Thursday, December 13, 2007
Yesterday was a holiday in Mexico, Dia de Guadalupe, and even though we had to go to school, other people here were off work and celebrating…loudly might I add. All last night Priscilla and I heard what we thought were either cannons or some sort or really loud machine, but in fact, the random loud BOOMS that we heard were fireworks. The fireworks were not like normal fireworks; they were not pretty and were not for entertainment purposes, they were for celebrating. We heard them all day while in class, like they would go off every 20-30 minutes, and the loud noise actually made you jump because it was SOOOO LOUD. After school, Arturo, who is one of the instructors at Kukulcan, took the 8 of us on an excursion to Chapitel Guadalupano, where there is a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and to Templo de San Jose, a church that was built in 1538 by the French. The two monuments were right next to each other and nearby there was a huge market going on because it was a holiday. Parents dressed their little girls in those bright colored, floral stitched dresses and the little boys wore very cultural clothes and had mustaches and side burns drawn on their faces. This was done even to children who looked like they should not be out and about yet. The church was packed and so much was going on at once. We were all just standing there observing for a while and we would see people begging for money, moms breast feeding in public and people eating and drinking things that I have never seen before; I didn’t know what half of the stuff was. Of course there was corn, but there was also lamb and goat, these moist sticks of what looked like wood that you suck on and they were soaked in Tequila, tons of sweet bread and cakes that would have cute sayings on them like “por mi jeffe” (for my boss) or “por mi novio” (for my boyfriend), fresh fruit with whipped cream and a variety of juice drinks, like pina colada, strawberry, pineapple…they tasted like daiquiris without the alcohol. There were many set ups for picture taking around the church “Templo de San Jose.” There would be like backdrops of Jesus with Virgin Mary and right next to them would be a goat and some chickens tied up and it was at least 80 degrees so I felt bad for them. There was one set up that had a similar background and, sitting on a block of hay, there was one of those little horses that are outside of Wal-Mart that you pay 25 cents to ride and kids could sit on it and have their picture taken. The church sessions ran every hour or so and when people finally cleared out we were able to go in and take some pictures. The detail of the church was exquisite and the place was just gorgeous! After seeing the monuments and experiencing the market we cached a cab back to school. Janae, Priscilla and I decided to hang out in Janae’s room (she lives on campus) for a while and use the internet, relax and then go for Italian food. It’s a challenge doing things and going out because of the language barrier; it’s actually kind of intimidating not knowing really where you are and where to go and how to get back, etc…but we got over it and had Maricello, who lives on campus and tends to the gardens, sweeps and is in charge of the school’s “up keep,” call us a cab. He is so nice and helpful although at times we can’t understand each other. We told him we wanted to go to “Marco Polo,” an Italian restaurant in the downtown area of Cuernavaca and he wrote down the name of the street that it is on and he even waited with us for the cab to make sure the driver knew where to take us. In the cab ride on our way to the “Centro,” we saw like a parade of people dancing, singing and shooting off fireworks in celebration of the holiday and people were standing outside of their houses and shops to watch the event. It was really cool. We got to the “Centro” and were surprised at how cute the little downtown area was. There are churches are in like the middle area of downtown and surrounding them are shops and restaurants, like a square. We walked into this outdoor shopping area where the restaurant was and there were little stores full of souvenirs, clothing and collectibles. We were hungry and decided to shop later so we went upstairs to Marco Polo. The restaurant we ate in was perfectly romantic. It was very “classic Italian” and must be a popular tourist attraction because they even had menus in English. We sat upstairs on a balcony overlooking downtown and in the background we could see mountains; the scenery was picturesque. Janae and I ate pizza, mine with black and green olives and hers with ham and pineapple, and Priscilla ordered fettuccini alfredo. Of course we drank wine with our meal and a glass was only $1.20! Our entire meal was around $20 and the portions were large, pretty good pricing. After dinner we walked around the street that the restaurant was on and Janae and I bought these really cute sun dresses with floral stitching, we had seen the little girls wearing them at the market earlier and we wanted one, we also bought some flip flops for 4 bucks! Doesn’t get better than that! There are so many little shops that sell shoes on the side of the road, its so cool. After our little shopping spree we hailed a cab and returned to the school so Priscilla and I could get our bags and go home. More to come.