Monday, June 11, 2012

The Canadian Embassy: A Place for Friends and Fun

Wow, are we worn out! Thanks a lot, Justin Bieber.... The Biebs threw a kink in our plans today as our bus pulled in to Mexico City today at 8 a.m.  On the radio was essentially a pep rally for his concert this evening at 8:30, consisting of only six songs! Contributing to the world-class Mexico City traffic were all of the Beliebers pulling into town to get ready for the short, but oh-so-sweet (???) show.

We caught the 2a.m. bus from Veracruz after Saturday night's twelve straight hours of partying at a quinceanos (15 th b-day), and Sunday's follow up afternoon party with loads of family friends. What a great group of folks to celebrate life with!  (Even met my first fellow nurse in Mexico!)  But oh, Lordy, they wore us out!  One guy who had recently returned from a 15- year stay in the U.S. complained that the Veracruzanos "partied too much" and he just felt like getting up early and going to work.  All the partying must energize people, though, because there they are, up and at 'em at 6 a.m., heading to work at a variety of companies in the relatively healthy Veracruz economy.

We pulled into the bus station in Mexico City, in which we had been warned to "be very careful", advice which we have heeded, judging by past experiences.  But seriously, Mexico City these days seems like a Pleasantville of 20 million people, with quite a few denizens more than willing to provide directions, create space on the bus or metro, or wish us a "buen viaje" upon viewing our large backpacks.   A far cry from the 90s, indeed.

So what were we doing here? Making an urgent visit to the Canadian embassy, of course!  Having stressed out all weekend about a cryptic email we had received on Thursday requesting additional translations of documents we had already submitted, we hopped on the bus, eager to arrive and beg for the documents to be returned so they could be translated.

We arrived at the bus station an hour late, only to find one of our metro lines apparently closed, yet we weren't sure which stops were affected.  It took a combination of two metro lines, three shuttles and about an hour of walking with our packs to arrive at the embassy after the three hour journey from the bus station.  It was 1 pm, and we hadn't eaten since 7 the night before.  Tummy not happy.

Now seriously, could Canadians ( or Canadian embassy employees) be any nicer? Last time we were there, a guy who was completely disorganized with his application received a lot more assistance than he probably deserved, and an unaccompanied 90-something woman received several patient reminders about how the number-taking system worked.  Today, although the coffee machine was broken (noooooo!!!), we enjoyed a lovely chat with a fellow Skilled Workers Program applicant before we were called to the desk by one of the many friendly trilingual employees. 

After a mini conference among several of them, it was decided that the cryptic email was incorrect, and that we did not need the dreaded translations (which are a major run-around).  They even put the email in our file with a note that we had been told we didn't need to submit them.  Relief! Time to chow down on a torta gigante and a Squirt.

With no immediate need to stay in this delightful city, we await our bus to our home base of Oaxaca, leaving.... right about when our source of today's positive Canadian energy, J. Biebs, wraps up his mini concert.  On second thought, thanks for the good vibes, Justin, from a future fellow Canadian (hopefully).

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