Monterrey, Mexico

We arrived in Monterrey this morning so that we could get ready for camp starting on Monday. I have been in Monterrey a few times, but have never had a chance to just look around the city. When I have been here before I was with a whole bunch of home bodies who would rather sit and watch paint dry than get out and explore the town. That is why we arrived 3 days earlier than necessary. We are trying to see it all.

Flight was un-eventful. Quite boring. Just the way they should be.

When we got to the airport I called the car rental company and they said they would send a shuttle to get us. Thirty minutes later I called again. He said that the shuttle had been there but could not find us. Through our quick conversation I found out that there was more than one terminal in the airport. He assumed we came in on a US International flight and sent the shuttle to that terminal. We filled out a bunch of information beforehand to rent the car. They had our flight number and should have known we were flying domestic.

When we got the car they offered us insurance. After deliberation and seeing that the price of the car rental almost tripled with the added insurance, we declined. But the price did not go down much at all. Come to find out that the price we were given did not include the mandatory insurance, only the car rental. The non-mandatory insurance was just a few dollars more and it kept me from having to have enough credit on my card to put the full price of the car on it.

Getting around Monterrey is a huge pain. The signs that they have tell you where you should turn…at the moment you see the sign. Not that you have warning to slow down from freeway speeds, but that you should be turning immediately below the sign. You also usually only get 1 sign for each exit. Sometimes it says that the road or attraction you are looking for is up ahead in the left lane. But you never get told beyond that where you are supposed to turn. We drove 5 miles one time before we decided that the attraction that we were supposed to get to by getting into the left lane meant that we were supposed to make a u-turn on the highway and go backwards. Not much of a help.

The big thing we did today, besides eat ice cream for supper (yes, that was the whole meal), was go to the Santa Lucia and Fundidora parks. Santa Lucia is a river walk that has playgrounds all along it. There is a canal that that has boat tours going up and down it. It is a canal to nowhere though.

It was really nice and a great place to take the family.

It connects with the Fundidora (foundry) park. This is the old steel mill in Monterrey which now has a formula-1 race track built around it. It too is a very family friendly place with lots of people riding bikes, running and roller-blading.

Tomorrow, Parque Plaza Sesamo.

My paramedic drives a cooler vehicle than yours

Today we were driving around down town and passed a paramedic. Since both my brothers are paramedics, I tend to notice these guys more than most people. The cool moped he was driving probably would not haul too many bodies, but at least you can’t call him the worst possible name for a paramedic: Ambulance Driver.

Interestingly the paramedics are part of the police force here. In the US they are either an independent agency or work with the fire department.

Every time they stop me at traffic lights asking for donations, I try to give them a peso or two. That is one public service that I want to be well funded when I need their services.

Click the photo for a larger version of the picture.

Week 3

Week 2
Easy run of 3 miles at 10:32 pace was the schedule. I ran 2.91 at 9:36 pace. Too fast and too short. That was typical of the whole week. Or at least as far as distance goes. I left the house later than I had time to run. I had to hurry through the run and just get back home for an appointment.

Speed workout of 2X1600 meter repeats with 800 meters in between. With warm up and cool down runs this was supposed to be a 5 mile day. Total mileage for the day was just under 5 miles. My speed sessions were supposed to be at a pace of 8:27. I managed an average of 8:36. Just felt sluggish.

This was a rest/cross training day. I managed my first bike ride for exercise that day. I rode almost 8 miles at a pace of 13.2 MPH.

This was supposed to be a 9 mile run at a 10:32 pace. Again, I left the house with not enough time to do the whole run. I did 8 miles at a 10:31 pace. I was very pleased with my consistent pacing. I ran my 4 mile loop 2 times. It was a bit disappointing to finish the loop and know that I had to do it all over again.

Week 3
Monday: 3 miles easy at 10:32

Wednesday: 3 mile tempo run at 8:57 with a 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down.

Saturday: 10 mile long run at 10:32 pace.

Re-Entry: Making The Transition From Missions To Life At Home

This is not a full book review of the book Re-Entry: Making the Transition from Missions to Life at Home, rather just some observations as I read through it.

