Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Random Adventures

These past couple of weeks have been really crazy. We've taken two major trips the past couple weekends (each deserving their own post, so photos of that will come later), but a lot has happened during the week and in between as well. Here are a bunch of pictures, in no particular order of some of our random adventures.

So we went to a soccer game a few weekends ago, and that was a VERY cultural experience. The local team here is called "los gallos" which translates as "the roosters." A bunch of people from our group went together, but there were 4 of us that decided we wanted to go with Pedro, one of our crazy Mexican friends. While all of our friends were sitting up in the regular seats watching, we were standing/jumping/chanting in the "fan section," right in the middle of the most passionate of fans. For starters, we were the only ones in the section not wearing Gallos jerseys, and who didn't know every word to every chant. There were drums and a band that played throughout the entire game, keeping the section very energized. As the game went on, we caught on to the words of a few of the chants...and let's just say that chanting those same words at a football game would probably get you ejected pretty quickly. Oh, and...our chairs didn't have backs on them because no one sits down during the entire game...the seats are merely platforms on which to stand so your presence can be more visibly felt. At various points in the game, people threw things into the crowd, like thunder sticks, which empowered the crowd to become even more enthusiastic than they were with just their voices and the band. My favorite part about the experience was when the Gallos scored. We had to literally jump onto the fence that separated the field from the stands (because we were in the front row of course) and hold on for dear life. The entire section rushes forward and yells "goooooaaaaalllll" for about 2 minutes straight, all while it is raining beer and people are going insane. For this reason, you aren't allowed into the section with a belt because people have a tendency to whip them around out of excitement. I think I am starting to understand why people die at World Cup games...people are very passionate about their teams. Luckily, the crowd left happy because the Gallos won 2-1 over Monterrey. It was an effective use of a Saturday afternoon to say the least. 

One day, we got invited by some of the professors at our school to go to a festival (fería) in a very small pueblito called Bolle. There really isn't a whole lot going on in Bolle. Actually, it's only an hour away, and my señora hasn't ever heard of it before, so there's pretty much nothing going on in Bolle. Once a year, they have a festival devoted entirely to barbocoa, which is the only reason anyone would ever go there. In America, barbocoa is a marinated shredded beef, and it's really tasty. However, in Mexico, it's a marinated sheep that cooks in a hole in the ground overnight - much like a Hawaiian luau - only you're eating sheep. Surprisingly, it was really tasty, so we went back for seconds. There's an ancient method to cooking the meat using specific spices and agave leaves (the plant that is used to make taquila) as insulation for the fire. The people of Bolle are really proud of their barbocoa, and they love to tell you all about it. Additionally, we learned that there is a drink you're supposed to have with it called Pulka. It dates back from the indigenous times, and is what Moctezuma is said to have drunk with the Spanish. We tried it, and it tasted awful...silly indigenous people had such bad alcohol! Luckily, it's never very difficult to find a beer at a Mexican festival, so we washed that kurtled milk flavor right out. I love to make fun of Bolle just because it is so tiny, but it was fun to get to see a different part of Mexico than just the city. It was a good half day adventure for sure. 
Another weekend, we went to Tequisquiapan - a small town about an hour from Querétaro. The town consisted of a lot of stores that sold your stereotypical Mexican crap that you get home and wonder why you ever bought it, but it was a pretty town and we got free food. After spending the morning in the town (and being forced to go to a basket factory by our professor who thought it would be fun), we went to a pool. It was super fun to get to play..and they had a REALLY tall REALLY unsafe water slide that was the highlight of the day. You seriously could feel the G forces as you went down because it was that fast. 
The chapel in Tequisquiapan. Like I said, it's a pretty place to visit. There isn't a lot going on, but it's super mellow.

So the Tequisquiapan trip was supposed to be a day trip, but a few of us got invited by someone's family to spend the night. We didn't have anything going the next day, so we wound up staying in Tequis and going to the vineyards just outside of the town the next morning. It was fun to get to meet some more Mexican friends, and hang out with them for the night. Then, the next day, we went to breakfast with the whole family (about 12 people) in the mercado. That was some of the best food we've eaten in Mexico, and it cost a whopping 3 dollars. It's funny how the locals really do know where to go. We're learning more and more to just hop in the car with our Mexican friends and hope it works out. Usually, things turn out so much better than we could have planned them, and we have entirely different experiences than people who stick with the bigger group, or let Westmont plan everything. The vineyard was really pretty, and it was a good chance to see something different in Mexico that came up unexpectedly.