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Tepito & Valle de Bravo June 7, 2010

Posted by lbuckley3 in Travel Log.
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Wow time is flying by– it’s truly amazing how many things we pack in each day here!  Since I last wrote, we went to a neighborhood called Tepito, one of the poorer, more troubled areas of Mexico City, to work with kids in a weekend workshop designed to channel their energies into productive activities like reading and crafts. We played dominoes with them, read Spanish children’s stories, and helped them make puppets.

Historically, Tepito has been an artisan neighborhood and Don Luis, the man who started the workshop, also trains apprentices in shoemaking. According to Don Luis, the neighborhood took a turn for the worse under the influence of narcotrafficking, which was in part related to the rise in popularity of boxers from Tepito who made a great deal of profit from the sport and got involved in drugs and alcohol. However, after spending a day in Tepito, it is clear to see that it is an area home to many talented athletes and artists alike. It was inspirational to see what a positive impact people like Don Luis are having on the children there and I’m confident some of my little puppet-makers hold great promise for the city of Tepito.

Another one of my favorite trips was our weekend spent in Valle de Bravo, about three hours away from Mexico City. This is the kind of place you make plans to retire to and spend the rest of your days there. It’s a small town on a beautiful lake with winding roads on the mountainous shoreline, making it a favorite destination for athletic travelers interested in water sports, hang-gliding, or hiking. We did some hiking after we took a boat across the lake to a waterfall called Velo de Novia (or Bride’s Veil). The rest of the day we spent strolling around the sleepy town, stopping to admire the artwork of street vendors, and just taking in the breathtaking views. I literally never wanted to leave, but I can’t wait for our next excursion to Puebla!

Half-Way Point May 30, 2010

Posted by awheble in Travel Log.
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So I have officially crossed the half-way point of the Mexico LBAT program and I hate to think that I only have 3 weeks left in DF (Distrito Federal aka Mexico City).

On Tuesday, we spent the day visiting lots of famous murals, which are a huge part of the culture here and can be found all over the city. The Muralist Movement started after the Mexican Revolution as a way to teach the illiterate people of the country about their history. Our art tour started with Diego Rivera’s work at Secretaria de Educación Pública and continued with one of Rivera’s first murals “La Creación” and the works of Jose Orozco at the San Ilfenso College, an old Jesuit school that Benito Juarez converted into the first high school system in Mexico. After lunch, we visited the Palacio Nacional, a beautiful palace that Hernán Cortes reconstructed from the materials and original structure of Moctezuma’s palace. Here Diego Rivera painted his enormous and very famous “México a través de los siglos,” which covers the entire stairway of the main staircase and is a huge mural depicting Mexican history from the Mexicas to the Revolution. We finished our day at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which houses an art gallery, architecture museum, a huge theatre, and (our reason for going) the murals of Los Tres Grandes: Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros. (more…)

Two Weeks Later… May 24, 2010

Posted by awheble in Travel Log.
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…and I’m finally getting the chance to write again! They’ve kept us very busy here in Mexico City between visiting and exploring many of the major sites and learning A TON of information about Mexico and the Spanish language.

We spent the first week getting more accustomed to our families, neighborhood, school, and the city in general. After only 14 days, this place has really become a home that I love with all my heart. The neighborhood of Condesa is awesome! We’re very close by to a dangerously delicious Neveria (icecream shop), a gorgeous park where I can get my puppy fix petting everyone’s’ dogs, and lots of very cute shops and restaurants.

Every morning we walk about 30 minutes to the Universidad de Comunicacion en Colonia Roma. Over the past 2 weeks we’ve gotten the chance to talk to and get acquainted with some of the local students at the University. They’re so friendly and love to help us with our Spanish! For the Spanish LBAT, we take three classes: one on Mexican history, one on Mexican business culture, and one on the connection between the two. They’re definitely really tough and intense, but it’s been pretty cool to walk out of the classroom and be surrounded by what we just learned.

I’ve also become very close to my host family, and they are even more awesome than I could have imagined! Senora Plata is the warmest lady who loves to take care of us in every way, especially by feeding us. For dinner, we have had everything from traditional Mexican tacos to Chicken Parmesan and it has all been very-very delicious. Her grandson, Diego, is still as cute if not cuter as the first day I met him. He loves to run in our room and ask Katie and I what we’re doing and about our day.

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¡Hola de México! May 9, 2010

Posted by awheble in Travel Log.
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Today was my second day in Mexico City, Mexico, and so far it’s been amazing! Though many people told me how big the city was, as we flew in I was blown away. The city stretches on and on and on! After arriving at the school, we met our host families for the next 6 weeks. My friend Katie (another 2nd year at Tech) and I are living with a woman named Adelina Plata in an apartment in the beautiful neighborhood of Condesa. She is a very sweet lady who loves to cook. She also has a two-year old grandson named Diego. He is absolutely precious and has ended up helping us to learn some Spanish words. We haven’t gotten a chance to walk around our neighborhood yet, but I’m told there are tons of great restaurants and a beautiful park nearby!

Today we went to Teotihuacan to visit the pyramids of the Aztecs. (more…)

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