Rebecca Salant, Max Salant, Ilana Salant, and Jacob Salant

Recorded April 24, 2011 Archived April 24, 2011 01:17:50 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: SFB001308


Rebecca Salant, 16, and her brother Max Salant, 16, talk with their siblings, Ilana Salant, 16, and Jacob Salant, 17, about their trip to Mexico.

Subject Log / Time Code

Plans for trip to Oaxaca to attend a wedding.
Accommodations in old hotel described.
Wedding banquet described.
The return trip to the US discussed.
Each participant recounts highlights of trip.


  • Rebecca Salant
  • Max Salant
  • Ilana Salant
  • Jacob Salant

Recording Location

San Francisco StoryBooth

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:06 Alana Salon, I'm 16 is April 24th, 2011 or in San Francisco, and I'm with my siblings.

00:18 I'm Jacob Salon. I'm 17. Today is April 24th, 2011 or in San Francisco, California, and I am the oldest brother.

00:29 I am Rebecca Salon. I'm 16 years old today is April 24th, 2011. We are at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, and I'm sister time 16. It is April 24th, 2011. We are at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, and these are my siblings.

00:51 So up last spring break, I believe it was we took an interesting trip to Oaxaca Mexico and we are going there with the intent for a wedding. We are visiting my father's colleagues and she was supposed to be she was getting married and it turned it was supposed to be a family trip. My dad was flying in from from Europe where he was working and we were flying out with my mom and all four of us.

01:29 And it turned out to be a little bit crazier than we expected because very few of the details when recording Flynn.

01:42 I guess we we all left San Francisco SFO together not Dad supposed to have a short layover in Mexico City which turned into a kind of loan payment in Mexico City.

02:01 We were flying Aeromexico in the morning from SFO and

02:08 We were supposed to leave and arrive at Mexico City then take a small plane to Oaxaca where it was probably 97u00b0 and

02:23 Pretty pretty unpleasant weather to just be stranded in and what happened was when we got to the airport everything went according to plan that was actually in Mexico City, but I thought we were just the normal flight trip for all of us me fighting with my mom pushing us through security. I want to freaking out Rebecca intervening in Max just not knowing what's going on. And the first light was pretty good. Everything was all right. We were happy to to be done with one flight and then when we go to Mexico City we get through customs we're going there I go through and I realize I lost my phone and I was trying to communicate with

03:12 One of the I suppose guards to tell him that if I could go back to look for my phone on the previous flight and

03:20 Yeah, I don't speak a word of Spanish in that did not turn out to be the best attempt at communication. But all the meanwhile my mom's passport had expired and so

03:34 She wasn't getting into the country anytime soon. And in fact, they detained her and detained all of us, which was something we had not been expecting.

03:46 At least I I was not going anywhere without Mom. I was like staying with her to mother took her we got to see the second Godfather movie though.

03:57 Without sound what is it was? Okay.

04:05 Crazy

04:07 Woman took every single article out of her purse through ripping up pieces of paper into little bits and then showing them to us and just telling us crazy stories and screaming at us in Spanish while we were there in this room, which was probably at a 12 ft wide and 10 feet long and you can see every other passenger walking by through one of the light glass windows. It was basically a room of shame to to show that

04:40 Look you forgot your passport. You're going to get stuck in this room for a while. And the worst part about it was they they left us in there. Nobody in there. Spoke any English whatsoever. We spoke know Spanish and we were not having a good time. We had a layover to catch in in in a short. Of time, which I did not think we were going to make because they were not letting us leave. They would not let my mom Advance they tried to talk to to communicate they try to communicate with the United States which was taking some time and they wanted us to continue on with the flight which without without our mom which was not something we were planning to do since we were not would not really done that before internationally.

