A Concrete Jungle, A Park, and A Maze

For visa purposes, we recently made a trip to México City to visit the Canadian Embassy. We thought it might make for enjoyable reading to recount some experiences from this trip.

We were both excited and nervous about the trip. Excited to see another part of Mexico – and a city of over 20 million people at that. Nervous to drive the chaotic streets of said city. While it is possible to ride a bus down to México City from Querétaro, we concluded that with three pequeñitos in tow it would be less stressful to drive ourselves. I think we made the right decision. I think…

The drive from Querétaro is about three hours and is not too complicated, until you reach the outer regions of the Capital. We followed Google Maps through the city and after being pulled over by police who wanted to check our vehicle paperwork, we ended up taking the Segundo Piso, a second level of highway built directly above the first. It is a toll road which meant practically no-one was on it. It was actually quite enjoyable and offered us a view of the concrete jungle below.

And so, we made it to the Canadian Embassy in decent time and without a wrong turn – surprisingly! What we required from the Embassy was a simple signature on a document which stated that Annemarie Vandergriendt and Annemarie Bredenhof are the same person. Simple procedure. Except the Consul General was not available to sign it and wouldn’t be back till Friday. It was Wednesday. Thankfully we had planned to stay a night so we simply added another night to our hotel stay.

Our hotel was next to a very large park: Bosque de Chapultepec. We spent an afternoon exploring it and making use of the zip-lines. The following day we headed to the zoo because we have small children and it is free. For something free, it was impressive. And we reasoned that if we took note of all the animal names in Spanish then it actually counted as a work trip.

México City has a lot to offer for tourists. However, we played it safe and decided not to try drive anywhere. We didn’t want to get lost nor test our patience trying to find parking while keeping the kids happy.

Friday morning, we returned to the Embassy and got the signature we needed. Simple procedure. And then, with all our eggs in the Google Maps basket, we headed straight through the city and then north to visit our previous nanny who had moved to México City back in August. It really wasn’t that bad, but it was interesting. Police were out directing traffic – not because the traffic lights were not functioning, but because everyone was sort-of ignoring them.

So, after being pulled over by police again (random check, right? Or maybe we just look like we don’t fit in…) we arrived safely to our nanny’s house. It was her mother’s birthday so we were able to meet some of her family and enjoy a meal together. Our nanny is quite sick, with what is likely cancer, and it was hard for us to see her so weak and in pain. But we are glad to have been able to visit. Please be praying for her. She professes to be Mormon, but seems to be open to Christianity. We were able to give her a Spanish copy of the devotional New Mercies Every Morning by Paul Tripp.

The neighbourhood where she lives is markedly different from where we are living in Querétaro. We received a lot of stares and curious glances. And it was a bit rougher – more dust and garbage. But we managed to weave are way through the maze of streets, maneuvering around the semi attempting a U-turn, we found our way back to the highway.

It took about an hour to get completely free of the city traffic and then it was smooth sailing all the way home. We now understand why people in Querétaro consider it to be a quiet city with little traffic. They are usually comparing it to México City which has over ten times the population.

I think we have a new appreciation for the relative calmness of Querétaro and I guess the traffic is not too bad come to think of it. We also feel really privileged to be here and to experience México in a way no tourist really can. Furthermore, we are constantly amazed at how God continues to provide. That does not mean he always provides the easiest way, but he provides for us on the way. Whatever and where-ever that way is.

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