Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter :)

Happy Easter, everybody! I am celebrating today by making five pans of jell-o. Or, I might not make them all today. Maybe I'll save some for Thursday.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I am putting more links to more pictres in the side bar --->
Now I'm going to do homework. Woe is me.
I come home next week!! Can't wait to see everybody!
<3 Allison

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Hello everybody. I know I said that I would cross-post all my BEDA blogs here, but... I decided not to. This is my Mexico blog. So I'm gonna delete the one I already have up, and if you want to read my Blog Every Day in April entries, you can read them at my BEDA blog. (I would recommend reading them. I think they're pretty entertaining.) Here is a link: BEDA!

Today, however, I BEDA'd about Teotihuacan! It was so amazing. I don't feel like talking about it again, because I'm tired, so I am just going to copy/paste. It's kind of a different format than my usual blogs, but I think it's more entertaining than usual, so hopefully you'll enjoy!

(Please be advised that this information comes solely as I remember it from the guide. If something is inaccurate, it could be my own forgetfulness or the inaccuracy of the information I received. That being said, aside from some dates, everything should be pretty much correct.)

Most people know Teotihuacan as an Aztec city. This is what I understood it to be until yesterday. Actually the city was built by the Olmecs over 2,000 years before the Aztecs found it. For whatever reason the Olmecs left or died off and the city was basically buried. When the Aztecs found it the pyramids looked like big hills because they were covered in thousands of years worth of dirt. Somehow they realized that the hills were not in fact mother nature's goose bumps* but rather man-built structures. I imagine the discovery went something like this:

Ancient little boy is playing ih his backyard with his plastic Fisher Price tool set. Little boy digs hole in his sandbox and hits a rock. Little boy digs all afternoon.
"MOM! Mom! Moooom!"
"Alex! Alex! Aleeeeex! See how annoying that is?"
Little boy huffs and runs into the next room.
"Dad! Dad, I found something cool in my SANDBOX!"
"That's nice, Alex."
Little boy huffs and goes back outside. Little boy takes human skull and carries it inside. Mom looks up from ancient telephone. Screams.
Next day ancient archaeologists dig up backyard and find part of a gigantic pyramid.

Okay, they actually probably didn't find skeletons on the pyramids. But, you get the picture.

So, the Aztecs find these pyramids and are like, "Hey. This is convenient. Let's build our temples on here!" So they build their temples on top of the already existing Olmec pyramids. Oh, and they're not really pyramids, they just have a similar shape to pyramids, so that's what most people call them. Yeah.

What else is interesting about the city? Oh! Want to know what "Teotihuacan" means? Land of the gods. Why? Because the Aztecs didn't actually live in Teotihuacan. They used it as a religious gathering place. (Let's say the little boy's sandbox was at church, and he was playing after Sunday School.) And they didn't know what it was called, because the Olmecs had built it thousands of years before, but they thought the structures were so enormous that no humans could have built it (these guys hadn't heard of the "wheel" yet) so they figured the gods must have built it. Enter the Spaniards. The Aztecs were just trying to tell the Spaniards about this city that the gods built, and they were like, "Come see this teotihuacan!" And the Spaniards were like, "Duhhhh... Teotiwhat? That's a funny name for a city." And so now we call it Teotihuacan.

Enough history? Okay. So there were three main structures and then a BUNCH of little ones. The first one we saw was the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (my FAVORITE Aztec god) and... another god whose name I can't remember. Sorry. But they shared a temple. And there were a bunch of serpent heads made out of rock on the side of the structure because "Quetzalcoatl" means "Feathered Serpent." This was very cool. We also saw some stuff set up for reconstruction. The guide said this is part of UN law that a country who discovers something has the obligation to reconstruct as much as they can or cover it back up. I don't know how accurate this is.

(Side note: Our guide was hilarious. At one point he got to talking about how the PRD, one of the main political parties, is the Mexican Communist party. And then he started going off on the Commies. One of the snarkier guys on the tour was like, "Good thing I didn't wear my Che shirt.")

Next we went to a museum with some artifacts and a huge replica of the whole area that took up the whole floor of a big room. There was a walkway going through the room made out of some kind of plexi-glass type thing. It was freaky, even though we were only raised two feet from the ground. I don't have a fear of heights, I just don't like feeling like the floor could collapse underneath me.

