Monday, May 9, 2011


Unfortunately, I will have to do this post without photos. I have the cable and the camera with me, but they are in my room and I don't have internet in my room. As I currently have the time and the drive to post, I figured I would take my chance, even though there are no pictures.

A few things have happened since my last post. Classes closed up shop on Wednesday the 4th of May. At Tec de Monterrey, finals then last until the 18th of May. Luckily, I had two tests on the 5th, turned in a paper on the 6th, did a project early, and a friend is turning a paper in for us tomorrow.

My Tec de Monterrey days are officially over.

According to Hugo, there is a Mexican saying that basically says that anything more than 70 or 80% is vanity. I don't mean to be vain, but it appears as if I have landed very securely in the vanity arena.

I am currently spending some time at the beach in Ixtapa. I figured that I needed to make it to a Mexican beach at some point in time before leaving and this just seemed to work out. This little beach fairy tale will be over at the end of the week, and then this weekend, we have the semi-finals for flag football. My team wishes that I could change my flight so as to stay for the final game, but changing a ticket is pricy and plans have already been made. They will do fine without me.

My official departure from the beautiful land of Mexico is the 19th of May. You can look for me in Bluffton as soon as Saturday if you so wish.

I'll try to find some photos to put up as soon as possible so that you can see me enjoying my final days in Mexico.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Raros y Locos, Pero Divertido

I have my days all mixed up but I do believe that what I am about to write happened on Saturday. I have had my brain turned off for the past week and had to retrieve it from my book bag this morning, re-install, and boot back up before class. Luckily, I had some time this morning before I had to be in class.

Now, on to this past Saturday's events. First, some background information. Hugo is part of a family with 11 children. I don't know if I have written of it as of yet, but Hugo's father just recently turned 80 and they threw an extremely large shindig. Hugo was looking forward to it as my first debut with his family, but unfortunately, I believe I may have been back in the states that weekend. Needless to say, I didn't get to have my family debut.

This past Saturday, I got my chance. We drove to San Juan del Rio to the house of Hugo's brother Jose Luis. The entire trip, Carlo was talking about someone called Cooper. The night before we left, Hugo was prepping me for meeting his family, he told me that they say some very funny things and that I was going to die from laughing/smiling so much. I told him I just hoped I would be able to understand everything. When we first arrived, we walked around back and Jose Luis's daughter was swimming in a round inflatable pool, he was getting ready to grill, and things were in full out cookout mode. Jose Luis introduced himself to me as Hugo's brother--the most "Chingon" of the family. I was going to include a brief cuss word lecture but have decided to cut it out. The word Chingon stems from the word chingar--considered to this day one of the strongest words in the Mexican vocabulary. Chingon means more or less "the man". Jose Luis was telling me he was the coolest of the whole family. I through in a common saying about life using the word chingar (learned it in culture class) and was immediately Jose Luis's best friend.

I spent the afternoon in between Jose Luis grilling and talking to me about "real life" and Carla, Ale, and Gina. Jose Luis was insisting that "Tec life" or any Queretaro life is not "real life" and Gina was telling him how bad he had it. There was more food at the cookout that a normal Kaehr get together. He really had it bad off. He works for General Electric, designing airplane engines. I somehow doubt that he is the picture of "real Mexico". In a discussion about my preferences for women, he did reveal that the prettiest Mexican girls live in San Juan del Rio (everybody has their own idea of where the prettiest women are).

It was quite the experience, I definitely laughed a lot, and we had a lot of fun. On the way back to Queretaro, Carla and Hugo asked me what I thought. I told them that Hugo's whole family was strange and crazy (every one) but a lot of fun. It reminded me of my family.

Back to Cooper. He turned out to be a beautiful golden retriever. You see a picture of Carlo and Cooper together somewhere up top. The picture of me and two people are Jose Luis and Norma, his wife.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Long Awaited Part 2

Well, I feel as if I have waited quite long enough to post thesecond part to my day last Friday. A lot has happened since then. I haven't had school (Holy Week) and we have beenchilling about all week. In all the laziness, I haven't had the gumption to post anything. I don't think anything has really changed except for the fact that I'm not hungry and the timing seems a right (although a little late).After menudo and the train station. Carla, Hugo, and I went
back to the house and I took a fantastic nap (that may have been part of the past post). After my nap, we went, gassed up the van,
got some drinks, (insert of a picture of the Mexican version of Arnold Palmer). Down here, they apparently haven't heard about Arnold (his golfing prowess or his drink mixing abilities), and therefore, the drink is simply Iced Tea with Lemonade. Go figure.

