The Wandering Jew landed in Mexico City just before 3:00 this afternoon and was met outside the terminal by Hector, the driver hired by my hotel. I am staying in the Condesa neighborhood, an area that was a main location of Jewish life before the increasing affluent Jews decamped for the tonier suburbs to the west. There’s still some Jewish spots in the area, including a functioning synagogue, which I plan to check out in the coming days.
I known about 10 words in Spanish, and Hector knows about 20 in English, so we had a pretty lame conversation for most of the 25 minute drive. "Avenida," Hector said, pointing.
"Yes," I replied, "Avenue."
"Si, si," Hector said. Feeling pressed to hold up my end of the discourse, I ventured this: "Cuidad de Mexico es bonito."
Hector flashed a big grin. "Si. si," he said. "Mexico City is good, very good."
We continued on like this for what seemed like forever. And then out of nowhere, Hector busts out with this, in flawless English.
"Jewish people are very nice," Hector said.
I looked at him hard. Of course, being a journalist, I wanted to press him, but the conversation had clearly passed beyond a level we were capable of. So Hector tried again.
"Jewish people are nice," he said.
Unable to think of anything else to say, I agreed.
"Si, si," I said. "Very nice."