Sarah, Hopefully

Monday, October 25, 2004

Welcome to the Largest City in the World

Mexico City. What a trip! I know that Julia and Courtney are anxiously awaiting tales of my journeys, so I´ll just jump right in.

Friday: Got next to no sleep, got up at a really rediculously early time (Ten ´till 5) so I could be at the school at 6. Ugh. Soooooo early! I got there and managed to find a seat mate in Nicole, one of Katie´s friends. She´s cool... she has dreadlocks and dresses like a hippie, but she really isn´t very hippy-ish at all. Unless you count her being a vegetarian. Anyway... by about 6:30 or so we were on the road. Everybody passed out and slept for the first hour and a half or so because it was still dark outside. I woke up about 8 o´clock because this guy (who I didn´t know then, but I made friends with later) was talking kind of loudly behind me. Then I got caught up in listening to what he was talking about- the mob, car theft in Sacremento, and other such things. Um... the trip was really uncomfortable because I had zero leg room. They played us "The Butterfly Effect" and "Cheaper By the Dozen". I slept through half of CBTD, which was okay by me. I was tiiiiiiired... by the time we got to Mexico City, my back was killing me. I think it was the evil bus. Anyway... we got there, got our room keys, and dropped off our bags. We had 30 minutes to get back on the bus. My back hurt a lot, but I got on the bus anyway.

We took off toward downtown. This lady from UAG was acting like our tour guide. It got annoying really fast. She would talk on the bus microphone and say all this annoying crap that nobody paid attention to anyway... argh. But anyway. First we went to what I think is the Government Palace or something like that... it is full of murals by Diego Rivera, which were cool. In a lot of ways it reminded me of the government building in downtown Guadalajara. After that we took off down the street to visit Tenochtitlán (excuse the spelling, it could be off), or the Templo Mayor. Basically what happened is that one day some guys were messing around under the streets downtown and discovered some ruins of pyramids and stuff. They realized that when the history books say that Mexico City is built on the ruins of the Aztec civilization, they were serious. Anyway, they tore up four blocks of city buildings and revealed the place where the Aztecs used to make daily human sacrifices, etc. It was pretty cool- all these ruins right in the middle of skyscrapers.

After the templo mayor, we went to check out some random church nearby... at that point I was feeling pretty awful. It hurt to stand up straight, so I kept bending over and leaning on my knees or finding places to sit down. My head was starting to ache along with my back. While in the church, I started talking to this cool guy named Eric who is from Canada. Funny guy, too. Outside the church I bought a bottle of water in case I was getting dehydrated, which is what people kept telling me it was. I don´t really know. Then they made us walk a few blocks to this city collection of artwork. No cameras allowed, but oh well. I hung out some more with Eric, trying to teach him some stuff about art (what little I could remember from Humanities class, haha!) Finally it was time to leave and go to dinner, which was good because none of us had eaten a real meal all day!

The adults on our trip kind of sucked at the tour guide thing. The dumb redhead lady would ramble on the bus microphone, dropping important information like where we were going and what time to be there in the middle of her boring lectures when nobody was paying attention... and then when we went somewhere as a group (there were almost 40 of us!) she would just start moving on to the next thing (a few blocks away) without bothering to get anyone´s attention first... so people kept getting lost. Not cool. Anyway. We went to dinner at Sanbornes, the original one. It was in a cool old building. Our food choices were limited, and we had to wait forever for our food. By that point I was feeling horrible. My head was killing me. When our food came out, my head hurt too much for me to eat... it just made me nauseus. That stunk, but this nice woman named Jen who is from Montana helped me out... took me outside to get some fresh air, etc. By the time we left the restaurant, I was READY. Then the dumb redheaded lady started chatting on the bus mike about absolutely NOTHING... her voice seriously brought me as close to throwing up as I was that day. Ugh. But finally she shut up and we got back to the hotel and I was in bed within 10 minutes, not even caring that everybody was parting in the room directly above mine. Woo!

