming to an end, they would light a fire to announce the good news to inhabitants of the valley below.  This mural at the entrance to the museum depicts that ceremony.

The museum consists of a large hall.  On the ceiling of is a representation of the 52 cycle.  The Aztecs, in addition to the calendar of 365 days, also had a ritual calendar of 260 days.  Every 52 years, those two calendars would coincide.

This model shows how the "Cerro de la Estrella"... Mountain of the Star... once rose along the shore of Lake Texcoco which used to cover a large part of the Valley of Mexico.  The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the middle of that lake.  

After the lighting of the New Fire atop the hill, the priests would then carry torches to light the fires of the all the temples in the valley below.  First, they would relight the fire of the Templo Mayor (Main Temple) of Tenochtitlan.

This is shown in a replica of a drawing from a codex or Aztec manuscript and also in a model.

The slopes of the "Cerro de la Estrella" have been occupied by humans long before the Aztecs came into the valley.  Several cases hold objects that have been found on the hill.

I can now add another to my list of museums that I have visited in Mexico City.  Although small, it was an interesting museum.