Thursday, May 31, 2007

Morrissey! Who I Shall See Tonight...

Tonight I am going to the Morrissey concert here in Tucson.

Yes, Morrissey. IN TUCSON. I can hardly believe it myself... but I attribute it largely to his huge Mexican fan base. (And funny thing... I'm going with two Mexicans!) He hasn't been to Arizona in five years though... so I'm feeling vastly lucky.

Morrissey has been my favorite singer since I was in 6th grade. My first tape was "The Smiths." I love him. (Not enough to jump on stage and hug him like other crazy fans do, but I do love his music.) Granted, I still prefer the Smiths to solo Moz, but his earlier solo albums were very good.

I saw him live in 2004 in DC, and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. He's a great live performer (lots of passionate waving around and grabbing his heart and getting down on his knees and interacting with the crowd)... I can't wait for tonight!

Here's a sneak peek of what lies in store this evening, which I'm pretty sure (or at least hoping) he'll play...

November Spawned a Monster:


There is a Light That Never Goes Out (a Smiths song he closes his shows with... and one of my all-time favorite tunes... and yes, he really does take his shirt off at the end of the show!):

Has there ever been a more passionate song?

"If a double decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die. And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us, to die by your side... well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine."

Ahhhh, Moz.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Atlanta... Home of Furry/Non-Furry Friends, Babies, and Beluga Whales

This is the final recap of last week before I move back to the present...

I had a great time in Atlanta with one of my best college/KKG friends, KC!!!! I hadn't seen her for a few years and was pleasantly surprised to find she hasn't changed a bit since our last meeting (even after having a child!)... she's still a skinny minnie, and that's a big compliment.

In a nutshell... she looked great.

This is us last Thursday outside the Buckhead Diner, which I highly recommend if you ever visit Atlanta. And make sure to try the homemade potato chips with blue cheese topping as an appetizer! Oink oink.

And here's the apple of KC's eye, Baby Jack...

... who looks so much like both of his parents, I couldn't believe it. Maybe a little more like his dad, but he's a big mix. And he has a great personality... nothing but smiles, smiles, smiles.

The closest bond I formed, however, was with this little fellow...

... Ralph the Cat.

Honestly, as you know, I'm not a pet person. Plus I'm allergic to cats. But I fell in love with this guy. He just might have the cutest personality of any cat in the world (aside from my friend Keri's cat Turtle, who is equally fabulous). He literally stalked me for the two days I was there... loitering outside my bedroom door, waiting for me outside the bathroom, and hopping up either on my lap or right next to me on the couch every time I sat down. We just couldn't get enough of each other.

This is one of our bonding moments...

... I love you, Ralph!

KC even told me that if anything happened to her or her husband, they would make sure I got Ralph in their will. Unfortunately, however, I just received bad news from KC via e-mail. Looks like elderly Ralph is suffering from kidney failure and doesn't have long to live. My heart breaks.

Anyway... moving on... here is KC's neighborhood in ATL...

I loved the Atlanta landscape. Lots of trees, a mixture of old and modern architecture, pretty rolling hills, and an abundance of greenery.

We took a walk to the park my first day there with Jack so I could see the area and so we could entertain him at the playground...

However, KC and I agreed swinging tended to make us both a bit nauseous.

I must add here that I attempted to ride a tall, twisty slide while I was there (sans the baby... which turned out to be a good thing). The slide was insanely fast, shooting me out like a pinball the minute I sat on it -- knocking off my sunglasses, and forcing me into the fetal position (according to an old man at the playground with his grandson... "you looked just like a little ball rolling down there!"). I still have a scab on my elbow from my attempts to slow myself down before I was spit out at the bottom and nearly fell on my face before I ended up bruising my ass. In the words of KC... "All I heard was bump-d-bump-d-bump the whole way down... it seemed like I should laugh, but then I thought I shouldn't when I saw you fall out the other end."

Word to the wise: Avoid the twisty slide over the age of 30.

After my recovery, I played in a safer area with Jack...

And although I look a lot like Rocky Dennis here (or maybe Jay Leno)...

... I am including it because Jack was having so much fun being tossed in the air.

The family dog, Gus, was just kicking it in the shade...

The next day we went to the Georgia Aquarium, which is amazing and totally worth a visit. Although they confiscated a brand new pack of gum from my purse (apparently there is a "no gum" policy), I recovered from the devastation and still had a good time. With gum in my mouth, unseen by the guard.

