Sunrise, Quinta Roo

Sunrise, Quinta Roo

Saturday, May 24, 2014


This is an ‘about me’ because my ‘about me’ in my NOMAD’s application wasn’t the best.

I took off like a race horse talking about my life, family, hobbies and travels. And then before I knew it thousands of words were on the page, which the strict word count wouldn’t allow.
I drafted and drafted until all the actual information about me was out of it, and there was little that explained anything about myself… somehow the meat was removed, and the fluff remained.

I rewrote it a few days back. It was thoughtful, relatively concise. But I didn’t save it, and neither did my computer (who usually saves me - and my work - from heartache), unfortunately all the disk space is taken up with my photos of Mexico.

I am a ‘creative’. I say it like this because it explains a lot. It explains my brain - completely right-sided. It explains my hobbies: acting (good), photography (I wish better), singing (okay), painting (average), dancing (terrible), writing (I’m trying), poetry (improving) and my often-described ‘colourful’ personality.

The other strong driver of my personality is that I’m an oreo middle-child. In the past my shy, quiet brothers were in the background, so I was centre-stage. My issue is that one is starting a singing career, and the other is a well-known young comedian. And I want my spotlight back!
No, what I really mean is; my brothers are pursuing their creative dreams.

My favourite thing is travel. To have the ability to land somewhere and see and learn so much is incredible. The two degrees I’ve studied - in a round about way - come back to that: International Relations / Development Studies / Cultural Anthropology and Hospitality Management. They come back to an interest in development, first world/third world, war, peace, cultures, travel, tourism.

I was always going into journalism. Two weeks before Uni started, I went on an educational trip to Cambodia and my focus completely changed. My eyes were open to other people’s lives, cultures and travel. When I was 20 I went to Mexico for 6 months, solo. The colours, food, customs and artisans are impossible to not fall in love with. Since I left, I’ve been planning my return.

Despues Mexico, I headed for the highlands. I (somewhat accidentally) ended up in Central Scotland. Half way through, I decided it was time to ‘settle down’ and head back to New Zealand. Julia is now a doctor, Frankie is a lawyer and Ashleigh is a teacher. Friends have boyfriends and leases and promotions. After 6 months in New Zealand, I had to go back. I was half way through my UK visa, and realised that for me ‘settling down’ wouldn’t be an option.

I can’t write about Scotland yet - the heartbreak is too raw. I was so lucky to walk the dark, cobbled streets of Edinburgh everyday - I was never bored. There was too much history and beauty and art. I’m living in the Scot’s country now, in Otago. Maybe the bagpipes and cold of down here drew me back.

My Dad is from down here - he was a restauranter. I take after him with business sense, sensitivity and my volume. I take after my English-teacher mother with my writing, stubbornness and social anxiety.

Post-Scotland I headed to Hawai’i. It was a bittersweet place, which studying ethnic studies, politics and women’s studies there highlighted. There I discovered poetry that I understood: slam. Theatre + good writing + highlighting social and private issues = new love.

I left high school wanting to write. I floated around learning a lot and have returned to a strong will to write. Some kind of cross between Christiane Amanpour and Carrie Bradshaw on an aeroplane. Or boat, or bus or elephant. As long as I’m moving and can see out the window, I’m comfortable. My suitcase is always packed. As long as I have enough money for a one-way ticket, I’m secure. As long as my passport is valid, I’m home.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An important lesson in 'Control Save'

Again, I have broken my heart and the hearts of dozens (exaggeration) of readers. 

I wrote a huge backstory, about my parents and my 'artist' brothers and my travel life and a huge piece on my mindset over the past 5 years. 

However, now I can't find it. 

I have no idea how I can write for 2 hours, + 8-odd poems, and at no point save it! 

Some people. 

My weekend from work is now through, but I'll try again. Wish I could have the original so I could actually edit it - for once! 

Oh well. 

Life goes on, aye Lianne Rhimes. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photos to come

I got lazy when I got back from Mexico. It is hard to get back to real life!

I only have just uploaded my photos, but will post hopefully MANY on here...
Please check back next week!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Guanajuato, Guanajuato --> Blog 70

Almost every town and city in Mexico is predictably set out. In the classic grid form of streets means that usually the Cathedral and Zocalo (park... always beside or in front of the church) is easily found.
One exception of this was Cancun town, a newer place, that just runs off a highway. The other exception was Guanajuato.
Guanajuato is classic and European and beautiful. I am not completely sure if it is European actually, but what I presume to be European (athough in reality, they could all be considered European coz they were all designed by the Spaniards).. with windy paths to homes, without room for cars or many people. It isn't with fences, but the walls of the various brightly coloured homes ...
The street has some beautiful yellow and pink churches, cafes, shops, a park and a theatre - Teatro Juarez. When I arrived it was Sunday so there were people everywhere, picnicking and watching artists, buskers and street-chalkers. There is a statue of a man up on the hill, with a gondala up to it... I walked. Boy, was that steep. And long, I didn't go straight up, but around. I got to the top - parched as. Luckily there was a little home-dairy at the top. It was stilted, looking like it was out of a film. Because it was on the hill, overlooking the whole beautiful, colourful city - it must have an amazing view. There was no one in the 'shop', which like so many others was just part of their home. I, with my cold water in hand, walked through to the family room where the lady was changing a babies nappy on the ground.
I was tiptoeing and really awkward, coz I was just standing in her house. In un-parched, NZ situations, I would've bolted. But here, I was thirsty and Mexican.