We then picked up Ale and took off for the countryside. We actually drove past the place that Tadd bought his boots (ask Tadd for a private showing). On the way, I saw a stand that
sold a drink called Tepache. It is a drink made from pineapple peels and raw, unrefined sugar. You just put the two together (apparently in some secret fraction) let it ferment, and you have tepache. I have heard about it from a couple different sources and have been on the lookout for the past few months. I got close one day but couldn't get off of the bus. So I bought myself a liter of iced down tepache for 15 pesos.

We made it to a ranch and I played football with some kids for a little while. I have so far forgot to mention that it was hotter than I have ever been. We had the windows in the van open, I was drinking ice cold tepache, and was still dying of the heat. I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible once we got to the ranch.

The idea behind us being at the ranch is that Carla's school hosted a camp out for all the kids to kick off their vacation. They kids slept in tents (I helping set them up) while the adults and teachers that stayed slept in cabins (probably fair).

After everything had been set up, Hugo and I took off (Carla and Ale spent the night). We had a bachelor's/man night and later went out and I
had another Guajalote. I went to sleep and woke up in the morning feeling like I got hit by a truck. In fact, Hugo came in to get me at 11:00 because we had to leave before noon. I had a headache, my stomach was doing somersaults, by arms and legs ached, to sum it all up, I was sick. (For those of you who may recognize the symtoms, the only alcohol I had the day before was the tepache and it is very low in alcohol content.)

Hugo took me to a taco stand to have breakfast and I couldn't put down my two tacos. I drank some coke on the way to the camp but all around felt awful. When we made it to the camp, there were hundred of screaming kids running around being chased by their parents. It was fun to watch. After all the activities were over, the parents and kids left, and we stayed with some of the teachers to have la comida. It was quite the process with more food coming out of the
kitchen every couple minutes. As I was sick, I only had a little bit of food. I ended up laying on the couch with a cold wet rag on my forehead (thanks Claudia).

Ale was making fun of me. She kept on saying that after 4 months of eating whatever I wanted, my stomach finally had enough and turned on me. I told everyone I was weak (with the mandatory dejected facial expressions) and that made them all laugh.

What I didn't know, is that the Pandas Gigantes had a football game on Saturday (my flag
football team). It ended up that Paco, Hugo, Franco, and I took off early (not that early) to get ready for the game. We made it to the game 45 minutes late but the other team was late too. Hopped up on meds, I played and we smoked the pants off of the other team. They were in their twenties, should have been a lot faster, but couldn't play football worth poop. It was embarrassing for them.

I was feeling better after that but of course was hopped up on meds. Sunday was more of the same just a little less severe. But more on that later, this is getting long. To sum some things up, I don't think I will be eating Guajalotes or drinking Tepache for the remainder of my time here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Menudo and Trains

I have no idea what is going on with me and this blog. I guess I can't be that out of sorts, this is the first time anything like this has happened. Basically, this is my second time doing this post. My fist one got lost somehow. When it says that the draft is automatically saved, I assumed that you could find it if you lost it. Isn't that the point of saving in the first place?

With that behind me, I am going to try to make the second telling of my day as eloquent and heart felt as possible. Some points may have changed and I apologize if this gets a little rushed. It is like the retelling of a joke to someone who only heard the punch line.

I apologize to everyone for being so boring lately. I have had exactly zero interesting things happen to me that were worthy to blog about. That all changed yesterday with a controversial (inner conflict only) call to go out with Ale and her friends last night knowing full-well that I had an exam this morning at 7.

It was a good night. I beat some Mexican's at pool, listened to a live band do covers of American songs (Are You Going to Be My Girl included), and had a nice chat with some people. If by chatting I mean yelling and saying "Que?" or "What?", then yes, it was chatting.

