Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Greetings from the Newbie

So this is my first entry into the Blog… I was really skeptical about starting it, but after reading Rupal and Asha’s posts over the last few months, I have come to realize what a great way it is to keep a running diary of our adventures, trials and tribulations while living aboard. (I should never question my wife – she really is the smartest woman I’ve ever met [and the editor of this post in case you haven’t guessed]).

As Rupal had noted, I lived in a hotel and out of a suitcase my first few months here in Mexico, while she and Asha stayed behind in the US. I made multiple trips back to the US and around Mexico pretty much on a weekly basis so I was unable to settle in and experience a lot of things around Mexico City. However, for the past month since Rupal and Asha have been here we have started to develop a routine and Mexico has really begun to like home.

For starters, we have been going to the park pretty often – the weather here (so far) is much more temperate than in NJ, and Asha has a blast at the park, so we have been trying to go often. We also go to the Saturday market pretty regularly, where you can buy everything from fresh produce to bootlegged DVDs for $2.50 to household cleaning supplies to clothing, believe it or not. Our center city location makes it easy to walk to these places as well as the supermarket, restaurants, etc. Rupal somehow thinks all this walking will help us both lose weight, but she forgets that some of my favorite things about being in the city are going to a nearby bakery called El Globo for fresh bread and croissants everyday, and to the various liquor stores in the area (surprise, surprise).

Some days life feels familiar (like when I get home from work and, after putting Asha to bed, Rupal and I veg out in front of the tv – the only difference from NJ being that here when we say there’s nothing on tv, there really is nothing on tv, at least in English). On other days it feels different – like when we went out of the city this past weekend to Cuernavaca. Of course there is still work, but let’s save that discussion for a different time and place. Oh, and to be clear, by work I don’t mean housework. Since we have a live-in maid here, I have not done anything around the house since I’ve been in Mexico (Rupal might argue that it has been even longer). In my defense, though, I was living in a hotel for two months and have completely lost touch with housework. Although, while Rupal and Asha are in the US, I am planning on doing a few things around the house, such as painting, and maybe even getting around to installing the smoke detectors. Although, who knows - I might take it upon myself to buy new furniture (i.e., a billiards table) and completely decorate the apartment. You’ll just have to check back in to see what Rupal comes home to in a few weeks.

Friday, June 8, 2007

New Friends and Zoo Friends

As I mentioned in my last post, Mommy and Daddy finally discovered Chapultepec Park last weekend when Dada was here. Of course they had known that it existed, but never realized how cool it was until then. One of the things Mommy was looking most forward to was taking me to the zoo there, but by the time we found our way through the huge park last week, it was closed.

So, yesterday Mommy and I finally went to the zoo with my new friends Remi, Sophia and Julien and their mommies (and uncle). Below you can see a picture of all of us as we were about to leave – the excitement of the morning left Sophia exhausted and she completely passed out in her stroller. I, myself, was very well behaved all morning, if I do say so myself. (I hate to admit it, but I have been a bit of a terror lately: whining, yelling really loudly for attention, and breaking into bursts of crying hysteria out of the blue. Mommy says that it is a combination of the Terrible Two’s starting (whatever they are) and me getting my molars. I get the feeling that she needs to rationalize my behavior this way so that she can maintain some sanity).

Inside the zoo, we saw so many different types of animals, including lions, bears, hippos, seals, penguins and of course elephants and giraffes, my two favorite animals. After seeing all the animals, the mommies decided to stop and eat something before heading out, since it was lunch time and the walk out of the zoo takes twenty minutes. While Remi’s mommy ate a semi-sensible lunch of chicken tortillas because she wants to lose weight for her cousin’s wedding in a few weeks, my mommy ate a medium-sized cup of Oreo Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream. I heard her mumble something about starting her diet tomorrow, whatever that means. The good news for me, though, was that I had my first taste ever (or so Mommy thinks) of ice cream!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


I just want to provide a forewarning that this is one of those posts likely to elicit a “Duh” or “Ya think?” reaction. But I have to go there because I am so filled with awe at this moment and need to share, and the only adults around are Arturo and Aurora with whom I can communicate only through charades. And how would I communicate through gestures how amazed I am that such a thing as the internet exists? (Thanks Al Gore - haha :-))

Since pretty much the day I arrived in Mexico City with Asha, I have felt connected to everyone back home because our internet has been set up, and as a result, we have been able to email and to use our Vonage phone service and make free calls to the US. In fact we even get telemarketing calls from charities and non-profits groups for donations. (I must admit that it has been kind of a hoot to freak them out by saying that they have called us in Mexico, resulting in them pausing for a minute to make sure their call wasn’t an international one!)