The view from that Statue is ridiculous.. so beautiful and postcardesque.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To Ti ot wa ti can. (Teotihuacan) then SMdA

I have never pronounced the Aztec kingdom ruins correctly. I have asked many a Mexican for directions, to which the response is always ¡Donde? - Where?
Then I expand with words.. Aztec... Piramides... Zona Arquelogica. I got there, on a local bus, which I took from the same Mexico North bus station that by this time I was familiar with. The bus stations have luggage storage, which varies in price. I was thrilled to learn that in Mex City it was $1.50 NZ for my bag for 24 hours. Count those pennies girl!
Teotihuacan is great - there is not much art to it (anymore) but there are two large pyramids that, unlike in Chichen Itza, you can still climb. It was beautiful, it is more desert-country up there, just north of Mexico city. On the way I saw people camped out in a park in the middle of the highway... and lining up for food. I am curious because they did not seem homeless, in the sense that the tents and clothing were not of a homeless level. Is possible though of course.. people here manage to keep their clothes freakishly clean for a very dusty country.
The strangest thing I saw there was an obese man who was climbing the highest, Piramide of the Moon, in a suit. The climate was not intensely hot, but the sun definately was. 248 steps, 48 meters up.. you do not attempt this wearing a suit.. if your fitness level is not up to scratch, you take water and pace yourself. He had made it half way up and was lying, face-down in the dust. Why he was wearing a suit to start up with is beyond me, why he made such a dramatic gesture is too..1st step I thought would have been to remove the jacket. Anyways, I was coming down the hill, still a fair bit away (do not know how long he was there for), when someone asked if he was okay .. he was all ¨Agua...¨ pointing at strangers, who were forced into giving there water. I was going to offer the little I had originally..but when he didn{t use manners and didn´t remove his jacket all I could think was that this drama queen needs to learn to fend for herself.
Another interesting thing I saw in the park that was un-Mexican-history related was Africans in the form of Somalian Mayors. All the African people I have seen here have stood out like me, apart from the obvious, because they are tall. I was looking up at some of the name tags on their chests to even detirmine who they where. I am not sure why they had conference neck bands... what could possibly be the reason for mayors of African towns to end up in Teot. in Mexico? No se. In thinking about it though, there has been a lot of random conferences on while I have been here.... None of which I can remember the names or themes... all too random. Remember thinking, ´how on earth did these people sign up for this?´.
Teot. Right, loved it .. thought it was fab. Do not know jack about Aztec´s really, but my patience is thin at this point, week 17, in Mexico. So post-reading while I sing Feliz Navidad and eat Old El Paso, thinking how un-mexican it really is, but how that company suceeded in creating new foods with actual Comida Mexicana names....tricking the world...
From here I bused back to Mexi Norte, then on to San Miguel de Allende which was leaving conveniently soon. I think they played the movie Óld Dogs´where there was a double-homicide of the careers of John Travolta and Robin Williams (two of my childhood faves for obvious roles.. Danny Zucko and Mrs Doubtfire).. for the third time on one of the buses I had been on. Disappointing. I guess I must have slept or read?
In Puebla I could not read one night so read a book ´(from the book exchange= about a reality tv show of girls in Hollywood. I was all .. this sounds familiar - like the real reality show The Hills - well, turns out it was written by the star of that very show. I read it knowing it was pretty trash.. did not take concentration. Unfortunately, it also did not put me to sleep. This was not the reason, a mixture of my life events playing in my head and a sadness for my last Mexicanas dias was making me all ´What next in life´?
I arrived in San Miguel de Allende at about 12am.. turns out what I guess was about a 2 and a half hour ride was actually 5. 12am, you may be thinking, what an awkward time to show up at a hostel. Yes, it was. Turns out that it is less of a hostel, more of a guy´s house. Not only did my taxi driver wake him up by searching and succeeding with the bell, but there were many a time where I to walk through to my room, disturbed his salsa lessons...
´Maria, what are you doing there?´
´Oh heeey, just hiding.. waiting til you are finished...did not want to disturb you..´ ´´Well you already have´
´sorry!?!´. AWKWARD.