I had grand plans for getting up early this morning, do some last minute studying, and make my self dippy-eggs on top of a tortilla (I just saw Carla do it), but that all fell to pieces when I unconsciously turned of my early alarm, and woke up on my own at the normal time. I did have time however to shower and grab my normal breakfast, so that was a start.

The test went incredibly well, I made it out of class in under thirty minutes. I spent the next hour or so researching things that interest me and trying to stay plugged in to current events. I have a long way to go.

I was then picked up by Carla and Hugo and we went to the market. This one is called the Tepe market and I think it is the oldest one in Queretaro. That could be wrong but I definitely heard that said about some market today. I was granted the opportunity to try a dish called menudo. It is a hearty soup that the main ingredient is the chopped up pieces of all four of cows' stomachs. The smell is slightly different, the texture is slightly disturbing, the thought isn't entirely pleasing, but the taste isn't bad when you get past the three previous points. I ate my whole bowl and would eat it again.

On the way out, we saw a particularly appetizing sight of boiling octopus. I have decided to share the picture with all of your for maximum appetizing affect.

From the market, we went to the old train station. It has been turned into some type of culture center or something but still has some cool train stuff. They had do not touch signs everywhere. The second floor reminds me of the Ag Admin building at Purdue. It even has a ladder that leads to a trapdoor to the attic. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to explore.

From there, we went home, and I took a nap. Not particularly interesting but relaxing. Stay tuned for part 2.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Guajolotes y Cerveza

Guajolote is the word for turkey. Pavo also means turkey but for some reason, using pavo has a taboo on it. I think it makes you uneducated or something. I don't really know. Most people know what cerveza means but for those who don't, it is a very important word here that means beer. Those of you who have seen The Three Amigos know that back in the day, tequila was far more prominent than beer. I haven't seen the stats for today's alcohol preferences.

Apart from simply meaning turkey, apparently there is a food that has nothing to do with turkey that is called a guajolote. As you can see, it is a bread-based food that is filled with something else. I have taken a few different photos from different viewpoints for better comparing to turkey form. The back of the piece of bread is left in tact, so essentially, it is like a giant different shaped hot dog bun. They then put in potatoes, lettuce, salsa, cheese, cream, and whatever meat you want. The bread is interesting because I believe it is dipped in a red salsa, and then fried. It is absolutely delicious but makes your fingers incredibly greasy and dirty. Delicious.

On another note, Hugo recently went somewhere and there was a little boutique beer shop with novelty beers. He brought me back some presents. The first beer on the left is a beer called Cerveza Queretaro. How appropriate. It seems to be its own label. The one in the center is called Chili Beer. It is a Tecate product and actually has a chili pepper inside. Impressive, I know. The last beer on the left is a beer called Catrina. It comes from a brewery in Hidalgo (the next state over--not the horse). This is interesting because Catrina is very Mexican drawing. Its full name means the elegant skull. The first print of it is a skull with a very ornate hat for the time. The idea behind the drawing is that death doesn't discriminate between rich and poor. We are all going to die. Catrina is very representative of Dias de los muertos (Days of the dead).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I had an exciting weekend! Starting on Saturday morning, I got up early (5:00), taxied to tec, hopped on a bus with a bunch of foreign kids, headed east, and arrived at paradise.

As far as the pictures are concerned, I really don't know how to make them flow so they are slightly out of order.

Paradise happened to be a place called Tolantongo in the state of Hidalgo (the Mexican state, not the horse). It is famous for its hot springs.

We started the trip out by eating a delicious breakfast. All the fruit was fresh and the orange juice was legitimately fresh squeezed oranges. In a word--awesome. Top that off with some delicious coffee and chilaquiles verdes (spelled wrong but is basically fried tortilla, chicken, and green salsa).

We then trekked down to the launch pad for the zip line. It was my first time and it was awesome! Notice the picture with all the zipline get-up.

There were two main caves that the hot water came from. The top one was dark, hot, and reminded me a lot of a temascal. We only lacked a chaman and a whole lot more heat. It was great. The other cave was bigger and had another cave inside it. There was a current that you could jump into and get spit out 15 feet later. It was really cool.