But aside from the everyday emails, online shopping and typical web surfing, I have recently discovered so much more to the internet through the world of blogging. The fact that I am so amazed by blogs is clear evidence that I am so not a techie (some – like my brother – may even say that I am technologically challenged), and I hope that no one is picturing me as a recluse who spends every spare minute online. Although, come to think of it, I do have my computer on a lot . . . hmmm.

Anyway, it has been really cool to find blogs written by Americans and Canadians (among others) who are living in Rome and Ishcia and Paris and Mexico City and Oaxa and New Jersey, and to have a little taste of what it is like to live in those places. So while I am learning and enjoying a new life in Mexico City, I am also able to experience – for a few minutes a day – what life is like in a million other places in the world. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Visitors from Afar

These past few days have been the best ones I’ve had in Mexico. Dada had come from New Jersey to visit me, even though Mommy and I are planning to go back home in just a couple of weeks. I guess he couldn’t wait to see me – and boy did I feel the same way.

Since he claimed from the beginning that all he wanted to do was spend time with me, and since he and Dadi are going to come back at the end of the summer (but mostly because Mommy and Daddy haven't figured out the roads yet), we didn’t really take him sightseeing or anywhere special (unless you count Costco, where Dada got very excited at the prospect of being able to buy exactly the same things he buys in NJ). So this is how Dada and I spent our time together:

- At the park trying to feed the pigeons (Dada was very interested in feeding pigeons that didn't seem to want to land near us - probably because of all the dogs running around);

- Sitting in the arm chair together, simultaneously reading Peekaboo Polar Bear and watching the Bloomberg network to see how Dada’s investments are doing;

- Me yelling “hathi computer” when I wanted to see pictures of elephants on the laptop, and Dada patiently obliging, 7-8 times per day;

- Going to Chapultepec Park (which turns out is just like Central Park but with a train ride around the park in lieu of Wallman Rink);

- Taking Dada to the Saturday market we visit religiously where the vendors let you sample all the fruit before buying, and Mommy, Daddy and Dada - brave souls -ate street tacos;

- Just hanging out on Dada’s lap all day –during meals, naps, and even while I had my haircut on Saturday (the first time I didn't shed a tear during such a tortorous event).

You can probably tell that I had the time of my life. I think Dada had a great time too, even though he didn’t get to see much around Mexico City. And I've decided that the best part about living away from family and friends is that we get to have lots of visitors. (In fact, a few weeks ago, Aurelie Mami’s brother and sister-in-law, Thomas and Elsa visited us from Paris for a few days – below are pictures from our trip to Xochimilco Gardens with them). I can’t wait until we have even more visitors!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Opening Night x 2

My friend Tara invited me and another friend of hers to the opening of a floral exhibit at a pretty ritzy flower shop here in Polanco. Bear in mind that she was “invited” through a flyer handed to her at a Newcomers Club meeting, and asked her friend Tracy and me to tag along. So we hardly expected the scene we came upon last night when we arrived.

There was a large crowd standing around outside, women dressed as if they were either about to appear on the red carpet for a movie premier, or in a Shakira video. Servers circulated trays of wine and champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and chocolate covered strawberries. Every so often a car would pull up and let out a few glammed up people who would grab a drink and push their way into the too-small shop. Tara, Tracy and I were content to just stand outside drinking and chatting about our kids, until the woman who “invited” Tara spotted us and literally dragged us into the shop, where we were able to get close-up and lighted views of not only the floral arrangements, but of the plastic women who had bypassed us outside. Now I am all for plastic surgery – my motto is that if it makes you feel good, go for it – but looking at some of these women made me wonder what they looked like before if this was considered an improvement. (Ouch, I know, but seriously, I have never before seen so much and such obvious plastic surgery in such a small physical space – and I’ve been to LA a number of times.)

After about thirty minutes we were able to escape relatively unscathed – although, I was forced to answer for the 100th time that I was really from India (apparently when someone asks where I am from, “the United States” is not a sufficient answer based on my skin color and features), we had to feign interest in the mundane floral arrangements of a designer who failed to appear, and were forced to take home a tacky parting gift. But no lasting damage was done.

As I am walking home from what could be considered among the weirder experiences of my life, I came upon a scene similar to what I experienced outside the flower shop. I heard loud music, and saw chauffer driven cars pulling up to the sidewalk, letting out people who looked like they were attending a club opening. As I got closer to the music, I again saw trays of champagne and hors d’oeuvres being passed around, and then saw that this “party” was for the opening of Gloria Jean’s Coffee! Only in Mexico City could the opening of a coffee shop that does marginal business in the Bridgewater Mall be considered a glamorous party.