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Saturday, January 30, 2010

¿Have I Really Only Been Gone 2 Weeks?

This week I have mostly been.....a Fag Hag. Last night I was at a gay bar called Lipstick. Yep, it´s a strange name for a gay bar. The guys that work at the bar don´t wear shirts and as I was waiting for my drink a Mexican guy said to me "I think you want to make sex with the bar man"! Hmmmm not as much as he did methinks!

Also, when I was at the university with Ike the other day (another gay Mexican - I know many!) he was explaining to me what his teacher was a doctor in. His explanation was: He is doctor of....hmmm....if you want to make big boobies!. A plastic surgeon was obviously the term he was looking for.

So while it has been a very gay week (both in sexual orientation and happiness) I´ve felt like I´ve really got to experience Mexican culture. More so than just eating the food and being here. Jose took me and JF to Coyoacan on Thirsday. The name comes from the Aztec meaning "Place of the Coyote" and it´s wear the house of the artist Frieda is. It´s such a different place compared to the area I´m staying in. Much more traditional, with cobbled streets and quaint wee houses. It was so relaxing compared to the hub of the Zona Rosa.

The evenings have been spent drinking Mezcale and having Mexican people try to teach me to dance Salsa. I knew I was terrible but they were very kind and told me it was good for my first effort. Today I have done very little. I didn´t sleep so good last night because 2 of the guys at my youth hostel are snorers so I´ll be happy to try to get an early night and be sleeping long before they start their god-awful nose racket.

Ah, I know I have so much more to write about but my head´s a bit fuzzy today from the Mezcale and Pina Coladas. There´s an Irish bar not too far from here I want to go to some night because they have Irish food. I don´t miss Irish food I´m just really curious to see what Mexicans class as "Irish food". Somehow I can´t really see an Ulster Fry being on the menu. I´ll let ye´s know.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Making Friends In Mexico

After the zoo yesterday I hooked up with a French-Canadian guy and a Mexican guy for some drinks. It was an interesting experience as we were communicating in 3 different languages. Mostly English though. But it was good because we were all helping each other learn. We also picked another Mexican guy on the street. This is because we were walking down the `Gay Bar` street and the French-Canadian locked eyes with this guy and love blossomed right there and then. Well, kind of.

It was a fun night though and the guy we picked up in the street called me Mexican!! I do so like to fit in with the locals. Although, it seems you can take the girl out of Ireland but you can`t take Ireland out of the girl, as I was shouting for more Tequila and everyone else was looking at me like I was crazy.

One of the things I like about talking to people from different places is the humour that goes along with it. Because our understanding of each other`s languages are pretty basic, jokes become pretty basic. I remember in Thailand when I went to pay for my Internet (which was only ever about 10 baht) and I`d ask how much it was and Ice would say "It is ten.....thousand baht". Last night we teased JFC (the French-Canadian) about eating Elk and he said, in Canada, they eat everything, cat, dog, babies! It`s a really silly thing to laugh about but when you can`t make really witty jokes it`s nice to laugh about something.

Now it`s time for me to get ready for a wee visit to some Botanical Gardens (yes mum, gardens!) The reason for this is I was invited by my friends from last night and it`s yet another opportunity for me to learn more Spanish and see a bit more of the city. Also, the plants at the garden are Homeopathic so it`s a little more interesting than just looking at a bunch of daisies!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beats Belfast Zoo

Today I went to......the Zoo!!! I took my friend's advice and went early in the morning to avoid the crowds of people (it's free everyday so attracts a lot of visitors) and to make sure the animals weren't all hiding in the shade. I could easily go again though when Danny Boy gets here.

Being there reminded me of the last time I went to the zoo. Not only was it crappy old Belfast zoo but it was also in November and freezing. But, it was a surprise planned by my boy and even though it was wet and cold (Belfast Zoo is located half way up a mountain near enough) we had a lovely time. Especially because it was a surprise. I love animals and I love surprises.

Today it was the monkey's and the racoons that won my heart (only 'cos there were no meercats). But, I haven't been to many zoo's, it always breaks my heart to see a gorilla in captivity. I know I should feel the same way about all the animals but gorilla's always have such an air of sadness about them.