After that, it rained and we ate lunch. I thought it was that much cooler for the rain but there were a lot of whiners on the trip. We swam in the river (warm water), sat in its waterfalls, etc.

After that, team games were planned (we were in teams based upon our bandanna color. (I usually don't wear a yellow bandanna around my neck.) But we skipped game time to chill in a series of pools that cascaded down into the other ones. It was glorious.

We had a bonfire minus smores (huge downer) and then went to bed. Sunday, we went to another hot springs. It was a pool about 20 feet deep. We spent our time climbing up on the rock wall and jumping in from various heights with water skill we possessed. I actually ranked in the top 3 for aerial tricks. It felt good to be good at something--I should spend more time with these people.

We walked some more, ate some more, and then got shipped back to Queretaro.

Good weekend!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Meet Melissa

I have been waiting to reveal for the pain of having to re-explain after it all fell apart. However, things have gotten slightly more serious and it seems to make sense to let you guys know.

I realize that some of your greatest fears has been that I would meet someone down here and never return. Part of that fear has been realized and I am still coming home this summer (you do the math).

In fact, I have met many, many people and have an entirely difficult time remembering their names when I talk to them. However, some people that I have met, I have developed some good friendships with and can remember their name on a fairly regular basis.

One of those people is a girl named Melissa. (No picture because I couldn't find one to do her justice.) Don't worry everyone, she speaks English. Well, she speaks Australian but I think that's pretty close. She also speaks Afrikon (could be spelled incorrectly), the language spoken in South Africa. She didn't know Spanish when she came but she is doing surprisingly well and like most women (or any other person in my life) can most likely communicate much better than I.

Our relationship has developed to the point that I hope she can come visit and meet everyone this summer sometime. As she is from Australia and will be returning this summer, if she does make it to visit everyone, we may have to do some good coordinating getting everyone to meet her. I would hate for her to make the trip and only meet a few people. We need to drown this girl with family. You know, just overwhelm her.

I'm running out of good ideas and the joke is running thin, so....April Fool's! I thought about doing a much more in-depth post without saying April Fool's until a later post, but hey, I didn't want to worry you too bad.

In all reality, I am still very single. Single and searching...But having a great time doing it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm still alive

I have some really good news and some really bad news...

Firstly, I haven't been blogging because I have been extremely busy having adventures and living out some really crazy stories.

Secondly, I have always had a camera guy or gal with me over the past few weeks and there are many pictures available to tell the story.

The bad news, I currently don't have access to those pictures and the procedure for uploading a Facebook photo from someone else's page to my blog is time consuming and a hassle. Unless there is an easier way that I haven't discovered yet--very likely.

Therefore, I will be doing this post completely photo-less. I do apologize.

So, starting from going home. I got back on a Tuesday and lived out the rest of the week fairly normal. I ate, slept, went to class, all the normal things. The weekend is when things started to get interesting. On Saturday, I had another field trip to the same place to talk about the same things. Only this time, we talked about soil sampling, dug some holes in some rock hard Mexican dirt, and counted stems of wheat in a meter of row to compare conventional tillage to no-till. Basically the same idea.

On Sunday, I just kind of chilled. The Pandas Gigantes had a football game sometime in the afternoon and I spent all morning in pre-game mental preparations. One more thing I should mention, Chad, Brent, Tadd, and Alex were on there way to Mexico to see me starting from very early Sunday morning.

I found out that they were in Mexico City and looking for a bus to come up to Queretaro somewhere around 11 in the morning. It takes about 3 hours to ride the bus from the airport to Queretaro. The game started at 2 or something like that and so I went to play. The rest of the fam went to the bus station to see if they could locate 4 gringos looking slightly lost. I wasn't there personally, but I have heard some first-hand accounts that it apparently wasn't too hard to spot them. The Panda's won (I had a crucial 4th down knock the ball down play) and then we all ate. All the ladies had brought food. I think it was a great reception for the guys. We played some very confused football with some of the kids and when completely wore out, we went home.

