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La Vida Chilanga June 7, 2010

Posted by lbuckley3 in Travel Log.
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¡Hola!

For having only spent two weeks in Mexico City, I’m extremely impressed with everything that I’ve seen and done through the Mexico LBAT program so far. Living la vida chilanga (Mexico City natives call themselves Chilangos) has been absolutely incredible and I can’t wait for the weeks to come!

We hit the ground running our first full day here as we headed for Teotihuacan, an ancient city with buildings dating back to 200 BC. The most prominent structures include the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon—we climbed both of course! The Pyramid of the Sun alone has more than 245 steps so reaching the top is no small feat, but definitely worth the view.

We also rode the Turibus (think London double-decker buses Mexican style) for several hours taking in some amazing sights along the way, including the beautiful cathedral in the Zócalo, or main square of Mexico City, just in time to hear a special Mother’s Day service (Mother’s Day was celebrated on May 10th here instead of May 9th like in the US) and my roommate, Leah, and I made sure to stop by a flower shop on the way home for our host mom. Our host family consists of Doctora Guillén, a dentist, and her 18-year-old son, Israel, who is studying architecture. They’re such giving and friendly people and made us feel right at home.

Other adventures include a trip to the Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, touring the home of painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and going to a lucha libre show! The Basílica is where according to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to an indigenous man for the first time, which marks a significant moment in history for a culture that is a unique mix of both indigenous and European traditions. Another fun fact about it is that if you look closely you can see that the Basílica is sinking, which is due to the fact that Mexico City was built on top of a drained lake. That’s because the Spanish built their city directly above the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, even using stones from the main Aztec temple, Templo Mayor, to build their cathedrals. We got to tour Templo Mayor and everyone got to serve as tour guides for the rest of the class in their assigned section of the museum— my presentation was about the practice of human sacrifice in ancient Mexico.  That being said, there is literally never a dull moment here and every excursion we’ve gone on has taught me a great deal about Mexican history, language, and culture. Can’t wait for the next 4 weeks!

Above are pictures of the pyramids, the cathedral, and some gringos singing karaoke in Spanish 🙂

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