Mil palabras: Tripping out

Cozumel (or Playa del Carmen), Quintana Roo

I never got around to writing about my family’s June trip to Cozumel, Mexico. Part of the reason I didn’t write about the trip was because as soon as I returned to LA, my friend José died in a car accident and the next few weeks were spent in a bit of a daze.

The photo above represents the long trip my family took from LA to Cozumel. Check out our itinerary:

6:15 pm – depart from Palms to Hacienda Heights
7:15 pm – arrive in Hacienda Heights [only for me]
8 pm – depart from Hacienda Heights to LAX
8:40 pm – arrive at LAX, check in and go through security (all rather quickly)
9 pm – chill for a few hours at the terminal
11:45 pm – board our Mexicana airplane
12:10 pm – depart for Mexico City. Had a sandwich and stayed up to watch I Think I Love My Life. It wasn’t worth losing sleep over.
3:30 am – arrive in Mexico City at Juárez International, go through immigration and spend a good 20 minutes trying to figure out where our gate was for the next flight.
5:55 am – depart from Mexico City to Cancún, eat some yogurt, sleep a little, but not enough
8:40 am – arrive in Cancún
9 am – depart Cancún for Playa del Carmen on a bus. No sleep.
9:45 am – arrive in Playa del Carmen, buy tickets for ferry, board ferry.
10 am – take ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. Sleep for half an hour.
10:35 am – arrive in Playa del Carmen, get a taxi to take us to our hotel
11 am – arrive at El Cid de la Ceiba in Cozumel and check in.

Overnight travel and layovers are tough on their own, but they’re more difficult when traveling with 7 other people. By the time we arrived in Mexico City, we were snapping at each other. When we got to Cancún, we had to deal with the heat and humidity as well as thirst and hunger. I don’t think we could even enjoy the nice view of the beach in Playa del Carmen since we were dragging out luggage along.

The best part of settling in at the hotel was getting some cool drinks, taking a cool shower, getting dinner and taking a much needed nap. We needed our energy for the rest of the trip!

Getting lucky in lot 4

Crossing lot 9

I got lucky today.

No, not in that way. No sean malpensados.

I was running late earlier so I opted to drive to campus rather than take the Big Blue Bus. I tried to buy an $8 parking permit at the parking structure closest to my office, but it was full and the attendant sent me to structure 4 on the other side of campus.

I circled around structure 4 and couldn’t find a spot on the either of the two levels. I went back up to the first level to see if anything had opened up. I was beginning to feel frustrated and annoyed when I saw a woman getting in to her car. I waited for her to pull out of the spot. As she drove past me, she lowered her window and held out her day parking permit.

In a friendly tone she asked, “You want this?”

“Really?” I asked incredulously.

“Yeah,” she responded. I took the permit and put it on my dash as she drove away.

I parked in the spot she’d just vacated, grabbed my things and headed over to my office thinking of my luck. I’d just saved $8.

I love random acts of kindness.

Question of the week: Vendid@ analogy

Gene posed a question over at okayplayer:

Is there any living black person as despised by black folk as Clarence Thomas?
If so, who?

Responses included Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell, Condoleeza Rice, OJ Simpson and others. A lot of others couldn’t come up with anyone despised as much as Clarence Thomas.

The post got me thinking about Chicanos. Do we have an equivalent to Thomas? My first thought was Alberto Gonzales. What do you all think?

La pregunta:
Clarence Thomas :: Black people
______________ :: Chicanos

Who is our vendid@ (not that we’d like to claim him/her, but you know…)?

100 facts about me you may or may not know

  1. I’m rarely on time.
  2. I was tested and admitted to GATE (Gifted and Talended Education) in 5th grade. I think that’s when my life changed. Tracking worked for me.
  3. I don’t drink coffee.
  4. I prefer my hair short rather than long
  5. I was separated from my mother at birth (briefly).
  6. I rarely drink soda.
  7. My sister says I overuse my iPod. I don’t think that’s possible.
  8. I eat Altoids Tangerine Sours like candy
  9. I did better on the math portion of the SAT and GRE than the verbal portion.
  10. I’ve been reading Cien Años de Soledad for more than three years off and on.
  11. My favorite types of apples are Golden Delicious #4120.
  12. I have a complex about being too pale.
  13. I have great vision but have wanted to wear glasses since I was a kid.
  14. I blame 6 years of marching band for my bad hearing.
  15. I’ve seen Café Tacuba live 10 times.
  16. I’ve met the band twice.
  17. I took AP Statistics in high school and loved it. Graduate school killed my love for statistics.
  18. My favorite type of pens are Gelly Rolls. I was obsessed about owning all of them, but grew out of it.
  19. I don’t like taking the bus, but I don’t mind saving money (or reading on my commute to campus).
  20. I finished paying off my car in September. I thought that was cool
  21. I still sleep in a twin bed (my room is kinda small).
  22. My favorite book is In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez.
  23. My dad is my guitar hero.
  24. My brother thinks I should start playing Guitar Hero songs on the hard level because I’ve mastered medium level.
  25. I prefer Facebook over MySpace.
  26. Continue reading “100 facts about me you may or may not know”