They all stayed in Carla and Hugo's house with us. Carla and Hugo thought is was ridiculous to even think about being in a hotel that long. We spent the week being a spectacle to most passerby's, eating delicious Mexican food, and just having a good time. I didn't have school on Tuesday so we all made another bus trip to Guanajuato. It is a city known for its mines and mummy museum. We didn't go to the mummy museum but it is a funny story if you want to ask us about it sometime. Also ask us about what we think of van that's a good story.

We continued eating, touring Queretaro, eating. All of this culimnated into Friday. We went to Carla's school, talked English with all of the kids (shocked them all with our size), went to a legendary torta stand with Claudia, went to a small town outside of Queretaro (San Jose del Tomate according to Paco) to buy boots and other leather goods (ask Tadd to show you his boots), then went back to Queretaro to the market. We bought fresh fruit, had some delicious smoothies, etc. But the day wasn't over yet. We then all wound up at a really nice Brazilian restuarants where the servers carry around huge swords with meat on them and you just tell them whether or not you want that specific meat. We ate way to much.

Then we went back to the house, the guys left to go to a panaderia (a bakery) to buy sweet bread for supper and I packed my bag. Few of us could actually eat anything at that point. We then traveled to the bus station, and hopped on an 11 o-clock headed for Reynosa. There were some slight difficulties on the way but nothing my broken Spanish translations and out good-natured North American charm couldn't handle. (At one point, a very sleepy Chad told a Mexican security guard that he was "looking for his trash". In all reality, he was exiting the bus to show his bag to another security guard outside. Way to use Spanish, sleepy-Chad.)

We made it to Reynosa and Kim Kaiser picked us up at the bus station and took us to the legendary Casa Verde of Isaiah 55 mission. We arrived before the team and so we took some showers to wash off the trip, read some books in comfortable clothes, ate some delicious north-Mexico gorditas, and filled up some water coolers for the team. (The cook was persistent with Kate that we shouldn't work until after we had eaten.)

Speaking of Kate, we weren't there for more than 10 minutes when Kate showed up. She took one look at me and said "Man you look like your dad". She later claimed that she could have spotted me from across a crowded market (or some place that is crowded and something about distance).

Mom, Dad, Jeff, and Denis arrived before the team as well. We had a good time talking for a while before the team got there. The team was a U of I group that has been at Reynosa the exact same week for the past 3+ years. They were great to get to know. However, before I could get to know them, my visitors took off from McAllen after church on Sunday. I then proceeded to skip an entire week of school to hang out in Reynosa. It was a blast! You can probably ask anyone on the trip and they'll have some story to tell you.

The team took off on Friday night after a slide show, share time, and some other fun stuff.

Mom, Dad, Jeff, and Denis crossed the border Saturday morning to catch their flights. I was taken back to the bus station by Moises and got a ticket headed for San Luis Potosi. The problem with that bus was that all the sound for the movies played over the loud speaker. I couldn't sleep. I did finish my book but ended up watching movies dubbed over in Spanish. What a treat! The last movie to come on before arriving to San Luis Potosi was the first movie of the Twilight series. Yes, it has been dubbed over in Spanish and has penetrated this far south already! Luckily, we arrived before I too was sucked into the masses of 12 year old girls who adore Twilight.

I then bought a ticket on my preferred bus line (yes, I have been here long enough to have preferences in buses) and with a hop, skip, and jump, was back in Queretaro.

So far, this week has consisted of me doing homework and trying to get back on top of my life here. I have also been trying to apply some of the things we talked about on the work team. It has been an interesting week.

Oh, I almost forgot. Last night, there was a large dance show at Tec. Of course my Salsa class was one of the performing groups and so naturally, I danced. I wouldn't believed me if you told me, but apparently somewhere between the coca-cola, tacos, chiles, and Mexican music, I have learned how to move my hips. I haven't seen the movie yet but I soon will and then we can verify if I can indeed move my hips. I await in breathless anticipation as I am sure you all are as well.

