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05 April 2013 @ 06:04 pm
We stayed at the resort today which was so nice and convenient. Not that packing a book and a towel and taking a little truck ride to a breathtaking beach could in any way be described as inconvenient, but still, today the breathtaking views were right in our own backyard.

I did run over to Solomon Beach this morning. There were a few other runners out on the trails, and it was cool to get to the beach before anyone else was there. I walked back through the town and was offered some
fish, fresh mahi that had just come in the night before, from a fellow with a cooler. I declined, but not before he told me that a good part of the 250 pounds were still left, even after he had sold a lot of it to the restaurants. That was cool to know. Talk about catch of the day.

Kate staked our claim on a bit of beach under a nice shady tree with a few lounge chairs and two nearby hammocks. There isn’t too much to say. I finished my book somewhere between swims and spent a lot of time floating out on the raft. The raft that housed yesterday’s barracuda, that is, but today I was armed with goggles and there were no barracudas in sight. Swimming was more fun and less stressful. And I really love the light icy blue fish I keep seeing around.

We’ve finished this excellent day with a homemade pina colada happy hour on the balcony, great seafood for dinner at a restaurant with an outdoor deck, and a shooting star – one among the millions of twinkling others.


Well, that was yesterday. Today we split our beach time between the beach at the resort and Cinnamon Bay. Highlights include swimming right over top of a stingray and another full-beach-length swim in water as electric-ly blue as ever. I love this place.

We’ll head into town in a bit for a last evening out, but not before I go watch the sunset from the balcony.
03 April 2013 @ 08:47 pm
There was more sea-gazing today. After breakfast on the balcony, Kate and I hiked from Cruz Bay up to an overlook point and then down to a spot called Honeymoon Beach. It's funny - and we've only been here for two days - but each first glimpse of the sea (stepping on the balcony of our apartment, rounding a corner in the resort, coming out of the woods at the end of the hike, waking up from a nap on the sand, looking up after reading a few pages) is dazzling and makes me want to keep my gaze firmly fixed on that bright blue horizon.

We stopped for smoothies on the way back to mom and the hotel. My pineapple-coconut-banana trumped Kate's kiwi-strawberry, but we'll probably have a rematch tomorrow.

So we made a picnic lunch and slathered on sun lotion and took another roller-coasteresque taxi ride to Trunk Beach. Again, we were surrounded by the most beautiful colors, and some other people must think so too, as this beach is apparently rated among the world's best, so we've heard. We had also heard yesterday that there was an underwater snorkeling trail at this beach. There was a small cay just off the shoreline, and plenty of marine flora and fauna under the water around its base. We saw colorful fish, bright blue, or with yellow stripes, or tiny little silvery blue things that swam in big schools and weren't bothered by us swimming right through the middle of them. They were swimming around rocks and plants and coral of all different shapes and sizes and colors, and with the water as clear as it was, we could see it all beautifully.

In fact, we've seen quite a bit of wildlife in our brief two days here. Yesterday there was a pet hog walking along a beach with it's owner, scratching himself against each tree he encountered, and then donkeys in the trees at Cinnamon Bay. Today we counted 5 or 6 iguanas in the bushes below our balcony, and there are little gecko-y sorts of lizards running all over the place. There were 2 deer on the hiking trail today who were so unconcerned with us that they didn't leave the path until we were just a few feet away from them. And actually we wrapped up our snorkeling adventure more quickly than we intended because a stingray was spotted in the surf. And even more exciting was the barracuda we didn't stick around to see after another snorkeler spotted it near where we were sunning ourselves on a raft in the water.

We enjoyed the beach for as long as we could stand the heat, and then came back to the hotel. We discovered that the beach right here, though lacking sand, has lounge chairs and hammocks and a floating raft out in the water. Kate and I were happily rocking away there, when a snorkeler approached and said that there was a barracuda and 6 or 7 other fish hanging out just near the ladder. Swim for your life, sister.

Sunset from the balcony, carry out fish and salads and rice for dinner, plans for another beautiful day tomorrow.
02 April 2013 @ 08:38 pm
Walking home from dinner last night, I thought I'd revive the old livejournal for this trip, but then I thought better of it because, really, how much can there be to say about spending a quiet week in a beautiful place? ...Monday it was beautiful and we went to the beach, Tuesday it was beautiful and we went to the beach, and so on...But then I thought better of it again, since today was so spectacular, and here we are!