 Lets talk about manners in hostels. My roommate in SMdA needs to learn a thing or to. I go to bed, knackered from the hours spent in Puebla reading trash and thinking trash for many-an-hour, which was in a very cold room. Because of the temperature (and the church next door having a very loud and continuous party).. and went to sleep. Woke up freezing in the middle of the night... my roommate opened all the windows (and door).. Fine for her, I spat, she has lots of blankets (I had the one I was delegated). I then had another awkward Salsa class interruption..´But there are 5 extra blankets in the room´he said, ´She is using them all´ I explained, tired and bitter. So no matter that the other person will freeze, I want air and I am cozy in my snuggly blankies. American.
SMdA was beaut though. Before I came here Mum´s friend called with news of a Doco on expats in SM (aka Extranjeros) on Maori channel. I have confidence in places where expats end up... it must be good if they left their lives in a 1st world country (and for most, ´the best country in the world´their words, not mine) to a third (?) world country. It was beaut. I arrived on the 20th (Revolution 100th Anniversary by the way) which meant a parade. Fiesta! Which meant kids dancing and dressed like the fighters and heroes of this time. Which meant a ball full of cuteness and impressive fun, which each primaria escuela trying to outdo the last. And that they kept doing. Watched a brill 1 1/2 hour parade sitting on the street between tweens and woman, baby and grandma... one school had paintings made up of pieces that the students where holding. They had 8 seconds to out in together, 8 seconds to take it apart, 8 seconds to run to a new location and flip the cards for a new pic... and so on. They counted aloud.. I do not know how long they rehearsed for this, but I assure you it was more impressive than I make out.
5 year old Kids dressed as fancy 1910 outfits (boys with moustaches, girls with frilly umbrellas) will remain one of the cutest things I will ever see. I think I have harped on about how Mexican kids are the cutest in the world. I love the community spirit, where everyone in the town is either involved or watching.Teachers and parents were walking along the side of theparade with water and cups... oranges too. It was a long parade for those kids, in the boiling sun.
The iceblock man also comes along ringing his bell. He was stopped by me for about 20 minutes because everyone was running up to him. Every single person bought one, so at 30c this tightass did too. It was a Mango Yoghurt one and it was delicious. I think I have mentioned that Mexicans snack a lot. Mexican food is healthy, fresh with veges.. BUT then they snack on the sugaryish stuff.. Coca Cola, but also donuts and chips and these yogurt blocks. All the OXXO dairy's have these 'BIMBO' bread products (funny name, but they are one of the widest distributed food companies in the world... I think behind Kraft and Nestle and Unilever. And I thgink I have bust this out before... I like facts. Anyways, Bimbo products range from packaged Bread with a layer of sugar ontop to cream-filled cakes with jam and icing. There was a sign in Mexico city sayingthat 5 people die of diabetes in Mexico everyhour.. shocker. I think this info is regurgetated too.. I always repeat myself.
Back to San Miguel, the inner city is BEAUT and colourful and in close quarters... it is obvious that in central town all these beautiful homes and B&Bs are owned by expats. After the parade I had $20 pesos aka $2ish, so the mission of finding an ATM became main priority. I got sent to different places by different people, then got a map and booklet from the Info place and left it in the internet cafe whilst writing on this very blog.. so backtracked to the centre for a new set, after failing to find the right bus stop out to where my bank was, with a huge MEGA supermarket (that is the brand.. expat supers here..the logo is a pelican) and huge Roast chicken takeout and fastfood and playground extravaganza. That is a very popular meal choice here in Mexico.. I didn't realise in PV but travelling around it becomes obvious.. these restaurants with 'Pollo Rosado' are huge. One easy way to feed the fam, they have large ovens out the front of the shop with lots of chickens with huge skewers through them on rotate. You can also get tortillas and salad with.. they are good at fastfood here. DI A BE TES
The next day I awoke early for walking the streets before jumping over to Guanajuato, the town with the namesake of the state. No one was about yet, as shops and people don't start moving till 10, but there was an excentric older American man.. a painter. Musical reference: Chicago. Anyways, I once again had a 'conversation' with an American where they toldme their life story and I was just standing there with what was originally genuine interest, morphing into pure frustration at the fact they don't even give me the time to open my mouth.. anyways, at 68 it was a long history, then he took me to this bridge with a lookout point where he pointed out everything that has been new in the 10 years he has been there for. He doesn't like living there. Once again it was a 'why?' from me, although I don't know if I managed to actually get that word in or whether he just wasn't listening, but I didn;t get an answer right away. He is returning to St Louis in 2 years to study art in Uni again (which he has done in SL, Texas, NYC and Chicago, to show you how longwinded this all was).. I have found the hard thing with asking an older american where they are from, is that none of the ones in Mexico have lived in one place. The are the restless ones who jumped around 10 different cities until they gave up on the US and jumped ship. I wonder how the Mexicans feel at how easily these yanks get in, wander across the boarder, when getting the other way is deadly.
When he told me he was going to St Louis, I sang the line of the song, Meet me in StLouis - Dorothy style - then he sang it in it's full, twice (turns out it is a full length song), as I stood there awkwardly forced grinning and nodding in time.
Anyways, he asked me if he could do a picture of me, I was all 'Why me?' and he said he only asks foreigners (?) and hasn't seen any in a while. I figured this would be a facial portrait with me pulling a dramatic expression - so was in. It was then revealed, as we walked to his studio he revealed he did nude bodies. Anyone who knows me knows that this, after childbirth, is my 2nd worst nightmare. A wave of boiling hot rushed over me and panic rose, I literally lied and said my bus was actually in an hour and RAN in the other direction. Dios Mio!
'I didn't do it, but if I'd done it - how can you tell me that I was wrong? ' (Ref# 2) ... you could defs tell me I was wrong, but I was all 'I didn't do it' which linked nicely as the Chicago song reappeared in my head...
Once again I jumped on a local bus with my stuff, completely unsure where my stop was (I knew where the station was, but the man at my 'hostel' aka the guy who's life I was disrupting said I have to get off after 3 stops and walk. This, of course, was false information. A nice man was helping me though. Mexicans always are on the bus looking depressed, but leap to life when it looks someone needs help...(it is just important that your helpful mexican has the facts and is not just a guesser)... the other day in PV an American yelled on the bus asking where the supermarket (by American brand name ..Soriana) was and he replied 'just across the road.. you can walk'... whereas it is actually up the highway, about a 10 minute drive. I have walked this, never seen anyone else walk it though.
The cool thing while I was in SM was that the church next door was partying through the night and day of the 20-21st. Not cool in the night, with the Mariachi band going nuts with lots of drummers, but in the morning and day was quite exciting. Me and the American lady in my room awoke at about 5.30 am to what sounded like gunfire. It was so loud and aggressive, that I (half asleep) just dove onto the floor thinking 'this is it.. I have finally experienced Mexican danger and now no one I know will ever visit...'. I have dramatic reactions to things.. in one of the many mid-night fire alarms in my hostel at Uni; I jumped out of bed, ran down the hall shouting 'fire alarm'to make sure everyone was awake, knocked on a few neighbours doors, then ran out in a not-good-practise way. I was the fool as my feet and body froze in the winter weather in my Mickey Mouse PJS, when everyone else got out calmly, taking robes, jackets, blankets and slippers with them.
I would still like to think in a real fire, one must high-tail it out.
Anyways, they were fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. Tried to go back to sleep, but they let them off like gun work every 15 minutes. Later in the afternoon, after my escape from nudist painter, they had indigenous drums and whistles out and about 20 people in elabourate colourful and feathered costumes where dancing their socks off. It was great - the Mariachi band (the same guys too, orange jackets) were still playing so it was hard on the ears, but beaut to watch. I wonder where the Indigenous and religious worlds colided and what it was that they were celebrating.
Regardless, it was colourful, cultural and beautiful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Puebla, the ¨¨Pueblo¨¨

