travel

A little rocky start, but improving :)

So after our perfectly smooth flights yesterday, we landed ahead of schedule in Mexico City. All we needed to do was breeze through immigration (which always makes Ivan cringe a little, because he has to travel on his U.S. passport- meaning he has to line up in the “extranjeros” or “foreigners” line, with us, to enter Mexico. There’s something very, very weird about declaring yourself a foreigner in your own country!) and pick up our rental car.

The immigration part was quick and easy, but when we got to the rental car office, it turned into a huge fiasco.

We ALWAYS end up having issues with our rental cars here. Ivan books them ahead of time, reserves a certain price (including full insurance), and then we arrive and they say, “Oh, you actually need this other local insurance too, so the new total is like, $500 more than you originally planned on.” It is so annoying!!!!

Last night we even got shuttled over to the off site rental location with all our stuff, waited around for twenty minutes while Ivan argued with the guy, only to be returned to the main airport terminal after Ivan refused their best price offer (which was terrible)- where we then had to figure out a plan B. They accidentally dropped us back off at the opposite terminal though, so we didn’t even know where we were and couldn’t find this other rental office we had looked at previously that seemed to have good prices advertised.

It was getting later and later, we were hungry, and the whole thing was a big headache. Thank GOD the boys are older and were content to just sit and watch our suitcases while Ivan and I fumbled around getting quotes from the 500 different rental agencies.

Ivan’s parents eventually showed up (they were making the hour drive since they knew we often have issues with the rentals!) but they were super late due to a traffic jam.

A bright spot in the irritating evening- seeing their abuelito for the first time in over 2 years!

As it approached 10 pm I finally bought the boys some KFC at the airport because they were “starving to death”. (Ivan’s mom, knowing we had an earlier arrival, had made food and had it waiting for us at home…). 😩

All in all, it took us THREE hours to get our car!!! And it’s a terrible little clown car, stick shift, with a nonexistent trunk. Ivan said about 14 times, “That’s it. I’m going to buy a cheap car and just leave it here in Mexico to use whenever we come. This is ridiculous.” (The insurance they wanted to charge us for our two week trip is more than Ivan’s dad pays for insurance for an entire year.)

Finally Ivan’s parents left with the boys, once we were signing for a car. Ivan and I took the shuttle to actually pick up the car, off site. Oh, and it was pouring, and freezing out for some reason!! 🤯

Taken at 10:28 pm. Our flight arrived at 6:45!

Then we had the fun drive, in the dark, and the rain, out through Mexico City (i.e. crazy town traffic), and up into the hills an hour to Toluca. (Through huge puddles, in our clown car.)

Fortunately, since it was so late, traffic was actually quite light. But I swear the lights on our car were like, burning out or something- seemed way too dim! It seemed so dark. And did I mention it rained the whole way? 😬 Ivan says I’m too nervous and that it was fine. Whatever. I was very nervous. Hahaha.

Finally made it to his parent’s house by midnight, where his mom promptly heated up our chicken milanesas, chilaquiles verdes and potatoes with chayote. We were starving, and this was delicious.

Chilaquiles are a food that looks gross but is soooo good! (Fried tortilla simmered in salsa)

Then, to bed!!!

Oh, one more negative thing- (sorry, warned you it was a rocky start)- but it was freezing in their house! Of course, Mexico has no heat in the homes. And it was only like 48 degrees outside at midnight. I was so cold!! I layered on two sweatshirts but was not happy to realize I did not really pack adequate warm layers… every other time we’ve been here it’s quite warm out! Or hot! But Toluca sits at about 8,500 feet elevation, so it is up there.

Fortunately, when I peeked out my bedroom window this morning I saw:

Sun!!!

Seems like a nice day so far and a pleasant temperature around 70 degrees now. It will probably rain later- sounds like it’s nice in the morning/mid day and then rains in the afternoons or evenings in this season. Oh well!!! Not going to dwell on it.

It’s a low key day here today since we were up late. Ivan’s dad has the day off and we are going to see one of Ivan’s sisters later.

Ethan and I went up to the roof top of the house this morning to take a little look see:

Can’t stress enough how different it is here compared to home…

The boys have already run to the little corner store like 5 times with Ivan’s little brother to buy candy and chips with their pesos (Ivan exchanged $25 for each to pesos so they could have some spending money – I honestly think their favorite part of visiting Mexico is going to the little neighborhood corner stores).

The boys helped out by sweeping rain water off the roof into a little drain, and then we had huevos con salchicha for breakfast with papaya.

Ivan now took the boys to a Mexican barber shop to get their hair trimmed, and I’m just chilling here writing this and sipping a cup of green tea while his mom takes a shower and his dad is doing something outside! (Editing to add- Ivan just got back and said the haircuts for the boys cost 70 pesos each- which is $3.50!!! They turned out great.)

View of their street, from the roof

More later! I’m feeling a little more optimistic now after the kind of tiring travel day and very questionable beginning with the whole car thing + rain, cold and darkness. Hahaha.

3 thoughts on “A little rocky start, but improving :)”

  1. Oh wow, that car rental experience sounds awful! That is ridiculous. What a rough start! Hopefully it’s all good experiences going forward, though! That meal looked delicious, though. I bet Ivan is enjoying the home-cooked food! His dad is so cute, by the way!! What a great pic of the boys with their abuelo!

    And wow, those haircuts are so cheap! The boys get their hair cut on Sunday and it will be probably $45 total. We got to a kid’s haircut place and I usually tip well since Will SCREAMS through the whole haircut. I am hoping he handles them better soon. Paul cried at his first one but was fine after that. Will does not handle them well. And unfortunately he has needed haircuts since around 9 months since his hair is so long and wispy! I don’t think Paul needed a haircut until around 1.5 years old.

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  2. That rental experience sounds AWFUL, especially when exhausted from a whole day of travel. I always feel very vulnerable when traveling like that. You NEEDED a car, and so it’s so frustrating to feel “taken advantage” of with such exorbitant prices.
    Glad things improved and here’s hoping that was the most frustrating experience of the whole trip.
    Can’t complain about $3.50 for a great haircut! And I can definitely see the boys loving the trips to a corner store for candy. Sounds pretty fun to me, too!

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  3. I am so sorry about the rocky start. The thing with the rental car companies would annoy me to no end (we had something similar happen when we picked our rental car at the airport here in the US… )

    Oh, and chicken or beef milanesas is like German Schnitzel, yes? Love it 😉

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