Monday was a terribly long travel day, with 2 flights (an extra trip or two through security at the Ft. Lauderdale airport), a bus ride, a ferry trip, and a taxi ride that eventually landed us in the beautiful Gallows Point Resort at Cruz Bay on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We settled in to our efficiency/apartment and walked along the beach under a vibrant sunset into the town where we found a delicious fish dinner at sort of a dive/hole-in-the-wall looking place. We found out today though, from a local guy on a truck taxi to the beach, that it's a well-liked happy hour spot frequented by Kenny Chesney when he's on the island. It was a great meal, blackened fish, with great rock and roll music playing from the bar across the street.

I was in bed by 8:30.

And what a view we woke up to this morning! I got up early and explored the resort a little, found some fantastic views of both the bay and the ocean, and bypassed a hammock in favor of a lounge chair on the little beach for a bit of reading before Mom and Kate were ready to get up. As the day brightened, so did the water. It's stunning and turquoise and blue and there are mountainous islands all around, and as the clouds pass the sun the light does wonderful things to the views of the land and sea.

After breakfast we took a taxi (safari taxis, I think they're called, these trucks with seating instead of a bed in the back) from the ferry dock up the windy mountain roads and back down again to Cinnamon Bay. It was perfect. We set ourselves up just at the edge of the beach where the soft white sand met an area of shady trees and stayed all day. I went for a long swim right away from one end of the bay to the other and back, and it was really something to be right out the middle of such stunning beauty. We rested and sunned ourselves, read and walked, took a break to have a fish sandwich for lunch, and then Kate and I went for another long swim. The main beach area ended where the sand stopped and turned into an unwalkably rocky and shrub-filled stretch of coastline, but there was another beach, small, empty, and beautiful, on the other side. Kate and I made that our next swimming destination. Green mountains, white beaches, and a turquoise sea. There can be nothing else like it.

We had another slightly harrowing truck ride back to Cruz Bay. Kate and I were thinking that this place is a funny combination of that third-world-fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality (is that inappropriate to say?) and first-world prices. We learned from some other passengers about the campground at the beach. We were in a U.S. national park, and the campsites have what look to be about a 10X10 canvas tent with cots, and everything from a cooler to a camp stove and linens to dishes are provided by the campground. $85 a night, they said - definitely something to keep in mind!

We walked up to a little supermarket to buy some groceries for the rest of the week, and stopped to pick up a pizza on the way home. Kate made us pina coladas with the hotel's complimentary bottle of coconut rum, and we've enjoyed pizza and drinks in our breezy living room with the waves crashing on the rocks outside.
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,
21 July 2010 @ 08:08 am
There is a big thunderstorm going on tonight. Sometimes when it rains the internet doesn't work, but it seems okay for now. I love the weather here. We're in the rainy season now and each night there's a big storm. And then it's clear and sunny for most of the day. Last night I went to eat with some friends at a restaurant with a terrace that overlooked the whole town. We were so enchanted by watching the storm roll in over the mountains and the lightning that changed the color of the whole sky, that the storm was upon us before we had the chance to get home. So we just stayed and watched and talked. Eventually the rain subsided enough that we could run home. But by that point the streets were rivers, the steps were waterfalls, and the courtyard of the hotel was a lake.

We're into the second week of classes now, and we've switched from from the pre-hispanic art and culture to the viceregal period. There's a lot of information, and for me, at least, it's very technical and pretty dry. We talked a lot about columns yesterday. A lot. More than I ever knew you could talk about them.

But there are plenty of things going on completely unrelated to viceregal architecture. Last week I went to a yoga class. One of the nearby hotels offers 90 minute classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights in their courtyard, and a couple of people from my group went to check it out. It was not like any yoga class I've taken before. It was kind of more like a yoga-cise/ladies' workout class. There was less holding poses and more quick repetitive movements. And we did the shivasana part in the middle of the class. We were outside, which was lovely (mostly), and the teacher was walking us through a progressive relaxation. It was a little difficult to relax, though, because each time I opened my eyes I could see a cloud of gnats and mosquitos swarming above me. But just as my shins, calves, knees, thighs were beginning to melt away like drying sand (or something like that), I heard a leaves of the mango tree I was lying under start to rustle and a huge ripe mango plummeted down and hit the ground between me and my friend Libya. Not relaxing at all. All I could do then was laugh. The teacher droned on, waist, chest, shoulders, upper arms, then then down came another mango.