05:26 I'm definitely crying. I want in my mom work crying a lot and

05:33 I was eating licorice. Actually, I think I remember that pretty clearly was pretty pretty tasty licorice. But but the funny thing about it was just there is so many different ranges of emotions going on drop a room and my dad he was supposed to come in to visit us at the meet us at the wedding. He actually had gotten food poisoning and decided to write beforehand that he was not going to be flying out and we had made the executive decision as a family the day before to fly out without him, even though it was his colleague who is getting married. And and so we he was he was a good 9 hour time difference ahead of us and we still kept constantly trying to tell her what to do and get us out of the situation which he

06:21 What's the name of whale butt while we are and the Tantrum Jacob was just angry because he can't get ahold of my dad. And I wanted was just upset and scared and crying Max just oblivious one sitting in a corner and my mom was just like tearing herself up inside so upset that she had not checked her password and just beating yourself up. I think she did she realized on the plane from SFO to Mexico City that it was expired, but she wasn't going to say anything and I mean something stupid. How did he how do we decide to go without Mom? I think I think she felt bad and she wanted us to continue on we had called we had called persistently on the woman who's getting married. She was getting she was planning on getting theirs Oliver details ready for a wedding and we continue to bother her and prevent that from happening.

07:21 She she insisted that she would take great care of us and would help us and everything. We needed should have a driver for us at the airport. And so we decided to go and we're and we had I think 20 minutes to get from the from terminal to terminal through customs real that and we ran as hard as we could to the next gate with very little cooperation from people in the other that were working there. I asked if it we could get an escort to the next date to the next flight and they refused and as we got there we ran and our second flight was delayed which was somehow it counterproductive since we took a long time and I got it.

08:11 Expected life you want to feel bad for us at your we were like for kids like stranded without our parents and like a different country where we didn't see the language, but that wasn't really the case. He seemed annoyed.

08:27 Then we get on the plane, but we have to we had the check our bags because it was one of the very small plane and we get on the plane. It was very short flight like maybe like half hour 40 minutes and we go we get arrived in this like teeny little airport in Oaxaca. No air conditioning. What kind of an outfit one of those like Hawaiian Air Forces like outdoors and we go to the baggage claim and we have one of our for suitcases that made him change his clothes is the least out of all of us and

09:03 One pair of clothes that we we we got a loss we had no idea what to do. If we did not know who our driver was at that point in time and when he had arrived we spent probably an hour and a half an additional hour and a half trying to have him trying to communicate with him about what what are bags were and then have him try and talk to the people at the concierge. That's the time tell them we needed our bags which really did not work out either since they said just go back to your hotel will have them delivered and you can go get them.

09:40 Until then we get to that once we get to our hotel at the mediately at the front desk person at Ellis has used to go back to the airport your bags are there and we weren't doing that. We had just taken a long multiple long flights and

09:58 Call Rice and then when we were there, my mom had given us all of her credit cards and stuff that she had before I'll always switched over flights and just to make sure that we had enough money and stuff to you get us by the way there. I think we're supposed to be there for 5 days or something like that and

10:17 Again, it was it was 90 90 degree temperature outside and we get to the the hotel which was a very nice hotel and they told us that we could not sign in we could not check in without our parents there. Are we can use our credit card which

10:33 We basically just argue defend sign in anyway.

10:38 We just signed it saying that I was my mom Debra and Jacob was our dad David and just basically lied to them till they told them that we are parents. Yeah, I was pretty uneventful but we got to our rooms. We had two different rooms complete opposite ends of the hotel from each other like a really weird Hotel because he's built something like this like five hundred year old man that cause 3 whatever those are called Wayne Unser and it's like all made at least really thick stick Brickstone psych. You can't even get Wi-Fi in your room and it's like there's like these Gardens of really nice, but it was really confusing to get around cases.

11:27 And in the meanwhile.

11:29 We that the my sister's room. It was a really nice room. So I thought it was it was big spacious except for if you open the windows in the middle of the street in downtown Oaxaca, which was chaotic to say the least.