Saturday: Got up, showered, felt tons better. Went to this hotel across the street at 8 to eat breakfast. Amazing breakfast buffet. Tons of breads, french toast, eggs, cereal, yogurt, fruit, bacon... I ate all of that, and some of those more than once. It made up for not eating dinner the night before. By 9 o´clock I was on the bus with my backpack and rarin´to go! First we went to visit the Virgin de Guadalupe. Apparantly this woman appeared to a mexican guy a bunch of times and asked for churches to be built, and then to make the archbishop do it she told the guy to collect rose petals in his mantle... when he took them out, her image was on the cloth. It started a huge conversion of the Mexican natives to Catholicism, and now the mantle hangs in this church. It was okay, I guess. Kind of hard to see. It was actually this big complex of three churches around a huge courtyard. I was hanging out with Eric and this girl named Euleta (she´s British!!!) and checking out the churches. We decided to go into the little "religious objects" store that was between two of the churches, not thinking we would find anything. Boy, were we wrong. We found the coolest thing I have yet to buy in Mexico.

Holographic cards of the Pope. When you move it, he crosses himself, but he looks like he´s dancing. There were about 5 of us who all bought one. How can you resist John Paul breaking it down in your wallet? So that was pretty amazing. After that we had to hit the road again... out in front of the Virgin´s church we ran into Eric´s roommate, Gabe, who was the guy who had been talking loudly on the bus on Friday. I started talking to him, and he was really cool. Very into taking pictures... he has a really nice digital camera with different lenses and stuff. Anyway... back on the bus, and off to our next stop for the day. It was this big monestery in the country... very cool building. I really loved it there. They had some exhibits and stuff on the ground floor that weren´t as appealing to me, but upstairs you could wander through all these old rooms and hallways where bits of old wall paintings showed through... there were all these hidden courtyards and things. Very awesome. I hooked back up with Eric, Gabe, and some other people out on this outdoor roof thing... Gabe was taking pictures of these sheep in the distance, pretending like he was a sniper or something. There was this empty pedestal in the middle the floor that we all took turns posing on as if we were statues.

After the monestary it was time for the big stuff... Teotihuacan, the pyramids. We got there and I immediately bought things from the little huts by the parking lot... I´m sorry, but they sell some gorgeous stuff there! Hehe. I found some people to chill with and we started our tour. Basically all the pyramids and things are spread out down this mile-long road... the big daddy of the pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun, is about halfway down. I was chilling with Euleta, Mateo, Eric, Tim, and Alyssa. We made a good team. Took lots of pictures, managed to avoid the crazy vendors who kept harassing us, etc. Euleta and I paired up to climb the Sun. There are all of these flights of stairs, all insanely steep, most of them without railings (or having railings monopolized by the people DESCENDING the pyramid, I can´t blame them!) We finally made it to the top... what a view! I slathered on some more sunscreen, took some fun pictures of Eric and Tim smoking their "we made it to the top of the pyramid" cigars, etc. Then we went back down... a hard and treacherous journey! Very scary, to feel like if your knees give way you would just keep going and going and going...

Then we had to trek down the rest of that mile-long road. Tim, Mateo, and Eric all decided to crawl through this little tunnel instead of walking up and over this small pyramid-type-thing across the road... it was funny, but strange. We finally reached the end of the road, where I met up with Nicole, Jen, and Gabe. I decided to hang out with them at the little shops by the parking lot instead of hiking up the smaller Pyramid of the Moon. Can you really blame me? Haha. Bought some more stuff... good stuff, yeah!

After the Pyramids, we actually had an afternoon off- wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! About 3/4 of the group wanted to go to Coyoacan, where Frida Kahlo´s house is located. We went. It was... not as impressive as I had wished. The movie was still good, though. Anyway... after the museum, Nicole, Gabe, and I decided to hang out together. We walked a few blocks down the street to the big marketplace in the middle of Coyoacan. Bands playing, food vendors, and stuff stuff stuff to buy. It was really interesting! After an hour or so of wandering we decided to eat some dinner at this little french place. Gabe had some amazing iced tea, he and Nicole ate crepes, and I had a yummy (albeit strange) salad of spinach, apples, bacon bits, and a tamarind dressing. Then Gabe had another glass of amazing iced tea. Good for him. :)