Let's see...what else? Oh, I might have mentioned that there was a classical guitar competition going on last week, and that most of it took place at the university where we're studying. It's a very small campus and there was beautiful music everywhere. There were concerts each night, and although my roommate and I kept trying to go, other things kept getting in the way and we didn't make it until the last one on Friday. It was really great. The two winners from the previous year's competition played first, and they were followed by a guitar and accordeon duet. That was more folk than classical, but they played traditional tunes from all over the world. It was so lively and the audience loved it!

Annnd...as for school, I submitted the first draft of my unit plan proposal. And now I've got the professor's feedback, so I can keep going on that...but that hardly seems worth writing about. Spanish classes are going really well. We've delved into the nuances of the subjunctive mood and how you can use the past subjunctive to talk about something you know won't happen in the future. We've listened to lovelorn rancheras, read short stories about the frustrations of women, and talked enough about pronouns to confuse even a person like me, who, for some reason, gets a kick out of grammar.

And! There are a bunch of Haitian kids studying at the university as well, and I've had some good chances to speak French. Each time I start a conversation, it requires a huge mental effort to pull my self out of Spanish and get back into French. Eventually it comes, and now I can't figure out which one is easier. I think I keep trying to use Spanish words in French syntax, or vice versa. It doesn't always work, but the Haitians are super nice and patient. They told me que je parle francais comme une francaise, but I think that's just because I don't have a Haitian accent. And now I can greet them in Creole!

Enough. Time for bed. We're leaving for Puebla tomorrow. Back in Taxco on Sunday.
13 July 2010 @ 09:15 pm
It's really nice to settle into a routine here. Classes started yesterday and the pace of life here in Taxco is much more reasonable than it was in Mexico City. We moved into our hotel on Saturday, and it's awesome. The hotel is, I think, a former monastery, and there are rooms on three floors surrounding a courtyard. There are some really comfortable communal areas and a rooftop terrace with a beautiful view of the city.

So Saturday morning I went to the silver market. Taxco used to be a big silver mining area. Most of the actual mining has stopped, or moved elsewhere in Mexico, but there's a lot of silver work that happens here, and the Saturday market is a pretty big deal. There were streets and streets full of little stalls selling jewelry, and I bought some fun things. It was funny to go back to the hotel (where all 12 of us in the course are staying) and see everyone wearing new earrings and necklaces. We're such good tourists. That night we went out to a bar that had a guy playing guitar and singing. I had beer with hot sauce poured in and chile powder around the rim, kind of the way you can put salt around a margarita. The musician was playing songs that everyone knew and sang along to, and it made me wish I knew the words. Everyone I've met has been so friendly, and some of the folks at the bar tried to teach me the song lyrics, but it didn't go very well.

Sunday I didn't do much besides watch the football final. Oh, and there is a restaurant right across from the hotel that serves a lot of vegetarian food, which is a nice change from all the many variations on corn and meat that I've been eating.

We started classes yesterday - pre-hispanic art in the morning and spanish in the afternoon. The Spanish class is really great, and although we're only supposed to meet twice a week, the teacher invited us to join her women in literature class, which meets another two times a week. We did that today, and I really enjoyed it. The campus is fun. It's a center for foreign students, so there are people from all over the place. I swam in the pool between classes today, and on the patio nearby a Hispanic guy was teaching a Caribbean girl and an Asian guy how to do flamenco dance. There is also a classical guitar festival and competition going on in Taxco, and most of the competition part is happening during day at the CEPE campus (where we are). There's beautiful music everywhere you go!

So I mentioned I swam today, and yesterday after class I ran on something like a track. There are a few runners in the group, and we had been told that there was a track. It turned out to be a more or less square brick walkway around a playground and a soccer field...but at least it's a flat place in this very hilly town. Although we did a lot of walking around Mexico City last week, I can't really call it excercise, so it's been nice to be more active here.
10 July 2010 @ 08:21 pm
Another day we visited the UNAM campus. It's the main university in Mexico. The campus was fine and there were lots of murals which I'm sure are historically and socially significant, but I was tired and like churches in Europe, after so many it gets harder to appreciate them.

That was the day of the last semifinal match in the world cup. The mayor of Mexico City, who has done some pretty progressive things, like provide viagra for poor people over the age of seventy, had had a huge FIFA Fanfest set up in the Zocalo (enormous main square) with great big screens for people to watch the games on. We caught the second half of the game there. The crowd seemed pretty divided. It was hard to tell if more people were supporting Germany or Spain, but it was fun.

