Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mexico City.

I've been delaying writing about Mexico City because I did SO much and saw SO much and I feel overwhelmed at the thought of documenting it all. So I wont. But I will tell the basics and give you a link to the photos and let you read more there.

Our trip began with the night bus that drove us the 7 hours to Mexico City (more commonly referred to here as D.F., for Distrito Federal). That ended up being somewhat of an adventure, though, because when we showed up at the makeshift bus 'station' in front of a hotel, we were told that our tickets were for a bus leaving in 20 minutes from the main station in the other part of the city. After giving her a look that probably resembled shock and unmasked fear, she called up her people and worked out a plan. The bus at the hotel (which was also going to D.F., but for some reason we couldn't stay on..) took us to the street of the main bus terminal, where a bus employee walked us the few blocks to the station and transferred us to some other bus man, who changed our tickets. We only left an hour later, which turned out to be a plus, because we arrived at 7:00 a.m. --instead of 6:00.

We met up with Jacque and her sister, Amber, who had arrived in D.F. two days before us. We spent our first (their last) two days with them, seeing the things they hadn't yet seen.
We visited the Secretaria de Eduacion Publica, or the SEP, which is who controls our crazy school schedule. We went for the Diego Rivera murals that are plastered over nearly every inch of three floors of their inner courtyards. An English speaking guide met up with us, almost giddy at the fact that he could be giving a tour (this could have something to do with the fact that the SEP was not even mentioned in my guidebook, despite the fact that it had more Diego than any other place we went to!). He was great and really knew his stuff, which made the murals make a lot more sense to us.
Next we braved the metro (from then on out) and (after getting off the metro due to a delay, taking a bus, getting off too early, and walking for miles on very empty stomachs) ended up in a part of the city called Coyoacan, where the Blue House is located. It's the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
While there, we made plans to go to the Ballet Folklorico (which isn't ballet, but rather traditional Mexican dancing from all parts and times) for that evening. So we returned home and got ready.
The ballet was probably one of my favorite things! I wasn't sure I'd like it at first because it began with ritualistic aztec type dancing, but then it progressed through to Mariachis and women in the huge, colorful skirts, men dancing with sombreros and stomping out a beat with their boots. It was really cool. Even from our nosebleed seats a mile high.

We woke up our exhausted bodies and left at 7:00 to go the the pyramids that are a metro trip and an hour bus ride from D.F. They were worth it, though! Walking through the ruins of pyramids from one of the most ancient and advanced civilizations! The third largest pyramid in the world is here, and it was built without tools or the use of the wheel. Incredible. We climed the pyramids and enjoyed the scenery. We saw alters built to well know Aztec gods, and remnants of decorative carvings and such.

After the pyramids we headed to a part of the city called Xochimilco, stopping early to go to my favorite museum of the drip, the Museo Dolores Olmedo Patino. She was Diego Rivera's long time model, patron, and one-time mistress. We ate at a great cafe in the museum, and then wandered the rooms full of Diego and Frida's art. The grounds of the museum were beautiful too, full of peacocks and even some hairless Mexican dogs, favorites of Frida and Diego.

Without Jacque and Amber, the four remaining white girls went to a really pretty part of D.F. called Chapultapec. There is a huge park there and lots of trees lining the streets, so it felt much cleaner and scenic than the rest of the city. The first place we went was the Museo de Antropologia (Anthropology museum). This was absolutely amazing. One of the nicest museums I've ever been in, and full of some of the most amazing, ancient, incredible things. Like a huge, stone Aztec calendar, innumerable stone carvings from ruins, pyraminds, and other ancient Mexican dwellings. There was a headdress made of Queztal feathers believed to have been a gift from Moctezuma to Cortez. I saw tombs with intricately adorned skeletons, jewelry and figurines that look impossible to have been created by hand, and books that are still intact with Mayan and Aztec drawings. The museum itself would literally take days to see everything, so we had to just choose a few rooms and spent about 3 hours there.

We split up after this and Megan and I visited the museum of Modern Art. I saw a lot of amazing paintings by artists I knew and some that I now know and love.
We met up and went to a trendier part of town for dinner and coffee, and then headed back to the hotel and crashed.

