Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Surreal Experience

Through a contact we have in a local government office, I was invited to an event last night featuring the federal representative for this area of Mexico City. We have begun to investigate the acquisition of land for the church and community center, and have been working via his offices. Although we have been unsuccessful so far in this, we have high hopes for the future.

I went with Daniel, not sure of what to expect. Actually, I had no idea that Daniel and I would be escorted to the stage area, to a section of seats that were cordoned off from the rest of the public. A huge tent covered the whole park area directly in front of the municipal offices, called the Ayuntamiento. Daniel and I were given seats in the third row, in the middle of a bunch of serious looking people with nice clothes on, and almost directly behind where the municipal president and the federal representative sat, when then entered the area a bit later on with much fanfare.

A small orchestra from Ecatepec was playing when we got there, after which several young people brought in the Mexican flag, and we saluted it and sang the Mexican national anthem. I was reminded once again what is really important in this country and culture. Over and over again, people were thanked, recognized and thanked again. There were quite a few important people, indeed, to recognize. The municipal president of Neza and Ecatepec were there, two of the biggest (if not the biggest) municipalities in the State of Mexico. People from Amecameca, Chalco and San Francisco were present. But the two stars of the show were the municipal president of Ixtapaluca, who gave a rousing, ever formal and very rhetorical opening speech, just to warm the crowd up. To hear him speak, you'd think that the PRI was totally united. Those of us who know a bit about local politics know it just ain't so. Then Corona, the diputado, spoke, and once again began with a huge list of friends and thank yous. Word on the street says that he wants to come back and be municipal president again here (he already was about 8 years ago).

There's so much more I could write about this. Daniel and I increasingly wondered what in the world we were doing there, and Daniel, patient as he is, wanted to walk out several times, but finally the event was over.

When I find myself in such surreal situations, I always suspect that maybe God is in it somehow, so I wanted to at least try and talk to the municipal president one more time. He's a tall guy, easy to spot, and he speaks very good Engish. He also studied in Chicago, he told me last time. So when I went to Moody last month, I purchased a book for him, aerial shots of the city of Chicago. We finally worked our way through the mob, and I said to him in English, "Hey, Humberto, I went to Chicago and brought you a gift. When can I see you?"

He immediately turned to face me, recognized me, and said that he received my phone calls, but that I hadn't left a number for him to call me back (I actually did). But I did get a meeting with him...tomorrow, at 6 p.m.!

Which causes a bit of a conflict, because Mayra and I are both official witnesses at Mariana and Rafael's civil wedding at a municipal office tomorrow at 4 p.m., and I am involved with the vow part of the wedding later on, at Sam's house, guessed it, 6 p.m. Nevertheless, Ismael is doing almost all of the wedding anyway, and knowing how things roll here...we'll just be starting the service around 7.

Daniel and I both took some very bad quality cell phone pics of last night, and as soon as we find the USB cable, I'll post a couple.

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