Café Tacuba at the Gibson Amphitheater

I wasn’t sure what to expect for my 10th Café Tacuba concert. Via Twitter, I’d learned that their show in San Francisco didn’t go too well. The sound was bad and the band seemed low on energy.

But I was hoping for the best. I needed Café Tacuba to put on a great show and let me get my mind off of shtuff. I was accompanied by Chispa. I still don’t understand how she had never seen them live up until Thursday night.

We arrived at the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal Studios full of rockeros. It seemed like everyone was wearing black and Converse Chuck Taylors. Chispa and I counted a half dozen pairs of Chucks in our row alone and estimated how many there were in the crowd as a whole (I guessed 10% she guessed higher).

The show started promptly at 9 pm with the two initial tracks of the recently-released album, Sino. The crowd responded well to the new stuff, but was much more excited about the songs from their albums released in the ’90s.

Los Tacubos continued for two hours playing songs from all of their albums minus Reves/Yosoy. I’d complained that they were a bit predictable when I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl in July. That wasn’t the case this time since they were including new songs as well as old songs they rarely play in concert like “Alármala de Tos” and “El Fin de la Infancia.” I have to admit, I can’t really dance along to “Alármala de Tos,” it’s too depressing.

Highlights, lowlights and the setlist after the jump.
Continue reading “Café Tacuba at the Gibson Amphitheater”

Question of the week: Battling the blues

These past few weeks have been tough. I took my qualifying exam. I didn’t feel so good after it and pretty soon (no more than two weeks) I should get my results. Then of course there’s more things to add to the mix, but I won’t go in to them here.

I’m counting on Cafe Tacuba tomorrow night and ice skating on Friday to cheer me up.

La pregunta: How do you battle the blues?

Mexican pirates

While waiting to pick up our exams on Friday morning, the topic somehow turned to pirates.

I asked Doug, “did you celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day this year?”

He nodded his head.

“Wait, is it international or just national?”

Doug responded, “I don’t know.”

“Maybe it is international, but only in the English speaking part of the world, the UK, Australia…” I mused.

Nolan jumped in, “how do pirates speak in other languages? How would a Mexican pirate sound?”

“I think they just really roll their ‘aaarrrrghs’,” I responded logically.


Dear Family, Friends, E-Stalkers, and anyone else who reads my blog,

Thanks for the support this weekend. I really appreciated seeing your good wishes pop up in my inbox (at least when I had my wi-fi turned on). The weekend was pretty tough. I freaked out at least once. I took a walk and played Ozomatli’s “Can’t Stop” and Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine” loud on my iPod to clear my head of the self doubt. It worked too. Getting some sun and fresh air* was also good as I had been cooped in my apartment for a couple of days. I slept enough, but I think my eating habits and the stress affected my complexion (too much sugar?).

I turned in the exam a few minutes before the 11 am deadline. When I arrived, I was greeted by four of my fellow test-takers and study group. I submitted the papers and drank some champagne. We talked about weird dreams — who had time to sleep? — and agreed to meet up for a mid-day happy hour to celebrate getting through some good ol’ fashioned academic hazing.

I don’t feel too confident that I did well. I feel about two-thirds confident (there were three questions). And don’t tell me I did great, ’cause I know my work. I’m done with the crying and I think I’m okay with messing up or even failing. As Blake Sennett of Rilo Kiley sings, “everyone fucks up, it’s gonna be okay.”

On the bright side, now that the exam is over and I wait a few weeks for the results I’ll have plenty of time to write about my fun and exciting life. I know you all missed me.

Now, off to sleep.



*By LA standards

Help! You know I need somebody

I’m really bad at asking for help, but I can improve, and I can ask for help.

So, help!

If you know me outside the realm of this blog, please call or text or email or IM to check in on me. I probably won’t respond, but it will be nice to know I have people behind me. And if you don’t know me outside the realm of this blog, you can still email or leave a comment. Just tell me to get back to work. Or just pray.

I pick up the exam at 9… deep breaths.