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.