Yesterday I went to Parque Mexico. It's a quaint little place where dog-walkers and skateboarders hang out. I was a little hasty in saying all city's are the same. For one, Mexico is not a fast paced city. It's just too hot during the day for people to move fast. I love warm countries because I love street vendors. You can see what's on offer without going into the shop and feeling like you have to buy something. And I love the smell of all the fruit juice venodors on the street. Hmmm all that lovely fresh fruit. I'm away for a fruit shake. And then some beers.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Taking Things Easy

I still haven´t been to the zoo yet but yesterday was Sunday, the busiest day to go (so not much chance of actually seeing the animals) and today is Monday, where most things are closed. The shops and restaurants are all open but musuems and banks are closed. So tomorrow I'll get up bright and early and spend a nice day at the zoo and the park.

I really haven't been doing a whole lot but it's what I needed after the madness of Christmas and getting ready for my travels. I don't really feel like I should be doing anything. It's just nice to finally be here.

As far as cultural differences go, it's kinda hard to write about. I have always felt that city's are much the same all over the world. Mexico city obviously has it's differences but you are still never too far away from a Starbucks or McDonalds. It's certainly a different experience to when I went to Thailand. For a start, I was in a small city in Thailand that, despite the monkey's, didn't see a whole lot of tourists. So, when the locals saw a white face they would stare and shout 'Hello' and giggle with their friends. Obviously they´re much more used to tourists here and so I am ignored for the most part. Which suits me just fine. It's nice to be anonymous. You don't get that in a small town like Ballymena.

I am looking forward to making my way down south. I have plans to go to Oaxaca and San Cristobal De Las Casas before I cross the border to Guatemala. I would like to make a little beach trip though but I haven't decided where yet. Ah, that's the best part, having no real plans to stick to. It's always how I imagined travelling to be. Just ambling along and seing what happens. The reason I'm staying so long in Mexico City is 'cos I'm waiting for Danny Boy to get here and because I have some friends here.

Anyway, today I may go to Parque Mexico, which although is nowhere near as big as the park that houses the Zoo and museums, it is meant to be the nicest park in Mexico. I have always loved parks and just hanging out there to read will be pleasure enough for me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Miss My Boy!

I hate that! I was nearly just at the end of finishing a post and it got wiped. I don't really have the heart to sit and write it all again so I'll do it tomorrow. But what I will say is, even though I'm having a lovely time, I miss my boyfriend badly. It's not even been that long but I think it's more the fact that it will be a long time before I see him again. When I do finally see him though it will be in Madrid. The poor thing's never had a holiday abroad before and I fly from Peru to Madrid before flying to London. I thought it would be nice if I could meet him in a totally different city, where the sun will be shining and I should, hopefully, be half fluent in Spanish. Ah.....

Oh, because I've stopped over-indulging in a certain substance (I'll let your overactive imaginations guess what that substance might be) my dreams have returned and they are crraaazzzy. The first mad one I was doing a celebrity bush tucker trial and had to eat cut up chunks of human brain! I can alsmost sort of remember the taste now, kind of chemically. The other one I dreamt that my friend here fell out with me 'cos they were robbed and blamed me. I was going to have to leave Mexico because of it. And last night I dreamt that my friend from home was trying to get out of going to work by eating a worm. She said she could feel it wriggling inside her. So...yeh,Freud would have a field day I'm sure.

So tomorrow I'll try to re-write that blog post and finally get round to writing about my short time in NYC. Unitl then, buenos tardes mis amigos.

The First Proper Post From Abroad

So, the whole rucksack facade has been resolved, thankfully. It was a mission though. One of them situations where if I spoke the language it would have been sorted out pretty quickly but the language barrier just made everything 100 times more difficult.

But now it's sorted I've had a chance to actually start enjoying myself and seeing a bit of Mexico City. I went out for dinner with Chris, Melodie and Sarah on Thursday night and then we drank wine and played Uka at their apartment. The wine was delicious and Uka was very difficult. It's a card game with about 1 million rules. When they were explaining it to me they kept saying "oh, and just one more thing".

Today I went to the Zocalo. This is the famous square in Mexico city. One of the biggest in the world. Unfortunately they're doing a bit of refurbishment at the minute but the Catherdral was absolutley stunning.

Actually, maybe I should write a little about my time in New York. Well, the first day there it rained and because I was trying to do everything on the cheap it kind of limited me a little. The first thing I did do though was go and visit the St. Patrick's Cathedral. Good Catholic girl that I am.

My second day there was much better though. It was cold but the sun was shining so I walked to Central Park. If I ever go back to NY (which I kinda doubt) it'll be in the summer and I'd go with someone else. Having said that I ended up having a surprisingly pleasant night when I went to an Irish bar. One of the guy's who worked there was Irish and he was playing pool with his New Yorker friends. They asked me if I wanted to play so I spent the night hanging out with them drinking whiskey. One of them asked me why I chose that particular bar and I said I was outside and a guy came out for a smoke, so I asked him did they sell Jameson`s and he said yes. That was me sold. They found this hilarious though I'm not quite sure why.