At least this is what I was told, therefore had imagined in my head (something I think I have mentioned I am trying to stop as it gives me false hope... I have a fun imagination.)

Pueblo in spanish is Town... not city. I have heard a lot of Puebla, my teacher Claudia was a fan, including my Aus pals. But they all called it a Pueblo. It is the Religious capital of Mexico, with 365 churches (apparently).. because the churches celebrate anniversarys, this also makes it a party capital. No, in actual fact - there are a lot of nuns and not a lot of noise.

The thing is, town in my head - Nelson doesn{t even qualify. We are talking Motueka, Collingwood even (or is that acommunity?)... Puebla has over 1.5 million people! We are talking Auckland!

Anyways, it was different to my head (aka all the buildings were double storied, with the churches hidden amongst them), but stunning all the same. Since Mexico city I have struggled to take 2 steps without taking a phot, I even found myself deleting lots of grey D.F ones to make room for the beautiful colours of the buildings (D.F is Mexico City region, as my teacher said ¨Like Washington - D.C.... D.F, Like Washington).
The hostel there was soooo beautiful . It was double storied with a courtyard in the middle. After my Mexi-Hostel tour I have been thinking that that is what I want to do in the future.. one of the many things. In saying that, I have also decided where I want to retire... without having graduated. So I am getting slightly ahead of myself. I do not think far in the future though usually... hell, I booked my flight for Mexico 5 days before.
I told my parents I was going back to School in Aus for 2nd year ..2 years before? Same with my 1st year of Uni... I have just realised this, I may have a problem.

So, apologies for hardly ever talking about Mexico on my Bloga Mexicana.

Back to it, I got on the bus after arriving in Puebla (the station is huge, hint that maybe this place is bigger than I thought?) at about 8pm. Jumped on the bus outside labelled Centro, as always.
I didn{t know where to get off, but saw this backpacker jump off and just followed him.
The Hostel is advertised as Puebla{s first and only, so figured he was heading there too.
He was... and although I forget his name, he was a nice French boy with a Travel Guide. He wasn{t using it, saying he was bad at using maps. So he insisted we ask around for the location.
Once again, the Mexicans were lovely and willing to help... but not too helpful. Many a circles were walked in as each person had different theories.

I took charge with the map, as Maps are kinda my talent, leading us straight for it. He still insisted on asking some Policemen, so we took the way they thought as opposed to what I thought. It was wrong of course, I wanted to do a ´told you so¨ dance, but remembered that this guy was not one of my brothers, but a French stranger I had only just met. I don¨t mind my brothers thinking I´m annoying.