We chilled around the marketplace a while longer, admiring and taking pictures of the guy on stilts. Gabe bought some gifts that he stashed in my backpack, and we ate churros. Real churros! I had one filled with chocolate, mmmm! Then we haggled with taxi drivers until we found one who would take us back to our hotel for 90 pesos (because it`s really hard to split 100 pesos three ways!) On the way back we talked about Peru, Machu Piccu, The Motorcycle Diaries, and other great topics. At the hotel, we each split to our respective rooms for a bit, then Nicole and I went down to chill with Gabe in his room and eat tons of sour gummi worms. After Eric came back with his Mexican girlfriend, Nicole decided to go to bed and Gabe decided to come up to my room with me and Lindsay, the girl I was rooming with. We wound up staying up until 1 am talking about everything... Gabe told us the entire love story between him and his girlfriend of 7 years. He´s completely crazy about her, it´s so great to watch. She´s coming to visit this weekend with his mom and his sister, and he is ecstatic. It was great conversation, though. Gabe is hilarious and smart and friendly and everything. Anyway... around 1 he left to let us get some sleep, which was good, because Saturday was a long day!

Sunday: Woke up and ate the breakfast buffet again, then headed back to my hotel room to pack up all of my stuff. By 9 am I was on the bus. I made the magical discovery that the left side of the bus had twice as much leg room as the right side. Oooooh but that made the ride home 39087 times better than the ride there!!! They drove us to go visit the palace where Porfirio Diaz lived. It´s on the top of this big hill and in the middle of some woods. The bus dropped us off on the completely wrong side, so we had to walk something like 6 blocks to get to the entrance. Then we had to walk up the enormous hill. Yay... everyone loved that, especially the day after hiking up the Pyramid of the Sun. Anyway... we get there and they basically give us some free reign to look around. There was some great views of Mexico City from the balconies and such. You weren´t allowed to take pictures inside the building, which kind of stunk, because it was cool... that didn´t stop Gabe the Picture Master, though. I think he got told by every single security guard in that place that no pictures were allowed. Haha.

Some people apparantly weren´t listening when they told us what time we had to meet up to leave the palace, so we wound up waiting for like... 20 minutes. Finally they decided to take the big group of us on ahead and leave one of the adults behind to wait for the others. On the way down the huge hill, Gabe and Alyssa stopped to (what else?) take some pictures. I managed to trip backwards over some flower pot thing and fall on my butt... it was amusing, but a little painful. Oh well. Anyway... with all of that, we kind of fell behind the big group. Remember what I said about their great job of keeping us together? We finally caught up to them by jumping over this fence instead of winding around this crazy market type thing. Then we had to walk all of those blocks back around the palace hill and over toward the Anthropology museum.

Before going into the museum we took a time out to watch these Flyers... basically these four guys climbed up a huge tower and then hung down on ropes as the thing unwound. And played instruments. While hanging upside down. Hehe. Then into the museum, where all of us were waaaaay too tired to really care... I think really we just went through all the rooms so Gabe could get his photo ops. We decided to cut our fascinating museum tour short (I swear... it was so boring. It was like a children´s museum or something) and get some lunch. I had a really good club sandwich and a really cold coke, yum.

Quick note: The owner of this place just walked through, brushing his teeth. That strikes me as amusing, somehow.

After lunch we were back on the bus for our 8-ish hour trip back to Guadalajara. Gabe discovered the joys of the left-side legroom and came up to join me, yay! It made for lots of fun times on an otherwise boring bus trip. They started playing this HORRIBLE movie called Dobermann. With two n´s. It was in french and german and spanish, it had no actor you have ever seen, and for some reason they jacked the volume up to nearly unbearable levels so no one could sleep or avoid it. I did managed to tune it out by turning on my headphones realllllly loud and reading a book. Gabe as hilarious afterwards as he sang, "D-d-d-doberMANNNNNnnnn!" and quoted, "Kill the woman first." Oooooh what a bad movie.

