"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." ~Marcel Proust

29 septiembre 2011

¡Nos matamos en la avalancha, cuando GALLOS hace un gol!

After spending the first part of the day at the festival in Boye,  I found myself in Estadio La Corregidora among the rowdy cheering section of fans at the Gallos game. Though everyone in our group ended up at this game, I made the excellent decision of agreeing to go with my friend Pedro (Locals know what's up!). He took us to field level, among the rowdiest of fans in the "cheering section", and quickly taught us some of the cheers. The title of this post is just a tiny part of one of many of the cheers. I realized I was happily singing along, "Nos matamos en la avalancha, cuando Gallos hace un gol!" Now sometimes I don't trust my Español but this time I was pretty sure of what this translated to.....Something along the lines of: We kill ourselves in an avalanche when the Gallos score a goal. Just as I was thinking about this my friend Pedro turns to me and says:

"When the Gallos score a goal, run as fast as you can to the very front, jump up on to the chain link fence, and hold on."

He went on to explain that the fans will, in fact, make an avalanche and the best place to be is at the very front hanging on the chain link fence. This is the trick to staying alive! His reasoning: #1- If you get to the front first you have survived the worst of it. Getting to the front means you don't get thrown to the ground and trampled. #2- Hanging on the chain link fence is the best option because the incredible force of the crowd pushing behind you is absorbed in the sway of the chain link fence. The fun does not stop there! Articles of clothing, beer cups anywhere from empty to full, smoke bombs, trash, and who knows what else rain down from the upper decks for a solid 45 seconds.

So after not only one, but TWO goals for the Gallos, I was drenched in beer. With plenty of fist pumping and jumping, we cheered the Gallos on to a 2-1 victory over Monterrey. I don't know if I have ever had that much fun at a sporting event before. We were on our feet the WHOLE game, cheering the WHOLE game, and enjoying absolutely every minute of it.

Pedro, Yo, y Jake a the game. Jake y yo might be the only people without jerseys....woops!

We ordered pizza at a friend's house and hung out with our Mexican friends for the rest of the night. All in a hard day's work : )

Boye Feria

This past Saturday morning we took another small trip to a small city about an hour away. The pueblito de Boye is nestled on the side of hill and has less than 2,000 inhabitants. Every year in the month of September they have a festival that revolves around two very traditional items. Barbacoa y Pulque. Barbacoa does not just mean barbeque, or the meat you can choose at Chipotle, but rather lamb that has been slow- cooked in giant underground earth-ovens. This meat is extremely lean, tender, and delicious (makes for excellent tacos!) The meat is covered with the thick leaves of a Maguey plant while it cooks.... And this brings us to pulque! Pulque is an alcoholic drink that is made from the juice extracted from the Maguey plant. (Maguey is in the same family as Agave plants which are used to make tequila) In order to extract the liquid from the Maguey plant, a pipe is placed down into the center (heart) of the plant and the juice is manually sucked out and deposited into a bucket. The juice is called aguamiel when it is extracted, or pulque after it goes through a fermentation process. Different batches of pulque are made and different flavors are often added.

Barbacoa pits
Serving my pulque!

The meat was delicious, the drink...could definitely live without it but definitely glad I tried it. Yet another great adventure and many more to come!
1/2 kilo of Barbacoa, fresh tortillas, and a cup of pulque
And these are the supposed benefits of drinking pulque. Pretty sure you can find the humor without knowing all the words!


Torros y Tequisquiapan

(A little late but still more from the events of last weekend)

On the morning of Independence Day (16 de Septiembre) I had breakfast with my fam and then spent the morning watching the giant military parade that takes place in D.F. After relaxing at home for a while, I headed out with others from our group to go to the Corrida de Torros! A bullfight! To put it simply....3 Matadors, shiny costumes, 6 bulls, live music, in a big arena with people shouting "¡Ole!" By the end of the night we had watched 6 bulls die. (Lots of blood and definitely not for the faint of heart) However, what I experienced was so much more than that. The Matador moves as gracefully as a dancer around the charging bull, cues the music for dramatic effect, and seems completely calm as he stands just feet away from what could be certain death. 

