Good For Another Year

Glad to be back home after a Thursday/Friday trip to Mexico City to meet with our immigration lawyer and finalize the renewal of our missionary visas.  What a relief to see our U.S. passports again and to receive our brand new visas (they’re usually good for 5 years).  There has been some sort of change going on with these visas and apparently the new system starts officially today.  According to our lawyer, this was a great thing that we got ours just in time.  The new system is a total mess and isn’t even working at this point.  Total confusion.  Whew!  We hope that by next year the changes will be sorted out and we’ll not have to go through what folks are going through starting today.  It sounds awful at this point in time.

Due to the difficulty of arriving early enough for our Friday morning appointment at the immigration office, we left on Thursday and made a little family trip out of it.  We took a bus from San Juan del Rio directly to the bus station on the north side of Mexico City.  It normally takes about 2 1/2 hours.  Due to construction and traffic it took about 3 hours going in and about 4 hours coming out.  Even though both trips were on the same exact bus, we took two totally different routes which was interesting.  I guess the drivers either have some discretion as to which roads they take or there is just some flexibility due to the construction and consideration for the time of day.

We took the Metro (subway) three different times.  Dayton was thrilled.  We had to stop him from dancing with delight every time the train started or stopped or jerked unexpectedly.  So much for not attracting attention.  We avoided riding it at the worst of times and did fine with minimal scrunching or squishing (which word is correct? maybe both) when it was a bit crowded.  Friday morning there were extra train cars for only women and children (this is normal during peak hours).  We didn’t need to use them but we were standing on the edge of that portion of the platform just in case she needed to move down a car or two.  You have to get on in a hurry though.  The train stops and starts again in about 10 seconds.  It’s interesting to watch the mad rush to exchange the people getting off with those trying to get on.  Obviously, this is routine for anyone living there but we haven’t been to Mexico City in nearly 2 years.  With the driving restrictions in place there for cars from out of the area, plus the never ending “game” of dealing with the countless police on the streets, I don’t drive into Mexico City anymore unless it’s an emergency.  I certainly wouldn’t do it without proper documentation on my person.  We didn’t have any since the lawyer had all our papers.

We walked miles around the area where we were staying, and the kids were happy to enjoy Papa John’s pizza and Dairy Queen cones.  We hoped to visit the castle in Chapultepec Park but we arrived too late not realizing the ticket booth closed just after 4 p.m.  Bummer…but the long walk good for us.  A main entrance to the park was closed for construction so we found ourselves walking around in areas one would not expect to see “tourists” walking around as we tried to figure out how to get in (it’s free but gated all around this massive park).  We finally made it inside.  It was fun just to explore (and I’ll throw in that not getting mugged was a happy plus!)  🙂  We’re not really city folk so we always feel a little bit uneasy in what may be the largest metropolitan area in the world.

I didn’t take any pictures.  We only took a backpack and an extra bag for some shopping at “La Ciudadela” which is a huge touristy, artisan shopping area.  I didn’t have room for the camera and didn’t want to have it with us on the Metro anyway.  The fewer things that can get lost or stolen the better.  I should get a smaller, cheaper camera for such trips.

We must have walked 5 or 6 miles in our short time in Mexico City (which sits at an elevation around 7,500 feet).  We’re pretty tired today and a bit sore.  I love walking so not complaining a bit.  Praise God for a safe trip and a great time with the family.

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