This morning we were up and waiting in front of the Palacio Nacional when it opened at 9:00 a.m., because we had to leave for the bus station by 11:15. The Palacio had more awesome Diego murals.
Next we hit the Templo Mayor, which is a museuma and ruins of an Aztec city and pyramid. Alot of what we saw in the Antropologia museum had come from this site.

We left on a noon bus. I was tired and happy and trying to wake up to the fact that I had to teach in two days. It felt like summer vacation.

Check out my photo website for many, many more pictures.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Semana Santa

A week of my spring break has gone. One more to go. I'm surpirsed at how quickly it flew by, but I did manage to get out and do some fun things. Many of the girls have visitors from the states, so on Monday a few of us tagged along with Megan and her mom to see the downtown sights. We saw another awesome Orozco mural in the Governor's palace, shopped at the biggest jewelry store EVER, went to the huge market San Juan de Dios, and ate delicious Mexican food at La Chata. Some friends of Cinthia's picked some of us up downtown and we went to a soccer game! My first since I've been in Mexico! Guadalajara's team is called Las Chivas (I think a chiva is a goat..?) They played against an American team- D.C. United. The Chivas won. It was a good game-enhanced by all of the crazy things the fans yelled. It's good that I only understood a little.
On Wednesday I accompanied Megan and her mom, and Charla and her cousin to a pueblo called Mazamitla. It was a lot like Tapalpa, with a little less to do. But it was nice to get out of the city.
Some of us went with Jacque and her parents to a park called Bosque Colomos in another part of GDL. It is a nice, well kept park with a 5k paved trail through the forest. They also have Japanese and Mexican gardens. They weather here is great now because, although it was hot, it wasn't unbearable for being outside.

Today is Easter and even though Mexico gives two weeks of vacation for this holiday, apparently it's not a big deal. It wasn't even mentioned at church until the final prayer, and even then it was only a "thanks for easter" kind of thing. We were the only ones dressed it our spring best. And noone that we asked had any plans for the day.
Megan, Lindsay and I decided earlier to treat ourselves to a homecooked meal, since everyone else is either in the states or invited to other activities for the day. Our group has grown, so there will be 8 of us (teachers, family, and Mexicans) enjoying the meal. I should be going now to make the biscuits! Happy Easter!

P.S. To see pictures of the events mentioned above, look at the post before this one. It has a link to my photo-website.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I discovered that it is much faster for me to upload photos to a photsite than to this blog. And since Google is pretty much the most amazing thing ever, they now run my e-mail, my blog, AND my new Picassa Web Album. Here's a link to some spring break pictures.


Leave a comment here or there to let me know if it works. This is my first attempt.

It's nearly resurrection day! Thanks Jesus!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Playa Guayabitos

Despite the cautions from many well-meaning friends here in Mexico, I headed to the beach this weekend to jump-start our 2 week Semana Santa (holy week). We were told that since all of Mexico gets the same spring vacations, the beaches are crazy and there are no rooms to be found. Well, 5 of us decided to take a chance. We left right after school on Friday when Lindsay, a friend of ours in med. school here, came to pick us up in her wonderful, not-a-bus, car. We packed 2 tents just in case there really would be no place to stay. However, they were unnecessary because we found a great room at the second hotel we tried!
This beach was different from the other two I have stayed in because it was very Mexican. It was touristy, but in a way that catered to the Mexicans and not the foreigners. The beach was crowded, but not impossible. The water was really nice and the waves were pretty mellow, but fun.
We joined up with a group of Mexicanos and played beach vollyball. It was, interestingly enough, my first time to ever play it! I had a lot of fun!
As usual on a vacation, I ate well-enjoying the amazing fresh fruit from the beach vendors, and the fresh fish for dinner! Delicious! I must say that, as a Florida girl, I have been missing the good, fresh fish that is not available in a big, inland city.
So, now I have two weeks of freedom. This week many of the girls have friends or family in town, so I may be tagging along as they show them the sights. Next week 5 of us will be going to Mexico City (a.k.a. Ciudad de Mexico, D.F., or simply "Mexico"). I need to read up on it because there is a TON to do there! I can't wait!

Happy Palm Sunday!

Thanks to Betsy, I have some beach pictures. Check out my photo album (link above) for more!