After our break, they put in "Cold Creek Manor." I really, really hate scary movies. Really. I don´t know why people insist on playing them. Gabe was nice, though, and let me beat him on the arm and shake my head in his face and yell, "Noooooooooo that´s sucha bad ideaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!" Hahaha. He also let me trade seats with him so I could use the overhead light and finish reading my book. (The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks. Kind of a sequal to The Notebook. Oh, so good!!!!) He was just an amazing guy to sit by... totally hilarious. In the afternoon he "Macguivered" the bus curtains by pinning them closed with his key ring. He asked questions like, "If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?" and then, when asked the same thing, replied, "Right here. I know I´m exactly where I need to be." Such a good guy. He made sure I got a taxi once we got back to the school around 11. He made sure Alyssa got one, too, but hers turned out weird... the driver was like, "I just bought this orange juice and need to take it home" and was driving totally away from her house... she just asked him to let her out and got another cab, though, so it turned out okay. Weird, though.

So... to be more up to date. Last night I felt fine, went to bed... woke up two hours later in excruciating pain. My back again, but a different place and kind of hurting this time. It was horrible. I took advil and was sort of getting to sleep when katie got home, so I talked to her about my trip... didn´t sleep very well last night, though, needless to say. I got up this morning still in pain, took a really hot shower that made me sweaty in an effort to make the pain go away (didn´t work), only ate half of my breakfast because it hurt to sit and breathe... blech. I took 3 advil and went to school though. I made it through my first class okay, but by my second one I was in a lot of pain. My teacher kept looking at me strangely because I was making these tortured faces of pain and agony... she at last asked me if I was okay. Maybe she thought I was reacting to her teaching. Hehe.

Okay... this guy in here keeps making REALLY weird noises. Like... cats and ducks and things. Weird.

Anyway... after school I went to the doctor. I had to wait for 30 minutes for him to get there, by which time I was in tears because I was in so much pain. Pretty much the same drill as last time... except this time when he was done popping all my joints, I didn´t feel any better. He put some Bengay or whatever on my back- the stuff that burns and tingles and smells minty. He also gave me a prescription for 2 more kind of pills. $25 worth of medicine... it had better work! I hate feeling bad... it sucks, I hate whining at people and having them feel sorry for me, and I want to be able to have a good night´s sleep, dang it!!! Bleh.

Okay... I think that if my back gets better, it will actually be a good week. I was hanging out with Gabe and Eric today at school... I´m so happy to have made some more friends! There were so many great people on the trip... I think that because someone else organized it and was in charge, we were all free to relax and mingle with one another. I really enjoyed it, despite feeling poorly on Friday. Saturday and Sunday more than made up for it. I took a bunch of pictures (I´m up to 60 on my digital camera, woo! I am not a failure!), I bought some souveniers, I made some friends, I saw some awesome places and scenery.... yup. Good times, good times. Pray that my back gets better, because this is NO fun...

Sorry for the enormous entry, but I´m sure you appreciate the thoroughness of my adventure-telling.

May the dancing Pope shed happiness and joy upon you. ;)


3 Comments:

  • okay, so reading that totally just made my day, because I remember so much of that stuff! I went to the Diego Rivera place, and the palace with the mural on the ceiling where you can't take pictures (but yeah, we totally did anyways as well). It will be good to compare stories when you get back :) I ate in the museaum cafe too! Don't remember what I had...hmm...something with carne asada I think. So strange that I can remember meals I ate at specfic places...I remember the hill you had to climb to the palace too! We did it in the pouring rain though, ha, beat that! I saw the "flyers" as well, I can't remember the right name for them, but it originated in the city of Cuetzalan, I remember that. Anyways, it was really fun to read about your adventures. I don't think you will EVER experience vendors as ANNOYING as those at Teotihuacan. Those dude were so up in my face like "one dolla one dolla" I was just like " no no no no HELLLLLLLLLLLLLL NOOOOOOOOOOOOO" I remember it clearly...I hope your back starts to feel better and you get my package soon!

    By Blogger Julia, at 6:40 PM  

  • I can't believe I read that entire thing. Wow, you have lotsa fun. Me not have that much fun.

    Yay for red-headed yapping yuca birds that speak stupidity fluently.

    -Lauren

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:20 PM  

  • Sweeeeet, I LOVE long entries! Glad to hear you had fun. Pyramid of the Sun sounds awesome, I'm uber-jealous.

    By Blogger Courtney, at 2:17 PM  

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