Then we CLIMBED THE PYRAMID OF THE SUN! I should mention that there are two big pyramids- that of the Sun and that of the Moon. The Sun is the biggest. Our guide said it was the second largest pyramid in the world (next to the big one in Egypt). The snarky guy had some pages from a travel book with him, and that said it was the third largest (next to the two biggest in Egypt? I think?). Either way, it was BIG. 354 stairs. I think. Maybe 10 more, I can't remember exactly. Yeah. So, we climbed. In recent years they have installed a really heavy-duty rope-type-thing that acts as a handrail. This was nice going up, but not COMPLETELY necessary. Now, going down is a different matter, but I'll get to that in a minute.

So, GOING UP the pyramid was NOT EASY. Luckily the pyramid had levels, so at each platform I stopped for a couple minutes and caught my breath. (Side note: I have borderline asthma, which makes climbing things just that much more difficult.) It was slow going, especially because it was very CROWDED. But I finally made it to the top, and oh! It was SPECTACULAR! The view was beautiful, once I got to a spot that wasn't blocked by tourists. And there was this big group of people standing in a circle doing some kind of meditation thingy on the top. That was neat.

Going down the pyramid? AWFUL. I HATE going down lots and lots of stairs. It hurts worse going up because you use these random muscles that you hardly ever use. It was rough. Also, it's a lot scarier going DOWN because you can SEE HOW FAR YOU MIGHT FALL. If you trip going down, you fall away from the pyramid. Not a happy thought.

(Side note: The sides of the pyramid have rocks sticking out of them all over the place. These were not, as our tour guide tried to tell us, for the ancients' coats.)
(That really was a SIDE note. Hahaha...)

At this point it's about 3:00. The sun is absolutely BEATING down on us. I have some sunscreen on my face, but I don't own a hat or anything. And I had plenty of water, but the water was getting HOT. And I felt exhausted from all the climbing. We took some pictures and then went to meet our group. A bunch of them had new water bottles and showed us the little shop where they bought them, so I drank the last of my warm water in anticipation of new, cold water. Go figure, they were out. They were getting more, but it was going to take too long and we had to go. Our bus was leaving at 4, and it was now 3:30. So no more water for us.

We didn't get to climb the Moon, because we were out of time, but I was kind of okay with that. I didn't want to climb anymore. I resolved to come back some day and climb the Moon. We took some more pictures. We had an interesting time finding the exit. Finally we got out of there and found bathrooms and a souvenir shop that had water and ice cream and nachos. I was so happy to eat those nachos, and I got a liter sized water bottle and drank about half of it before we even got to the bus. I also got a lime-flavored popsicle thingy (one of those big ones, not the tube-shaped ones) which was delicious. And then I half-slept the rest of the way home. When we got home, I had to pee really badly. And I had some kind of heat exhaustion or... something. I couldn't eat dinner. I felt too sick. And I had a hard time actually falling asleep. The fan was too noisy, but it was WAY too hot without it. I put my iPod in and listened to Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was too distracting. Finally I took it out and just closed my eyes. I fell asleep eventually.**

And that was my experience at Teotihuacan! Hope you learned something. Anyone with more information on the subject, feel free to post!


PS: I will upload pictures tomorrow, and I'll also link to my newest photo albums.

PPS: Speaking of tomorrow, I am going to do something like this for my BEDA post tomorrow. You'll see. It will be awesome.

*I was going to call them "Mother Nature's lady lumps," but that seemed somewhat inappropriate...

**My dream was so funny last night. My friend was over with her fiance, and he had made a list of... something. His favorite things on the internet? I don't know, I can't remember. But one of them was Mrs. Nerimon, and I was like, "Do you know who Nerimon is???" And he just shrugged and said, "Yeah." And then I asked, "Are you a NERDFIGHTER?" (This was important because he and his brother were the first people I thought of when I first watched Brotherhood 2.0.) He just shrugged again and said, "Yeah." And I was SO EXCITED because I had never met a Nerdfighter IRL (not counting my friends who introduced me to Nerdfighting), and it was so cool because he and his brother reminded me SO MUCH of John and Hank! So, apparently I dream about Nerdfighteria when I have Tiny Feathered-Serpent Disease. Go figure :)
(If you don't know what a Nerdfighter is, that's okay. I asked the guy I dreamed about if he knew what it was, and he didn't, either.)

By the way, I recently made it possible for people to comment on my blog. So, comment! I love hearing from you :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Acapulco, baby! (part 2)

Well, I just realized again how long it's been. Here's the rest of my blogging on the beach:

Whoa. Okay. So there's this pelican that was floating in the ocean, and it got a little too close to the beach and got caught up in a wave. He tumbled a little and then the wave washed him into the chairs of these two older ladies. He was kind of caught up in their chairs, and the lady stood up to move the chairs, but she didn't realize that he was there, and so she kmind of shuffled them around and then she saw him and screamed! It was funny, but kinda sad, because the poor bird was pretty disoriented. And now he's just sitting there on the beach. At first everybody was gathered around, trying to figure out what to do.
Now they've left him alone, and we think he's trying to dry out his wings, but this one guy keeps saying that he needs to stay wet so he won't die in the sun, and so he keeps pouring water on him. Now people are around him again. I can't really hear what they're saying, but I think they're trying to figure out what to do with him. It's still a debate between keeping him wet and drying him off. And that man is still keeping him wet. I still think he just wants to dry off. He's been there for like an hour now.
We'll see what happens. That man can't stay and water him all day. Now I'm going to go write. Or maybe read.