This book was loaned to me by an older missionary couple yesterday. We were talking about furlough (the topic of a soon-to-be-released Missionary Talks episode). The book talks about some of the struggles that missionaries face as they go back to their home culture. While the book focuses on people returning permanently, it also covers missionaries who are only temporarily returning home, such as we will be over the next year.

Re-Entry: Making the Transition from Missions to Life at HomeTwo things the book mentioned that I thought might be of interest to you have to do with relationships and misunderstandings.

Peter Jordan, the author, mentions that relationships will be different upon return home. Even though a relationship can thrive over distance, often the individuals are no longer as emotionally connected. Our emotional togetherness happens through shared experiences and just spending time with one another. The missionary and the friend back home have not only been living through different experiences, but through different cultures.

We have friends with whom we love to spend hours and hours talking. We would often spend 2 or 3 nights a week with one another talking into the wee hours of the morning when we were in town. We were very connected. While we still have a tight relationship with them, we have also not been a part of their lives for the last four years. When we got a chance to be with them earlier this year I noticed that other mutual friends were now filling in where we used to be. I became jealous of the fact that we no longer occupied the same space we used to. Of course it is silly to think that your friends are going to not change or build new relationships over a four year period.

But multiply this with every friend the missionary has, and you can start to see why re-entry can be stressful for the missionary. Things will never be the same as they were.

The other thing I wanted to point out is the matter of misunderstandings. The missionary returns home and comments about how things have changed for the worse, or how wonderful things are back home. Those who have lived through the changes won’t see it as starkly as the returning family will. They have had a chance to grow into the changes a little at a time.

Where we personally had greater frustrations were when we would mention some things that were so great in the US and then hear people complain about that very thing we found to be wonderful. We have to remember that others will never see things from the same light we do. Nor, will we be able to see things from their perspective.

One example of this is the variety of products you can find in the stores. When we go looking for something here in Mexico, a can of peas for example, we might find a can or two on the shelves. There will be no choice as to which brand you get. If they do carry them, they will only have one brand, and more often they won’t have any anyway.

Earlier this year when we were home for a few weeks we were amazed at how much people complained that Wal-Mart did not have the particular product the person wanted. Maybe they were looking for milk. Of course they want a particular brand in a particular size and fat content. When we arrived in Mexico just four years ago we could not get pasteurized, homoginized milk like we expect in the US. All the milk came in un-refrigerated liter boxes with expiration dates 6 months into the future. Now we have a choice of 2 brands of milk that resembles and tastes something like the milk back home.

I just have little sympathy for the person who has to settle for a different size (a gallon as opposed to a half gallon) or has to go to the store across the street to get the milk they want because the store they are in doesn’t have it. At least it is available relatively easily.

It would be easy for the missionary to become bitter at their friends and family for not understanding them, and the missionary is just as guilty for not understanding those back home.

I am half way through the book and find it very insightful. I am glad I have gotten a chance to read it and will probably write a review of the book in a couple of days when I am done.

At what point is it cheaper?

At what point does it become cheaper to buy a bicycle tube than to keep patching it?

After I got my bike back from the bike shop, I got a flat within a week. I pulled the tube to repair it and found that there was a pretty good size cut in the tire. The bike shop did not replace the rim tape when they put the new rims on. The old rim tape was stiff and carried a lot of rust from the old rims.

The purpose of rim tape is to keep the lugs that hold the spokes onto the rims from poking into the tube. Good rim tape will protect the tube well. Good rims won’t be caked with rust. Old rusty-crusty rim tape on brand new aluminum rims somewhat defeat the purpose for having new rims installed.

I patched the hole. I was not able to get to the bike shop to buy rim tape. Then a few days later I patched the hole again. The patch did not hold, so I placed another patch on the tire the next day. No good. Today I removed both old patches and put on another patch. After getting the tire blown up and almost on the bike…PSSSssssttt! New patch removed and number 5 installed. This one seems to be holding for the moment.

Much of this was my fault as I was not patient with putting the patches on. The glue was not dry enough when I slapped the patches in place. After a bit of googling I learned how to do it right.

New tube = $1.20

5 patches = $0.60

I guess I can put about 5 more on before springing for that new tube. And, when I do make it back to the bike shop, I will be picking up a couple rolls of rim tape.

By the way, the bike shop I am going to now is not the same one that held my bike hostage for several days.