For the last 4 weeks I on business trips in the US and Mexico and home weekends – not much different that my prior job. A couple of travel stats – 1 lost company credit card, 1 point for England in the World Cup, several lost receipts (no mercy on reimbursement), 1 lost fitbit charger, 2 broken fitbit bands, 3 unplanned days at home, 2 days with no hot water, 1 near altercation with Tom Brady wannabe at breakfast bar, 1 misplaced passport, and 2 great daughters for finding that passport and driving it to me.
Mexico had two different experiences:
The Korean staff stay in a series of townhouses and run the project like a mancamp (not a summer camp). I was put in a townhouse with others with shuttle pickup 5:40am, 1 hr to jobsite, Korean breakfast, Korean lunch, and Korean dinner all at site most days then shuttle back to the houses by 9pm. Some days, shuttles left earlier from work and dinner was cooked at the biggest house. I did pull rank to leave early one night and get a ride to Wal Mart to get bread, ham and cheese, milk, power bars, and cap’t crunch to supplement. Over about 10 days, I had only one Mexican meal (and one pretty good steak). Apparently, I was the first westerner to stay with them and be part of the “Korean team” – the others had to suffer at Staybridge, Holiday Inn, or other nice hotel next to an upscale mall with plenty of places to eat and get away – so I was privileged. With all of the “bonding time” I did develop better relationships with the team which made the job easier but communication was much harder than Seoul – the English skills of the construction teams was much lower than Seoul and no translator following me around – relied a lot on google translate, white boards, and talking louder. And most of the Mexican staff spoke little English.
Below is a local beer, my first meal at Wal-Mart, the closet someone organizes for me while I am at the site, and our shared townhouse.
The other experience was the town of Queretaro, Mexico. It is quite a gem. It is located about 3 hours north of Mexico City. The town is very nice and is safe and I have included some pictures on a weekend afternoon that I went into town. Largest mall in Latin America in the suburbs by the hotels – first rate by any standard – and a very nice historic downtown district. In all seriousness, if you live in Dallas or Houston, it is a direct flight of less than 2 hrs and worth a weekend getway.
On my day off, I visited the old town of Queretaro. First of several plazas – the main square –Plaza de Arams is the cover picture above. The plaza’s are connected by pedestrian streets.
Headed to DC today for home leave next week – maybe I will see some of you Saturday somewhere between Pinky & Pepe’s and Tandoori nights. It has been noted that I am home more now than when I lived at home.