PS: There's still sand in my pants.

Later that day...

I no longer have sand in my pants. I now have small rocks in my pants.
(Very small rocks!)
All the men here are wearing Speedos. Well, okay, not actual Speedos, but their swimming suits look more appropriate for women than men. And if they are wearing shorts-style suits, then they are short and tight shorts. It is slightly awkward.
Speaking of awkward, earlier we were trying to make eye contact with our waiter to order some nachos and a lemonade, and a different waiter came over. I thought he would ask us if we needed anything, but instead he asked if we needed a massage. I said, "No, but how much are the nachos?"
He told us.
"Okay, we'll have a small one."
He called over our waiter.
"Nachos, please. Small. Oh, and a lemonade? Thanks."
He went to get them for us.
The other guy stayed and said, "Here, let me show you an example of a massage. It's free, don't worry."
It was awkward.
The nachos, though, were DELICIOUS.


Well, I learned something yesterday. If you're going to stay at the beach all day, you should probably put sunscreen on more than once. And when you do reapply, get more than just your face.
(My back/shoulders are burnt and they are not happy with me.)
Apparently the pelican eventually flew away yesterday, so that was good.
(Note from current Allison: Actually, it was there again the next day. They said it couldn't fly, which was sad. It was just hanging out in the shade with the waiters.)
We also had a turtle wash up onto the beach (a gigantic one), but he was dead, which was sad :( I don't know what they did with him. And now there are a bunch of seagulls, and they are really loud and kind of obnoxious.
They're gone now.
(Note: Wow. That sounds really evil. I didn't do anything to them, they just flew away. I swear...)
So, Callie and I were talking and she said that when we get back to Cuernavaca we're going to automatically shake our heads at anyone who comes up to us, because there is literally a vendor every five minutes who tries to sell us something.
There are a lot more young people today. And a lot of families. We made friends with a brother and sister who were in sixth and third grade, and we hung (hanged?) out with them in the water for like an hour this morning. It was tons of fun :)
The ocean is especially beautiful in the mornings. It is very clear and the water is so nice. Well, the water is nice all day long. It's a lot warmer than CA, but it's not exactly warm... it's refreshingly perfect. Except now it's kind of dirty... I mean, it's just dirt and algea and whatever, but it's less appealing than in the mornings. Still, though, I love it. I just love the beach. My skin? Doesn't really love the beach. But I do!
Which reminds me! I decided I am going to have my honeymoon in Oaxaca. I know it's not entirely up to me, but I hope he'll understand. And I knw I need to be engaged before really planning a honeymoon, but whatever :)
My hair is so frizzy. It's wild. I'm still kind of tempted to get it all braided. We'll see how much it costs. Maybe if it's cheap... okay, if it's cheap I will definitely do it, but I'm gonna wait until tomorrow.
(I never even asked how much it cost.)
Ahh, we just moved the umbnrella, and we have a lot more shade now.
This guy keeps coming around in captain's garb trying to sell us tickets on a "cruise." I'm pretty sure it's just a night thing, with drinks and dancing, but whatever.
Oh my gosh, people are bungee jumping! Are they CRAZY??
I love the beach.
Have I mentioned that yet? It's true. I love, love, LOVE it :)
There's this older lady from NY (I think) and she is hilarious. She was here yesterday, too. (The lady with the chairs and the pelican. And I think she's from Boston, not NY.) She is ridiculously tan. And she spends the whole day in the sun. Like, literally. Either she's sitting in her chair in the sun or she's floating on her raft in the sun. And she's very no-nonsense, but she's incredibly friendly. She's made friends with everyone here. She's jsut not shy at all. This can be proven by the fact that she wears a bikini. And instead of tying the streakps around her neck, she ties them around her back or in front. To avoid tan lines, perhaps?
Sorry, just needed to get that out there :)
Well, I meant to spend my day on the beach reading, but I haven't read anything. I've just been... sitting. And playing in the ocean. But, mostly sitting. It's nice, though. I love the beach :)
My tank top is bright yellow today, so I feel even more like a beacon.
I just remembered a funny story! Theose kids we were hanging out with this morning were collecting shells, and they said they were going to sell them. I asked if they were going to sell them when they got home, and they said, "Yeah, on eBay!" This made me laugh, but THEN they said, "We're going to take pictures up really close, and then people with think they're big, but when they get them in the mail they will be a lot smaller!" Hahaha! I thought they were just hilarious. I mean, I hope their parents don't let them do that, and explain how that's wrong, but the fact that they had the idea is just so funny.
On a completely different note, I can't sit in a sandy area and NOT dig holes with my feet.
HOLY CRAP! Our umbrella just flew away! It was hilarious! One second I was writing happily in the shade, the next second I was in the sun and it was flying over our heads into the table next to us. It was pretty funny, actually :)