Here are some Japanese snow crabs...

Freaky little buggers, aren't they?

And my favorite... the leafy sea dragon...

This thing was swimming around like a fish! (Errr, maybe it is a fish?)

Here's some random fish. It might be a piranha... but I'm not sure. It looks sort of like one, but the fish in the back looks different, meaning it's probably not a piranha or the other fish would be dead...

KC and I were disappointed that we couldn't see the piranhas' teeth. In fact, they look rather harmless. I wondered what would happen if you put a cow carcass into the tank. I wondered how long it would take to pick it clean.

According to my Google research, piranhas won't attack humans unless they're dead or dying. I guess we're too big to be worth the effort. Some scientist actually jumped in a piranha-infested river to prove this theory, and luckily, he was right.

I was utterly fascinated with the jellyfish as well...

... very plasma-like and almost reminded me of afterbirth and/or lingerie, which should never be used in the same sentence, but it's what I thought.

One of my favorite attractions was the beluga whale tank...

... we timed it just right to see the three whales getting fed and physically checked by their handler. How would you like that job... imagine meeting someone in a bar... "So what do you do?" "Oh, I'm a beluga whale handler." Very cool.

And if you've ever laid awake at night wondering what a beluga whale's penis looked like, I saw one up close and personal...

Rather disappointing, is it not? Considering the animal's size?

The true highlight, however, was the deep sea tank...

Look how huge that plexiglass is!!!! It's six sheets of glass melted together and is over 60' x 30' x 2' thick and custom-made in Japan. There were so many cool fish in this exhibit -- from stingrays (of course, no one could look at them without mentioning the Crocodile Hunter) to a hammerhead shark, groupers, and lots of other random fish.

Before my flight home, we met up for a late lunch with KC's high school friend Diana, who I have heard about for years but never met...

... and I loved her too!

Thanks, KC! It was a GREAT TRIP!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Party Weekend! Even With a Runny Nose.

For those of you who keep up with my blog, you might remember that I was absolutely sick as a dog my first weekend home in DC.

I slept pretty much all day on Friday and Saturday, and my waking hours were spent sneezing and blowing my nose incessantly.

My only ventures outside were to attend my friends' parties on Friday and Saturday night, and I had to do a lot of rallying to get there. Surprisingly, however, in both cases, my socializing skills overpowered my ailment, and I almost ended up forgetting I was sick, although my aches and pains did force me home a wee bit early on Friday night from Dr. Dremo's.

Here was the real star of the night (no, not me)...

... my friend Mary, who just got her master's degree in conflict resolution. She used to work with me at State Department (we've had many a fond memory together traveling in Morocco), and she's also a month younger than me so we've enjoyed sharing b-day parties together in the past. Anyway, last Friday we also toasted our 33rd year.

And here's our other friend Jenny B....

... who also used to be our co-worker at State and is now a proud employee of Homeland Security. God Bless Jenny for keeping our homeland safe.

Saturday night was also filled with drinking beers I shouldn't have been drinking in my dehydrated and feverish state, where I caught up with all of my old Smithsonian co-workers and their men. (Yep, we were pretty much an all-girl office).

Here's one of the men... Luis...

... who shared the b-day honors with me. We even got to blow out candles on a cake together while everyone sang! (By the way, I look identical in all of the three pictures above... well, I am the same person so that shouldn't be so bizarre, but I have an uncannily similar pose -- sort of a weird sideways neck crane -- in all of them.)

All of my friends have become baby making factories...

... like Dwayne & Sarah with baby Henry and twin boys on the way.

Doug and Shannon have procreated as well...

... but not Amy. She teaches middle school in Harlem. She's just ruining the family photo.

Meg & Bob don't have kids either...

... and they're not married (yet).

Here's Sue & Stephanie, the NTHP girls...

... who are really funny. And they like to drink champagne.

Nichole & Luis host this barbecue every year (I think this might have been year #5), and it always, always ends in a dance party that ends around 3 am in their living room.

Not this year though...

... I think I took this photo around 10:30 pm. Holy crap, we're all getting old.

Not to mention responsible (at least some of us)...

... N & L's Baby Mia!!!! (not so happy to be woken up for a photo op.)

Check out the KC/ATL update tomorrow (more babies)...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Wildest Bachelorette Party Ever

Last night, I attended a bachelorette party for a girl in my department named Alana, who is marrying a Moroccan guy and moving there in a month.

