No Ben Stiller Day at the Museum

FountainOur love affair with Uber soon fell apart. They seemed to find us without a problem when picking us up, but taking us home was an issue. The street we are on divides into two parts that are not contiguous. Not only are they divided, but also they do not run straight across the dividing street.

Today’s adventure was to visit the Museo Nacional de Antropología, though Ron had a stomachache, he wanted to go anyway. It turned out to be in a magnificently sprawling complex. The entrance lobby is a huge room in itself, but only houses the gift shop, ticket counter and coat check. Admission was 128 Pesos for Mexico - Mexico City December 2015 110both of us ($7.15). From the lobby, you exit to a massive open space with the largest column water fountain I have ever seen.

Within a giant rectangle, historic periods divide the rooms. The museum is two stories high. Each room is incredibly roomy, so there is no suffocation with what is on display nor is there danger of bumping into other patrons. With an artistic flare, every artifact has been lovingly prepared for visitor’s inspection. Some murals dominate an entire wall. With all of the relics shared, one would think it would take no time at all to examine each of these rooms, but this is far from the truth. They are so generously filled; it really takes a considerable amount of time. To the museum’s credit, there is a sufficient amount of English, so this also slows the pace.

Mexico - Mexico City December 2015 111Outside of each of the rooms, separated from all the others, there is a garden area representative of the attached room. They are magnificent examples of flora, or they have reconstructions of ancient temples, depending on the era. Peace and tranquility are the key words to describe each of these green areas.

It seems that we are insatiably curious and appreciative of Pre-Columbian history. For as many artifacts as we have seen in over a dozen Mexico - Mexico City December 2015 117different countries, still we seek out the museums curating others. Some relics seem repetitious from previous collections, but still have some individual characteristic that makes them unique. Mexico - Mexico City December 2015 123The distinctive factor of this museum is the English translation. We seldom had that advantage in the past.

There were enough students milling around, all in the same uniform, to make us think the entire school was there. It seems they spent more time in the central complex on their phones than they did in the exhibits. I was out there often too, to check on Ron who had to take a break every half-hour or so due to his stomach.

One piece in particular really struck my funny bone. It looked to me like a warrior inside an Mexico - Mexico City December 2015 129ancient version of a tank or other war machine. He looks as if he is handling the controls.

When we left, I was starving, but Ron had not been feeling well so food did not appeal. I stopped at a food stand on the way back to the highway, where we would contact Uber. I wanted to try this authentic food called Tlayudas. It looked good, but I was not certain what was used for the bottom layer. It is a tortilla made with black corn and then baked. It really was delicious; Ron would not even sample it. I thought it is like a Hungarian lángos in the sense that once you eat one, you are full for the rest of the day. I did not eat again after eating this.

Mexico - Mexico City December 2015 141Back at the highway, the treat for us again was to enjoy the beauty of the recently planted poinsettias that grace the median strip between the highways. The gardeners have been planting these by the thousands. As we pass by in the car, there are still thousands more potted plants sitting in waiting.

After spending close to four hours in the museum and Mexico - Mexico City December 2015 142then bearing witness to the beauty of the red and green, all pleasantries came to a sudden ending when I discovered I could not contact Uber; I had no Internet connection. The good news was that Starbucks was on this side of the road. The bad news was that I had to buy something that I did not want. Their Internet is password protected and the sign-in information is on the receipt.

Mexico - Mexico City December 2015 143After finally connecting, the Uber driver shows up on the wrong side of the divided highway. We signaled him and he was about to get to our side. Just as he was pulling up, Ron emptied his stomach on the nearby tree. He said, “I hope I don’t do this again in the car.” I dumped my coffee, gave him the cup and he used it productively on the way back. This is the first time in 22+ years that I have seen Ron lose his stomach contents.

Again, the driver could not find our section of the street, but took us to the incorrect one where the numbers only go as high as 700 when we want 1343. I tried telling him, but his GPS was not cooperating. It took us close to an hour to get back when it should not have been more than half that. Uber is getting a black mark for that one.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.