Back to the present...
That was all I wrote. We didn't stay on the beach much longer than that. We went to get our bus tickets home, we ate some Baskin Robbins ice cream from the shop next to our hostel, and we just kind of chilled. We were exhausted. We probably went to bed at like 9:30.

Tomorrow I will tell you guys all about our trip to Las Estacas last weekend. It's a BEAUTIFUL river not far from Cuernavaca. And I mean it when I say I'll be writing tomorrow because I have some VERY EXCITING NEWS!
Starting tomorrow, I (along with many people who are a lot more famous than me) will be starting BEDA (Blog Every Day April) in celebration of the paperback release of Maureen Johnson's novel Suite Scarlett. Now, I haven't actually read any of her books because I discovered her only a couple months ago, and if you'll remember, I am in Mexico. It is NOT easy to get American books in Mexico unless they are SUPER popular. And ordering them through Amazon is out, because the shipping costs at least the same as the book itself, if not more. But I read her blog and I follow her on Twitter, and she is hilarious. And I figure I don't blog enough, so why not blog every day for one month? The posts will certainly not be as long as they have been. I promise. But it will be fun. Who knows what I will talk about? Mexico. Harry Potter. Awesome random stuff. The usual.
So, tune in tomorrow! I might have some more picsup by then, too!

Best wishes!
<3 Allison

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Acapulco, baby! (part 1)

Hey, all! Did you watch my video?? I know it was kinda long, and I'm sorry about that, but you guys are lucky that YouTube has a 10 minute limit, or it would have been LONGER. I'm still new to this whole vlogging thing, and I'm not very good at cutting things out... I LIKED everything that I said. It was FUN. But, like any good work, it's better when it's cleaned up. And that vlog wasn't cleaned up very well... or very much. But! I am going to get better at it! Like I said, I'll do a couple more of those from Mexico, and then I think I'll continue the vlogs (and probably this blog, too) so everyone can keep up with my crazy-cool college life :)

So, anyway, this is part three of spring break. Acapulco!

Callie and I got back to Cuernavaca (from Oaxaca) around 1 am. We were tired. I slept in Tuesday morning. Callie went to the bus station to buy our tickets. We still weren't sure where we were going to stay. We looked online, we called around, and we found this little hostel called K3. we never did find out what that stood for... Anyway, our bus left at 2:00, so we got there around 6:00. We watched some Garfield movie on the bus, and then a movie called... crap... I don't remember what it was called, but it was about a movie star dog who falls off an airplane (I know) and is found by this boy whose father is a firefighter. And the boy kinda hates the dog at first, but then they become bffs, and the dog saves people from fires, and then the original owner sees the dog and is all happy and stuff and takes him home, and the boy is sad because the dog was his bff. But then the dog runs away, saves the boy from a fire (which was set by a badguyfireman from a rival station), and the owner is like, "Oh, he loves you so much. Okay, he can stay with you." And the boy and the dad are happy. The end. Oh, and there was something in there about his uncle dying in a fire. And the boy didn't get along very well with the dad. But, you know, minor details.
Anyway, we got to Acapulco and checked in to our hostel. They told us we each had 30 minutes of free internet (which we never used) and then gave us our keys to our "room." We got to our "room" and opened the door and the first thing we noticed? It wasn't a room. It was a bed closet. I mean, literally, it was the size of a walk-in closet. There were two tiny bunk beds, and the only space between them was the width of the door. It was SMALL.

Lucky we were the only two in there, so we each just took the bottom bunk. It wasn't too bad, just... TINY. And the sheets! They gave us our sheets when we checked in. It was like a sleeping bag sheet. Like, the sheet was folded in half and sewn together at the bottom and sewn together for about a foot up the side. It was literally like a sheet made into a sleeping bag. Oh, and we got a pillow case. Thank goodness the pillows were already in the room, because I ended up stealing one from the bed above Callie (the one above me had... something that looked suspiciously like animal poop on it. EWWWWWW) to use in addition to my own. I can't stand sleeping with one pillow. It makes me snore even worse than usual.
Oh! And the signs on the doors were HILARIOUS. They were in Spanish and English, and... yeah. The grammar was bad in BOTH languages.

