March 30, 2017

Part 3: Five Skills Every Foreigner Should Master While Living in Mexico City

This is Part 3 of a 5 part series...

Part 1:  Interpersonal Communication Skills (see previous post here)
Part 2:  Risk Management (see previous post here)

#3 Minimizing Distractions
Here we highlight the critical skill of blocking out the cacophony that emanates from the local streets at all hours of the day. 

A quick side note before I dive head first into the importance of mastering this skill…part of what makes Mexico City special is not just the fact that there is ongoing local street commotion (as most big cities have their fair share of it) but the kind of commotion which is an integral part of the cultural drum beat that makes Mexico truly unique. The truth - it’s pretty great!  So this is by no means a complaint about the local sounds - simply a shout out to the skill needed to sometimes contend with these sounds that often start at, oh, 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings.  

I’m referring to the roving mobile street vendors which typically fall into three categories… 

1) The trucks that want to take unwanted old appliances and mattresses off your hands…
The first time I heard this sound drifting through the neighborhood I thought it was a small child looking for his mother.  So imagine a large truck roving the streets with several men hanging off the back with a megaphone blaring a recording of a small child in a sing-songy voice asking for “estufas (stoves), colchones (mattresses), etc.” It’s quite genius, really.  No need to cart your old items to Good Will - these guys will do the hauling for you!  

Coincidentally, I almost got decapitated walking down the sidewalk the other day when a woman tossed her old mattress over the side of her terrace, from 5 floors up.  Apparently no need to send a warning shot to pedestrians below. The most amazing thing - the same recording of this small child’s voice is used by the thousands of “Good Will” trucks in every neighborhood throughout Mexico City.  When you hear it - believe me, you know what it is.  I now give a quick glance up to dodge what might be tossed down on me from the apartments above. 

2) The Mexican version of the “ice cream man”…
Again, pure genius. So tamale vendors on bicycles ride up and down the streets blaring the same recording hawking “Tamales Oaxaquenos!” referring to tamales from Oaxaca - pronounced Wa-ha-ca.  (Side note - Oaxaca is about a 6 hour drive south of Mexico City and known for its culinary delights to the tune of grasshoppers, worms and ants…but more on that later!).  This urges people to run out of their homes to make a hot tamale purchase.  By the way, tamales are to die for - wrapped in banana leaves and filled with mole.  Ummm, heaven!

3) The sweet potato vendors...
Behold the camote.  So this guy works a rolling cart up and down the street of the neighborhood but in unique fashion, his presence is made known by the blowing sound of a pressure cooker, heated by a small fire.  Image a very, very loud, high pitched whistle sound that lasts for, ohhh, a good 10 seconds at a time.  I always think a freight train is pulling into our apartment.  The camote is more of a dessert - served hot with a heavy drizzling of condensed mile, cream and a side of berry marmalade. To die!

Stay tuned for Part 4...coming soon!

March 1, 2017

Mexico City Hosts the PGA Tour WGC Mexico Golf Championship

We interrupt our 5 part series to bring you this...

We are all a buzz with golf as The PGA Tour has arrived in Mexico City!  This week, the city is hosting the inaugural PGA Tour World Golf Championships, Mexico Championship event.  The top 50 players from around the world are here and vying for a slice of the $9.75 million purse.  There is no cut in this tournament which means every player is guaranteed a minimum of roughly $50,000. 

The event is being held at the Club de Golf Chapultepec.  If you’ve ever attended a professional golf tournament, or watched one on TV, you may have noticed how golf courses make a complete transformation to host these events on such a grand scale.  The planning, the logistics are all quite impressive - hospitality, volunteer and media tents, the fan zones, the apparel sales, the accommodation and transportation for the players, caddies and families.

The evolution of the 17th hole grandstands...

The volunteer requirement to pull off an event like this is massive - 1,200 are here at this Mexico tournament (all in green shirts).  Volunteers are needed as Marshalls (crowd and noise control aka the “Quiet Please”, or as we say in the south “Hush Ya’ll”, people), walking scorers, Laser SHOTLink (this tells the TV announcers how far a ball is lying from the green), standard bearers (walking scoreboards), player hydration and corporate hospitality. 

I am honored to be working directly with the players in the Club House as co-chairman of the Players Services Volunteer Team.  We have registered the players and provide concierge support throughout the week.  We also liaise with the caddie and player transportation chairmen.  

The Volunteer Chairmen...I'm guessing you can pick me out from the crowd

I’m cheering on Bobby Diaz, currently ranked 472nd in the world and the solo Mexican player in the field.  He eared an exemption to play one week ago, nudging out two other Mexican players vying for the coveted spot. 


It is a privilege to work so closely with the PGA Tour and with the best players from around the world.  This is a special opportunity for the game of golf to be elevated here in Mexico. So let the tournament begin! 

Tune in to watch on the Golf Channel throughout the week and on NBC Saturday and Sunday.

Stayed tuned next week as we return with Part 3 of our 5 Part Survival Skills Series!

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