After visiting Six Flags on Tuesday, we started driving east toward Mexico City for our next stop.
Mexico City is one of the largest (population) cities in the world. Think Tokyo city. Think New York city. Think Mexico city. Which means BIG business, wealthy people, creative architecture and smog. Actually the city streets and buildings are very clean. But a LOT of people (and their vehicles) live here.
Not sure if it’s to cut down on smog/pollution or to deal with the heavy duty traffic problems or to raise revenues or just to mess with you. There are restrictions for driving in Mexico City. There are days you cannot drive in the Federal District. And on the days you can, if you have an out of state plate you cannot drive before 11am. If you get caught (and you WILL get caught) it’s not just a matter of a simple ticket but is a fine that is basically equal to losing your car.
Monday: no driving if license plate ends with 5 or 6.
Tuesday: no driving if license plate ends with 7 or 8.
Wednesday: no driving if license plate ends with 3 or 4.
Thursday: no driving if license plate ends with 1 or 2.
Friday: no driving if license plate ends with 9, 0 or a letter.
Saturday and Sunday: All vehicles may be driven.
Knowing this we planned our days accordingly -stayed outside the city limits the first night in Toluca and then crossed into the Federal District at 11:03am as we headed to Six Flags and then onto a different hotel right in the heart of the city for the next night.
The roads everywhere are under construction. This is a good sign and shows continual improvement. But it also makes for interesting travel in unfamiliar places.
With a bit of creative maneuvering we still made it to our destination -the Hilton Mexico City Reforma.
Great job Mikee on an incredibly luxurious suite. We were well rested and happy to get on with the next day’s adventure…
Welcome to the Branch Office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico. The world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses is in New York, USA. There are branch offices in different countries to oversee the witnessing and construction and disaster relief being done by Jehovah’s Witnesses. What is truly amazing is this is all done by VOLUNTEERS -no one gets paid. And this work is supported by VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS. What a difference from the many for-profit groups there are that have so much bureaucratic overhead they are very seldom able to assist people in need. These branches are also called “bethel.” Being very familiar with New York Bethel (Wallkill, Patterson, Brooklyn) the kiddos were very interested to see if Bethel in another country is any different. What did they think?
They liked it! A lot! Austin and India each said that it looked a little different but still felt like they are used to in New York. Selena liked the water bubblers (drinking fountains) since we don’t come across them very much down here.
- the witnessing, building, and relief work of the countries of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama are taken care of by this branch.
- this branch translates Bible literature in Maya, Tzotzil, Mexican Sign Language and over 21 other languages in addition to Spanish. There are many indigenous languages in Mexico and Central America and there is a need for English speaking people to assist in the Translation department since it is preferable to translate directly from English to another language instead of English to Spanish to the next language. Currently Jehovah’s Witnesses print literature in over 500 languages worldwide.
- up to 100,000 books can be printed and bound in a single day
- the Hospital Information Department provides updated medical information for bloodless procedures and has the cooperation of some 2,000 doctors throughout Mexico who are willing to treat patients with administering blood
- there are over 710,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico and this year’s Memorial was attended by 2,889,764 just here in Mexico!
Thanks to our tour guide, Jehu for the interesting tour. We met a brother who has been at Bethel since he was 11 years old when his family came to service in the mid 70s. Also, we met a missionary couple from Honduras who are staying a bit in Mexico to take care of some things. It was nice to see our friend Ruben and get his little insights into the shipping protocol of the branch. We are used to seeing many many familiar faces when we tour Bethel and this time was a little different. But it’s only our first time here at the Mexico branch -and that will change. 😉
And just a couple pieces of art…