Sunday, February 18, 2007

by the way...

If you noticed, I have a Spanish Word of the Day on the right side now. All the more reason to check the blog regularly. ;)

An interesting trip to the movies...

Since nothing super blog-worthy has happened, or will happen, in a while, I think it is appropriate to fill you in on last night's minor (albeit slightly scarring) event.
Joy, Jenny and I went to the movies to see Blood Diamond (that is another story in itself... right now I will say that I think you have to see it to be my's somewhat lifechanging.) So, we are crawling through the insane saturday traffic with the windows UP (nasty smog yesterday) and the music on. Finally, the speed picked up a little--which means the cars in our lane decided not to stop in the middle of the road before turning.
Anyway, as we picked up speed, a pigeon who was in our way decided not to move. That's right. We hit it. Now, I think I would have handled it ok if we had just hit it and then I didn't know the outcome. What really happened is that it got stuck onto the front of the car. I think the people on the streets could have heard our screaming from inside that car. Have you ever been crying and laughing at the same time? It's a weird feeling, but that's how Joy and I were for the drive to the movies. Crying for the pigeon who, we were pretty sure, was still alive and hanging on in God knows what condition to the car. Laughing because every now and then we would pass someone on the street who gave a hilarious bewildered look--you know, the kind with the slightly curled up lip and the quizzical eyebrow-- and watched the front of the car as we went by. Some people would point as if to say "you've got something stuck just there, you know?"... Um.. Yes, thank you. We are aware--the feathers that flew onto the windshield every km or so were a giveaway.

When we pulled into the mall parking lot we passed many security guards who gave us that look. Or they laughed. It must have been an interesting sight--a pigeon stuck to a car with girls inside screaming and covering their eyes (me).
At one of the laughing security guards I made gestures that I hoped meant "Yes, we see the pigeon, now what do we do about it???". I think he saw because after we parked, and Jenny got out and confirmed that it was indeed still alive, the security guard rode by on a bicycle, laughing, asked Joy to pop her hood, grabbed the bird like it was a football, and rode off with it. Still laughing.
Wel, the minute I saw that poor thing and knew that it was alive the whole terrifying time I lost it. Joy and I sat and cried for a bit, which I must say is not the way to prepare yourself for a movie like Blood Diamond.
I hope the pigeon survived.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A few more photos

This picture is for Mallory, whose Spanish class name was Chela. (A Michelada is a weird beer drink that is very popular here)

A friend who student taught at my school is now also teaching third grade. I showed a "Flat Stanley" from her class around for the week.

A pretty building with some of Mom's favorite flowers.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Morelia, Michoacan

My time spent exploring the city of Morelia last weekend felt somewhat like a European vacation. It is now on my list of favorite places (although this is an admittedly short list, considering I haven't had a great deal of travel opportunities). Let me start at the beginning.. and try to be brief.
We had a three day weekend (Haleluiah!) and had all heard about this must-see place in Michoacan (a neighboring state) where the monarch butterflies migrate. February was supposed to be a good time to see them, so we jumped at our opportunity. Leaving Friday after school, we taxied to the bus station and boarded our 3 1/2 hour luxury bus to Morelia. The bus tickets were way more expensive than we anticipated, but they were all the lady at the travel place by our house would sell us, because she claimed the "chicken busses" were very dangerous. We could have paid about $6 less and taken a similar bus that would have taken 5+ hours.. but 6 of us decided to splurge on luxury. We watched movies on the way there! NOT something I would have expected to do in Mexico.
We stayed in the non-hostel rooms in the Hostel Allende, a very cute, well-staffed hostel. Friday night we explored the gorgeous downtown with a cathedral and bustling outdoor cafes. It felt very similar to our first night in Rome last summer.

Saturday we took a guided tour to the mountain with the butterflies. Our group of 13 girls split into two groups that never quite reunited until we got back to Morelia. Our driver was nice...albeit a little reckeless...and he kept crossing himself as he sped up on downhill curves with memorial crosses nestled among the guardrailless shoulders. He was also fold of passing on curves and hills.
Well, anyway, we made it and hiked up about a mile and a half to the butterflies habitat. Unfortunately that day was cloudy and chilly, so the butterflies were relatively inactive. But there were still SO many! It was really a pretty spectacular thing to be around so many butterflies.

Can you see the butteflies in the grass and on the trees?

On the way back down we stopped at one of the many makeshift food stands to eat the traditional blue-corn tortillas from the area. They were quite delicious. I also bought a handmade basket made of pine-needles, I think.

Sunday was spent exploring the city. Morelia is so beautiful! I know they say that Guadalajara is the most Mexican city in all of Mexico... very traditional...etc etc. But I have to say that I rated Morelia about 100 times higher than GDL. There were beautiful old buildings, murals, and beautiful old aqueducts spanning part of the city. It was very very clean (we saw street sweepers working around 10:00 p.m.). I really enjoyed it. I visited a contemporary art museum (yay!), a natural history museum, a cathedral, a candy museum, the governor's palace, which had great murals depicting important Mexican history, which I unfortunately did not understand, and of course we sampled foods of all kinds.

Strolling along the aqueducts...

The murals in the Governor's Palace.

Jacque and I outside of the art museum.

We returned Sunday night and had our delighful Monday off to rest and get work done before the week ahead of us. In conclusion: Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. Two thumbs up by Tara Peterson :)

p.s. You better appreciate these pictures because my moody internet connection made it very difficult to post them.