11:50 They were so many Expeditions outside to peer into a window and figure out whether or not he can stay inside the room. To the room expecting something extraordinary and nice since my dad tends to provide us with that when we travel and we're in this small can find room with no windows. It was definitely a 1-minute and we couldn't figure out the air conditioning or anything and it was it was very chaotic. We had no bags and I had no idea what was going on.

12:26 We decided to just go ahead with what we what we had and make do.

12:38 Chief everything is a dollar fifty in any food at the hotel don't see any food outside the hotel our mom would say

12:54 Only get food out of the hotel don't order room service and the woman getting married would be like, oh you should go get some hot dogs off of a car in the states. They better than New York City and I doubted so I guess you could get really sick if we did that. So we we went and we

13:14 The airport with Georgina and and the driver

13:21 Yeah, well anyway, we went back to the airport later at night two of us stayed to get our bags. And this was with the bride-to-be and I'll be for picking up her husband or her future husband at the airport with their family and his family who had just flown in from Spain as well. And it was it was pretty fun because we we got to the the airport which I'm nearly convinced was on top of a sewage dump and we we we were just basically caught in The Mists of two huge families meeting and introducing himself before a very

14:06 Celebratory like wedding every religious one and it was very awkward experience for me to say the least and I I was just wanting my luggage and wanting to get home and and to go to sleep after this is crazy day.

14:27 I don't know where you guys was fine.

14:30 What was going on with Mom at this time? Like when we left her she was just still detained.

14:36 I'm very worried and yeah, they were at they were shipping my mom back to the United States. It's it's counterintuitive. Cuz a lot of the time you hear people getting shipped out of the United States back to Mexico, but for my mom this experience for them.

14:58 My mom was the though she had caused a hellish experience for us. She still didn't want us to go crazy. I don't think she trusted the fact that we weren't going to spend $1,000 every in an hour to Cherry and be careful with what we had a crazy extreme. We're even though it was 96 degree weather and there was we were doing like Taurus with a bunch of the gas. You were staying at this hotel. It was where all of the guests from the wedding or staying a lot of people knew my dad since they at work with him. We were taking it to this extreme of knowledge save our money and not buy water. Let's see, let's not get food or hats and stuff like that. So my mom won't get mad and

15:49 We could just not be a good idea at all which will explain later but my I ended up getting very sick and I never ended up forgetting his inhaler and my Spanish is not good. I had to run from Pharmacy to Pharmacy trying to figure out how to say inhaler and trying to buy him a new one.

16:14 Yeah, it was it was it was a crazy first two days. But once we started to get the hang of we got introduced to the sisters of the bride-to-be and their families and I kind of took up the role of babysitter for their kids and spent absolutely no time near my siblings and was watching out for them the entire time, which I guess it worked out for me since they they got me food and stuff all the time and and took me wherever I need to be but

16:45 The older sibling who is supposed to be in charge.

16:48 And I took off and I was left in charge of all the money but I want it kept yelling at me if I wanted to spend anything and everything was so cheap room service and

17:02 And then on the day the date.

17:08 The day of the wedding it was in this massive church with superb. I designs on the inside of angels and religious religious figures was pretty gothic church of the Apostles and

17:32 Throughout this wedding, which was we were so we couldn't find which church was in we thought it was in multiple different churches. We were walking around with people that we had met on the way over there and we had no idea where we were since the wedding started at like 10 at night or something.

17:52 Does an hour in something really got there early and we ended up sitting in this church and accidentally attended Mass seeing as it was mass and we are Jewish and it was not sure. They cleared out that the mass for this wedding and it was a long lengthy wedding the like the the nephew of the of the wife-to-be on the bride-to-be was very sick that I was looking out for a lot where I went around with each other. One of them was kind of a bully figuratively to the younger one in their time to drink the water and he did and got extremely sick.

18:51 The wedding and so the brother-in-law in the sister of this bride-to-be.