One of the best moments by far was during the last bull of the night. A person from the crowd threw their hat into the ring and it fell just feet from where both the bull and the Matador were standing. The Matador picked up the hat on the end of his sword, placed it on the bulls head, and walked away with the most arrogant strut I have ever seen. The crowd went wild. 

We went out for tacos after with friends and definitely piled 11 people into a Jeep Grand Cherokee. We are getting real good at fitting people in cars!

The next day was our planned, one-day trip to a city called Tequisquiapan about 45 minutes away. We got to see the city, went to a Cestería Museum (like basket weaving...they are famous for this), ate at a great restaurant (I had lengua! Yes...that means tounge) and then went to this giant swimming pool with a big slide to enjoy the rest of our afternoon. The time came to go home and I found myself waving goodbye to the rest of our group that was returning home in our private transportation. I decided to stay the night at the very last minute with a few friends to go wine tasting the next morning. (This city is also famous for their vineyards and wine!) We got a ride from our new friend Pedro and fit 8 people in his small 2 door car that seats 4 total! One of the girls in our group had already been with her family on vacation in this city and offered to let us stay at their house.....Score! They gave us a little guest room that the mom uses as her massage room, the "Cuarto de Masajes" and we thoroughly enjoyed their hospitality and beautiful home next to a lake!  The next morning we ate breakfast and headed out to the Freixenet vineyard. After a very informative tour and a trip down to the cellar, we got to try some of their vino espumoso (champagne!). We had way too much fun staying behind in Tequis..... I have learned to always take the spontaneous route and deviate from the original plan because it always turns out to be a great success!
In the cellar. Over 450,000 bottles of vino espumoso!

23 septiembre 2011

¡Viva Mexico!

I spent this past 4th of July in New York, celebrating the land of the free and the home of the brave, and listening to Katy Perry while watching fireworks explode over the Hudson. I love America. Americans know what patriotism is, and I thought there was an even better sense of patriotism among the people in New York on Independence Day, especially as we approached the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I thought we knew how to celebrate....but lets just say Mexicans put our party to shame.

We headed down to the centro early Thursday evening (15 de septiembre, the night New Years festivities) to partake in some of the Independence Day festivities. The evening began with tacos de pastor (my favorite), followed by some street market wandering, and lastly, the always adventurous task of finding a bathroom. As it neared 9pm we knew it was time to head to the Plaza de Armas where the "Grito" would be taking place in front of the government building at 11pm. We shuffled into the plaza and immediately became part of the "can of sardines." Everyone was dressed up. Fake mustaches, giant sombreros, red green and white face name it! Music from the giant stage included a symphony, mariachis, and solo singers. Everyone around me would sing along....every word to every song!

After the loud flag ceremonies it was time for the "Grito." The governor stepped out onto the balcony of the building and began to deliver the "Grito de Dolores", the same speech uttered by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato 201 years ago. After the governor utters the final "¡Viva México!" the people reply for the last time, "¡VIVA!" The sea of thousands of people immediately broke into the National Anthem accompanied by the symphony. Everyone sang. Proudly. Not 2 seconds after the last note was struck, fireworks burst into the air. The crowd went wild and the espuma came out (shaving cream-like foam that people spray just for fun). Fireworks blew off from all of the buildings surrounding us. They danced high in the night sky to the music coming from down below. Mexicans are very orgulloso (proud!) of their country, and they sure as heck know how to throw a party in its honor.

In the USA, people rarely ever actually sing along when the National Anthem is being sung. The 4th means we show up, watch fireworks, and listen to music from people like Katy Perry. Mexicans truly know how to celebrate their country. They sing along, they dance, and they do it all with really big and prideful smiles on their faces.