That night we walked on the beach for about 15 minutes, but it was getting dark, so we didn't stay.

We did eat at a restaurant that was on the beach, and we got an epic lemonade and some yummy quesadillas that were more like... cheese empanadas.

They were SO good. Mmmmm.

The next morning we got up, ate breakfast (toast and cereal, no joke) and headed out! We bought towels, because neither of us had one, I bought a big huge 1 liter water bottle, and we went to the beach. We walked in the opposite direction from our walk the night before, and immediately a guy came up and asked us if we wanted to rent an umbrella. My immediate reaction was no, but Callie is a lot smarter than me. She asked how much, turned out to be 30 pesos for the whole day, and so she said, "Okay." This was smart because we had no umbrella or anything to keep us in the shade, and we were planning on spending the ENTIRE day at the beach. So, good thinking, Callie!

While I was at the beach, I brought my notebook, and I wrote some blog entries, so I think I'll let me-from-the-past do the narrating now:


There's sand in my pants.
I love the beach, though. The sound of the waves, the oceany breeze. And we are the youngest ones here. Somehow we ended up on the old people beach. It's hilarious. The next youngest people are probably in their 30s. Oh! No, wait, two little girls just showed up. They look about 8 and 6, though. Under 10 doesn't count. And most of them are American, but they're all TAN. Like, brown. Like, we thought this guy was Mexican until he told us he was from New York. And we are both WHITE. Like, albino. Like, glows-in-the-dark, welcome beacon white.
There's sand in my hair.
At least my skin will be nice and smooth. I hope the calluses on my feet go away. Free pedicure! Yay!
So we rented a table (w/ chairs) and umbrella. It's really nice. Only 30 pesos for the whole day. And Callie brought her blanket for us to lay on. We put it out in the sun for a while, but the tide almost gave us a bath, so we moved the blanket behind the table and moved the chairs into the sun. Well, Callie moved her chair into the sun. I decided to sit in the shade for a while. I'd like to get tan, but I don't want to burn :) It's really nice out. It was cold in Oaxaca, but sitting on the beach with my feet in the sand is perfect. And the breeze is so perfect. And I just love the beach.
There's sand in my shirt.
Every five minutes or so a vendor comes by. Bracelets, hats, figurines, necklaces, shawls, magazines, and food. And a lady who will give you a massage or braid your hair into those tiny braids. And it doesn't matter if they've come by before, they come to you again. Here comes one now. Bracelets with your name. And each time someone comes by, I want to get something!
I am really tempted to get my hair done in braids :) And when lunch time rolls around, we are definitely buying some quesadillas. We don't even have to move an inch to get lunch! There's the quesadilla man, and then our table/umbrella is rented from some guys that run a restaurant/bar, and we have a waiter-guy who comes up every once in a while and asks ow we're doing and if we want any piña coladas or nachos or hamburgers. It's great. And the quesadillas from the quesadilla guy are like deep-fried... they look more like cheese empanadas than quesadillas. Mmm.
I think there's sand in my brain.
Wow, I'm getting hungry. And sleepy. I think I'll take a nap in the sun after lunch. A short nap. With lots of sunscreen :) But I do need to get some sun. I think some day I want to live on the beach. Just for a yaer or two. It would be so nuce to just walk down the stairs into my beach backyard and sit in the shade and listen to the waves and read or write. Maybe I'll to California after I graduate.
I'm watching somebody parasail right now. It looks pretty neat. I would like to try that some day. Maybe. Lol. Let's put it this way. There's also a bungee jumping place right next to the beach. I would MUCH rather parasail than bungee jump. :)

To Be Continued...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Special Bonus Post!

It's a VLOG! (Otherwise known as a video blog.)

PS: Don't forget to read my lastest post, "Oaxaca part 2," which I posted today, as well...

Oaxaca part 2

Well. When I said I would post "tomorrow," I clearly meant, "tomorrow plus eight days," or, "not tomorrow or the next day, but a week after that." Clearly.

