Upon arrival in Mexico on Friday afternoon, I started feeling a bit lost, out of sorts. Not sure why I had made this journey. The plane ride was fine. It was expensive to fly into Morelia versus Mexico City, so I decided to spend just a little more and fly first class. It was nice to have the wider seat, with less people around to just sleep, sleep, sleep after waking up at 3 am to catch a 6:30 am flight. When I arrive to leave on Friday morning, I was blown away by the newly renovated Laguardia airport. It had been a long time since I had flown through LGA, and despite Cuomo being a jerk to women, he certainly followed through on completing major construction jobs like LGA and the Second Ave Subway line. Finally got to see the Sarah Sze installation, not as big as I thought it would be, and go through the TSA PreCheck line for once before 5:00 am. At JFK they were never open when I arrived at 4:30 am. The airport is so modeled after the airports I experienced in Italy, Especially Venice. As you go to your gate after Security you are bombarded with items to buy and eat, all on show from Major NY Companies, like food from Zabars, Books from The Strand, make up from Kohls and soaps from L’Occitain. So overwhelming at such an early hour. Even the restaurants were NY favorites, more than just Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.
But I digress, was going to focus on arriving in Mexico. I was told to go to the Taxi Kiosk to order and pay for a taxi, but the lady behind the glass would not accept the address I had for where I was going. She said she needed la colonia. All I had was what I was given. I suddenly felt weak and and unable to function. I was hungry (I forgot that you needed to order food ahead of time in First Class and I was left with just salad to eat, since the only plates left were short ribs (Yuck). I finally gave up and got some cash to go to the Taxi stand outside, and then even the driver did not understand where to go after I showed him the location of the Hacidenda on Google maps. The director said it would be so easy. It was not. I tried to call her, but no answer, and not sure if I could even use my phone. But then just as we were leaving to head to the next major town, Alicia the director called, and was able to somewhat tell the Taxi driver where to go. He still did not quite get it, but at least he agreed to take the Toll Road, which I was warned to do, after he said, noooo, you don’t want to pay for that. Too expensive. 22 Pesos. A $1.50. I pay $6 regularly to drive over the Whitestone Bridge to teach in Queens. And I am glad we did. It was much faster and no speed bumps. Olivier had told me about how there were so many random speed bumps all over the local roads in Mexico, to detract from speeding. But we zipped along the highway. The landscape reminded me of Arizona, Arid high ground. I could see a lot of controlled burning in the distance, and even a fire right along the side of the road, which the taxi driver just took in stride.
The taxi driver told me to call Alicia again to get directions from the nearby town of Maravatio, he still did not quite get it, and needed to follow my Google maps, which my roaming could pick up. We slowly made our way through the town, inching along over the speed bumps and passed the bodegas, outdoor cafes and Rotisserie chicken tents. Once on the main road the driver ended up missing our turn not thinking it was even a road to get to the Hacienda. Even then not so sure where we needed to go. I remember reading there was a school across the street, which I thought was the building where we saw children playing soccer, he said no this is the school, so we took a chance and rode through the gate to the White House in the field. And thank fully yes it was. It was like driving up to a ranch house, expecting Georgia O’keeffe to be behind the wooden gate doors. Instead there was Alicia to greet me, with 3 dogs and two young adults traveling from Europe drinking Hibiscus Water in the afternoon sunlight/shade. I have arrived. After which, I slept for 12 hours straight.