Let’s escape to the City of Eternal Spring. La ciudad de la eterna primivera.
Let’s escape this unrelenting frigid snowy situation in Chicago for the warm air and blue skies of the Sierra de Chichinautzin mountains.
Let’s go. Let’s go on a quick three and a half hour plane ride that takes us far away from the February weather we are suffering through. It’s basically a whole different world, for more reasons than one.
As we embark on our journey to Cuernavaca, we touch down at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City. We go to pick up our checked bag. Oh wait.. where is it? I’m seeing dozens of large black suitcases on that conveyor belt but not ours. At least I have some basic toiletries and other things to keep me somewhat presentable. Worse things could happen. Worse things do happen…
After getting the runaround about our suitcase, we end up with an extra $100 dollars in our pocket and told our bag will arrive at our hotel the next day. I’ll take it.
Enter Senor Johnnie Walker, Lu’s awesome cousin. He lives in Mexico City and kindly agrees to pick us up from the airport. The drive from Mexico City to Cuernavaca (a drive that I’ve done only one other time) takes us through the bustling metropolis of Mexico and onto a curvy mountainside road that deposits us in this beautiful City of Eternal Spring. I’m sure everybody is well aware of the negative publicity Mexico gets for its crime. Having been to Mexico three times in the past two years, I have always felt far removed from any sort of violence. Although it is somewhat alarming that each policeman carries a machine gun strapped to his chest. Hashtag Yikes. Hashtag Scary.
Now we’ve only just begun our ride through the city. Mexico City has just shy of 9 million people and a surrounding urban population of 21 million. It’s dense, and it’s traffic is horrendous. Of course we leave the airport in the evening so getting stuck in that traffic is inevitable. At least I’m in good company. Remember when I mentioned that worse things do happen? This is the part where the worst happens. We’re stopped at a stoplight probably talking about something silly. Laughing. Windows cracked for a fresh evening breeze. The sun has already set. THUNK. Two men on a motorcycle accost the driver’s side, stick a gun in the window, and say in fast Spanish “Dame tu telefono! Tu telefono! Tu cartera!” Yep. That happened. We were robbed at gunpoint, and it was officially the scariest moment of my life. Johnnie handled the situation. He handed over his iPhone, which was already on display so there was no getting out of that one. He handed over some sunglasses. I sat in the backseat absolutely frozen scared. You never know how you’re going to act in these situations, and my act was inaction. If you had a snapshot of my face, I was probably holding my breath with my jaw dropped and eyes wide open. It didn’t even really occur to me to reach into my purse and handover my goods, which was quite dumb. I was too busy thinking “is this real life? Is this actually happening?” They told Johnnie to turn off the car. They told us to give them more. While I remained paralyzed, Johnnie and Lu were acting their hearts out. They were doing the universal “I don’t have anything else” sign where they pat their pockets and shrug. Johnnie told them we were visiting and didn’t have anything. Then by the grace of God, the light turned green and they sped off leaving us dumbfounded. We were all so shaken up but also very relieved that they left us alone without taking everything and most importantly without hurting us. Are you still in for our trip to Cuernavaca? I calmed my nerves with some simple math. The probability of that happening to us again had to be very low. Besides, having lived in Mexico his whole life that sort of situation has never happened to Johnnie before so it is a rare occurrence. Let’s not forget that the beans live in one of the most violent cities in America. Chicago is known for its gang-related violence and unfortunately large number of murders. It’s a sad truth that violence is everywhere but you have to keep on living. Onward, we go.
We arrive in Cuernavaca. It’s late, and we’re hungry. The answer to our hunger in Mexico is always street tacos. We love us some tacos. Two things that always taste better in Mexico are tacos and fruit. Always. We meet up with the bride-to-be (Lu’s cousin, Johnnie’s sister) and her handsome groom to bask in the taco goodness. Vacation has begun.
Let’s fast forward. Wedding day has arrived. Estefania and her mom planned one of the most stunning weddings. As expected, the weather was nothing short of perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky. Flowers blooming in a lovely garden. Pink and white were the predominant colors. Let’s let some pictures do the talking.
After the beautiful ceremony came cocktail hour. Sunshine + family + margaritas = happiness.
After cocktail hour came a delicious seated dinner followed by hours of dancing. You want to know a good way to make this American gal feel dumb? Throw me into a pool of beautiful Latinos salsa dancing in their gorgeous dresses with 4 inch heels on like it ain’t no thang. Um, yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I still got out there to bust my best moves but folks probably thought I had two left feet. At least my primary dancing partner (hi, big frijol) has a set of those Latin hips himself so my guess is everybody was looking at him and not me anyway. Seriously, if you don’t know then now you know. The big frijol is an amazing dancer. Swoon.
Now let’s talk more about how gorgeous the people were. Mexicans sure do look pretty. The ladies, and I’m talking both the bridal party and guests included, were dressed in beautiful, bright colors with hair and make-up to the nines. It was an exceptionally good looking wedding.
One of the cool things about the wedding was that the food kept on coming. After dinner, we indulged in esquites. Followed by chilaquiles, pozole, and of course there were some tacos shortly after midnight to round out the party. It was an awesome celebration in honor of the lovely couple who appeared so happy and so in love. The whole event was heartwarming and magical. Who doesn’t love love?
Now I’m back in the windy city. It’s calm before yet another winter storm moves in tonight. Make today a good day. xo, lw.
PS: how beautiful is our abuelita?