Archive for the ‘Study Abroad in Mexico’ Category

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Mark: Blood, Sweat, and a Pyramid

July 5, 2011

Last week a couple of us visted the town of Tepoztlán, about 45 minutes from Cuernavaca.  The town itself has its own rich culture, but the main draw is the pyramid of Tepozteco which sits on top of a mountian ridge 2,000 vertical feet above the city.


The pyramid is on top of this ridge.


We made the climb in 31 minutes.  The pyramid itself is not very impressive, but the view from the top is incredible.

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Mark: Mexico vs. USA

June 26, 2011

Last night Mexico played the US in the final round of the Gold Cup tournament, so we decided to go watch along with everyone else in the zócalo where they have a massive screen set up for football games and movie nights.  I don´t follow soccer much at all, but how often do you get a chance to route for your own team in a foreign country?  

 

During the second half it started to rain which messed up the satalite reception, which finally cut-out with about ten minutes to go and everyone ran for shelter as lightning moved in.  By that time the US has given up a two goal lead and was down 4-2 so the game was as good as over.

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Mark: La Fiesta de San Antoni0

June 15, 2011

A few days ago, we visted La Fiesta de San Antonio which takes place every year (one local told me for the past 400 years) in the barrio of, appropriately, San Antón here in Cuernavaca. The day-long celebration consists of about half a mile of amusment park rides, tiendas, fireworks and revelers. Young people also give twelve coins and pray to San Guadalupe to meet their soul mates at the church. The evening culminates in a giant close-and-personal pyrotecnic display and dancing. Last night we got the first significant rainfall in my nearly 4 weeks here, not that anyone let that snuff out the festivities.

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Mark: Agua

May 30, 2011

On Sunday we made a day trip about 3 hours north to what is left of the ancient city of Teotihuacan (I will be posting those photos on Flickr in the next day or two).  At its epoch the city was home to around 250,000 people before it disapeared for thousands of years. Teotihuacan probably suffered an ecological disaster. The city’s year-round water supply came from springs at the base of the volcanic mountian that towers over it, just like Cuernavaca and countless other cities in the region today. During the rainy season, water falls on the mountains and gets caught in the forrests before being absorbed by the porus volanic rock. The people of Teotihuacan cleared imense ammounts of timber to build their roofs, cook their food and heat limestone to create the ornate cement that used to cover the pyramids of the sun and moon and nearly every other surface in the city. The result was that water rushed into the valley of the lakes instead of being absorbed by the rock and the springs could no longer support the rapidly growing metropolis.

I come from a place where clean, drinkable water is always plentiful. In our country everyone has nearly free access to potable water, even if its from the bathroom sink at McDonald’s. Yesterday I saw poverty on a scope and scale you just can not find anywere in the United States. Leaving the Federal District of Mexico City and driving into the State of Mexico I saw thousands on thousands of squatter camps stretching miles up both side of the valley. These families literally build their shelters homes overnight five hundred at a time on any available piece of land in hopes of staking a claim and after ten years being granted the title to their plot. Another student studying here has spent some time doing aid work in Monterrey.  He said one of the questions people ask him a lot is why he feels like he needs to help in other countries when there is so much to do at home.  His says they would understand in a heartbeat if they saw these places themselves.

When Will and I got back to our host mother’s house, we found out that the water was not working, and we were almost through our rooftop resivour. That means plastic dinnerware, rationed tiolet flushing and definately no showers after a day of climbing pyramids in the sun. Our area is in a drought, but the rainy season should be coming in the next weeks (or months) and our water within the next day or two. It did rain again last night. It was cold and quick, but it was the perfect way to freshen up after a long day.  Standing on the roof in our swim trunks.

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Mark: Lluvia y adventura

May 27, 2011

I’ve seen lightening from our roof almost every other night since we got here about a ago, even if we haven’t really seen any rain.  This time it was right above our heads.

My roommate and I hung out there for a while to watch until the rain started pouring, when we went to run back inside.  The problem was the door to the balcony and roof had blown shut behind us.  In Mexico people are very serious about protecting their property, and they have to be.  Every house in Cuernavaca is either surrounded by walls topped with barbed wire or the windows are barred, often both.  If you close a door behind you, you won’t get back in without a key.  Apparently that goes for doors on the upper floors too. 

We called for help but our  host-mother  couldn’t hear us.  Will thought he might have left his keys in pants pocket, in our bedroom.  Fourtunately with a little luck he was able to reach them through our window with a mop.  Unfortunately the roof door uses a different key.  So we thought about jumping to the neighbors roof and seeing if they would let us in.  And jumping the 15+ feet to the concrete sidewalk barefoot.  Will boosted me up and I  reached through a missing window pane in the door to take the keys from the other side.  But they slipped out of my hand.  About an hour after we went to the roof I finially managed, standing on Will, to use a stick to knock the handle on the other side over the open.  Me gustan adventuras!

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Daniel: from Mexico to Minnesota

May 5, 2010
This will be the last post I dedicate to my semester in Cuernavaca. I’m back in Minnesota sitting in a room that I’m about 1/8th moved in to. My life has more or less returned to normal, though I can’t shake the feeling that a portion of my life has been chriogenically frozen only to thaw out upon my return to Mexico. I miss all my friends, my host family, the school, my mentality, my girl; absolutely every detail of my life there. I can’t complain though, returning to my friends and family here was both easy and a warm reminder of the life I left for a few months.

The trip was incredible in every way. Regardless of what you may have been hearing about the violence and drug trafficking in Mexico, tourists and travelers incur the same problems as locals and nothing more. Don’t let the news and/or media stop your travel plans or desires to visit Mexico. You will be safe if you make rational decisions and steer clear of questionable situations.

As for the photos, from the top down:

  • The first three are from the plane ride home just after taking off from Mexico City
  • The next three are from an indigenous ritual performed before the Sergio Mendez Human Rights award ceremony
  • Walking to the bus in Lagunilla after our last day at VAMOS
  • My host family at a restaurant I visited almost daily a few nights before I left
  • Finally, an intersection next to that same restaurant that I passed often
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Daniel: El Museo de Antropologia

April 21, 2010

This past Thursday, Carol, Charlie, Maggie, Rashelle, and I headed out to Mexico City to visit the National Museum of Anthropology. It was strange to finally be able to go on an excursion exclusively with those who have been 2/5’s of our class every Monday; it truly felt like we were some sort of family as weird as that may sound. We spent a fair amount of time in each section of the museum as Charlie blew our minds one artifact at a time. We took a break for lunch around 3 where Carol, Charlie, and I dined at the restaurant inside the museum. Amazing food but a little spendy. We continued our quest for knowledge after eating and left the museum around 6:30. It was a very long day with an almost painful amount of new knowledge.

We all relaxed on the way home as we sat in traffic listening to Carol try to configure the GPS on her Blackberry, which incidentally interrupted me as I was about to ask a question. I’ve never been interrupted by an electronic voice before and to have it happen so suddenly made me laugh until I cried. As we crossed the ridge separating Morelos and the D.F., Charlie told us a story I won’t soon forget like all of his stories, and we arrived back at the school around 8:30. Quite a day.

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