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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Mexico photo essay

I. Hotel Tuna. This is the hotel I stayed at for the first two nights while I searched for an apartment. I still haven’t figured out why they paint the tree trunks white in Mexico. I’ve been told everything from “the paint protects the trees from tree-eating ants” to “it keeps dogs from peeing on them.”

II. ¡Arriba, Abajo, al Centro, por Dentro! The first day we arrived also happened to be Giovanna’s birthday, so an ad hoc party was thrown in Benito’s apartment accordingly. Giovanna’s the one with red curly hair just to my left. This turned out to be the first of an endless string of partying. At some point I got tired of going to so many parties, so I stopped going. I got in trouble when one of my teachers found out though. “Mexico = fiesta,” I was told. She then made it homework for me to party myself silly and ... something else that won’t be repeated here. All of my teachers check homework on a regular basis. Attendance is mandatory and automatically taken, as we have to pass our ID cards in front of scanners by the doors before we enter for class.

III. Ludivina y los Gallos. I was informed that I had to take the route-20 bus to get from my apartment to Tecnológico de Monterrey, but there was actually more to taking the bus than just knowing the route. The first time I tried taking the bus, none of them stopped for me, and I had to take a taxi to Tec instead. The next day, Ludivina showed me how to hurl myself into the street in front of an approaching bus to force it to stop. I didn’t have any more trouble after that.

IV. La Parada de Autobús. This is me with my roommate, Maxim, waiting for the bus. Even though Maxim will tell you that it was incredibly cold that morning, you shouldn’t believe him. Just because you can see your breath every time you exhale doesn’t mean it’s cold.

V. Nuestro Apartamento. This is our apartment in all of its glory. As I mentioned before the students here like to party hard, and sometimes the festivities are held in our apartment. I’m glad I took this picture when I did because our apartment would never look this good again. Our apartment has three bedrooms: two small and one large. Since we naturally all wanted the large room, we decided to draw rooms from a hat. Bruno got the large-room, I got the middle small-room, and Maxim got the end small-room. This picture shows the kitchen on the left and the window (why in the world is there a window?) between the main room and Maxim’s room, on the right.

VI. Nuevas Llaves. We were only given one set of keys for the three of us, so our first task was to make copies. Fortunately we were able to achieve this at the plaza located within walking distance from our apartment. Our friend here actually copied our keys so quickly that I didn’t have time to get my camera out; he’s only pretending to be working in this picture. It looks like he’s doing a good job nonetheless.

VII. Perrito. Pets are really well trained here in San Luis Potosí. Sometimes when their owners are tired of driving, they let their dogs drive for awhile. Here, we see a crafty Schnauzer parking his owner’s vehicle at the Soriana supermarket.

VIII. Una Calle. This is one of the streets we walk along to get to the Tangamanga Park from our apartment. All of the street signs here are affixed to buildings instead of being on a pole, so they’re often hard to find amidst all of the city clutter. This, in addition to the names all sounding the same to me, makes it difficult to learn the street names. Most of the people here seem to have trouble as well. Every time I get lost and ask someone where Tatanacho (my street) is, they say they’ve never heard of it. As long as you’re not lost though, not knowing the street names isn’t a big deal since you can easily navigate by utilizing the many landmarks.

IX. Escultura. As I mentioned previously, there are many landmarks in San Luis Potosí which decorate the city. Here I am in the middle of a roundabout standing in front of a sculpture of four Charros who appear to be at war with the oncoming traffic.

X. Entrada del Parque Tangamanga I. This is the entrance to the Tangamanga Park; it’s actually Tangamanga Park I, of two. I’ve been told that this one is bigger and better than Tangamanga II. In fact, this park is so big that you would need a car to traverse all of it within a single day. Though I’ve visited it on several occasions, most of the park remains undiscovered to me.

XI. Jugo de Naranja. This woman is making fresh orange juice for Bruno. Her shop is located at what I believe to be the center of Tangamanga.

XII. Bicicletas. When you feel like your puny little legs can’t stand any more walking through the park, the opportunity exists for you to be free of your primitive-walking-self in the form of hourly-rated bicycle rentals.

XIII. Bruno y el Nopal. Bruno, apparently having never seen a cactus before, ponders this one deeply. Bruno’s from Belgium. Make of these two statements what you will (syllogism not intended). As a side note, there are seven international students this semester at Tec: Bruno and Max (my roommates) from Belgium; Suvi, Markus, Juha, and Ahmed from Finland; and, me from Dallas. The “Finnish Guys,” as they are known—Suvi is the only female among the seven of us, live in a house on the opposite side of the city. Busses don’t pass by that area so they have to take a taxi everywhere they go.

XIV. Carro con las Plantas. One of many decorations in Tangamanga Park.

XV. Estatua. One of countless statues in Tangamanga.

XVI. ¿Dónde está el fuego? We tried to have a barbeque one of the times we were at the park. Unfortunately we remembered to bring everything except for the lighter fluid. Here, Ahmed and Edna work together to prepare a mushroom, while Arturo and Maxim try to ignite the fire by staring intensely at the charcoal and thinking only happy thoughts. The rest of us, being so hungry that we were looking yearningly at the trash cans, were ready to give up and go out for dinner instead. However, Ahmed said his only goal was to be able to eat his mushroom at an acceptably warm temperature, and then we could go. After two and a half hours, Arturo and Maxim’s efforts paid off, and we had Fire. Just as the fire began to create a detectable amount of heat, a park policeman came by to tell us the park was closing. Geraldo pleaded for fifteen minutes more (along with cunningly bribing him with a taste of our uncooked food), which the officer sympathetically granted, and the face-stuffing of lukewarm foods commenced. By the way, there’s a huge rock on the grill because it was holding down the small piece of foil we had placed there. The foil is no longer visible in this picture because the wind still got the best of us.

Just so you know, kind reader, it’s not all just party-and-park here. We go to school and do school things, too. I will upload pictures of Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus San Luis Potosí with the next posting. Right now though, the weather’s been uncharacteristically gloomy, so I haven’t been able to take a decent picture of Tec yet.

1 comment:

  1. You haven't write anything since january... :(

    I miss san luis. By the way. That orange juices store is at the beginning of tangamanga, you still have some kms to walk for the middle of it. :)

    I know where tatanacho is!!! is near my old house!!!..

    I miss San Luis.. :(