Hello from Mexico! Sorry there’s no parting picture of me in the airport. I didn’t sleep the night before (no 2-3 of sleep DOES NOT COUNT AS SLEEP). So I was a bit groggy and all I wanted to do while changing flights was get on my next plane and go back to sleep.
I didn’t feel the excitement and nervousness I typically feel when going on a plane. There’s all those questions, how will I like the place, what am I forgetting, did I bring too many things, did I bring too few clothes (yeah I did, but that’s what laundry and shopping trips are for, right?). This time, I was like, oh shit I have to pack, I’m leaving the country tomorrow. Oops.
I think it finally started to hit me while I was on the plane. Hey, I’m going to a whole new country. What’s going to happen there? Shit I only have a month to explore. I’ve been mentally comparing it to my trip in Argentina when I got to visit most of the important parts of the country over several months. I realized since, I should be comparing it to Peru. I digress.
So the plan was: land, get my shit together, and explore campus while going on a nice run to stretch out my tired cramped muscles. I did one of those things, and since I’m in Mexico right now, I think you can guess what I didn’t do…
But I did go for a run the next morning! I kinda may have woke up my roommate for the night, Meredith. She switched rooms cause I was that annoying. (Just kidding, they made a mistake and she was supposed to be in another room…I SWEAR I only had 2 alarms set and woke up pretty quickly!) So the campus… well I never want to go back to my home campus because this place is gorgeous. Look forward to pictures. I was running, so I didn’t take pictures of course. There is statues and art chilling around campus, it’s open, probably because they have such nice weather, you don’t have to bundle yourself up half the year to step outside your dorm. (I have a bit of pent up anger about the freezing temperatures I am forced to put up with at home.)
Once all the administrative stuff was sorted out, YAY new student ID, Meredith and I got set to head out to the city Cholula which is where my university here is situated in. As I was grabbing my stuff and running down stairs, I encountered a girl with a Chewbacca shirt AKA new best friend. Her name is Rocio, she likes Star Wars, she isn’t crazy like me, but she put up with me obsessing. I’d say it’s a win.
Rocio is amazing and escorted us to Cholula. We hiked up the pyramid. Underneath the city are a bunch of Mayan pyramids, but the Spanish built over it, such as the Church on top of the pyramid we climbed, to convert the indigenous people.
We stepped into the church at the top for a little bit. It was a Catholic church and was decked out. There was golden décor everywhere. I still cannot believe the amount of ornamentation that is put into religious buildings. Something else that I noticed was the renditions of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and other religious icons. They were all depicted as white Europeans. I don’t understand how that is…like how do you worship holy figures that are only depicted as a race that isn’t yours. It feels wrong and sad and frustrating because fuck that.
On the bright side I understand the part of the service we sat through, I mean the words not like what was actually going on. We had to stand and sit and they did the thing where you make the cross on your body. (Sorry not Catholic, don’t know these things)
The view outside was amazing! We could see the university and some point climbing up and could see the city of Puebla and the city of Cholula was beneath us.
After finding out that Rocio’s favorite quesadilla place that was located near the bottom of the pyramid was closed, and the world hated her (her words not mine) we had to find a whole new place to eat. Basically Meredith and I were at Rocio’s mercy as we copied whatever meal she got and she told us what drink to get. So we all got this dish that was meat in a tortilla covered in mole sauce and topped with some cream sauce and avocados. It was wonderful. (I have since discovered there is chocolate in the mole sauce. This explains a lot.) And the drink was rice milk. It was sweet and refreshing and made me quite happy. Go Rocio!
Rocio left Meredith and I to explore Cholula because she has her own life. And after walking around a bit, we decided we needed to get to Walmart. So the adventure began. After asking a police officer and a corner shop attendant, we found a bus that the driver said yes, we’re going to Walmart. Easy, right? It’s getting back to the university where it gets difficult. #1 I don’t think the bus drivers know where other buses are going because every time we asked a driver they’d tell us the blue one or the red one would get us there. It’s right behind or a block in front. It was hot, we’d been walking around for several hours and nobody was giving us the answer we needed. A kind woman eventually told us that the bus stop on the other corner would takes us to the university. No, it would take us to the center of Cholula, but at that point, we took what we could get and got off when the bus driver told us that was as close to the center as he got. Lo and behold we were back at our starting point (well in Cholula where the pyramid was). With a little less trouble, but not by much, we found a bus that said it went to the university. At first it seemed like we were heading in the right direction, then all sense of direction failed us and we prayed for the best.
Hallelujah, we saw a sign that pointed left to the university!….But why is the bus turning right, no… don’t turn right. “But there’s probably an entrance over here. That’s where he’s taking us.”
Yay for nice people, a guy leaned over and told us if we were trying to go to the uni, we needed to get off and walk the other way. With heavy hearts we dis-embarked to again be underneath the unforgiving hot sun. At this point I was ready for a taxi. But we soldiered on and asked a police officer at the corner, “how far until the uni?” “Right across the street”