After that our professor took us to meet a man named John Ross, a very left-leaning American journalist who has been living in Mexico for the past 25 years. He spoke with us about border issues and immigration. I may be reaching my limit with museums, but I had lots of attention for this discussion. Unfortunately, much of it struck me the wrong way. It was certainly interesting, and of course relevant to my work and my life in the US, but I didn´t like how his lecture revolved around his experiences crossing the border with illegal immigrants and facts and statistics about how many people and how much money is crossing the border. His border stories were recounted as great adventures and the figures he gave, such as how many people cross, how many die crossing, how much money gets sent back to Mexico each year, etc, did not seem to consider the people involved. I don't know how you can talk about that stuff without mentioning all the families that are torn apart or reconstituted, and all the difficulties involved in living in a new place where you don't have access to the opportunities you came to find. I mean, it was interesting, I just thought it was only part of the story. And since the story has become one that I deal with daily, I wanted more of it to be addressed. But maybe that sounds obnoxious.

After that, for the next day or so (I'm losing track of the days) we visited more museums and had more art history lessons. In the evenings we found food near the hotel and hung out with the participants and the professors of the course, and chatted with people in the neighborhood. I've been really overwhelmed by how welcoming people are. Both in Mexico City and now here in Taxco people are so helpful and friendly and interested in who we are and why we're here. Everyone has a story about some experience they (or a family member) had in the US and they definitely want to hear about how much we love Mexico. And I do!

We left Mexico City on Friday morning and travelled by bus through very foggy, rainy weather to Taxco, a few hours south of the capital. We spent the first night at a hotel with a stunning view of the city, but a discouraging number of bugs in the bathroom. This city is awesome. It's built on the side of mountain (or a big hill, maybe) and the narrow, cobbled streets wind up and down so that it's a little disorienting for a newcomer, but really fun to get turned around in. And it's not so big. Because it's on a hill it's easy to spot the cathedral in the main plaza and head toward it, and it's even easier to just hop on a combi heading back toward the zocalo. I love it. And almost all the buildings are white and interestingly constructed with balconies and terraces and terra cotta colored tiled rooves. It's very European looking, but the markets and vendors and comedores certainly aren't, and I'm quite charmed.

Oh, but that first hotel with all the bugs didn't seems like a great place to stay for the next three weeks, so my roommate and I have moved to a different hotel that is much nicer and slightly cheaper.

I'll write more about Taxco later. I hope you all are well.

10 July 2010 @ 08:18 pm
The last entry was pretty much just program-related stuff. And I figure I should write a little about the other things that have been going on.

Food has been fantastic. When I'm not eating the delicious baggies of trail mix that Mom packed, I'm often eating comida corrida - fast food from the street. I've had licuados (like smoothies with all kinds of fresh fruit and milk, maybe with vanilla or cinnamon), millions of tacos, chilaquiles for breakfast (broken up tortillas with spices, onions, and cream - kind of intense for breakfast, right?) tostadas (crispy tortillas with something on top), and any number of other tortilla and meat related combinations. I've enjoyed trying some new fruits, and REALLY enjoyed all the mangos and avocados. And I might as well mention that I've had more margaritas in the week that I've been here than, well, than probably in my entire adult life. It's lovely.

Oh and we went to see la lucha libra. The luchadores are those masked wrestlers you may have seen in movies (I think Jack Black made a movie with them, maybe?). Well the show was wild. Carlos, the pre-hispanic art professor, was telling me that when he was in Baltimore he went to see a monster truck rally, and he likened the audience of a monster truck rally in the US to that of a lucha libre fight in Mexico. Even before we got inside the arena the crowd was a bit rowdy, and we, as gringos, were of course overwhelmed by vendors of masks and other merchandise and people scalping tickets. And inside it was even crazier. We couldn't have had better seats, and I think we paid $4 USD for them. We were sitting just to the left of the ramp/walkway the wrestlers walked down to get to the ring, and just in front of a big group of the rowdiest fans I could imagine. Even the four year old kid behind my was saying some pretty terrible things about the wrestler's mothers and calling out for one of the vendors to bring him a chela (cerveza? beer?) now and then. Although they never did. It was loud and chaotic and fun. There was another group of fans across the arena from us with drums and horns and vendors running around everywhere selling everything from masks to luchador dolls to beers, bangs of chips, sausages, and instant cups of noodle soup.