ANYWAY. Let's get back to the story of Oaxaca! Sunday morning Laura and I got up and went to church. I only stayed for the first bit, because we were going to Monte Albán a little after 9:30. So I put some jeans, a shirt, a pair of socks, and my tennis shoes into a bag and asked my friend to bring it to the van for me, because I was going to get there as soon as they were leaving. Well, I got there. And three of our group were at breakfast, one of them being the friend I gave my clothes to. And Javier was ready to go. So he said that if they weren't there when the vans left, then too bad. It was already past the time to leave. This made me panick a little. I didn't really want to go to Monte Albán in my dress. I needn't have worried. They got to the vans with time to spare. I met them on their way back from the little restaurant (it was just around the corner from the hostel), and my friend didn't have the bag on her, so I went back to the hostel to get it with her. I thought about changing there, but I didn't want to push it. So we went back to the vans (the parking lot was on the same street as the restaurant, but in the other direction... still, very close) and they weren't ready to go. We sat there for five or ten minutes. I changed on the side of the van (I am very skilled at changing my clothes in pubic... you have no idea).

I thought it was going to be a bit of a drive, but it really only took us fifteen or twenty minutes to get there. And it was AMAZING. We went inside to look at some artifacts in a little museum-like display, and then we went back outside to the real thing. It was AWESOME. It was like... the town square of an ancient city. There were at least twelve pyramid-like things, one which had VERY TALL stairs leading to a sort of mesa on top with a pyramid and grass and tress... yeah. And it took us the whole hour and a half to walk around and see everything. We took some seriously awesome pictures (links in the side bar, to the right, though I haven't put anything new up since the last post) and just generally had a great time. It was also very cool outside, and windy, and it was just gorgeous. I had a blast. That was probably the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life. (Of course, that will soon be trumped when we go to visit TEOTIHUACAN!!!! I am very excited for that.)

Next we went to a market in a neighboring town, which was really neat. It was huge. We spent another hour and a half just walking around. We ate lunch from one of the little food stands. I got what I thought was a quesadilla with chicken, but there was no cheese in it. Just chicken, some kind of salsa, and spinach leaves. It wasn't that great. I had wanted the cheese. See, Oaxaca is famous for its cheese (quesillo). It's kind of like mozarella, because it's all stringy, but it's better. So, I was disappointed when it was cheese-less. I only ate half (it was REALLY big) and I gave the other half to my friend when we passed her in the walkway. We explored the area, and found the food part of the market, where they had tons of fruits and vegetables, meats, and a whole ROOM the size of a high school gym with BREAD! I bought a fresh concha (type of pan dulce, or sweet bread), and it was the most wonderful thing I have ever eaten in my life. I should have bought ten. One piece was only 2 pesos! (That's like 15 cents.) AMAZING. I also got a pastry thing with cream inside, which turned out to be a rice-pudding like substance. Very delicious. And then, I bought... a mango on a stick. I had seen them all throughout the market, and I really wanted one, so I got one on the way back to the van. THAT was delicous. Mmmmm...

After the market, we went to another little town with some more ruins and a mini-market with clothes. I got a shirt to wear to the beach (which, incidentally, I forgot to take to the beach). We went to see the ruins, and they had little openings so you could climb INTO them. We went in. One of them was a tomb, and it was REALLY humid and gross and creepy. *shudder* And the battery on my camera died, because I had taken so many pictures that morning. Which was sad.

Next we drove down the street in that same town to go to a place where they make Mezcal, a drink that's similar to Tequila, but different. Or something. Lol. Oaxaca is also known for its Mezcal. It wasn't all that exciting for me, since I don't drink. Kind of interesting, though, because they do it all without machines or anything. Like, they have a horse that pushes the stone in a circle to crush the juice out of the plant. Yeah.

After that, it started getting COLD. It was just really windy. We thought we were going home, but no such luck. We had one more stop. I almost didn't want to, but then I remembered what it was. The (most likely) oldest tree in the world. Over 2,000 years old, they think. And it was SO BIG. Like, I was expecting it to be tall, but it was so freaking wide! Like, the trunk was probably the size of a large house. Seriously. Not a cottage or anything, a large house. It was SO cool. Though, of course, at this point we were so cold that we basically stayed in a huddle the whole time. When we first got there, we ran around the tree once. It was fun. But it didn't really help with the cold.

We ate dinner at a restaurant near the big tree. It was yummy. I finally got the quesadillas I wanted. And we had hot chocolate. The third thing Oaxaca is famous for- its chocolate. The first time I tried the chocolate, I didn't really like it. The texture was weird. Grainy and crumbly. It ruined it for me. But then I drank some hot chocoalte, and... it grew on me. And suddenly it was just really delicious. Mmmm.

Finally we went home. I was exhausted. I didn't go to bed right away, though. We had a chocolate eating party in my room, and we played Egyptian Rat Screw with the cards I had bought at the museum the day before. It was fun :) I was SO tired, though, and I was glad when everyone was ready to go to bed.

