Today we are heading back to the United States. I have had such an amazing time here in Mexico. I am absolutely amazed with the culture, cuisine, and beauty of this country. Here is a list of some things that I wanted to reflect on as I head home to the United States:
First of all, I highly encourage going on a study abroad trip without any of your friends. I had one acquaintance, Audrey, who I knew was also coming on this trip. We decided to share an apartment and it was such a great opportunity for us to get closer and make close friends with the others in our group.
Mexico has these little stands that they put by your table in restaurants to hold your purse. America needs those.
Always keep a blog while traveling. I totally wish that I had kept up with mine in Italy. Blogging helped me reflect and remember each day that I was abroad.
Don’t be afraid to sound silly when speaking in the language that you are learning. You will improve so quickly when you are trying to speak with people everyday.
True Mexican food is entirely different than what we are used to in the United States. I thought I knew this coming in to the trip, but there is still so many culinary differences that I was unaware of.
There are lots of things that should be on this list that I am forgetting…..
Woo! This was a trip of a lifetime and I am so excited that I got to share and remember it via this blog.
Lastly, check out the Talavera that I painted in Puebla! I think it turned out pretty well!
Today was our last full day in Mexico and boy was it a good one! This morning we went to a Mexican Folklore Ballet. It was unlike anything that I have ever seen before. There were Flamenco dancers, dancers with huge paper mache masks, Mariachi bands, etc. It was so much fun and definitely one of the more “traditional” experiences that I have had while here.
After the show, we went to the museum that was located inside the same building as the theatre (it is called the Palacio de Bellas Artes). They currently have a special exhibit called “Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time.” The exhibit has many works from both of the artists and discussed their stylistic similarities (especially cubism). It was a great and impressive exhibit. The Palacio also had several Diego Riviera murals. How cool is that?!?
After we finished up at the Palacio, we went to the Museum of Memory and Tolerance. This museum was truly spectacular. It was decided up into 2 parts. The first part was designated to help visitors remember the genocides that have occurred in the past. The second part of the tour was designed to encourage and promote tolerance of other cultures, ideas, and people. This museum is a must-see for anyone who finds themselves in Mexico City. I could not recommend it enough.
After the Museum of Tolerance, we had a late lunch at a huge restaurant inside a hotel. It was lovely! I had some tacos and a fruit / cheese salad. My amiga Audrey tried a traditional dish that actually originated in Puebla. It is called Chilis en Nogada and is a stuffed pepper with a special sauce and pomegranate seeds. It was yummy for sure!
After lunch, we were supposed to go to the mall for a couple of hours. Audrey and I decided that we wanted to check out the nearby Museo Jumex, that had a temporary Andy Warhol exhibit. The museum had only 3 galleries and they were all filled with spectacular Warhol works. It was fabulous and I had so much fun strolling through the brightly colored modern art. It was a nice change from the (equally beautiful) European art that I have been staring at all summer.
We stopped by “the Mexican version of Starbucks” for a quick treat before heading back to the hotel for the night. What a great last day here in this beautiful country. Mexico, I love you!!!!
Today was our first day in Mexico City. I love it here! It feels just like any big American city, honestly.
We got up this morning after a beautiful slumber in our nice big hotel beds and headed to breakfast. The place where the OU faculty goes for breakfast (aka it’s free to us) has both traditional Mexican breakfast and more generic American alternatives. Today I opted for the Huevos Rancheros, but tomorrow I’ll definitely be eating pancakes. I’m ready for a good old bowl of cereal and yogurt for breakfast. Not that I don’t love the bean / egg / salsa dishes that are usually served here.
Anyways, after breakfast we drove to the Xochimilco (the city of flowers). This is an area that was once a Mayan civilization. It used to be a city on water, but now it is an area with manmade islands. There are tons of small wooden boats that visitors can rent out. Once you get on the water tons of vendors, also in boats, that try to sell you things including food, drinks, and souvenirs. There are also marriachi bands floating on boats. If you pay them, they will come sing on your boat. It’s pretty cool! In the middle of our boat tour, we stopped at a greenhouse to take a peek. There were tons of beautiful flowers and plants for sale.