I think I may try to do some more homework. We'll see if I can get some pictures into the next one.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Amigos Throwback

Being in Mexico has only brought me closer to the movies I used to watch as a child. One of the classics of course, is the Three Amigos. These actors (Dusty Bottoms, Ned Needlander, and Lucky Day) are down on their luck after being fired from their jobs as the Three Amigos--three wealthy Spanish landholders that fight for the right of peasants.
They recieve a telegraph as they are being booted out of the studio. Someone in Mexico want them to put on a "show" and stop the "infamous" "El Guapo". Obviously, they take this to mean that "El Guapo" is more than just famous--he is in-famous. And believe they have struck it big in Mexican show biz.
They show up to the town and find out that "El Guapo" is a man who actually wants to kill them. After some run ins with the local beverages (tequila), the Mexican women, and a few bullets, they become the three amigos for real and fight for the right of peasants.
I bring this up because I just learned about a possible root word for the word infamous. Back in colonial days here in Mexico, Africans were very scarce. They could use indians as slave labor for free and only the richest of the rich bought a black slave as a status simbol. Often times, this slave would not work but would accompany his master in his daily travels to show everyone how wealthy that guy was.
The Africans could be bought and sold as slaves because the Catholic church had decided they they didn't have souls. The word for this is "infame". Since that time, I believe the Catholic church changed their minds and realized that we are all equal.
I think we can all see the correlation here. The true meaning of infamous is someone absolutely horrible, without morals, without concience, dare I say it, without a soul.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Quick Trip Home

It has been a really long time since I have updated. I do apologize but I feel like I have been really busy. As I type, I am thinking about the two tests that I have tomorrow that I have yet to study for. I thought you guys were more important and should have something to read.

I recently made an extremely brief trip to the states. I left Friday after class, took the taxi to the bus station, road the bus to the Mexico City airport (very intimidating), hopped on a plane to Houston, had the pleasure of going through customs and back through security, hopped on another plane to Indianapolis, only to be delayed because there was a "dirty seat" in the back. We ended up leaving without it fixed.

I watched two million+ mile travelers get bumped to first class--for free! I then was picked up by Mom, Dad, and Jeff, and carted back home. I spent the weekend hanging out with family, friends, etc. On Saturday night, Mom and Dad invited over any of my friends that loved me enough to come see me when I was home. We had a great time. The music room got some great action as an impromptu concert spontaneously started.

Dad took me down to Indy Monday night, I got to hang out with Kristen and Katie a little bit, and then Kris took me to the airport in the morning. This time I flew to Charlotte, then to Mexico City, bused to Queretaro, and Taxied home. I have been doing homework ever since (with an occasional break).

I had better get to studying.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Happenings

It has been an interesting week. Not particularly eventful, but it seems now as I look back that a lot happened. I once again have failed with the whole pictures area, but I do have some sources of where to find some great pictures.

I pulled a first in my Skyping career and played a card game with my friends at Purdue. I just played the first round but totally won. It was pretty epic. I haven't lost the heat!

I will most definitely be posting more as soon as I can repossess some pictures from the dark archive corners that they are hiding in.

On a side note, Mom and Dad are planning on coming down to visit. They plan on arriving a little before noon on Tuesday. It should be a great week!

Another side note, I think the phrase "Random Happenings" is the name of a someone's Facebook albums. I'm thinking Ti's.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday Adventures with Jay. Ep 2

I must apologize to all of you. I really haven't been doing as good of a job posting as before. In a way, that is a good thing, it means that I am busy and have no time to post. Or it means that I have nothing to post about because I am not busy enough. I'll let you guys think about that for a minute.

The second reason why I must apologize is a complete lack of photo documentation for this post and for others that may come. I try to carry my camera as much as possible, but sometimes I just don't want to have something else in my pockets. I don't always wear cargo shorts.

This Friday, I did not have my 7:00 class. Thank goodness. Because we had the field trip last Saturday that took up our personal time, the professor gave us a gift of Friday freedom. I think it is probably in the rules of the school, we are only supposed to spend so much time in class.

So Friday, I went with Carla to her school and waited for Paco to drop off Paulina. I then went with Paco to work.

We went to a workshop, picked up tools, picked up another guy, Cristobal, picked up a 3 liter of coke, and set off. The building Paco is working in is a 5 story building in a new residential area to the north of Queretaro (judging by the location of the sun). It is the first building of a large project that includes a gymnasium and other cool stuff. Paco got the contract to do the kitchen cabinets, doors, closets, and assorted other wood work.