The next morning we packed everything up, because we had to check out before we left for the day. We went to breakfast at the same place our friends had gone the day before. I had hot chocolate again, and it was so yummy. We hurried, because we didn't want to be late to the vans. We were fine. We didn't leave for quite some time after we finished eating.

That day we went to this really cool place in another neighboring town. They made this stuff called "barro negro," which was a specific kind of black pottery. It was beautiful. The man did a demonsration (I took some video of it... I might post it on here another day). It was really neat. Everything was by hand. He didn't have a wheel. He took one big plate and turned it upside down, and then put another plate on top of it, right side up. Then he put the clay on the top plate and started spinning the plate. With his hand. He spun with one hand while forming the clay with the other hand. It was SO COOL. And he doesn't use any finish. Instead he rubs it with some kind of gem or something (I think it was quartz) after it's been dried/baked. This gives it a smooth finish and a glossy look. And then I think he bakes it again... maybe. I don't really remember. But, yeah. It was so neat. I bought a LOT of stuff there. Like, I have this huge bag full. I'm going to have to buy another suitcase. Lol.

After that we went to this place (keep in mind, these places are not like your average store... they're more outside than inside, and the whole family is involved in the business somehow) where they made these little wooden figurines. I wish I could remember what they're called. It starts with an A. Lol. Anyway, they make wooden figures (some are tiny, some are absolutely gigantic) of mythical creatures and gods from prehispanic culture. They are painted with very bright colors, with symbols and things that are significant to the culture. This guy did a demonstration, too. Also very cool. He told us that generally the men in the family did the carving, and the women did the painting. He worked with his grandfather when he was a boy, and eventually took over the family business. I also bought some things here, because they were just too cool. Next we went to another place that sold the same things, because Javier wanted us to see the difference between the very high quality figures of the first place, and the lesser quality (but cheaper) ones of other places. I bought a couple things there, too, because they had stuff that the other place didn't.

After that we ate lunch (I had more quesadillas) at a restaurant across from the place with the high-quality figures (the guy who makes them told us he's been to AZ to work with art students at UofA!). Later we figured out it was run by the same family. Lunch was yummy. I drank a soda called Fresca, which is kind of like Squirt. It was yummy.

Finally we went back to the hostel. Everyone else was staying in Oaxaca until that night, because they were all taking a bus to the beach in Oaxaca. They got the stuff they didn't want to take to the beach, and put it in the vans for us to take home. I scurried to buy some chocolate while they were doing that (our hostel was also a chocolatería), and then I ran across the street to the panadería (where they sell pandas) and bought some more pan dulce for the ride home. Then I RAN to the bathroom. When I was washing my hands, the water turned off. I already had soap all over my hands. Lots of it. My friend Emily was there, though, so she poured the water from her water bottle over my hands for me :) And then we went back to Cuernavaca.

My friend Callie and I decided to go to the beach in Acapulco instead of going with everyone else to the beach in Oaxaca, mostly because it would have been like a sixteen hour ride home from the beach in Oaxaca. So we did the 8 hour ride back to Cuernavaca (which was free, because we were in the school vans) and then Tuesday afternoon we took a bus to Acapulco. Which was way fun. But, I'm not going to talk about that in this post, because it is already obscenely long.

So, yeah! That was Oaxaca. It was so amazing. I am DEFINITELY going back some day. Soon. I think that's where I'll honeymoon. You know, when I find a boyfriend who then turns into a fiancé who then turns into a husband :) Have I said that on here already? About honeymooning in Oaxaca? Probably. Ni modo.

Anyway, make sure to check out my pics if you haven't yet! Link in the side bar, toward the top of the page.

Keep an eye out tomorrow. I'll be putting up a special bonus post. It will be exciting :)

Thanks for reading! I love you and miss you all! Only five more weeks to go!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's been almost a month... but boy do I have a lot to say!

Well, everybody, let me start out with saying how SORRY I am that I haven't updated in so long. The thing is, nothing incredibly interesting was happening. It was just school.
(Side note: If anyone is interested in doing some good in the world, check out the situation in Chiapas. Mexico is a poor country in general, but Chiapas is by far the poorest state. It's actually the richest in natural resources, but the indigenous people there are in an awful state. And the government contintues to exploit. I really have no idea what I can do about, but I feel like it's important to spread the word. Go do some research. Maybe start with the Zapatistas (or "EZLN"). Now, don't freak out, I'm not saying I agree with everything about the Zapatistas, but it was through learning about them and their cause that I found out about the situation in Chiapas.)

So, yeah, it hasn't been incredibly interesting. But last week was spring break. (Note that it's not Spring Break, just spring break.) And now I have A LOT to talk about. So, prepare yourselves. Over the next several days I'll be posting much more frequently than normal. And it's gonna be exciting.

