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28 July 2010 @ 05:38 pm
 
It rained almost the whole weekend in Puebla. It didn't stop us from seeing the city, though, and it certainly didn't stop us from eating. Puebla is considered something of a gastronomical capital of Mexico, so on the first night we found a restaurant with Poblano cuisine. Probably the most typical dish is mole poblano, or chicken with a sauce made from chocolate and many other spices. We also tried chiles en nogado, which is a big chile pepper stuffed usually with meat, fruit, and bread, and covered with a sauce made from walnuts. They were both okay, you know...it was good to have tried them, but I'm not sure I'd order either again. They were pretty sweet, and very rich. The most exciting dish by far, though, was the worms. They are the worms from the maguey plant, and they were served fried with guacamole and salsa borrache (made from pulque, a liqued derived from the same plant) and tortillas to roll them all into tacos. I think I had one plain and maybe 2 more rolled up in a taco, and that was quite enough for me.

The hotel was great. Sherry (my roommate) and I ended up in a really big room with something like a hallway leading to the bathroom, and even a bathtub! The hotel was pretty swanky - much more so than our place in Taxco, but of course we didn't spend too much time there. On the first morning we met with a lawyer who spoke about current gender-related issues in Mexico. For me, it was one of the highlights, at least as far as the academic component of this trip goes. She talked about deeply entrenched gender roles, the effect that sort of socialization for children has on the workforce and domestic life, and government initiatives and legislative changes that are happening to encourage parity, and a lot of other things...cat calls, birth control, abortion, gender education. It was a really good session and I think all would have liked to hear more. But we left with our professor of vice-regal and contemporary art for a walking tour of the downtown area. He is an architecht. We looked a LOT of buildings.

Saturday we went to an archeological site near Tlaxcala and had lunch in the city itself. After lunch we went to a former monastery were a quinceanera was taking place in the church. It was really something. The 15 year old girl was completely decked out in a green satin dress with a hoop skirt and all kinds of lacey ornamention. She was accompanied by a huge retinue of family (I suppose), a line-up of young men, and a mariachi band. We watched from a distance for probably longer than was polite, and then continued on to look at a few more churches.

The only downside of the whole weekend was that I lost my jacket. I was out at a bar on Friday night and hung it over the back of my chair, but I got up to dance and when we went to leave I couldn't find it...but there was some other strange jacket nearby instead. I went back the next day to see if the person who had taken it had come back for theirs instead, but they hadn't. But I figure that if that's the worst thing that happens on this trip, then it's a great success.

We came back to Taxco on Sunday, stopping in some place whose name I can't remember (something with Tonantzintla, perhaps) to look at some elaborately tiled and decorated churces, and Cuernavaca for lunch. And then now we're in the last week of classes.

Oh I know what was cool! There is a guy in town who is somehow connected with the center for foreigners at the university. I've heard him described as a cultural organizer. But he also writes for a local publication and is very active in a left-leaning political party. He had spoken with some people in the group, and suggested a meeting with some people who knew who might be interested in what we were doing here, and and in whose work we might be interested. So on Monday night, I got home from dinner and went up to the roof to find a whole bunch of people. Artists, silversmiths, stone workers, musicians, a few teachers (one with a national post, some with local jobs, and one who was part of a government initiative to bring teachers to poor rural areas), someone involved in something environmental (I didn't really have a chance to talk with him), and a leader of the teacher's union. It was really a neat group to talk with, and after a while the musicians started to play. They played some south American songs first, but then switched to Mexican favorites. I'm even starting to learn some of the words!

I'm sure there are a million things I haven't written about...The trip to some caves, an beautiful pre-hispanic archeological site up in the mountains, drawing lessons on the roof with some art teacher friends, all the delicious food, the beautiful view I have every morning on the walk to school, and certainly all the Spanish (and particularly Mexican words) I'm learning. But now we're beginning to wrap things up, and I have a lot of work to do on my unit plan. That will probably be my focus until I turn it in on Friday. Then we'll be going back to Mexico city to gather any more resources we need and finalize the unit plan before presenting it to the other participants, the professors, and the project evaluators next Wednesday and Thursday.

Back to work,
Gen
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on August 2nd, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
A walking tour of downtown Puebla? I'm sure it was no match for the excitement of the boat tour of downtown Chicago!

Everything about your trip sounds so good. What a wide range of experiences you've had!

Anxious to see pictures and hear all about it! Se you Friday!

Love-
Dad