I spent the day learning how to install doors into completely cement/stucco door openings. Needless to say, it included a masonry bit on a hammer drill. We put in a bar and fixed some other small issues.

In one apartment, the flooring wasn't done very well and we had to take all the doors down. That was a pain. It turns out that there is no need to worry about a door coming down. I think we got done early so we headed into town (there currently are no stores or taco stands in the residential area) to get some food. We ate tacos. They were delicious.
This is a candy shop in Mexico City. I had to take a picture of it for proof that is was closed. Otherwise, there would have been a family revolt against Pablo because he didn't stop.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dia de Amor y Amistad

So in Mexico, Valentines Day is similar but not quite the same as in the states. While we put so much attention and importance on being in a relationship, being in love, and buying really expensive jewels and meals for the one we love, Mexicans have extended the holiday to include friendship.

Throughout the day, you give candy, chocolate, whatever small gift you desire, to all of your friends. Granted, this only includes your friends of the opposite sex. If you try to give a gift to a friend of the same sex, they look at you very funny. I find the inclusion of friendship a very welcome addition. Instead of singles awareness day, those without an amorous counterpart may still partake in the candy giving, receiving, and celebrating their ability to have really good friends.

I wish I would have taken a picture and I actually thought about taking a picture but didn't of all the booths set up selling crap to give to your friends. It was almost as bad as the street fair. Only picture that all the booths are actually tables, all the food was a lot cheaper, and their was a whole lot more peer pressure (each student group had their own table of wares and pressured everyone to partake of their goods). In the midst of all the fanfare, I was goaded into buying a paleta de hielo (icicle), and then was pressured into taking the above photo.

I think I was taken advantage of because I'm foreign. But at least now I have a great picture of me as Barbie. I wish they would have told me to tilt my head. They have a lot to learn about taking these types of photos.

The below photo was taken of one of my fellow Salsa class peers in the middle of the carnival fanfare. I think he was a little surprised. I feel like this photo really captures the essence of the day and I highly doubt he will ever find out that his picture is on my blog unless Ale knows him and uses it as a leverage technique to get something from him in some circumstance in the future. I really don't know this kid at all. Therefore, if he knew, he would probably be freaked out. The beauty of being foreign!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Field Trip

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with my Biorrecursos class. Translated, it is simply Bio Resources. It is about the soil, nutrients, things like that. I will mention that with this opportunity came opportunity cost. I lost the opportunity to go on fun trips outside of Queretaro that were planned by the international programs office. (That's the economist in me. Thanks Dr. Dooley.) This trip was mandatory.

We made a trek out of the city to the south and I believe we ended up either in the state of Mexico or very close. The trip only took an hour and we were in a very comfortable bus (it was only 15 of us in an entire charter bus--awesome!

We ended up at a testing ground for crops. The idea is to demonstrate to producers that modern techniques work better than old ones and they actually save money, time, and resources. He talked our ears off about everything that was going on and then we all got to take soil samples for moisture and use a tool (I forget it's name) to see the resistance to penetration. The idea is to see how compacted the soil is at different depths.

The picture of the hole is to illustrate what kind of topsoil they are dealing with the see what kind of water retention they have and how much room the roots have to grow. Looks like this stuff is a little rough to me. The professor was out off sorts as well when they bought the parcel for experimentation. He has since adopted the thought process that if it works in really bad ground, it should work better in good ground. I would agree to a point. But I won't tell him that, I want to pass the class.

I took some pictures of some gated pipe for the benefit of my Nebraskan brethren. I doubt they read my blog but I thought it was cool.

We hopped back in the bus, stopped at a super market (a really small gas station) to buy coke and pistachios, and eventually arrived at Tec. I then made the journey home, ate some street tacos de barbacoa (a special way to cook lamb), and finally made it home.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday Adventures with Jay

As most of you probably know, I only have one class on Fridays. The rest of the day, I have time to explore. So far, I have only explored on one Friday (the Cerrito blog).

The bus back home goes past 3 or 4 things that I have wanted to stop at and check out. As of yet, I haven't had the guts to hop out, check it out, and then seek another bus to return home in.