I'll start off today with the beginning of our trip. We left for Oaxaca (pronounces "Wah-ha-ka," more or less) on Friday at 1:00. Well, we didn't actually LEAVE at 1:00, but whatever. We rode in two vans, and the drive was about 8 hours. (Oaxaca is a different state in Mexico... it's not right next to Morelos, but the next state over, to the south-ish.) It was incredibly fun. We passed this active volcano on the way their, and the guy driving our van (he was a friend or something of Javier's family) told us that it had the most people in the world living near an active volcano. So, if it erupted, lots of people would die. Freaky. I would never live that close to a volcano. (Which isn't really true, because I live in Flagstaff, basically under the wing of a volcano, but it's not active, so it doesn't seem as scary. Even though I learned in my Geological Disasters class that the only difference between active and dormant volcanos is the period of time they've been dormant, and a so-called "dormant" volcano could totally erupt any day. But, whatever.) Anyway, he told us a story about the active volcano and the smaller dormant volcano right next to it. Apparently the smaller one was an indigenous princess (Aztec, I think), and she fell in love with the bigger volcano, who was a warrior. But her father forbid them from seeing eachother. And... there's more to the story. Something to do with her sleeping. I don't remember. But if you see like t-shirts of a big warrior guy carrying a sleeping woman, that's the story of those two volcanos. (Volcanoes?) Yeah.

So, the ride was fun, and we got to the hostel at like 9 or 10. We checked in, and then everyone but Callie and me went out to get food. We just stayed in our room and relaxed. It was nice :) The beds were... tolerable. Barely. But my pillow was AWFUL. It was like... I can't even describe it. It was WAY too firm and lumpy. It was like they shoved a bunch of cotton into a pillowcase. But it wasn't the fluffy, soft kind of cotton. It was the kind you find in bad couch cushions. Yeah. I thought all the pillows were like that, but I found out later that it was just mine. Lame. (It was worth it, though, because we each only had to pay 250 pesos for three nights, which is less than 20 USD.) Laura and Callie and I woke up at like 7:00 the next morning, so we went to the rooftop patio and sat in the sun and talked. It was really nice outside, the temperature was perfect. I had bought some markers that week, so I doodled. And we took pictures. And we talked about Pokemon with Patrick. It was awesome.
That day was a free day, so we walked around the main part of the city. We went to the town square, we went into a cathedral (there are cathedrals all over the place in Mexico!), and we went into this cultural museum. It was cool, I took lots of pictures of the stuff at the museum. It was set up so you could follow everything chronologically, but Laura and I kinda went out of order, so it wasn't as interesting as it could have been. And one time, there was this hole in the wall that looked like it used to display something, but it was empty. So, naturally, I wanted to sit in it. I was a little afraid (I don't like breaking rules, even if the rules aren't specifically stated), but I did it anyway. And I had Laura take a picture. Unfortunately, my flash was off (because that rule WAS specifically stated), and the security guard was getting a little upset with us (I could just hear her thinking, "Stupid Americans!"), so the picture turned out blurry. Sad day :(
After the museum we went shopping. There was a whole street full of vendors, and it was so much fun. Lots of cool clothes and jewelry. Everything I love to shop for. I ended up getting a hand-made rug (I wanted to get a whole blanket, but they were EXPENSIVE... I couldn't tell if the guy was ripping me off or what... I don't think so... I think they were just higher quality than some of the rugs my friends got, because the one I got is much thicker than theirs... but whatever) and a REALLY cute little dress for Verity, and a pretty blue bufanda (scarf). And while we were walking to this little market area, we saw this parade, and in front were these two huge characters (they were like fifteen feet tall), and we realized they were dressed up as a bride and groom! And then we looked behind them a little and saw the actual bride and groom! It was a parade for a wedding! HOW COOL IS THAT? I want a parade at my wedding... (Just need to find me a groom first.)
Oh, and I also bought lots of cool things at the museum gift shop. Like a deck of playing cards with the prehispanic gods. And bingo with prehispanic people. And memory with drawings of prehispanic animal figurines (which came with a list of all their names in Spanish and Nahuatl). I really like the prehispanic cultures. After I master Italian and French and maybe German, I want to learn Nahuatl and Quechua (indigenous lanugages).

Anyway, yeah, so the first day of Oaxaca was amazing. I loved it.

I'll talk about our second day tomorrow. It was equally as awesome as the first.


Oh, and stay tuned. I'm going to try to post links to my photo albums of all my Mexico trips so far... I think there's a way to post them in the side bar... We'll see :)