BLOG Update- Thursday, 11/7/13 Leaving Mexico City

When I first noticed something was wrong with Torch, my 1992 Infiniti M30 baby. If I was not so concerned with the tilt of the wheel I might have seen the bubble too!

When I first noticed something was wrong with Torch, my 1992 Infiniti M30 baby. If I was not so concerned with the tilt of the wheel I might have seen the bubble too!

I am happy to report Torch is back on her wheels and expecting a full recovery after spending the last six nights in the automobile hospital. As I mentioned last update, a second low point (first being a speeding ticket in Oklahoma and being trapped on a highway going the wrong direction for 30 miles) occurred on the way from Victoria in the state of Tamaulipas to Mineral Del Monte, just outside the Federal District of Mexico near Pachuca. When I pulled over for gas I noticed Torch’s back right tire was noticeably tilted. With not a lot of options and thinking (really hoping) she was still mechanically sound, hopefully just an “alignment” issue, I continued on to Mexico City.

On Friday morning I took her into a Bridgestone service center. I had seen a rather rundown Continental place and that is where I was headed just before I got turned around (lost) and the bright and promising Bridgestone place appeared. Then using Google Translate with the store manager Fernando and after a lot of going back-and-forth it was determined they could not get the parts (the “boot” which connects the wheel to the axle) and they did not have the skill or equipment to do the repair. Right then I knew I was looking a very expensive repair and probably a two-week delay.

With Fernando Perez C.. the 'C' means he is the Captain or Manager of the store!

With Fernando Perez C.. the ‘C’ means he is the Captain or Manager of the store!

And here is where luck and fate intervened. A man walks in speaking English and intervenes between the manager and I. Somehow we had miscommunicated and the reality is that he had an idea on how to fix Torch and thought he could do it by bending and welding both the left (less tilted but still tilted) and right feet. Plus I noticed the back right tire had a bubble in it and needed to be replaced. While not the textbook sort of repair, Fernando assures me Torch is safe and reliable and we will be able to make it to Rio. I still hope to ship her home and restore her to her 1992 storeroom condition.

I believe we will make it to Rio too and I will be much more cautious and vigilant in my driving, selecting toll road routes for the best road conditions (where available) and matching my speed to road conditions. The next Infiniti dealer is in Panama City. That’s in Panama, not the Florida Panhandle! Even though the connectors are called “feet,” I am looking at it as though Torch had two hip replacements.

CLICK here to see Torch back up on her wheels and squealing for joy like me!

I was excited to see her up on her wheels and out of the automobile hospital bay when I arrived to see her last night. She should be released at 3 pm this afternoon. Then, it is another tank of gas and back on the road again and we are heading to Guatemala.

The week here in Mexico City, in terms of capturing the Spirit of the 1968 Summer Olympic Games and the Spirit of Golf in Mexico, has been beyond my wildest dreams. In fact, so many of the connections I made weren’t along the lines of what I was thinking.

In Olympic Stadium where the Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the 1968 Summer Olympics were held.

In Olympic Stadium where the Opening & Closing Ceremonies of the 1968 Summer Olympics were held.

It all started on Thursday afternoon as I was on my way to finding the Hotel Inn Sur in the Coyoacan district of Mexico D.F. (a.k.a Mexico City) with my trusting Garmin. I was listening to her but not watching her map and made an early turn. The exit ramp dumped me onto the campus of Mexico’s National University with the Olympic Stadium in full view. I sweet talked (men can do that too) a nice lady into letting me park next to the Stadium in a lot for faculty supposedly for ten minutes so I could take a few pictures.

Four hours later I basically had my fill of the 1968 Olympics via a tour guide named Sergio who happened to pull up while I was standing there looking at the Stadium, a campus Visitors Center guide named Adriana, a tour of the Olympic Stadium by Marcela, and an interview with a campus newspaper reporter named Cristobal. I learned about how Mexico staged the first “Cultural Olympics” alongside the sports competitions in 1968. Each country created a statue expressing their culture and yearning to be a part of the world community.

Flowers and students fill the reflecting pool during the Dia de Muertes celebration on the campus of Mexico's National University.

Flowers and students fill the reflecting pool during the Dia de Muertes celebration on the campus of Mexico’s National University.

In between I met a professor from Rio and managed to participate a bit in a campus and city-wide celebration- Dia de Muertes, which is a two-day holiday celebration, something like our Halloween and All Saints Day combined. Interestingly, I was assured I could not get into the Stadium but got a nice break from a local film crew who pointed me in the direction of Guadalupe Diaz, the Director of Communications for the University, who graciously made it happen for me. Great tour, thanks Marcela!

On the golf side I played the two most historic courses in Mexico—the oldest, dating back to 1904, Club Campestre de la Ciudad de Mexico (CC of Mexico City) and the one built by President Miguel Aleman in 1949 which hosted the 2013 Mexico Open. More importantly I met some great people who shared the history, spirit and experience of their club with me.

In addition I met Ian Gardner and Federico Valdez. Ian is a  Scotsman turned Mexican (dual citizenship), who is the foremost authority on the Rules of Golf here in Mexico having worked with the USGA for four years revising the recently published Rules of Golf. Federico is the Executive Director of the Mexico Golf Federation. Both gave me tremendous insight into how golfers will become Olympians and what it means to be an Olympic Golfer. Check out their video interviews!

Andy riding on the top deck of the Turibus in Mexico City!

Andy riding on the top deck of the Turibus in Mexico City!

On Saturday I did a double header taking two Turibus tours—the first on the south side of the city (Sur) and the other downtown (Centro). Admittedly I was unaware of how beautiful, artistic and friendly Mexico City is. It is definitely a top-tier World-class city and probably the best tourist destination for the value in the world. My week long stay at the Hotel Inn Sur in Tlalpan was comfortable and safe with a spacious room. They changed the sheets and turned down my bed every day even though I left the “Do Not Disturb” on the door. It is a convenient location for golfers and those with university ties. It is right on the main Avenue Insurgentes. You can cab it anywhere for $5 or $10US and it is on the metro red bus line.

No they did not give me a deal but do give a deal to everyone that stays there!

By the way, when I got off the Turibus on Saturday afternoon I saw a film crew by the Fuente De La Cibeles. Turns out the producer Paulina is the niece of Lenin Molin who created the Cultural Olympics in 1968! She gave me an amazing insight into their meaning and a great interview. Life is circles, never ending, and is all about our inherent ability to create with friendliness and respect for each other.

A "working" breakfast, pick up Torch, and we are on our way to Guatemala!

A “working” breakfast, pick up Torch, and we are on our way to Guatemala!

It is Thursday morning, I am hopeful Torch and I will be back on the road in a few hours. A week in Mexico City is not enough time but time enough to get a sense of its golfing and Olympic history. I leave with fond memories of time spent at the Club Campestre de la Ciudad de Mexico, Club de Golf de Mexico, Olympic Stadium, National University and Hotel Inn Sur. So long Mexico City, I loved being here! Have a TROML Day today!

Torch is full recovered and was released at 4 pm. We drove (well I steered and she provided the power) about tow hours and spent the night in Puebla. We are on our way to Guatemala City!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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