Monterrey, México, August 16, 2009

B.O. first took me to Soriana to buy new rubber sandals, since I had lost mine somewhere along the way (probably in the transfer from Hotel Ibis to B.O.’s parents’ house).

Afterwards, we stopped by OXXO, where I bought a chicken salad sandwich.

The Sandwich From OXXO

The Sandwich From OXXO

We split the sandwich as a light snack on the road, and we also snacked on tuna (the cactus fruit, not the fish).


After a while, we arrived to the Termas de San Joaquín (San Joaquín Hot Springs). A bath house was built around natural hot springs; it was essentially a shallow swimming pool, with the water coming up to about waist level. There was a distinct sulfurous smell.

Lantern In The Spiral Ramp

Lantern In The Spiral Ramp

Passageway

Passageway

B.O. and Me At The Termas

B.O. and Me At The Termas


We returned to Monterrey, and had a late lunch at the house of B.O.’s brother E., the father of little V. who was shown taking a swing at the piñata on August 14. who served us a gourmet Italian meal that he cooked himself. Also at the table were E.’s wife N., and his two daughters M.A. (whom we have seen earlier) and little V.


In the evening, we went to the Mall Valle Oriente, where I bought a tie at Scappino, and then stopped by Sanborn’s and had coffee. Afterwards, we saw the new G.I. Joe movie in a very fancy theatre at V.I.P. Cinépolis. Waitstaff is present so you can order out of a menu, and you can then have a meal (B.O. mentioned sushi as a possibility) while you watch the movie; but we didn’t order anything.

Here are some photos of the interior of the V.I.P. theater.

V.I.P. Cinépolis Theatre

V.I.P. Cinépolis Theatre


V.I.P. Cinépolis Seat (Close Up)

V.I.P. Cinépolis Seat (Close Up)

V.I.P. Menu (food and drinks)

V.I.P. Menu (food and drinks)


Finally, we had a late meal at Super Salads.


Trip Summary

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Monterrey, México, August 14, 2009

I checked out of Hotel Ibis in the morning, and for the rest of the trip I spent the nights at B.O.’s family’s house as their guest. Somehow, in the move I lost my beach sandals.

In the morning, we split a sandwich (I think it was queso y puerco) from OXXO as a light snack on the road, and drove to Coahuila state, to see the Museo de las Aves. Yes, it was a museum that was devoted exclusively to the birds of México; there were many fine specimens of birds were on display in various dramatic poses. There was a map at the museum that showed the various climates of México. It showed that Monterrey is in a temperate forested clime, not out in the desert.

Me With Display of Stuffed Ostrich

Me With Display of Stuffed Ostrich

Something that I got to wondering was, when a taxidermist is presented with a dead bird to mount for display, how do they decide what pose to put the bird in?

B.O. and Me at Museo de las Aves

B.O. and Me at Museo de las Aves

Comparing Crocs at Museo de las Aves

Comparing Crocs at Museo de las Aves

After the Museo, we visited B.O.’s friend V. in Saltillo, which is the capital of Coahuila. We didn’t stay long, since we needed to get back to Monterrey for dinner.


On the way back, we bought a braid of garlic (ajos) from a roadside vendor. The sign behind us indicates two local towns, Los Fierros and Rinconada; the vendor was from Rinconada.

Garlic Vendor and Me

Garlic Vendor and Me

Garlic Braids

Garlic Braids

B.O. has a ceramic container at home which she can use to roast the garlic. Roasted garlic — sounds delicious!

Roadside Landscape

Roadside Landscape


In the evening, I attended the weekly dinner of B.O.’s extended family. About 24 people were present. This photos is a little underexposed, but it gives a flavor of the setting.

Family Dinner

Family Dinner

Dinner was tostitacos, which looked like tacos in a red shell. B.O. assured me that this was the meal that they always had (i.e., they didn’t make a special meal just because I was visiting).

After dinner they threw a birthday party for me (although it wasn’t really my birthday), complete with birthday cake, to show me what their birthday parties are like. They give each birthday party a theme according to the particular celebrant’s in-jokes, personality, and history. In my case, the motif was Mr. Spock, which is a reference to an in-joke that B.O. and I have that I am very Vulcan. B.O.’s sister E. had spent a lot of time making cute table decorations; you can see one on the table in the foreground, in the photo above. They presented me with some birthday gifts, and then I showed them some old movies of my own family from the 70’s and 80’s.

