Friday, October 31, 2008

Monte Alban / DF again

Hey everybody, now i´m in Oaxaca. Above is a photo of one of the pyramids in Monte Albán. It is an ancient city that is about 6km from Oaxaca. Yesterday I walked there and back. It was all uphill, so it took about 1.5 hours there, and 1 hour back. Needless to say, I´m a little sore today.

The amazing thing about being up here is that it´s on top of a mountain, and is surrounded by other mountains. The air is nice and clean up here, and everything is quiet. The city of Monte Albán is pretty large, and there are tunnels underneath the pyramids which priests used to pop out of so the common folk thought that they were gods. Sadly, you´re not allowed to crawl around under there for reasons of preservation, otherwise I would have been all over that.

Here´s me on top of one of the pyramids, with a nice background view of most of the city.

A three-wheeled Oaxacan taxi! Isn´t it cute? One of the drivers told me that they are made in India, so maybe I will see some while I am there.

This photo was taken on my last trip to Mexico City. I was there for two days between Guanajuato and Oaxaca. It is the Palacio de Bellas Artes. There are murals inside by Diego Rivera, Rudolfo Tanaya, and other famous Mexican artists. The copper dome on top of this building is really nice; it´s a little hard to tell because it was a cloudy day when I took this picture.
The hostel I stayed at in DF was nice. It wasn´t the HI, but a different one around the corner. I met a bunch of folks there and everyone was really friendly. I came to Oaxaca with 2 Swedish girls and an Australian who are sort of traveling together, who I met at the Mex. City hostel.
Tonight is Halloween and apparently it´s becoming a big deal in Mexico. So we are all going to try to make some sort of costumes and go out to enjoy the festivities. In two days it´s Dia de los Muertos, which is supposed to be a very good time in Oaxaca. I will be sure to get some good pictures and post them.
I hope everyone is doing great. Until next time...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Don`t Die in Guanajuato!

Here`s a cool shot of the market from above. You can see all the activity going on.
Sardines... Con limòn?

The estundiantiles in action.

The alley of the Kiss.

This is what they do to you if you die in Guanajuato and your family can`t keep up with the cemetery dues. They dig you out and put you on display!

Hello, I am in Guanajuato and here are some pictures. Without knowing it, I showed up on the last weekend of the Cervantino Festival, which is a huge art festival that young people from all over Mexico come here for. There are street performances, music, dance, and theatre stuff going on. Mostly there are 18-22 year olds roaming the streets all night long. It`s like Mexican Mardi Gras, without the mass consumption of alcohol and female nudity. I guess it`s not like Mardi Gras at all, except there are hordes of people running around in the streets. It is kinda crazy.
So I have been doing a lot of wandering around, looking at stuff. Last night I got caught up in this crazy tradition also that I didn`t know about. Apparently on the weekends, musicians with mariachi instruments and medieval outfits (you know, tights and poofy sleeves) gather up a crowd and lead them through the tiny alleys of the city. Everyone is singing along and they tell jokes in between. It was really fun, even though I coudn`t understand a word. These are the estudiantiles.
This morning I took a walk through said alleys and ended up at a lookout. You could see the whole city which is quite beautiful. The alleys are really amazing, too. People`s front doors open out into them, which I guess means that they can`t drive up to their door, which kinda sucks because everything is at a hill and in high altitude so it`s easy to get winded.
Then after that, I went to the mummy museum. People who are buried in Guanajuato often get mummified because there are so many minerals in the soil. You have to pay cemetery dues, and if your family can`t pay them, or if no one cares anymore, they dig you up so they have room for newly dead people. If you are a well-preserved mummy, you go into the mummy museum! If you`re not looking so great, they incinerate you. Cremate you.
As charming as Guanajuato is, I think I am done with all the late-night shouting and bursts of song. I am going to start making my way to Oaxaca city tomorrow or the next day.
I hope everyone is well. Blog to you later!

Friday, October 24, 2008

San Miguel de Allende

Here is a fountain that spouts water from the river which S. Miguel was founded on.
Another beautiful fountain.

Not sure what this building is, but look at the color!

Another fountain... recognize a theme?

This cat lived at the thermal water place. Looked how relaxed and blissed out she is.

Here are some photos of S. Miguel de Allende. I went to a thermal waters spa yesterday- there was this weird tunnel that led to a cave, all submerged in water. The thermal water was dumping into the cave and coming out of the tunnel to the rest of the place. It was really relaxing there.

San Miguel in general is a really beautiful town. I met an expat from Boston who lives there now. She said the place is becoming very developed. She said it with disdain but I liked it a lot. I even got to see a movie- Peligro Bangkok.

The only bad part is that my room had a cockroach problem and the water pressure and heat from the shower was muy mal. I basically had to bathe in the sink. You can`t have your cake and eat it too, I guess.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

why not to sit in the front of a mexican bus

this is how i look when i`m feeling defeated.

this skull is tiled but it`s a real skull

    • this one has some weird eye things attached to it.

    you can see the driver pull up within 3 inches to the next car to get them to move

    the driver`s assistant talks to you in really fast spanish about everything, but you don`t really understand because he`s talking to fast and all you want to do is read your book

    you have to watch the driver texting on his phone while passing a slower truck on a 2 lane highway

    bicycles are riding on the wrong side of the street!!! and it looks like you`re going to hit them with the bus becasue the shoulder is too f------- small

    yes, today i took a bus out of mexico city to san miguel de allende. it took forever, but i got here in one piece. this town is so peaceful and pretty. i arrived around 5 pm, found a place to stay, walked around a bit and had something to eat. there are little kids everywhere, and they all seem happy. it is too dark to take pictures but i will do it tomorrow so you all can see.

    nannette went home today. it was sad to take the bus without her. i think she would have gotten a kick out of it.

    well, i am putting some pictures from the archeology museum in mexico city. apparently i found the skulls really interesting. one of them is partly tiled. there`s a photo of these crazy costumed guys outside the museum. they were dancing around this maypole thing and playing music, then they climbed up it and started sliding down ropes while the top part was turning. i never got the whole story on that, but it was fascinating.

