Weekend camping away from Facebook. Did you miss me? Maybe. Did I miss you? Not really. Did y'all say stupid things while I wasn't looking? For sure!
I posted this, and Katrine Dalsgård said "I miss hearing about your weekend camping!" My answer follows.
We only had 2 days - I taught Friday afternoon and flew through Mexico because the normal routes were too pricey, olympic effect, so I got home late on Saturday.
We found a state park not too far. Nothing spectacular, just woods, day hikes, a small and cold pond, burgers and vegetables cooked on the fire. Last year we went to Maine for Labor day - that was more spectacular, but farther away. This time there was no traffic, and the remainder of a hurricane arrived 2 days late, so the weather was perfect. Just to remind myself, the 3 great things about America are the national parks, the liberal arts colleges, and the Constitution. All the rest is just the gauge of the paper.
I enjoyed 2 half-days in Mexico also. The airport is not far from downtown, and things are rather inexpensive there. A small fraction of the money I saved by taking a longish airplane detour went a long way in the city. A little rushed, but I got some feel for Mexico City. The Aztec temple was only found in the 1970s and excavated when the buildings collapsed in an earthquake shortly thereafter. It's the main attraction. Mostly, it's a rather normal large city. Crowded but manageable, people mostly don't speak English but are very solicitous towards by Portuguese which I believe they consider a form of broken Spanish, incorrectly of course, the truth is exactly the opposite. Things work quite well, including public transportation and public fountains. Too many cars but traffic is alright.
There are many museums - I quickly looked at a couple. And a lot of downtown commerce. Gold and jewelry everywhere, and many many many specialized stores. Kind of old-fashioned, like S Paulo of half a century ago. There must be suburban enclosed shopping malls somewhere, but it seems that the people still come downtown for shopping. Street food is good and healthy, from what I sampled. I bought a few silver coins at one of the many numismatics, a shaving brush at a beard accessories store, would have bought pantuflas at a pantufla store but it was al por mayor only.
Well it was a rushed visit, actually, 2 very rushed half visits. The newspaper I read on the plane back was dreadful, though somewhat quaint. If I can read something about the country by comparing papers, I perhaps understand how come Mexico works as well and as poorly as Brazil, but at a rather different pace. But explaining that would take a lot more analysis than I'm able to. Mostly, it's a country with a lot more history than Brazil, or the US for that matter. Has a somewhat old-world feel, like Asian and European cities, which I don't associate with the Americas.
The paper informed me that the Donald had just been there. I can comfortably affirm that I was given a much warmer reception, and treated with a lot more deference, unless they are saying behind my back what they were saying about him after he left, which I judge unlikely.
My friends note that I as a Portuguese speaker was well-received in Mexico. I reply:
Wonderfully well-received, if 2 half days can be used as a sample. English speakers also, by people who speak some English as well as by those who don't. I'd extrapolate to say it's a perfectly fine tourist destination if you stay away from places that the Mexicans themselves think unsafe. Given enough time for them to work on their problems, I'm sure the restriction will be removed.
And that my report from a brief trip gives them an idea of what to expect. I say: You have, but I don't ;-)
As a friend says: "A simulation is something no one believes, except for the author. An experiment is something everyone believes, except for the author who knows how it was made."
My visit was an experiment.