It was a lovely night though and everyone wished me well on travels, told me to be careful, etc. etc. but they were all reaññy genuine, lovley people. That's one thing I'll give NY credit for. For a big city, people are really friendly and helpful.

So, now I'm in Mexico City and there's so much to do here and I'm in no particular rush. It's fantastic. Just ambling about at my own pace, soaking up the sun and culture. I'm staying in the Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) which is kinda like the red light district so there are many gay and lesbian bars and sex shops. And as such, there are more clothes shops for men than there are for women. I noticed this when I thought I would have to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Right, anyway, I guess I won't have anything to blog about if I don't get off my ass and go do something. Walking any distance here is tough though, not just because of the heat but because of the high altitude. Though the bonus of high altitude is that you get drunker quicker. (Un)fortunately for me, I'm Irish and probably would need to be at least 5 km above sea level for this to have any real affect. I'm hardcore me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

At Least They Let Me In

It´s been a long 36 hrs. That´s how long I´ve been awake. Tell a lie, I did snatch 3 hrs earlier on but I´m not convinced it was the most restful of naps.

I arrived in Mexico City at 5 O´Clock this morning. My rucksack didn´t. Apparently this happens all the time but it was the last thing I was expecting. I was worrying about everything else but. The guy at the airport said he´d forward it to my hostel but didn´t actually write down the address of my hostel. I´ve been trying to phone them all day but they don´t answer. I just hope when I go back to the airport tomorrow it´ll be waiting for me. If not I´m just gonna have to buy everything I need. Luckily I´m in one of the cheapest places for it though I didn´t really account for it in my budget.

The clothes aren´t important. Nothing in it really is except my camera. But I´d bought a Paulo Cohelo book in New York called Brida about an Irish girl who meets a wise man who lives in the woods and teaches her to trust in the goodness of people and she meets a woman who teaches her to dance to the music of the world. I bought it because I believe in these philosophies and I love Paulo Cohelo. I´m a bit gutted about that too but it´s not like I´ll never get to read it.

Aside from that though it´s fantastic being in Mexico. I met up with Chris this morning who showed me around a bit and informed me there is a Zoo at the park, which is free on Sundays. That´s definitely on my list of things to do. It´s just great being somewhere different ¨{NYC doesn´t count as being different}. I love different cultures and it reminds me of my time in Thailand. Not that the cultures are similar but just that feeling of newness and adventure.

That´s how I met Chris and his fiance actually. In Thailand. And it´s been a big help having a friendly face around. We´re gonna go out for Mescale (a tequila like licquor derived from the cactus plant) on Friday night and eat the best (according to Chris) tacos in the whole of Mexico and, possibly, the world.

I tried phoning home but it´s far too confusing. But I explained my problem to the guy at the internet shop and he was really helpful and phoned the airport for me (they didn´t answer for him either) but even him just trying to help was enough to console me a bit.

Mel said they lost her luggage at JFK as well. So they seem to have a problem transporting it. Excuse my language but they´re fucking noobs. And what kind of way is that to honour one of their greatest Presidents? Making a total royal fuck-up. Tomorrow´s a new day though and regardless if I get this sorted the sun will be shining.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Everything Comes Together

I don't need to worry about losing my bank card. I got a travel card at the post office yesterday and today my other bank card arrived in the post. My sleeping bag also arrived today so no stressing about that anymore either. I've started my packing and getting quite worried about carrying it everywhere as it nearly killed me bringing in a bucket of coal today.

That's pretty much everything sorted now. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a lovely relaxing day but something tells me that just ain't gonna happen. I was meant to meet some friends for a couple of drinks last night. The plan was to have a couple and then spend the rest of the night with my boy (the one that I thought I shouldn't be with because I was going away but then I realised that I really loved him and 5 months wasn't that long a time). And obviously we spent a romantic night in, cuddling by the fire and whispering sweet nothings. We didn't stay out drinking 'til the pubs kicked us out and then insist that Half Term Kerm and JL come back for more drinks and a serenading session. Oh no! It was a good night out but when I woke up this morning (late) I sort of wished that we'd stuck to the original plan.