She invited most of the girls from my (former) department and some of her high school friends who are still here in Tucson.

It was a pretty tame event (no bar hopping, no Lifesaver t-shirts or bridal veils, and minimal penis props... but I think this is mostly because Alana is converting to Islam). Frankly, it was a bit on the "slumber party games" side of things, but that was fine by me since I think typical bachelorette parties might just be the lamest things in the whole world... ie: "I dare you to ask that guy for his boxer shorts!" --- uggggh.*

Here are the binat (girls in Arabic) from my department...

Carrie, Shauna, Danielle, Laura, me, Alana, Lindsey, Ruth, Wafa, and Rachael.

And here I am with just Shauna and Lindsey...

My first two friends in Tucson.

Here's Alana attacking her pinata...

... which all of us hoped was filled with chocolate and sex toys and actually ended up being filled with hard candy (reminding me of the sweets that my grandmother used to try to pawn off on us from her weekly "food & friends" meetings... and which I naturally rejected... Werther's Originals? Yuck.) and Mexican tamarind flavored crap that is just plain gross.

Prior to my disappointment, I was excited about decorating my candy bag...

... and Carrie seemed to approve as well.

My favorite part of the night (besides sipping on wine coolers) was the pornographic cupcake contest...

... which you can see the results of above. I attempted to go a bit over the top with a well-designed pink frosted choo-cha and a large black 3-D penis entering it (a "pimp & ho" cupcake is how I was touting it), but the black dick ended up looking more like a cluster of turds, which put my cupcake off the map on the scale of dirtiness... literally. Furthermore, the balls/turds ended up sliding off the side of the cupcake. (See center dessert). I won the award for "biggest monstrosity" AKA "grossest cupcake."

Crazy times, I tell you, crazy times.

* P -- Your upcoming bachelorette plans are excluded from this conversation, mostly because you're over 30, you're getting a limo, and you're pre-partying in a hotel room, all of which add major cool points to your soiree.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Day En Route to Tucson

I'm back in Tucson after my 10-day vacay to DC and Hotlanta.

I have lots of pictures to upload and stories to tell, but for now, I'm going to post a few photos from my trip home today. I've come to the realization that I rarely show pictures from my regular, daily life. So here's your treat... a few pics from my extremely exciting trip back west.

I can think of two things that make me happy when travelling... 1) Walking into a large public restroom and finding it empty. (Not that I'm going to gas it up or anything -- it's just nice to have a pee to yourself sometimes, especially in a public space, without some chick in the stall next to you) and 2) A window seat aboard a nearly empty airplane.

When I walked up to my airplane gate this morning, I thought I was on the verge of missing my flight because there was no one in line and the waiting area was empty. As it turns out, I wasn't late at all. It's just that NO ONE in America flies on the Sunday of Memorial Weekend.

I was in heaven. I practically had the airport and airplane to myself. Since most people supremely annoy me, I was thrilled by this prospect.

Check out my flight from DC to Dallas... the flight attendant said there were only 32 people on board...

I was literally all alone in the back. It was lovely. No babies crying. No fighting for an armrest. No coughing or sneezing. No people. Ahhhhhh. And I had three seats upon which to stretch out and read Jane Austen. Now that's dreamy. Plus the flight attendants gave me three drinks... a coffee, an OJ, and a water. Perhaps a champagne would have completed the drink ensemble, but my liver probably needs a break anyway.

Once I got to Dallas, my flight was unfortunately delayed by more than an hour due to inclement weather. I decided to park my ass on the carpet behind a massage chair so I could sprawl out and lean against the wall and talk to Jojo on the phone.

Little did I know that the massage chair was "home base" for a spirited game of tag going on between a bunch of 6-year olds who were also waiting for my flight. I soon became Dallas International Airport's local child magnet.

These two girls immediately put me under interrogation...

I took this picture of Chelsea and Jordan, seriously cute 1st graders, behind the massage chair. They were totally unafraid of strangers. I kept wondering where their parents were, but I was also secretly pleased that they were allowed to act like normal children and weren't being kept on a leash.

Our conversation went something like this:

C: What are you doing?
Me: (on phone) What?
C: What are you doing?
Me: Sitting here.
C: Oh.
Me: What are you doing?
C: Playing hide and seek with Jordan.
J: Do you want to see my puppy? He's new...
Me: Well, I'm on the phone with my friend. Just a minute...
J: Holding this thing out toward me...