I had finally decided to stop at the aqueduct to take pictures. However, as we were driving past the aqueduct, I chickened out. If it wasn't for an unavoidable stop that the bus made and I decided I might as well hop out, I wouldn't have seen any of this stuff on Friday.

First was the aqueduct. I took two pictures and the batteries in my camera died. I chatted with a very nice couple with a very small store about whether or not they had batteries and where I could get some. I really didn't need to ask, I should have known that they would direct me to an Oxxo. I bought a water and asked for the cheapest batteries they had. This started a discussion in more or less English about how much things cost. The lady knew quite a bit.

I then bought some delicious breakfast tacos from a lady set up right outside the store. I then walked the bus route, and found this awesome fountain in the middle of a round about that I have been wanting to photograph. I then proceeded further and found the huge park that I have been wanting to check out.

Within this park, I found these sweet stores set up. You walk through them and it feels like you're in a jungle. The statues of the man and woman depict for me how Mexico should be. Men playing love songs on their guitars for beautiful women. I am thinking about buying a guitar.

I then waited for my bus. I took another one that I knew would eventually get me back home. It took longer than the other bus, but I finally did make it.

Good day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Part 3

After Teotihuacan, we hopped back into the Tahoe, and headed to the center of Mexico City. It was great, Pablo's opinion was that we could cover more ground and I could see more things from the passenger seat in the car. Well, I definitely saw a lot, that's for sure. I was snapping pictures out the window the entire time and Pablo kept on explaining things to me.

They told me that it was empty. Monday was a holiday and only some people worked. Knowing that all the shops weren't open, apparently less people were walking around than usual. For me, it was still more people than I usually see on Purdue campus. I decided to take a picture of "empty".

I snapped enough pictures for Pablo to tell me that it was almost as bad as if I were Japanese.

We went through the poor part of town, the center of town, many streets with shops on them, etc. Apparently the center of Mexico City is the place to go to buy things cheap. Every street has a different niche market. There is a street just for engine parts, for ice cream, for anything dealing with lights, and there are a lot of streets.

All the buildings in the center are leaning in one way or another. It is like the Tower of Pisa but hundreds of buildings over. Mexico City was a large lake back in Aztec days. They built canals and other such drainage devices to drain the lake. Then they built things on top. To correct the leaning buildings, they have to inject concrete beneath the buildings to raise them up. Very interesting.

We ended up going to a taco place in the upscale part of town. As Pablo told me, we were going to eat "nice" tacos. It was really nice and they tasted great. After that culinary experience, we returned to Pablo's house. Franco and I played Guitar Hero on Wii (I sang on expert), and then we had to leave. We got back to Queretaro somewhere around 8-9:00. And that was the weekend.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Part 2

From eating trucha...

We all got into different vehicles and went back home. Not directly of course, we needed chips and coke for the Super Bowl party. We made it back just in time to see the Steelers score just before half-time. The cousins were there until after half time. They really weren't interested in watching the game and to be honest, I wasn't too impressed with the half-time show. The light up suits and people dancing where awesome.

We went to bed and woke up early to get a good start on the day. We ended up leaving just a little before 9. I'm assuming we were supposed to leave earlier. Regardless, we drove to Teotihuacan to check out the pyramids. We arrived but were informed that we were going to have to wait to enter. Apparently the President was making a visit and we weren't allowed to enter for security reasons. We were continually sent to different gates, being told that they were actually open. We ended up spending some time in some shops, and a lot of time listening to music from various iPods.

The President took off in some white SUVs and ended up flying over in his helicopter. I took a picture. Even after he left, we had to wait for a completely inordinate amount of time for all the soldiers to leave. Once again, I took a picture.

We finally made it inside. Ale, Elisa, Franco, and I all climbed up the Pyramid of the Sun (its the biggest one). I took a photo for an Asian couple at the top, took some of our own photos, and generally looked at the surrounding area. There are a bunch of ruins and it is really impressive. There is another big pyramid, the Pyramid of the Moon, but it is still in restoration and can't be climbed to the top. We climbed down, checked out some of the shops on the site, and headed off for the rest of our journey.

More to come...