It was a lovely night though and JL got me some lovely things to take with me. The best thing was a notebook with photos of mum, baby M, the pets, my boy, maltesers and a meercat! Some people know just exactly how to make me smile. I'm sure I'll be able to squeeze in one more post before I go but if not the next time I blog will be from New York!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lots Of Money But No Means To Spend It

I guess I'm not technically on holiday until I start get a lie-in in the morning. I was up at the crack of dawn today to sort more stuff. First on the agenda was the bank. I'd applied for a new account so I'd have a spare debit card to take in case I lost my main one. I'd gone in last week saying I'd got my pin before Christmas but no card yet. The girl assured me my card would be there in a couple of days. But no. I went in today and a different clerk told me that the card had been sent on 15th December and I should have got it by now. She had no choice but to cancel the card and order a new one. The new one will take 7 working days. I have 3 working days before I go. When I asked her if there was anything else I could do she just just smiled sympathetically as she shook her head and said, "You're just going to have be really careful with your card". Like I hadn't planned to already be really careful with my card. It's not much use to me when someone has mugged me and I have sufficient money in the bank to buy myself a nice warm cup of coffee and something to eat but absolutely no means of accessing it.

The next stop was the Citizen's Advice Bureau. This went much better than the bank. I was getting some advice on where I stood with D2 and getting my final wages and the guy informed me that if I didn't get paid what I needed was a RP1 form. I don't really understand the ins and outs of but he was basically telling me that I hadn't worked for nothing. Someone would pay me what was owed. Then when I got home I'd received a letter from a company I didn't recognise but knew it had something to do with D2 because it was addressed to Hannah Clarke Bowyer. Obviously my middle name is not Clarke and whatever illegible scrawl my old manager had made she'd added an extra 'K' in for good measure. So the company have been bought over and it seems my wages are safe one way or the other. I kinda had a good feeling they would be but I guess I shouldn't count my chickens until the money is safely in my bank account.

I also squeezed in 2 walks with Miss Martha. The first one was to give Z a bit of time to get a few things done and the second one was for the dogs. Though Miss Martha took advantage of that one too.

My heart leaps with joy every time I think about sitting in the warm sun supping on a pina colada. My mate Danny will be joining me at the beginning of February for a couple of weeks. Danny also visited me when I was in Thailand. I have to keep him away from motorbikes and he has to keep me away from basketball courts.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Total Shower Of C**ts

This day next week I'll be in the York of New. Still freezing my balls off but I guess that won't bother me so much as everything will be new and interesting. It only occurred to me last week that I should take a sleeping bag with me. You'd think this would be one of the first things I'd have sorted out but common sense isn't really a strong point of mine.

As it turns out, the 'shit' job may not be paying me my final wages and holiday pay. The reason being the company (D2 by the way, a clothes shop that probably would have done alright if it was managed properly) have gone into administration. It's galling to think of how I worked my ass off, possibly for nothing. Especially when I'd tried to hand my notice in 3 times. I was wrecked working them hours. Good for nothing. Unable to spend quality time with my family and friends. And now it might've all been for nothing.

I know when I'm basking in the sun this will be the last thing on my mind but just as the minute, while it's all up in the air and it's still in my face, I feel pretty pissed off. It's just the icing on the cake from this company. All the shit that I've put up with from them and I might not even get what is owed to me. Still, it's not just me who's affected. There will be people within the company who aren't relying on the money for the holiday of a lifetime but to feed and heat their family. Our government sucks. But you live and you learn. I hope. I have learned to trust my gut instinct. I have never liked mixing letters and numbers together. D2 have just confirmed this.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust

Oh yeah, Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year. Most people said they had a quiet one but mine was pretty busy. A good kind of busy, though, that involved much socialising and much drinking.

Tomorrow is my last day of work! This makes me so happy. I look back now on all the 12 and 13 hour shifts I worked and it all of a sudden seems worth it. It was tough but I've earned the most massive reward. A long blissful holiday of chilling and relaxing.

I had a wisdom tooth taken out today. I was almost fearing it more than the flight to New York. It wasn't too bad though. The last time I had a tooth pulled I was so disorientated with pain I came home with a lovely sax that cost me a fortune. It was so sore and raw I'd felt totally violated. This time I was able to go visit Z and baby M and dance and sing and nurse baby M to sleep. Her Granda Bo will be pleased to hear she is a fan of Elbow.

I haven't been great at blogging lately. Just too much going on and my head's too cluttered with thoughts. I will be happy to experience some serenity and calmness. My idea of a perfect life would be to travel round S. America learning carpentry, Tai Chi and the saxophone and adopting a dog called Rusty. I'll be happy just to travel for now though.

Anyway, time for me to do other stuff. Like maybe take some more pain killers for the big gaping hole in my mouth where my tooth of wisdom used to be.