Anyways, the kids from the schools danced and the Phil. orch. performed (I saw them practicing in a museum terrace earlier in the day. I went to another Museum, I don{t know what it was was called house of someone and it was basically an old mansion with treasures in it. I went coz I asked the girl at the desk for the best Museums. I also went to one involved in the Revolution, appropriate because it was the day before - where an important family involved.. I think it was the Hildagos? Lived in during, it still has all the bullet holes on the outside wall.. that was thrilling enough!
A Mariachi band also performed.,... for hours. The Mexicans really love it.. the overweight-moustached man (opera singer ish) with the high Mariachi pants cracks jokes and they eat it up. They do the classics and everyone sings along. I really love the Mariachi bands. They are everywhere at night. I actually came across this random park in Mexico city, slightly north of the tourist route, where it was like a meeting place for them. They were all hanging around, some wihth intruments, some without.. with their uniforms, one colour (high pants with a cool jacket) embellished up the sides and shoulders with another colour - usually gold or silver.

I have been eating a lot of street food as of late, as I am spending $35 pesos, a bit over $3.50 on food. The way to do this with ease, is to eat food from stalls. I have become a whorey traveller - I think I explained earlier that whorey is stank, as in crappy... not prostitutesque.
This is because I packed next to none clothes (still where my trusty stockings eveyday.. usually to be soon... whorey), came with only a bar of soap and deod. No shampoo (my hair has DIED..I unravelled it in Puebla (without a brush.. why remake it everyday? it stayed in a ball onthe top of my head), it was like straw. I have never had good hair care, but next to the huge knot I got when I was ten and had to get cut out, this is a Maria Williams´ hair lowpoint.
I also don{t have face wash, so there goes my clear skin, or moisturiser... had a small tub on sunscreen which lasted me about a day.. anywho, part of this is because my carryon bag is small, part is because I am lazy anyways, part is because I thought the airplane wouldn{t like liquids (some do not, becuase they are intl and domestic.. everyone has to follow intl rules).
I have my toothbriush, although my teeth do not feel clean. They have not the whole time I have been here... worrying?

It was a nice change from Mexico City, this wasmore my kinda place. I did not accomplish much there, butI am at the point where I like doing nothing. Just sitting with the locals.
Long and shortof it, Puebla was beautiful, different to how I had pictured it, thanks to my Mexicanos. In all seriousness though, I love Mexicans.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dias de los Museos and Metro


So I am trying to hustle this bustle as I am miles (days) behind.
I actually came online here in San Miguel de Allende, to look at where the Scotia Atm is as I once again find myself up a stream without a paddle, or more literally, in a city without money (of course, I have asked 3 different people for directions or location and gotten 3 COMPLETELY different answers... ) .

HAPPY DIA DE LA REVOLUTION!! 100 years today.
I Have been celebrating by singing ONE DAY MORE from Les Mis, in SPanish (well, trying).
More about that when I get to it... still got Puebla...

Note to self: Still must write about Puerto Vallarta return aka the ride with the drug dealer and what could be considered a semi-whorish teen beauty pageant.

Anyways, I spent the other day, Wenesday, in 4 different museums. Firstly, the Anthropology Museum... people say you need 3 hours here, which you do - unless you walk fast and don´t read stuff. I appreciate Mexican culture, bit I have read so much that I feel I have learnt nothing. My brain cannot contain all the dozens of cultures and indigenous and histories. One day I might read a book on it or something.

It was great - lots on the different cultures, all divided by location, as well as all the best artifacts from the ruins... Aztec and Mayan and Oaxacan too. Up until now I had no contact with the Aztecs, they have very different items, used less scultures in the buildings but more paint and paintings. This is just what I have gathered, don´t quote me. Well, you could quote me, it is not like any historian or anthropologist would take what I have to say seriously.

I have an embarassing admission. I am a unstoppable cryer-crier (you think I would know how to spell this) and my love of Mexican culture mixed with a sadness to be leaving this great country in what was 8 days, let a few tears loose... in the museum. I am happy with the fact that I may be the first person who can say they have cried in the Mexican Museum of Anthropology (kids or injured not included).

Next outside I saw the guys do this entertaining thing where 4 of them hang from a pole as the may-day around it, upside down, playing instruments. Now, THAT is entertainment. I sneakily left my bag in the bag holding place (Pantenaria? I think, I use them everyday (all stores, supermarkets etc have them) but haven´t paid too close attention to the formal name. I love that it has one though. It is close to the name for a Bread shop... Panderia?. Anyways, I went over to the Museum of Modern art to see Frida. Alas, she had left and hadn´t even sent me a note! And I thought we were close. I had been at her house only the day before.

Modern art aint really my thing. I like paintings that take skill in painting. Which is why I appreciated the next museum that I metroed to - The Museum of Popular art. They have a museum for everything in Mexico CIty. ¨Everything´s up to date in Mexi City.. they´ve gone about as far as they can go¨... I missioned through this one (note, due to my ID i don´t have to pay.,.. if I was payin, I´d be stayin), loving the special display of Pinatas made by artists, and a Revolution display involving art and items of Emiliano Zapato and Frankie Villa - the fathers of it.