Here are two of B.O.’s nieces.

M. and M.A.

M. and M.A.

Here’s B.O.’s nephew.

R. At The Computer

R. At The Computer

B.O.’s family had gone so far as to have a piñata custom made in the image of Mr. Spock.

Revellers and Piñata

Revellers and Piñata

Apparently, this helped drum up a little business for the piñata maker. I was told that two other customers saw the Spock piñata, and asked the piñata maker to make one for them, too.

The convention is that the celebrant gets the first swings at the piñata. But if the celebrant is an adult they take only “light” swings at the piñata without breaking it, to allow the children to take “real” swings. In any case, the piñata was surprisingly well-made, and didn’t break very easily (this one was not filled with anything).

Here’s A. taking a swing at the piñata. She is wearing her Snow White costume.

A. Having At It

A. Having At It

And here’s little V. taking a swing (with a little help from her father, B.O.’s brother E.):

V. Taking A Swing

V. Taking A Swing

According to this web page, the traditional piñata is shaped like a seven-pointed star to represent the Devil and the Seven Deadly Sins. So hitting it with a stick is symbolic of fighting evil.


Trip Summary

Monterrey, México, August 11, 2009

In Reagan National Airport, we boarded the airplane in the standard way: from back to front in blocks.

The trip itself was uneventful. As the airplane was descending to land in General Mariano Escobedo International Airport, there was an overhead announcement stating that the airline was very sorry, but they didn’t have immigration cards to fill out. We were instructed to find immigration cards on some desk in the terminal. In the resulting confusion in the terminal, I was unable to find any immigration cards! I finally just went up to the immigration officer and asked for one. All told, it took me about one hour to get out of the airport.

Here’s a map of the airport.

Monterrey Airport Terminal Layout

Monterrey Airport Terminal Layout

B.O. was there to pick me up. After we bought some bottled water from a nearby concession stand, we walked over to her car. Driving out of the airport’s parking lot, my first comment was that it felt very much like the U.S. Even the makes of the cars looked pretty much the same; sometimes when I’m in foreign countries, the types of cars look very much different from the cars you see in the U.S. This made B.O. chuckle; she said that Mexicans from outside Monterrey often make the same observation, saying that Monterrey feels like the U.S.

From there, we went to QuitaKilos, where we had lunch. Here’s their menu for August 11:

Platillo Guarniciones
Pay atún
Pollo italiano
Pescado al vapor
* Crema de Coliflor

* Arroz

* Nopales rojos

* Calabacita rellena

* Ensalada de zanahoria c/piña

B.O. and I ordered the same meal: the Pay atún (tuna pie; the fish, not the cactus fruit), Crema de coliflor (cream of cauliflower soup), and Ensalada de zanahoria (carrot salad).

B.O.’s friend N.V., whose marriage we attended on August 15, used to work at Quitakilos. This resulted in a humorous situation at the reception, as you’ll see when I get to that post. For now, here’s a photo of B.O. with N.V. taken 22 August 2008, at N.V.’s sister’s wedding; it is a sort of preview of N.V.’s 15 August 2009 wedding.

B.O. and N.V., 22 August 2008

B.O. and N.V., 22 August 2008


We briefly stopped by B.O.’s home, to pick up B.O.’s laptop computer. Out front waiting to greet me were B.O.’s sister D., D.’s son R., and B.O.’s niece A. Inside the house, I met B.O.’s cousin A. and B.O.’S sister E. (the mother of B.O.’s niece A.) B.O.’s parents weren’t home; I believe they were out on vacation.

B.O. lent me her laptop computer so that I could have internet access during my stay at Hotel Ibis. They have Third Generation (3G) Internet in Monterrey.


Afterwards, we went to the Iglesia de San José en Monterrey, which you’ll see listed on this web page. B.O. would often pray to St. Joseph at this church, so it has special significance. Here are two photos of the church.

La iglesia de San José

La iglesia de San José

Another photo of la iglesia de San José

Another photo of la iglesia de San José


Then B.O. took me to the Ana Elisa Beauty Co., a hair salon, to get my hair cut in preparation for the wedding and reception on August 15. In the salon, there was a cute little doggie named Nini, a shitzu, I think. Here is a map showing the location of this hair salon.

croquis 2


Finally, B.O. drove me to the Hotel Ibis Monterrey Valle, where I checked in and got some rest.


Trip Summary