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Mexico City: Recap 3 July 8, 2011

Posted by julesaturner in Travel Log.
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Our third week of the LBAT started out like any other: with 6 hours of classes. As per usual, I enjoyed the history lectures much more than the business, though I realize both classes are starting to converge into one. On Tuesday, however, the week began to get a little crazy when we attempted to visit five museums in one day. The goal was for us to see murals by the three great Mexican muralists who helped build the revised Mexican identity after the Mexican Revolution. Of the three (Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Jose Clemente Orosco), my favorite is easily Orosco. His work is critical and challenges the audience’s preconceptions. He’s also the most universalist of the three, which, it seems to me, makes his work more relatable and multi-cultural. I find Siqueiros a little difficult to understand and connect with, and as for Rivera, I feel like his work is to obvious in its allegory.

Anyway, we didn’t make it to all the museums we needed to because the first museum took up a lot more time than the T.A.’s were expecting, mostly because they forced an arts and crafts time on us. While it was entertaining, I suppose, to make a tin foil picture frame and write about how I wanted to change the world when I grew up, the crafts were a little more focused toward children half our ages than to college students. Oh well! I was happy to not be in the group that had to make ceremonial masks out of construction paper…  In the end, this time suck caused us to miss going to Bellas Artes, which, naturally, was the museum most of us were most looking forward to, but luckily, we had some free time on Friday when we decided to try returning.

Wednesday was another day of full class, which was nice considering the amount of running around we had done the day before. Thursday, though, was one of my favorite days of the whole program. We had class first, and learned about the PRI period and the Massacre of Tlatelolco, and then we got to visit the square. Tlatelolco, during the time of the mexicas, was a large market place and a ceremonial center. Today, it’s a square with ruins from the mexica period and a Catholic church… and a monument to the thousands that died on October 2, 1968. A student protest occurred on that day, which the Mexican government considered a communist uprising. Mexican troops and paramilitary were sent to contain the protest, though the protest itself was actually peaceful. The government claimed that the students began the firing, but it was just an excuse to justify the slaughter that took place on un-armed civilians. The additional kicker is that the U.S. sent weapons and training to the Mexican government to help them put down this uprising. We got to see the square where it happened, and the museum that explains the events leading up to the massacre, events in Mexico and around the world. I don’t think anything has made such an impression on me.

Friday, after class, we headed back to Bellas Artes, but when we got there, they told us it cost money to enter. In fact, if we had shown our student IDs, we would have gotten in for free, but no one thought to ask; so we considered it fail number 2 for Bellas Artes, and made plans to visit again on Sunday (when it’s free for everyone). That afternoon, I got seriously sick, from food poisoning I can only suppose. I was really disappointed in the timing because I had to miss going to another salsa event at Mama Rumba, and I was still feeling poorly on Saturday, so I missed going to Xochimilco, the part of D.F. that still has chiampas and canals. Everyone tried to make me feel better by saying I didn’t miss much, but I was still a little upset that I had to miss it at all. That night we went to Doctora Galloway’s rooftop to watch one of the movies we had to write a review of, El Crimen del Padre Amaro. It was an interesting film about the corruption of the Catholic Church, mostly, though, I was just happy to be feeling better and out of my room again. So ended the first half of our program. None of us could really believe how fast the time was flying, but we didn’t have much time to mull over it because week 4 meant test 2 in both of our classes…

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