After our boat excursion, we headed to the Frida Khalo Museum. The Museum was everything that I imagined. I feel like I have read so much about the Museum throughout all of my Spanish classes, and today I finally got to see it.
We had lunch and I took a brief 2 hour naps. Then, we departed for the El Rey León. It was amazing!! I had seen the musical in London this past summer, but it was more fun in Spanish. It was so special for me to be able to see that again.
Today we left Puebla bright and early to head to Mexico City. We stopped along the way at Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city that is located about an hour out of Mexico City. While we were there, we got to climb one of the huge pyramid and learn a little about the history of the ancient civilization. Most importantly, I got the most delicious paleta (popsicle with fresh fruit) I’ve had while here. It was so good that I got another one!
We have just arrived in Mexico City and I am so excited to explore. First, a quick rest period before dinner. Today has been exhausting!
Today we left at 9:00AM for our last Cuisine Class Excursion of the trip. We went to an agave farm about 2 hours away from Puebla. The agave farm distills Pulque, which is an alcoholic beverage that is traditional in Central Mexico. The drink is made from the fermented sap of the agave plant.
When we arrived at the farm, we could see all of the agave plants. We were allowed to look at the center of the agave plant where all of the sap was located. Then, one of the farmers took a large wooden instrument and sucked out some of the sap for us to try. Unsurprisingly, it tasted just like sugar water. From there, we were taken inside a building where they ferment the sap to try the final product. Pulque is quite sour. I’m not quite sure that I can say that I fully enjoyed it, to be honest.
After we toured the area where the Pulque was made, they served us lunch. There lots of tostadas, guacamole, and soup for all! They really spoiled us. We even got dessert! They also served a coconut flavored Pulque which was much more enjoyable than the unflavored stuff.
When we got back to the apartment, we all settled in for a rest. I decided to put some laundry in the wash. I was sitting on the couch when I heard a strange sound, like water running. “Oh, it’s just the washing machine being normal,” I thought. I eventually decided to go check, and BOY WAS I WRONG!!!! The hose that drains the water from the washing machine had disconnected from the washer and there was no less than a centimeter of soapy water on the floor of our kitchen / laundry room / guest bathroom. My 3 roommates and I quickly were able to shuffle all of the water to the drain in the shower of our guest bathroom using our bath towels. It was a mess, to be honest.
This morning we had our third and final Cuisine lecture class (YAY). We then had Spanish language class. The we had our último dance class (Gracias a todo!!!!!!!!!).
As we walked back to our apartment from dance class, it started POURING / HAILING. It is still raining a bit and we decided to order pizza for dinner because it is wet and cold and we are pooped! We are trying Papa John’s this time because Mexican Dominos did not meet expectations. Wish us luck!
Today was fabulous. We got up bright and early and headed to El Christo Golf and Country Club. We had a three hour private golf lesson where I truly only learned one thing: I don’t enjoy golf. The country club, however, was really neat.
As soon as we were finished golfing, Armando announced that we had another surprise activity. We were going back to the Talavera factory to paint our own tiles! How cool is that?!? We painted them today and they should be fired in the kiln / ready by the time we leave Puebla. I am so excited to get my piece back.
Two of my amigos y yo got up at 6AM to stroll around the market, take pictures while the vendors set up, and watch the sunrise. It was lovely and quiet; not want vendors or customers had arrived at the market yet. We went back to our hotel around 8 to grab some breakfast. After breakfast and a brief rest, we decided to head back out. By 10AM, the market was packed. There were many people and apparently this wasn’t even a crowded day! It was nuts! As we strolled around the market, I bought a few souvenirs and MANY snacks….
The following is a brief list of the snacks that I purchased / consumed at the market and their prices in Pesos and US Dollars (respectively):
5 Tacos al Pastor: 15 Pesos … 85 Cents (USD)
3 Churros: 5 Pesos … 28 Cents (USD)
A Paleta: 5 Pesos … 28 Cents (USD)
A Mango with Chili Sauce / Powder: 10 Pesos … 56 Cents (USD)
After strolling through the market, I headed to a convenance store to grab some road trip snacks. I got some Takis, Doritos, and some chocolate sandwich cookies that I had never seen before. We made it back to Puebla pretty quickly (about 4 hours) and I took a great nap as soon as we got back.