In the spirit of hating government acronyms, and I promise not to dwell much longer on the topic, EFM also denotes the slightly begrudging manner in which we received our first post assignment.
This posting headline saps a little of the anticipation for you the reader, so I won’t delay in announcing we were assigned to Hermosillo, Mexico. I’ve quickly learned that unless you’re from Mexico, and maybe from the American Southwest, Hermosillo means nothing to you.
And on Flag Day, i.e. A-100 lottery drawing day, it meant nothing to me other than we were moving somewhere in Mexico.
Go ahead and do a Wikipedia search of Hermosillo; I’ll wait as it won’t take too terribly long to read up on the northwestern city.
Fine, I’ll give you the highlights, if you can call them that. First and foremost, the city is known for its hot temperatures making it one of the hottest cities in Mexico. For seven months out of the year, the average temperature is at least 90°F; three months average more than 100°F. We’re talking averages here. The records inch very close to 120°F. January is the only month the average low dips below 50°F.
When first describing Hermosillo to friends and family, after bemoaning the heat, I tell them this is essentially Mexico’s Detroit without the violence, racial tension and the Lions. In other words, they have a Ford plant, but this one actually makes cars. There also is a hint of Texas as Hermosillo is home of the carne asada and all things beef.
It also is a city that enjoys its baseball franchise, the Naranjeros (Orange Growers), which has won 14 Mexican Pacific League titles, or about as many titles as all of Detroit’s sports franchises combined (I could be way off as that was just a guess and one more cheap shot at Detroit).
To be fair, I’m hardly the first person to judge this city harshly. We bought the July 2007 edition of The Rough Guide to Mexico, and it summed up Hermosillo like this: “While it is an interesting enough to experience such a stereotypically Mexican town, there’s no reason to stay here long.” Long is a relative term, but I assume the authors would determine two years to be “long.”
But before I wear out my welcome before even arriving, I should add that Hermosillo was ranked somewhat highly on our bid list though for those going through the process, you quickly learn that not all “high bids” are created equal.
I also should say that I was intrigued by several of the other Mexican posts available because I do have an extraordinary fascination with the American-Mexican War of 1848. Bizarre, I know. So some of the other possibilities such as Matamoros or Monterrey were more appealing to me because they played prominent roles in the beginning of the war (the first major battle was the siege of Matamoros).
Learning Spanish also should prove to be quite a valuable skill as well. And there are some beaches along the Gulf of California (or Mar de Cortés to the locals) only about an hour’s drive away at Bahía de Kino. And I hope to learn to make a tasty mole sauce among other Mexican dishes.
So while I’m justifiably skeptical of what two years in Hermosillo will entail, I refuse to be entirely disappointed and plan on making the best of the experience.