Sunrise, Quinta Roo

Sunrise, Quinta Roo

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.

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