Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chili’s? Yes, Chili’s

It shone bright at night.
After packing, driving, an airplane flight out of Washington, D.C., customs, baggage searches, and a taxi ride through a dark and rainy Mexico City, Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory team neared their hotel. The clock was past midnight, even for central time, and several members of the team, including a writer/ photographer from the Virginia Tech’s University Relations, had been awake from anywhere between 24 and 48 hours, with little sleep and high stress. 

As the taxi rounded the corner to the main team’s hotel, Hotel Novit, every member of the team saw a gleaming bright red, white and green sign, familiar to any American who considers the mall as a beacon, if not the center, of guaranteed good food. Or at least a quick meal. The latter more important. Chili’s, open late, on the corner, yards from the main group’s hotel, and a mere two blocks from the remainder of the team, staying at a hotel a few blocks over. There was hope for a meal after all, as the windows and doors of every other restaurant were black and closed, even inside the hotels.

Unbeknownst to each other, the group which flew into the city together would eat together, slowly making their way through a familiar menu written in unfamiliar language. Too American? Too corporate? Maybe, and yes, but the warm meal was more than welcome for the tired and hungry, and as the big-screen, HD TVs around the restaurant blasted a boxing match and a soccer – sorry, football – game, all was right in the City of Palaces.

Oh, pssst, there is an  IHOP around the corner. So far, we haven't been in.

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