Next I headed to the Institute of Bella Artes, which is one of the main attractions, coz of it´s outer beauty. Inside, there are murals by the famous old artists of Mexico, namely Diego Riveria again... which I had to pay $30 pesos to photograPH! I sucked it in though, since once again, my Student ID got me through the door. I say in Spanish ¨I am a Student of Oaxaca¨, but sometimes leave off the Oaxaca, so they racistly say ¨But not of Mexico¨and then I whip it out. BooYah. Just joking about the racism.. generally, apart from Indig issues down South, Mexicans are very open and there are various references to my pals Ghandi and MLK jr through out the place. There were African slaves that came here, wonder why there aren´t African-Mexicans? Cos there wasn´t this segregation BS.. they didn´t live in Negro.Ville, or whatever the community of migrants was in my mum´s city.

Anyways, there is usually other displays there - including one of Riverias, but they were closed at the moment. My typical luck. There was one of a Man - Saturnino Herran (accent above A), which was brilliant. He is what I mean by talented - especially with Crayons and Pastel... he made them look SO real... he did a lot of people´s faces, which is my fave. He did some beutiful ones of Mayan people too.. he really gets the skin and features in perfect colour and shape. He had also done a lot of the same pictures, but done them closer up and with other mediums. No photos allowed here unfortunately, but I just added two up the top - first with Crayon CRAZZYY.

So it was getting on in the day, time for me to get to Puebla. I was originally going to go the day before, but the closed-city monday threw those plans. So I went down to the metro, for the billionth time, taking 3 different lines North, which I hadn´t taken before. This was to get to the bus station, the same one I had taken to Oaxaca in September - my first Mex travel extravaganza. By this time I was confident with the Metro, although I noticed at my first, busy stop that there was a strong police presence and that there was a ladies and girls only section. I was lining up for the train when 3 men, one Smart-Casual and two in suits came and pulled me aside. They said they were security, I looked at the policeman (with a shield and baton) for confirmation, he didn´t comment - but he let me go too, so I trusted all was well.
They took me a wee way to the security office, at this time I was just panicked trying to get to the bus station and get to Puebla - angry at myself that I was getting there a day late already.
They wanted me to pack away my Camera, as they said someone will cut the cord from around my neck.
I hear my Dad doing his token scoff now.
I know, I was naive. I felt so stupid, as these 5 or so men looked down at me. I was apologising in my broken spanish, trying to not sound like too much of a stupid tourist.
I had gotten cocky.
I must have come across as very upset, because one of the men got mad at the others - saying they had been to scary with me.They actually hadn{t, but kept apologising and saying things like ¨We wouldn{t want your experience in Mexico to be ruined´ and ¨We want you to enjoy yourself here¨, they were very nice.
I was more relieved than scared, grateful for the good people in this country who continue to look out for and help me. For every bad person wanting to cut my camera, there are at least 100,000 people who go out of their way for you.
It did not occur to me that someone would have scissors in the metro, I thought around my neck was actually safer than in my bag with someone could grab.
A TLC song comes to mind ¨Dumb, Dumb, Dumb¨.

I thanked them, shook all there hands, but they weren{t letting me go alone. So, I had two security escorts with me, in the crowded ¨Women and Children only¨ cart. One in a Tan suit, with an official badge, the other ´Undercover´in a blue polo. And so, they travelled on three different lines with me, asking me questions about my life as we walked from one to the other (one walk was about 2 km long, with a blacked out area with lots of police in it.. I don{t know why). My undercover man took me right out of the metro and into the bus station. I was very grateful, but moreso touched by their kindness.

Note to Future Mexico tourists: Do not be afraid to ride the metro. But, be weary off the normal toursit track, e.g. anything north of Bella Artes, this is where it turned a bit scary...



Wish I could have taken photos, there was a range of art tributes to the heroes of Mexico, but all my faves included battle scenes or meeting scenes
with very delicately made and painted figurines. What an art - literally here kids!
I homed it via Metro, the 3rd time at night (I trust people too much), but all was well. Took my usual route back to the hostel through the gay bondage market.
I was on the computer checking my emails, resting my feet, reading about NZ news, Wills and Kate´s engagement (why are we all so fascinated?) and
talking with a porn star.
Oh yes, let me elabourate, but in an abridged form (that still counts right?)
I was talking to the guy at the desk, Christian, who has been the source of some of my misinformation. I don´t know where it came from but here it goes:
¨I hate people in LA... ¨¨¨
Do you live there?
Yeah, but I hate it - girls roll up your sleeve to see if you are wearing an expensive watch before they talk to you¨
So why do you live there?
That´s where you have to be if you´re an actor
Ohh.. you´re an actor?
Well, kinda. I am actually the best porn star in the world at the moment¨
It´s true, Google me.
(laughs, while googling)
How did you get into that?
Oh ya know, just like how you get into any another job¨ (ahh, not really!) I studied Psych and Sociology at college, knew some people---¨
It´s true, Google me.
What makes you the best in the world?
I won 2010 AVN best actor... that is an Porn Oscar.
Ohhh, so just like an Oscar?!
After that I got into mainstream too.. It opened up acting opportunities... I have been in Iron Man 2, CSI Miami, CSI New York ( you can imagine the way he is listing these right?)
I have been in an acting class with Will Smith, J-Lo (and a few other actors I don´t remember now, but recognised at the time). He listed this all very quickly and matter of factly. Just from watching them, I knew how to act. I knew what it takes...
(various questions and skepticism came from this, as a lifelong Fresh Prince fan, I am aware that he is one of the highest paying actors, so I had all these questions as he said it was really cheap as there are so many acting classes and for starts - how is he at the same level ??
Turns out his teacher let him sit in in the class with them, he watched.