18:59 Couldn't attend for most of the hit in this wedding, which was really disappointing and

19:06 It it was it was a shame since it was it was one of the craziest festivities I've seen in my lifetime and

19:14 After this wedding ceremony alone, which ended at probably 12:30 at night. We took this long long long walk with the entire group to where they were having the the party are these the festivities and we're all walking playing these like parade. It was like a parade or playing drums and that wasn't even smooth that the whole group was following the the bride and groom and there were only got lost. We had to turn around walk again and I was carrying one of the little kids on my shoulder the entire time and it was just not a pleasant trip down but that little boy that was carrying on his mom thought he was lost in thought. He was a she was screaming after him and it was just crazy, but we got there.

20:10 And the ceremony started which was

20:13 Another whole experience that we have never encountered before.

20:17 The kids

20:20 I think I tricked you into yeah, I was originally with Jakob at like adult table and they were helping us and telling us what the order it and Max Lucado.

20:32 The kids and I like an hour into the party. Everyone else was asleep.

20:41 And then no I think it is. Well, I'm really late and we wanted to go home because it was like, I don't know to 3 in the morning. I didn't want to go home. I was having a great time talking with the adults and talking about a variety of different things. I can't even remember half of them. But there's like a Dandy who was awake. But yeah, we didn't even have like any waiters coming over to our table office. To go find it but that for the last hour and a half. They are deciding how we're going to get back since we had no idea the way back to the hotel.

21:26 Get a taxi. It was no it wasn't we we have to like search out for them. But so we get we we find this guy, who is there any get a taxi for us to just come out there? And again we were we were contemplating walking back cuz we were we had this mentality that we shouldn't spend money on Ataxia. My mom will be disappointed.

21:56 So we decided we said it was worth it. We are all tired. We wearing dress clothes and to walk to the cobblestone streets and high heels. And so we decided to take a taxi which showed up and was probably a 4 minute ride. So we get to the hotel and these massive Gothic doors are shut their then off. We thought we were locked out of the hotel. We were confused and

22:31 I just show up and start banging on the doors. And of course the people inside the lettuce and then we get back to our room and it was a it was a fun-filled night of going to sleep. But that that's we thought we accomplished our mission. I should say if getting to a wedding through the wedding in Mexico and we are going home and two days or a day and a half from that point and the next day we go downstairs and we get breakfast at the hotel and start deciding to catch up on our homework and go to the pool and all that and

23:08 As we get in the pool I start swimming with I cannot remember which one of you guys was I think my brother and I without thinking like swallowed some water and a fair amount of it because I'm not doing well when we got out our second trip in the road Jacob his drink water. I was throwing up not having a great time and we ordered room service every day for at least two meals for breakfast and sometimes dinner lunch and you know, it was just so cheap but 9 pesos and it's like a buffet the thing was with my mom.

24:02 I don't think there's a word the world has seen a person that was more bipolar throughout this week from crying and sobbing to screaming and she'd regret the fact that she didn't check her passport and be totally upset and then and then 10 minutes later. She called back and are you doing I can't believe you're doing all this and I'm not there then and then another five minutes later she called back and be totally upset that we're not having a good time because of her and so like my dad my poor father had to deal with getting phone calls on only for my mom with her changes in mood also from us because we were upset that our mom was upset and he is just had to deal with like being sick in Europe thousands of miles away. He had to deal with all the commotion without even being there native.

25:02 Like Mexican ruins. Yeah, and I feel like we almost got lost or something like that on top of a mountain in Mexico.

25:14 Jacob posted on Facebook does imported from Mexico Jacob?

25:24 Tell me about making funny school call saying Max isn't at school because he's in Mexico having fun. And why is this and how is it acceptable? And my mom just went from Angry to a whole new level of angry end.

25:39 Her bad week seem to just be getting worse and

25:42 At this point while we were in the like ruins, it was still 98 something degrees out and we were not drinking water and people are not feeling well because it was so hot out, but

25:53 I was having a great time I was running around and we were we were.