And in the words of Kesha....the party don't stop.... After the festivities in Plaza de Armas, a friend and I headed out to a club called Ananda with some of our amigos from Querétaro.

And what would be more appropriate than a tequila toast: "¡Viva México!" Excellent end to an incredible night.

19 septiembre 2011

Comida, Concheros, Cuetes, y más

Last week was all about food, concheros, fireworks, and more...all leading up to the 16th or Mexican Independence Day (Another post coming!) So basically this whole last week was one giant party! We hardly had any school, but when we did, we were learning about things that we were going to walk outside and get to see firsthand--So cool! The beginning of my week included a cooking class where we made chalupas, guacamole, and salsa. We went to some guy's house with a sweet semi-outdoor kitchen, learned to make some delicious food, then ate it all.

Concheros. The Concheros are dancers that participate in various festivals and come from far and wide to do so. Their dance is indigenous but most of them are Catholic and use it as a form of worship to honor various saints. The dancers, young and old, fill the streets and participate day and night. Just add some extremely elaborate indigenous costumes, hundreds of loud drums and other instruments, church bells ringing at all hours of the day, close down a bunch of streets for 4 days, bring it all to a close with an incredible fireworks display, and you have the festival that took place at the Templo de la Cruz down in the Centro this week. Hope the pics give you just a taste!
Templo de la Cruz

 After watching the Concheros for a long time, I split off from the people in our group to go and do a few mini interviews with some of the dancers (hw assignment!) I then went and sat down at a street food vendor to buy a buñuelo because my Señora told me I needed to try it! It is a delicious desert-like item served with a hot cup of Atole. I struck up a conversation with a guy next to me and he ended up buying my dessert! His generosity did not stop there. He continued to share his knowledge about the festival and would answer any questions I had. He looked at his watch and told me to follow him to the church. "¡Ya es hora para el castillo!" he said as he pointed to the giant structure I had been curious about for the last 3 days. Let me put it this way. The castillo is just a giant structure loaded with moving parts and fireworks (which propel various sections bringing the whole thing to life!). They set the thing off in sections and it is an incredible sight. The crowd is way too close but that doesn't matter! 20-30 minutes later the last of it is ignited. The very top starts spinning faster and faster until it lifts off and shoots into the sky like a normal firework. A whole separate fireworks display behind us (atop the church) followed immediately and then concluded the night. Speechless. Let's just say Mexicans have a very different definition of the word "festival."

10 septiembre 2011

¿Semestre de otoño?.....¡Nada que ver!

For all you gringos: Fall semester? What Fall semester? That would be the message I am trying to get across here. With the amount of fiesta-ing that has been going on around here I hardly feel like I am a student. Despite still being sick, last week was excellent. Since I posted last there have been many adventures, fiestas, happenings etc... Check this:

"School" in the recent past has included a trip to the Regional Museum with our history class, a field trip to the only pyramid in Querétaro, El Pueblito, (Erected sometime before 1000AD and discovered less than 20 years ago!), mask making for our art class....and not to mention dance class is really starting to spice things up! Lastly, we had a random party with our "Facultad" from the university at one of the other campuses on Friday....Party! Simply for the sake of partying. See pics below!

02 septiembre 2011

Me duele la garganta...

Es la verdad. It is Friday night which also means I have been in Mexico for exactly 3 weeks. (wow!) I have made it 3 weeks without getting sick at all....until now. If you haven't already closed the page for fear of me going into horrifying details about time atop the porcelain throne, there is no need to fear. "Garganta" means throat. One minute I felt great, and the next I felt like I had swallowed a cactus. This is going to be a weekend to lay low. Pain in the throat tonight has already been soothed by a miel y lyptus paleta (Honey and eucalyptus sucker...Gracias Señora!), music, and a very lively thunderstorm right outside my window. I'm taking the night off so that I don't have to be "under the weather" in more ways than one! Buenas noches :-)