Me: Oh, what is this?
J: It's a Perfect Petzzz. He sleeps and breathes and if you hold him to your ear, you can hear and feel him breathing. (Pushing him toward my face).
Me: Oh, you're right. That's cool. (Actually, it was.)
J: He cost $35. His name is Orlando because I got him at Disney World.
Me: Well, isn't that clever... and very nice of your parents.
J: My parents always say yes to anything I want.
Me: I guess you're pretty lucky then. (Feeling a little annoyed now. Looking down... Chelsea is pretending to be a dog and licking my shoe. Yes... licking my shoe.) Ummm, you'd better not do that. My shoes are pretty dirty.
C: Woof! Woof!

And it went on for at least ten minutes until I finally made eye contact with the mothers, who frankly seemed pleased that someone else was entertaining them for a while. A lady on my other side snarkily said I should consider taking them home... "They appear to be yours for the taking" was what she said.

Once we finally climbed aboard our jet, I was happy to be alone again after determining the children had been sequestered in the back. I had another whole row to myself.

I never take pictures from the airplane window, but Tucson always kind of shocks me by its oblivion-like appearance from the air...

Brown, brown, brown. Rectangular. Angular. Brown.

East coast = green & grey. Southwest = brown & blue.

And that's my life today.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Memories of the 70s...

For my birthday and graduation, my dad gave me a photo album and CD of over 100 photographs he'd taken during my childhood. The album caused me to burst into tears in the middle of my graduation party (I hadn't seen most of the photos since I was a small child because they were on slides) because it was so sentimental.

I finally got around to looking at the rest of the photos that were on the CD, and I found the best two photos from my childhood... ever.

Here they are:

My brother and me rocking out in our old living room in Florida:

Check out the reel-to-reel!!! I wonder what I was listening to? I loved Captain & Tennille and the James Gang so my bets are on them.

And this little gem made me laugh out loud...

... a family portrait in our 1970 VW van. Taken on the highway - obviously before the child seat era.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Most Interesting Assignment

This morning after breakfast (wheat Chex, a tortilla with honey, coffee, and cottage cheese), I noticed that I had a message on my cell phone. I had missed the call because I'd been listening to the Beach Boys at a rather loud level.

The message was from my brother. This is all the message said:

"K... It's T. I have a special assignment for you. Call me back immediately."

Of course, my interest was piqued.

Before I begin the rest of the story, I should preface the tale by saying that my brother and his wife are in the business of buying up old apartment buildings, upgrading the units, and then selling them to make a nice profit. My brother is the finance guy and his wife is the interior designer so it works out well.

Anyway -- I called my brother back right away, and we had this conversation:

Me: Hey, it's me. What's my assignment?

T: Hey... I have something that is right up your alley, and I think you have the time to help me with this.

Me: (skeptically) OK... what?

T: Well, we're getting ready to put the units on the market in our newest building. But the problem is that the building doesn't have a name... and it needs a name.

Me: Ooooo, can I name it?!?

T: I need you to do some research for me. The deal is that with all of our other buildings, we've just named them after the street that they're on... like Cherry Street Place or the Greenway Park Plaza or whatever. But this building is on a numbered street, and it doesn't sound very nice to say the "101st Street Building" so it needs a better name.

Me: (fantasizing about how this is in fact the perfect job for me... I mean, I read nail polish color names and lipstick names and Glidden paint chip names -- ie: Creme de la Creme Brulee or Pouty Peach and know I could do better... and now I have a whole building to work with! Yes!) So I get to name the building?!?!?!?!?

T: Yeah, but not just any name. The trick is that the building is kind of ugly. It has these tiny windows that are really high up on the walls, and C. (his wife) and I call it "The Penitentiary" to each other. So we want to give it a name that has something to do with prisons, but not so that any potential tenants would know it. You know, we can't really name it Alcatraz or San Quentin because we don't think anyone would want to buy a unit there. So you need to find something more subtle, but still prison-ish.

Me: How about Auschwitz?

T: Yeah, because we have little swastika tiles in all the kitchen backsplashes so that would be awesome!

Me: But probably not the best selling point. I'm living in the "Bergen Belsen." And you?

T: Yeah, I'm in the Sachsenhausen. That would be a winner.

Me: OK, I can do this. I'll find some really looney prison with a crazy story that no one's ever heard of and you can name it that. Just give me a few hours on Google.