At this stage my focus was more on getting info on the royal wedding, so he bust out his comp and pulled up a screen with a few people in the forground and a few thousand solediers in the background (at least, that is what I thought they were.. it was hard to tell)
There I am in Iron Man 2! (pointing at one of the soldiers).. to give him credit.. i suspect most of the others where computer generated.
(laughs again)
Oh well, good on you!
I will try and find the other scene I am in.....I have had some speaking roles too..

(he also told me about winning his award, his reaction, his trip around the world, how his facebook fan page got cancelled. what makes him good at his job and various other topics....I told him I was from NZ.)

Real name: Paul ___
Porn Star Name: Eric Swiss. (I thought it was meant to be your pet and your 1st street....?)
Starred in; Not Married with Children xxx 1 and 2, Not Charlies Angels xxx, Not the Cosbys xxx
Known for: Being the best porn star in the world, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An interesting day... starring Casa de Frida


I saw this painting, vida la vida, in the flesh.

I liked it. I liked the whole house actually, where Mexico¨s Art Power couple - Frida and Diego Riveria - lived.

I thought it was weird how they didn{t imitate it in the film.. I thought I knew exactly what it was going to look like.

I finally thought I was going to see some Famous Frida Kahlos... all over Mexico I had heard they are all in Mexico city.

Update: Don{t know where they all are, but of the 30-odd I would recognise, only saw 2 in the house I had seen before. No paintings of her with monkeys.

I had liked her art, but it was after the film that I kinda became obsessed with her. The pain she had physically, after a bus crash, for all her life - and then her miscarriage really is what drove her. I saw the casts she had to wear and the bed with the mirror that she used to paint herself (note - she did a lot of self-potraits, because she spent a lot of time bed-ridden).

I feel like I am in some kind of Frida-fan cult now.

I read online - and got told by a staff member at Museo FK - that Dos Fridas, one of her most famous paintings was in the Museo of Modern art. Well, I was so pumped for this one I brought a badge with it on to wear there.

Got there, expo over.

The annoying thing about this city is that time goes really fast. The big museums take like 3 hours and to get from one place to the other on the metro envolves a lot of time travelling, walking to change lines and waiting. I feel like I accomplish little here each day, e.g Frida Museo was the first thing I did in the day, didn{t leave til 2pm. So there is this place with pretty boats that float around, Xochilmico. I don}t know if this is actually the name, I am writng it off the top of my head and can not be arsed searching it.

Anyways, you go down the river on a pretily decorated red and yellow boat. I was told on Sunday night that to do it cheaply you must go on the weekend.. if only I had that info earlier. Finally got there, it was a huge mission on a few different trains, then followed the signs as many enthused men on bikes pointed the way (they sit on their bikes at the station, then one of them jumps into gear at the sight of a tourist)... I was told it would be $200 pesos, bit over $20 per boat. Unfortunately, coz It is low season, they must be desperate.

I jumped in with 2 Argentinian girls, we started away. They asked the price, when I asked what they said... they told me $370 pesos each! OH. HELL. NAH. That is over $40 Nz.... over $100 for the boat - to quote la favorita oracion de mi madre ¨Give me a break¨.
My heart was pounding, we were pulling away, I was trapped.
So, being the cheap and dramatic person that I am, I jumped up, dove onto the neighbouring boat to escape. So, due to the very slow speed of the boat (since the trip is 45 mins, I doubt it will get much beyond leaving the parking area and then reversing back in), it was really just a little step-jump, but I was shaking my head vigourously going ¨Yo escuchi $200 por todo (I heard 200 for all) No quiero, No quiero! (I don´t want)¨ STOP THE BOAT is what I was saying in my head.
They were all ¨Impossible¨ for both the stopping and the price, I didn´t feel bad about drag-queenly high tailing it out of there when scam artists were involved. So, with my money in my hand and photos on my card, I flounced out of there.

I headed for the centre (the sun set on the train mission home) where I stumbled across a night exhibition of art especially for the Revo and Bicen (Just some Mex 2010 slang..)

(NOTE: THIS IS ONLY HALF THIS ENTRY... I REWROTE IT TWICE AND IT KEPT NOT SAVING. I THEN WROTE IT IN AN EMAIL TO MYSELF (I am my number one sender of emails to my inbox... followed by Mum, then the Lady from school wanting me blimmin timesheets, then Oxfam) BUT NOW IT WILL NOT LET ME USE COPY AND PASTE.