That would be enough, right? Even without the fights? But they got started eventually, the announcers announced and the bikini-clad lucha libre girls posed and wiggled and turned around whenever the crowd asked them to by shouting "Vuelta! Vuelta!" Then lights went down and the music went up and the fighters were announced and they emerged from their tunnel and made their brawny way down the ramp the ring, where they warmed up while waiting for the other fighters to get there. The match itself was, as you can imagine, ridiculous. The costumes were wild, the moves were flashy and wholly unbelieveable, and the crowd loved it, especially when the went flying out of the ring and grappled on the ground in front of the first row of the audience. I loved it too. It was awesome. Oh, and there was one match fought buy one guy in shiny black leather and flames and another guy with long greasy hair and bright pink spandex pants. The pink guy lost and had his head shaved right there in the ring. Crazy.
07 July 2010 @ 07:27 pm
One entry a week was not exactly my plan, but it was such a busy week I hardly had time to sleep, much less sit down and think and write about everything that we did. Perhaps I'll write more now that we've arrived in Taxco, where we'll be staying for the next three weeks.

So where did I leave you?

Trotsky's and Kahlo's house in Coyohucan. Right. The next day we went with Carlos, our professor for the course in Pre-hispanic art (and a former UMBC grad student) to Teotihucan, a pre-hispanic archeological zone. Zone, they say, because it's much bigger than a site. They've uncovered a great amount of land many small pyramids and several enormous ones, and many of the old streets and pathways, but they estimate that all that they have uncovered amounts to less than one percent of the old city. People in the surrounding towns continue to discover the foundations of buildings, sections of murals, and various artifacts on their land, but don't say much about it because they government would take the object, try to take the land, and not compensate them much. Money is more powerful than history, said Carlos. But anyhow, we learned a whole lot about the people who used to live there, their lifestyles, their art, their games, their government, their architecture, and how each group of people (or each new government) basically buried the town that came before it and built their new civilization on top. So there are layers and layers of buildings down in the earth. And we could see that in some of the sites that had been excavated more deeply. Oh - and there was an old well in one of the buildings that had a depth of about 17 meters, which made me think about poor Don Dima in Ecuador. I wonder how that well is doing.

We then went to a nearby museum dedicated to the murals of Teotihuacan, had a really good lunch of huitlacoche mole (corn fungus, maybe? but not gross like it sounds) visited a workshop where people were making masks and touristy gifts, and then visited a former convent. Convent for monks. Monastery..that's what it's called. Studying all this art has been a great way to learn the history of the country.

The next day a new guide, a researcher at - I can't remember, but she was pretty impressive, took us through the Mexican Museum of Art and the Palacio de Bellas Artes. So, lots of art, lots of history, and she told it all like a story teller would. As I write this I'm looking back through my journal and my notes, and I wrote so much...the stories are so great, but I don't think they mean very much without looking at the artwork, so I guess I'll just leave it there.

You know, there are some historical figures who appear in the works so frequently, Cuahtemoc, La Malinche, Cortez - they're starting to feel like my old friends. Or enemies. Hopefully I wouldn't have been friends with the old small-headed, knobby kneed, syphlitic Cortez. But who knows.
04 July 2010 @ 09:23 pm
I think I have visited more museums and thought more about art in these three days in Mexico than I have in any one year of my life. And it´s good, but a little overwhelming. I have visited the National Anthropology Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Templo Mayor and it´s museum, the Diego Rivera Museum, El Palacio de Bellas Artes, the houses of Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky, and I guess that´s it. But for three days that´s a whole lot. And I´ve really learned a lot before the moment in each museum when my patience for observation wears out. Mostly I like the stories, though. There´s the ballgame the Mexica people played which was something like basketball or soccer, but played with their hips, and after which the winning team was sacrificed, and the myth about the goddess of the moon who was killed and dismembered by her unborn fetus because she was planning to do away with her own mother, and the story of how Leon Trotsky was murdered by a Stalinist spy who infiltrated his network of followers and friends, and all the stories that are going on in any one of his friend Diego Rivera´s murals. I´ve started a journal and have been taking all sorts of notes and pictures as the guides and professors take us through each site. I´m not sure exactly how I´ll turn this into a literature unit, but I´ve got plenty of time to figure it out.

The academic part of the trip is pretty rich, but the travel part has been great, too. There´s been plenty of time to break away from the group, meet people, speak Spanish, and of course, dance! After Frida Kahlo´s house today we ate tostadas at a market, had an impromptu lesson from a fruit vendor about the fruits of Mexico, and ended up dancing in a park where a band was playing. There´s been lots of dancing, actually, which makes me pretty happy. And lots of Spanish, too. What else could I ask for!

So if I can continue to eat, talk, dance, and learn my way through this trip, it will be a very successful summer.