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A Very Happy Birthday

i no longer care much about my birthday, but nor do I dread it. Jack, who is still a kid at heart about his own birthdays, won’t hear of letting April 3 pass without a gift or a way to try to make it a special day for me. this year when he read that Pink Martini would be in Mexico City for one night in late March, he said enthusiastically, “We should go see them there as an early birthday gift for you from me. Besides, it would be a great excuse to get us to Mexico City for a few days!” We have been so enjoying San Miguel that we have only left our town for day trips in the nearly 9 months we’ve lived here. When we mentioned to our friends and neighbors, Tony and Nana, that Pink Martini was going to be in Mexico City soon, Nana got so excited. “I know all about them from some close friends who’ve seen them before! We’d love to see them too. Anyway, Mexico City is fantastic! Tony and I have been there maybe 100 times over the years and we can show you around! We know just where to stay!”

The idea of going for our first venture with friends who know their way around the city really appealed to me, and soon Jack was on line buying tickets for the concert while Nana made hotel reservations for all four of us. But when it came time to download the tickets that Jack had bought for the show, he couldn’t. he’d get only so far and then the site said that unless his credit card had a Mexican address, he would have to go to a Ticket Master location to pick up the tickets in person. Will Call at the theater would not be open the day of the concert or even the previous day.

The nearest Ticket Master location is in Queretero, a large city about 45 minutes away. Jack had already paid for the tickets on line, and he couldn’t cancel the order without having the tickets in hand and then turning them in. so, annoyed as he was, there was no choice but to go to Queretero to pick them up.

Paco agreed to drive us, and just for fun, we took Reggie along since she loves car rides and much prefers to be with us to being left alone under any circumstance. But it turns out there are 4 locations for Ticket Master in Queretero. We chose one, hoping any would be able to help. The store was called Mix-Up (should have been a clue that this was not going to go well.) The address he was given was in a modern-looking Plaza, or Mall. When we got to the mall they wouldn’t let us bring Reggie inside. Dogs are allowed everywhere in San Miguel, but not Queretero. So Paco stayed outside with our pup as we asked the man in uniform at the front entrance for Mix-Up. He said to take the elevator to the third floor, but when we got off at the third level no Mix-Up was in there. Someone else told us to take the escalator to the basement level. No Mix-Up there either. 4 times we rode up and down the escalator, passing the same uniformed guy each time, looking like two of the Three Stooges As we asked different people (in Spanish, of course) gor Mix Up. Or Ticket Master. Finally someone said Mix-Up used to be at the Mall but it closed. He directed us to a sporting goods store that had a Ticket Master counter on the first floor, but the guy there said their computer couldn’t download our tickets. “Just drive to the Mall about 6 miles from here. it’s a sporting goods store like ours. They can download your tickets.“ I looked like I might cry and Jack looked like he was about to jump over the counter and strangle the very nice lady trying to help since she spoke English. “I’ll call for you and make sure,” she offered.

Back in the car and half an hour Drive to find the mall. This time I stayed in the car with Reggie. Jack and Paci went in and came out ten minutes later with our concert tickets in hand, Jack grinning like a pumpkin with a big white mustache.

Pink Martini made it all worth the aggravation. The 10 piece band members take turns singing solos or duets with the lead singer in nine different languages that night in Mexico City. The Mexican audience of 3000 people went wild. Many had seen the group‘s show two years before, and absolutely no one left the concert hall without feeling elated, no matter what it had taken to get there.

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You look beautiful, Julie! Happy birthday! Here's to a fantastic year ahead!

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