Thursday, June 18, 2009

Noisy Mexico

There are many little reasons that I haven't posted in a while. Just not feeling like it, tired, lazy, nothing really exciting going on, and just plain sad we'll be leaving here so soon.

I'm tired for a combination of reasons. Last week started a festival in San Juan Cosala, which means fireworks all hours of the day (the first one's were at 5:15 am right outside our house), parades, and music.

Also elections are on July 5th, which also means more fireworks, parades, and music.

For the past few months these have been common sights.

But lately these are also a daily sight.This is right outside our house.

I've been meaning to ask our mexican friends if mexicans as a whole are more politically involved than us Americans, or if it's just that they like fireworks, parades and music. My suspicion is the later.

It's also been unbearably hot. The kind of hot that zaps your strength and makes you go to bed at 8pm. But that seems to be getting better. That might mean that I'll feel like sitting at a computer to post, but since I have a lot of other excuses, I doubt it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mexico City

We took a chance this weekend and went to Mexico City. The flu alert has been dropped and hotels were offering all kinds of deals so we decided to do it. And I'm so glad we did.

We decided a long time ago that if we ever did make it to "Mexico" (mexicans leave off the "City"), we didn't think we wanted to drive while we were there and we were right. The drivers are crazy! So we took an overnight bus on Friday night, arriving about 6am to our hotel downtown near the Zocalo (central plaza). The first class buses here are very nice, with seats that almost fully recline, movies and snacks, almost like an airplane. I can't say I got a full night's sleep, but better than some red-eye flights I've taken.

At about 9am, after breakfast and a little nap, our driver and tour guide met us at the hotel and took us to the pyramids north of the city. These are the most amazing ruins we've seen here, so well worth the trip. There are 2 major pyramids, the pyramid of the moon and the pyramid of the sun. You can't go to the very top of the moon one, but we all (except Charlie) made it up the 268 steps of the sun pyramid. Dave sprinted up it.

I'm loath to show these pictures because they reveal my terrible haircut, but maybe it will help me avoid the same mistake in the future.At the top of the sun pyramid. The pyramid of the moon is in the background.

While Dave waited for the kids and I to return from the top of the sun pyramid, groups of Mexican high school students accosted him to practice thier English for an assignment.

After much souvenior shopping, we headed to the Basilica of the Virgin Guadalupe in downtown Mexico. This is a complex similiar to the Vatican. Or that's what they are going for. It's biggest draw is a piece of the garment of a peasant on which a painting miraculously appeared after he had a visitation from Guadalupe (another name for the Virgin Mary). The garment has also miraculously lasted for almost 500 years.

We returned to the hotel, rested, ate, and then attended a dinosaur exhibit in the Zocolo before an early bedtime.These are the government buildings on the Zocalo where the president of Mexico calls out El Grito on Independance Day.

Our second day started early, the driver picking us up at 8am so we could drive a few hours south to some caves (grutas) in the state of Morelos. They were really amazing. Huge and so beautiful. We walked over a mile into them and weren't even close to the back end. Riley was so impressed by them, he said over and over how cool they were.

We also happened to be able to attend a performance of the Acapulco Symphony in the cave. The sound was unbelievable.

Next our tour guide took us to a nearby town called Taxco. It used to be a silver mining town. No more silver mines now, but hundreds of silversmiths and jewelry stores.These were the cobblestone streets in Taxco. I can't imagine how much work these were.

We walked around a while, ate lunch and looked through the church before setting out on the road again.

Unfortunately we hit end-of-weekend traffic going back into Mexico. It took us 4 hours instead of 2 to get back. But even though our driver was really crazy, I was sure glad Dave and I weren't trying to navigate ourselves through the traffic.

We could have stayed another day in the city to see the more of the historic sites, but it turned out that most of them are closed on Mondays, so we decided to cut our visit short and go home Sunday night on the bus. We let the kids still have Monday off school and they took 4 hour naps to catch up.

This was our last weekend trip here in Mexico and I think it was a good one to end on. I have loved having these experiences with the kids. I hope they remember them thier whole lives, I know I will.