26:02 Basically ignoring my family my mom and dad for the afternoon and we had been we have been experiencing mixed messages from the entire time. My dad just didn't want to deal with the problem and want us to have a good time. And my mom is just like you need to be careful you need to do all this basically the typical Jewish mother worrying about us without without end.

26:26 And and weird kind of beginning to get the hang of things. So we

26:31 We're on our way around a lot of the streets near the hotel. We were getting to the pharmacies in finding out which place has had like the cheapest food and best best selection of candy and stuff that we wanted to we got a bunch of snacks and brought it back to our room and his old time. I had I was just wondering on the hotel I was

26:54 I'm getting lost constantly and I'm trying to make like two divisions in our family was kind of like me and my brother were eating at different times and going off and doing what we want in the girls were leaving the hotel in time to go shopping while spending a little money as we could.

27:13 Set money amount. Yeah, we spent money on our mom and then when we got back and showed her her earrings, even though she had been yelling at us the whole time. Spend money. She didn't got mad at us for not buying her more things. And then she stole my sister's only souvenir that she bought for herself.

27:37 Yeah, I kept trying to come into this goes High.

27:43 What did I want OU want to later? And I was like, no you can't get that.

27:49 Yeah, so are we?

27:52 Near the end of our journey. We were taking a flight back and we were I don't I don't remember what the other driver the entire town movie basically became my best friend on the trip. He was up. I was trying to talk to him and communicate with him in.

28:06 I don't suppose you can call it a language because I wasn't really saying anything I wasn't saying English. I wasn't saying Spanish. Yeah, I was I was combining the three Spanish English and French into a whole new language and and a we might the driver was showing me all these places and we took tours in the day with him and it was it was a crazy thing to see will Hawkeye just weird. None of us have been to Mexico before

28:39 Myself and I personally thought Mexico was just a gang filled desert and it wasn't at all. We were like in the middle of a pretty big city with traffic everywhere at night time when it cool down. It was it was really nice and

28:58 I am not really sure how how we got involved with the other two like fake family The Sisters of the Bride, but on their they would like to tell us about they all got married in this church and they told us about the city and how everything was like where it where all the the cool places to eat were and

29:22 One day with with all the group all that gleich close families of the bride and groom. We went to this big restaurant.

29:32 In after the mine after the ruins and the whole country and it was cuz your farm I was playing with swings the entire time but these animals like peacocks and

29:54 Was the alcohol on them?

29:59 It is Mexico.

30:01 I think that every adult in that in that that room would had I'd probably consume level of inebriation 10 12 bottles each of of throwing a Corona or other Mezcal cerveza cerveza. We were watching all the kids while the adults were like drinking and eating the food and it was a crazy experience because

30:29 One of the Americans who was with us was was who is not drinking was watching us and making sure we didn't drink it was making sure you're taking care of the kids and all the while my brother's off in the corner just doing whatever he wants and I'm watching the kids and one is trying to watch the kids and we're not getting anywhere and we're not getting anywhere and there's a open bottle of coke on the cat on some random table a ways away and one of the two little kids runs up to it because the older kid tells him to drink it and he just started drinking a bottle of coke, which is probably been out there and it's 96u00b0 weather for hours and we had no idea. I'm cracking up I can't speak and I just threw it in the parent and he just runs over and it's just it's just his assets.

31:21 This this is the kid who got second. We were just

31:26 When we got back to the hotel, the two little boys lock themselves locked himself in the room. So the parents can get into their room and we

31:37 It was literally a perfect example of how everything was going wrong. And how did there is so much chaos, but it was all summed up with this incredible wedding at the end because

31:48 All the families were just connected and aside from the little guy getting sick. There was no problems after that our art Journey which started out as

32:02 Isaiah a hectic trip from San Francisco to Oaxaca with our mom getting deported our dad not showing up our luggage getting lost money then having enough money the hotel not wanting us to

32:18 I suppose check-in because our parents weren't there.