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Tepoztlan part 2

    OOOOOooooooohhhh my god. I just typed a whole bunch of stuff and it got ERASED. oh man, i hate computers. ok, i will try again. i will take a lesson from mexico and be tranquila.

    As I was saying (or said), today we took a bus to a place one hour outside of Mexico City to a place called Tepoztlan. It is a small, sleepy town with the most perfect weather imaginable. It´s in a valley with all these sharp mountains surrounding it. We read in the all-knowing guide book that there is a pyramid up a 2km path. We thought we´d give it a go and discovered that the book forgot to mention that the path is nearly vertical. We huffed and puffed, and finally got there. It was really nice at the top- we were greeted by coatis walking around and digging in the trash (sounds gross but was actually cute), had a great view of the town and got to see the small pyramid which archeologists were working on to restore it to it´s former glory.

    Yesterday we walked around the city and used the Metro to get around. They have an excellent thing going here with the metro- it goes everywhere, not unlike Paris´ Metro system. To use it, you only have to pay 2 pesos! Which is something like 20 cents.

    Also, I´d like to take this time to say that I find Mexico City to be not as dangerous or polluted as I was told. It´s very clean (no birds dropping out of the sky from smog pollution Joon ;) ), everyone is extremely friendly and nice, and it doesn´t seem to be any more dangerous than major cities. So if you´re thinking of visiting Mexico City but you´re nervous, that is just stupid. I promise.


    I posted some pictures. they are adorable coatis eating each other´s fleas, Pyramid Tepoztlan, a shot of the town with the death-defying mountain behind it, Diego Rivera murals in the Palacio Nacional, Nannette attempting to tame a feral cat, people doing there daily traditional dance in the Zócalo, and another shot of the mountain.

    I have more but it takes too long to upload them. Ok that´s all. I hope everyone is doing great and that you send me an email with news from home.


    Saturday, October 18, 2008

    more pictures

    picture one is the view from the roof terrace of our hostel

    picture two is my first mexican friend... a cat who lives at the top of the hostel

    picture three is mexican geezer! he was a stray dog who looks a lot like geezer but is bigger. hes hiding behind someone... you can only see his head.


    picture one is nannette, lisa and simon.}
    picture two is nannette in front of some cool ruins in df
    picture three is me in front of the pyramid of the moon, just before i climb that sucker

    Day 2 in Mexico City

    yes, i know the title is really boring. i{m not feeling particularly creative.
    That being said, I am having an awesome time in Mexico City! My friend Nannette who was planning to meet me got in to the hostel a few hours after me, and we ran into another friend from the hostel unexpectedly! It was Lisa and her boyfriend Simon!
    so then we all had some dinner and went out to Lucha Libre, which I have to say is fascinating. It was a lot of over-dramatic wrestling, really fantastic costumes, fireworks shooting out of the stage, and lots of audience participation. I wish I could{ve taken pictures but they wouldn{t let me bring my camera inside the stadium.
    Then afterwards we went to Garabaldi Square where there were literally hundreds of mariachi musicians standing around in mariachi outfits singing to really drunk people. It was pretty great. We had a quesadilla and Lisa tried to convince us how fun it would be to pay some lady to shock us with this weird jump rope-looking thing with metal handles.

    Today me and Nannette took a tour to see the Pyramids at Teotihuacan. It was so incredibly beautiful! The pyramids are huge, and our guide taught us a lot of interesting history which I can`t remember right now. It was neat to think about what it would have been like to live back then while standing on the top of the pyramids.
    We also saw the place where the miracle of the Virgen de Guadalupe happened. The story goes that some colonial Spaniard asked an indigenous person to carry roses from point A to point B, and when he got to point B, the image of the Virgen was on the cloth he was carrying the roses in.....? (Are there any Catholic people who can help me out on this story? I{m not really sure if I have it right) So.... they have the original piece of cloth in this church and I saw it. It looks suspiciously like a painting, though.
    Mexico City is a really neat place. There are a lot of cool, old buildings and it`s pretty clean and the people are really friendly.
    I am going to try to post some pictures now. enjoy!

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    i made it to mexico city!!!

    well, i made it. i haven{t slept much since wed. night but i{m trying to stay awake until bedtime. sorry there are no pictures again but i{m kind of out of it. and i have yet to get used to a spanish keyboard. i don{t have much to say today, other than i am exhausted and overwhelmed and that mexico city is beautiful. the hostel is pretty cool- its right near the center and they have two rooftop terraces and there is a cat. hes pretty dirty but he insisted on sitting on my lap.
    thats all i have for now. maybe i{ll write again tomorrow after i get some sleep.

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Last day at home

    it's my last day at home and i have no pictures to show you, because my camera connector thing is packed in the bottom of my pack and there's no way i'm digging it out.
    i feel excited and nervous and happy and sad.
    i can't find my passport, even though i had it here last night. maybe it's stuck in the couch or something. i gotta go look for it.
    the next time you hear from my it will be from mexico city!

    Cities I've Visited