And we left it at that.

After many a prison search on Wikipedia, I finally found the winner (agreed to by my brother and his wife as well)... the Bridewell.

Here's the basic information about it...

The Bridewell was once a Royal Palace of Henry VIII on the banks of the river Fleet before becoming London's first house of correction, where small time crooks were put to work and beaten to help correct their disorderly ways. There were public whippings of half naked women, and a gallery was built to house a male audience for this display. The whippings were stopped towards the end of the 17th century, with the prison closing by 1855, the women prisoners being sent to the newly built Holloway Prison.

London's first real prison built by Henry VIII! Perfect!

It was also a labor camp for women...

... painted by the 18th century artist Hogarth.

In fact, the Bridewell Palace Prison was so notorious that if you look up "bridewell" in the dictionary today, you will find that it is synonymous with the word "prison" in the UK. But unsuspecting Yank consumers will never guess a thing.

Welcome to the Bridewell, dear buyers... bwaaaaaahahahahahhahahahaha!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Slowly Recovering... And One Year Older. Sigh.

So here's the deal... I am feeling better (still blowing my nose every 30 seconds but not feeling achy and death-like anymore), I went to Luis & Nichole's party last night and stayed out till (gasp) almost midnight, drank multiple beers, and took numerous photos.

Too bad this computer doesn't have the right software to hook up my digital camera though... this just means I will have a major photo dump next week.

After spending a good part of the day yesterday sleeping and recovering from the world's worst cold, then watching Pride & Prejudice (the Keira Knightly version... which I'm not ashamed to say made me cry a little at the end), I was finally up for leaving the house and made it over to Luis & Nichole's place.

It was a great party last night (about 40 people in L & N's backyard)... saw all of my old friends (and lots of new toddlers & babies), celebrated with a chocolate birthday cake, tacos, and Coronas, and let everyone know I'm moving back in a few months. I dare say everyone was pretty happy about the news.

Today I ran errands with my mom (yes, great excitement), which included getting lost in Falls Church, as she totally confused road directions even after I continued to say "are you sure this is the right way?!?," and then spent hours with her looking at silver door handles and drawer knobs for her soon-to-be renovated bathroom. Of course, I found myself paralyzed by the ludicrous amount of options available at the Home Expo Design store and probably ended up being absolutely no help at all. My biggest contributions of the day were telling my mom that one door handle looked like a hair barrette, and another looked like a blood-filled tick. Oh, and one style looked very phallic and another was very hot dog-like in appearance, which I guess is actually kind of the same thing.

Time to go to bed now. I'm still on only about 75% energy... blaaahhhh.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Typhoid Mary... That's Me!

I made it to DC in one piece. Too bad my new nickname is Typhoid Mary.

I started to feel shitty about an hour before my flight. I thought, hmmm, do I have a little bit of a sore throat suddenly? I took some Emergen-C and some Airborne hoping to remedy the situation.

It did nothing. I felt crappier and crappier each moment of the rest of the day, and by the time I arrived in Dallas for my connecting flight my nose was running so much it actually dripped all over my t-shirt when I was trying to get in my seat. I'm sure the guy I sat next to was really psyched about that -- especially when I sneezed about 10 times and finally stuffed a Kleenex in my nose when I slept to keep it from running all over my face.

Now I have a death croup cough, my head feels like it's about to explode, and I continue to produce snot at a ridiculously unhealthy level.

I made an attempt to have fun at my friend Mary's party last night at Dr. Dremo's. I was able to rally for a while, even finishing one beer, but then then I had to get back home to bed.

What a lovely birthday treat for me!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Off to DC and Hotlanta!

I just realized, a mere one hour before I need to depart for the airport, that I neglected to mention I am going to DC today and will be there through Sunday, May 27.

I should be able to update this, but I'm not sure how often.

I have a good friend graduating with her master's degree in conflict resolution on Saturday, and she's having a mega-party at my favorite DC watering hole, Dr. Dremo's on Friday night.

Then, my best couple friend in DC, Luis & Nichole, are having their annual Mexican (yep, I'm still on that theme) barbecue complete with Mexico City tacos, muchas Coronas y tequila, and a whole bunch of my other friends who I haven't seen in about a year.