32:22 And our sickness and illness and dehydration.

32:28 Route all of that. We somehow managed to overcome it because we were completely ignorant to the world around us and we spent probably 20 hours a day in that hotel. Just wandering around or I was at least me and Max if the girls were out basically providing for us and

32:52 Kids ourselves we had all of our own responsibilities. We have that the same time because we were kids. We like we can't be responsible all the time and the whole trip itself was ironic because none of us had been to Mexico before none of us. Thought we were going to Mexico. Our father had always says Mexico is not safe it go there on business. I don't like it. I'd rather go to Hawaii and he always told us over and over again like not going to Mexico and then this wedding happens and he has to let us go because it's his calling who's getting married. And so we're all really excited that we're going to Mexico and then we end up there without our parents and it's just really exciting but also really difficult.

33:38 Yeah, so that

33:41 The flight back was a great and we were y'all back 6 free tickets to use a different time because they had not checked her passport properly. And of course mom gets up when I get there we go to the lounge in Mexico City, which was the craziest Lounge in the world PS3.

34:17 We we had a like a really really great time. We it was like it was like me. I didn't want to go back after all that I was I was enjoying myself I feel bad for

34:30 I didn't want to feel the wrath of her not being there and then hearing about how guilty she was and how bad she felt once we explain how much fun we did end up having that. She was happy that we did have some fun. Yeah, so we headed back and we got there was like

34:47 Reid's we got home at like 1:30 and then we had school it was an ungodly hour in the morning. We had to go to school and then we just devoured it on the way home and we were huge amounts of food when we were talking about how how was such a good experience to do and my mom just went from my mom just decided to be bipolar again and went from being so happy for us to be so upset that she couldn't go and then

35:23 Facebook on Facebook and I was just everything was coming out but the entire time we're just happy that we did it and we happy that we went and

35:32 From from the get-go if I could bet money that I would ever have a crazy experience. I don't think I've ever be able to just because there's not a possible way that anything else could have gone wrong and

35:49 Had a good time. Yeah.

35:55 I thought it was very good. We had and believe it or not our family who fights all the time. All the time by Todd we seem to get along for the most part. It's that time. I yelled at Master for getting his inhaler and we got along and it was kind of kids versus adults. We we kind of put this

36:21 This responsibility on our parents and said that if they sent us here, anyway, we're just going to make the best of it and I I suppose we did because

36:30 Are we did a fine I got sick, but that's fine. I'm we did have we did like get to see the country and are part of it and we got to see what a wedding was like a really formal wedding in Mexico and just had a great time and met people that are still in touch with us and it was that whole thing was just an experience that you can't

36:55 You can't like plan that out. That's not something that you getting itineraries and and follow through with and had our parents been there for like the experiment experience would have been a lot different just because you know, we were by ourselves. So by the time will it come to the wedding party and we got to go on all these trips and experience these things that I feel like we wouldn't have done if they'd been there and you know, sometimes we got lost and we just heard walking around the city of Oaxaca and we saw a lot of it that way and if our parents were there it would have been very different answer and I mean, I think I want to say that by the Highlight if we all do name a highlight mine would definitely be

37:41 Just driving through the city with a driver app from one point to another it would change so drastically changed so drastically that we did BD crazy structures that were ancient and beautiful and then a block away it be in slums slums like I could never imagine and and that was just such a crazy experience. It was on those Mexican ruins you on a mountain like an antenna to a thousand feet up and loses pyramid and I think me and Jacob went around it and we obviously weren't supposed to do that. There was a guy drills and stuff but it's like the best to you and looks so cool. I think my highlight was when we went on one of the tours to a Marketplace and there is a woman who was for New York there and meet her just I guess we're both willing to shopping and we got caught.

38:41 Stop in picking up things for her apartment and our Tour Bus left without us and they had to come back for us and shopping.