March 13, 2017

Yesterday morning, 29 hours after we arrived at Mexico City International Airport, we finally arrived in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. The first surprise was to find sculptures of two huge birds; on one of them was Gandalf.

Nora’s and Ariadna’s suitcases did not arrive on the same flight. We had to fill out a report. Imagine our (second) surprise when the person in charge of the process asked Nora to pass the Yellow Pages to verify the telephone number of the place we were going to stay.

The young lady who checked us into the hotel gave us our third surprise. When she heard us speaking in Spanish, she asked us where we were from. In no way did we expect to meet a native of Guanajuato at the reception desk.

At lunch I could not help mentioning how we so often talk about how bad Mexico is without valuing the important advances we have made as a country. One of those changes is that today more young Mexicans study and work abroad. Without setting aside the high levels of poverty that continue to exist in our country, our society and economy are more open now. Today we are able to compete globally—and we do very well.

During the journey from Mexico City to San Francisco I began to feel bad. My throat tightened and my chest ached. Not wanting to wait until my symptoms worsened, I asked Ariadna to medicate me. Although I acted quickly, I unfortunately could not save myself from two days of terrible coughing, chest pain and a very runny nose.

The good news was that Philip Rush, our boat captain, got in touch with us while we were eating yesterday. We agreed to see him this morning; he wanted to see me swim. We met at 11 am at the Fryberg pool, located the suburb of Oriental Bay, to meet us and see me swim.

When he heard me talking, it was clear to him that I could not even get into the pool. We talked a lot about the swim and its characteristics, challenges and main problems. He told us that this year has so far seen a perfect record of successful crossings. Given that I have seven days until my attempt, he did not see any reason why I shouldn’t have one, too.

The best news of all was that we will wait until next Sunday to begin monitoring the weather and the tides. That gives me an entire week to recover from the flu and return to the water.