Otto Came to Visit

The last time I seen my dad was exactly one year ago in Thailand, when I packed all of my belongings and left on my big trip around the world. Skip ahead a year and I get a message from him saying that he booked a flight and will be visiting me here in Mexico City in two weeks. It has now been a week since he returned to Germany. And within the two weeks that he had been here, we went through many highs and lows and conversations that sheds a very different light on the life of my dad.

Otto, Rita and me

Even at 70 years old and suffering from chronic pain caused by a car accident many years ago, he still managed to travel half the world away to visit me. Due to his age and physical condition we were limited to the confines of Mexico City. We explored the city mainly by taking Ubers and Taxis everywhere. It was interesting to see his reaction about visiting Mexico for the very first time. He brought with him the usual misconceptions most visitors have of Mexico and it’s capital. He expected a crowded, heavily polluted and hot mega city. Instead he kept commenting on the cool air, tree lined streets and cleanliness of the city.

My dad made a friend at San Juan market

It was quite a surprise that my dad didn’t know what Tacos were. He kept calling them Tapas or Tacas, even though his entire life revolved around food as a professional chef and restaurateur. Despite his lack of knowledge, he was taken away by the abundance, quality and taste of authentic Mexican food. Even though he had high praises for Applebee’s menu as well (Applebee’s is an American chain of restaurants with branches all over North America). As a result most of our time was spent visiting many different restaurants, markets and coffee shops around the city. When I did try to get him to take a walk or visit other attractions, his physical conditions coupled with the lower levels of oxygen in the high altitude air of Mexico City, caused him severe exhaustion. The effects became so strong that we had to take him to the hospital, where the medicine, enriched oxygen and pretty nurses cheered him up right away.

Some of the finger food we prepared together
One of the many tacos (tacas) we had

My dad is not your usual 70 year old. He likes to complement and flirt with any ladies even if they are 40 years younger than him. Even though it can get embarrassing at times, when he tells a random girl on the street that she is super sexy. I do admire his courage to say what is on his mind and approach strangers so easily. And off course his behavior can be entertaining. Thus is especially true for my two female housemates, whom were complimented right away on their smoldering looks. Ariana quickly became his favorite and my dad got to show his affection by taking care of the catering for her Open Studio event at our house. Ariana is an industrial designer and developed her own gorgeous collection of leather bags and earrings. She sells them through open studio events, select shops and her online store:

Ari showed us around the weekly market
Otto modeling for Ariana’s bags

As my dad’s departure drew closer, I began to ask him more about his life. I was particularely interested in the time before he moved to Thailand in the early 80’s. He was surprised that he never told me about his life as a teenager, the difficult time he had as an apprentice and the fiancé he nearly married. It was an eye opening experience for me to get to know him better through his stories and in some ways this brought us closer together. It was the more difficult to say goodbye at the departure gate of the airport. However he already happily chatted away with the young ladies from immigration, and I knew deep down that he will be just fine.