Our flight leaves Panama City after dark and it is getting late as we touch down in Mexico City. We gain an hour moving into the Central Time Zone. It is dark on the entire drive from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, so we see little else but the road reflectors that mark our lane of traffic and the pine trees lining the highway. That is, until we crest the last hill overlooking the high valley full of the city lights of our destination. We are excited as we catch the first glimpse of our new home – quite a change moving into a metropolitan area the size of Seattle after living near the village of Boquete nestled remotely in the mountains of Panama.
During the drive from the airport, I say to our driver, Vincente, “You know, other countries have their own national drink. In Chile it’s the pisco sour. In Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica it’s rum. What’s the national drink of Mexico?” To which Vincente simply replies, “Beer.” After a good laugh I tell him I was expecting him to say tequila. He grins and says, “That, too.”
Our temporary living quarters is without provisions, so our first stop the next morning is La Glorieta Restaurant, a 10 minute walk up the street. Our eggs are served ranchero style on a bed of deliciously spiced beans. We use our fresh corn tortillas to soak up the beans. The coffee and pastries are included in the meal which we are now too full to finish off. When we tell our host, Julio, that we are new in town, he provides us with a map of the city. I ask where we can watch our favorite NFL football teams during the playoffs this weekend. He walks me back to the adjoining room with the big flatscreen TV which is obviously where the local soccer fans come to cheer on their favorite teams. Julio says, “You come back here when the game is on and I will put on your football game for you. I have the satellite dish.” I love Mexico already!
After stocking up on food and supplies our landlady, Ruth, takes us on a quick tour into the town center and the public market. Surprise – they have apples from Washington for the same price they sell for back home! I cannot resist the prices and selection. We purchase a papaya, two pounds of tangerines, six bananas, a fresh-cut pineapple, a new variety of orange we’ve never seen before, plus some tomatoes and avocados for a total cost of about $5.00. I almost forgot to mention the kilo of fresh strawberries we purchased for 80 cents, which I am munching on now as I write this. It is still 80°F outside where I am sitting as the sun sinks into the West. I think we will like Cuernavaca, Mexico just fine.