Ah, if only Mexican Electricity had not killed my computer then I would be able to use that (there is free wireless EVERYWHERE in mexico), instead of paying once a day. Could have sponsered a Child with this money!

10 days left! 10 dias mas....


So my day in Ciudad de Mexico did not go as planned. I know what you are thinking ''You're in Mexico... lighten up!'', but I have been light for many a days now and I am done. With 16 weeks with everyone else on Mexican time, I am wanting structure.

It is all because it is the 100th Anniversary of the Revolution on Saturday... here, like Aus, when a Public holiday lands on the weekend they give you another day *the flaw in this system is that I kept working on public holidays e.g. Christmas and Boxing Day, and then people who didn't were getting the larger paychecks for the next monday} anyways, here they celebrate it beforehand.
Which meant in the park I was among thousands of people, which wasn't that bad coz I went at 10am... Mexicans generally do not get moving till about midday, but then my 2 museums I planned to see were both closed. I did not see this one coming! Mainly because Public holidays are when all the tourists are in town, and places just advertise as being closed on Xmas. You may be thinking "It's a public holiday, the museums need to give their staff time off too!'', to that I tell you that all the staff still work. Everyone is in there cleaning and so the guards are all outside guarding the cleaners. This is why I was confused that it was closed looked so open.

Other people from my hostel were there *one texan from US withfluent Spanish and 2 Belgin girls who had just come the night before... don't know how they didn't have jetlag... they are 7 hours diff, like NZ (bar daylight savs) but the other way or something. We went to the zoo in the park, with free entry, that had an incredible selection of animals, although mainly I wanted to see could hardly be seen &(gorilla, panda, cheetah).. most of the animals were sleeping at midday. Many of them had sad conditions, the panda that wasn't on display was in a medium sized plain room with no light...he was sitting at the door trying to open it.
There was also a strong chlorine smell in the park, so I suspect that the water wells of the animals are very strong with it.. their poor skin!

Anyways, after that I headed into town... i didn{t really accomplish much... I think I have many a hour unaccounted for actually, I don{t know where the time went! I know I checked out a few other museos... all closed. I walked around, wasting time until the Light show.. WHICH I WAS TOLD STARTED AT 7pm.... so I was there at 6.15. My back is still store from standing in the same position. My feet a bruised with a cracked heal... you would have thought I had been doing serious farm work. No, just standing. I talked to a Belgiun for a while, he was bored by Mexico City and bolting after 2 days.. I didn´t understand - I think this city is Fantastic! Everyone has different experiences though... we went to the zoo because this guy who had never left his small town in Oregan before this made it sound like the best experience of his life. For a Belguin (spelling?) living in London, having travelled all of South American and Europe, can not find anything exciting. Poff I say! He did make some funny comments like ´´there are a lot of gay people here.. I have nothing against them... I have just never seen one before´´...(he is staying in the same area I am , the Gay district...Zona Rosa..I realised this as I got off the metro with all the boyfriends... it has been confirmed with the clubs and flags etc..LOVE IT) then he told me that he has decided to go to Puerto Vallarta.. staying in Romantic Zone, aka Gay zone, but he doesn{t know that.

These damn staff here! Anyways, So moral of the story is it started at 9pm... so for almost three hours I stood there FREEZING.. didn{t even claim a particularly good spot...
ALTHOUGH, the show was SOOO AMAZING. They really went all out coz of 1810 and 1910 being the most important days in Mex History.
There were dancers, there was video, there was music, there was LIGHT ... lots and lots of light. It was in the town square with lights on the huge old buildings and cathedral. SO COOL.
I took lots of phots of course, so although most of them didn{t come out... you still get the point. I will add them once I am back 10 days (give or take 2 days-7 for jet lag)...

It was very theatrical.. reminded me of WOW actually, there were THOUSANDS there. On the way home (it was 1 hour and a half) they closed off all the centro metro stations so TRILLIONS of us walked about 10 mins to the one that was opening at 11pm. I felt like I was part of some big event.. a sea of people. After they opened the Metro doors (luckily I had a spare metro ticket, or else I literally would have been walking home, with less than 2 bucks on me), it was a CRAZY display of urgency to get through.. the nice get left behind though. I learnt that early on. People push through, forcing room. They don´t mind about how uncomfortable other people may be. It is like selfishness takes hold, this is why people have been trampled to death. When the lines going through the machines paused for even a second everyone started whistling. Like everyone.. it was ringing in my ears. I felt a definate sense of accomplishment when I passed through those gates.

So another time, I made it home through the metro at night... alive. I was expecting to be scared of this place but I am probably too casual. A man told me on the metro to remove any wallet from my pocket.. not that I had one. I didn{t think I would be able to exit the hostel at all, but all is well. At my school they originally turned me off coming to Mexico, as one girl who goes there tells them horror stories and so eveyone is scared. Remember, there are twice as many people here as there are in NZ.

Yes, I thought that number was incorrect. One staff member told me the show was 7, another said there were 17 MILLION more people in this CITY! I am no longer listening to them.