And finally... I had an AirTran ticket I needed to use before June 21 that I had bought last summer to visit my dear, pregnant college friend KC in Atlanta. However, her water broke about one month before it was supposed to and about a week before my visit, which meant that I was persona non grata at the time I was to travel (of course). So now I have rescheduled my trip to see her (and almost one-year old baby Jack) next week in Atlanta. I'm really looking forward to catching up with her and finally seeing Atlanta and her new house too.

On that note -- I need to get out of here and finish packing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Many Reasons Why Mexico Rocks

Let me say for the record that aside from the land of the stars and stripes (America! Fuck Yeah!)...

Italy is my favorite country ever. Ever. Ever. Ever.

Really, what is there not to love about this?

I also love British people. And the beaches in Oman.

But Mexico is next on the list. Definitely in my top five. I really like Mexico. Me gusta mucho.

Aside from low riders, tacos, Mexican decorative knick knacks, mariachis and Norteno music, (to name just a few things I love) here's why Mexico is awesome...

School buses without toilets take you four hours up mountain roads...

... so you can worship at the feet of a giant Jesus statue.

Mean little mules hang out on the roadsides...

... and tempt idiot tourist women to try to pet them.

Their carnival games are the best...

... if you hit the target, a Mexican puppet accordion band plays.

The skeleton isn't scary...

... it's a national symbol. That's cool.

The archaeological ruins are really fascinating...

... and even include sacrificial sites!

Mexican weddings are the bomb...

... and so are Estudiantina singers at rehearsal dinners in central Mexico.

The taxis are pick-up trucks in the countryside...

... to give you a natural, wind-kissed look.

There are some pretty amazing cities...

... and some gorgeous views.

And you can also take photos like this...

... which I took from the deck of a private bungalow in Mazunte.

You can pay the equivalent of $5.00...

... to see wild sea turtles and dolphins in their natural environment.

You can also still see Gremlins driving around...

... which is a different type of endangered species. But just as valuable in my opinion.

Plus the kids are cute...

... cute cute cute!

You can chill out on a hammock all day long...

... looking out over the ocean from your patio.

And you can literally have drinks on the beach...

... and have I mentioned Mexico is the home of the margarita?

So... last Saturday, when my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and I went to Nogales, Mexico, I discovered yet another reason to love Mexico.

It goes without saying that Mexican food is amazing, and we had a wonderful, delicious, and heavenly lunch at this cave restaurant called La Roca that is built half into the cliff (which I highly recommend if heading down south... it's worth the drive just for lunch).

Here are a couple of pictures...

Really, it's nice. I'd go back just for this place.

Plus there was nice shopping in the plaza below the restaurant, as my sister-in-law discovered...

She's an interior designer so this was right up her alley.

My brother wasn't quite as enthused...

... but he was a pretty good sport for a guy.

However, it's not the lunch and shopping that I'm writing about... it's what happened after lunch and shopping.

To get to La Roca, we had to cross some train tracks from the border crossing area. And I mean, we literally crossed the tracks (no overpass or underpass).

I made some smart comment like, "Wouldn't it suck if a train came right now?"

And my brother said, "Well, it'll hit that wall at the border so I don't think it'll be going very far."

We all laughed at the dead-end tracks, felt relieved to know a train wouldn't be coming, and went on our way to the restaurant.

So when we'd finished lunch and were heading back to the main part of town (and the border crossing point), we were just a little bit surprised when we got to the tracks and found a very long freight train sitting on them.

Not moving. Just sitting. There was no way around it either because it was too long to find the end in either direction. There was no option but to go over or under it.

You see, this is the reason I love Mexico... it's chaos.

We watched as a group of elderly American snowbirds (with great effort) got up on one car and started shimmying across the back of it to get over the tracks. Another group of girls went under the cars (which seemed pretty dumb to me).

So it was... the only way back into town was to cross over the train. I went first, attempting to hold shopping bags and climb, but I moved as fast as possible...

I didn't really have any desire to be a stow away that afternoon.

Then my mom went, and the train started moving a little. She absolutely freaked out. I started yelling at her that she was en route to Guadalajara. I've never seen a woman over 60 years old move so quickly.

We finally all made it, but seriously, it just confirmed in my mind that Mexico is another world. A lively, colorful, non-safety conscious, adventurous, very cool world.

Viva Mexico!!!

PS - One final reason Mexico is great -- it's the home of the bobble-head dog. My brother bought this guy for me from a street vendor for $3.00...

His name is Taco. And he now resides on my car's dashboard. I love him too.