Sunday, May 23, 2010

Frida Kahlo and La Casa Azul

Being able to visit Frida Kahlo's house was the spiritually uplifting moment of my trip. I love Frida so much!

We were only allowed to take pictures of the courtyard, photographs inside of her house was off limits. Frida lived in that house from 1907 until 1954. It is a fairly large estate and very colorful and vibrant. Blue, red, yellow, and green can be found all over the premises; I love bright colors :D. I enjoyed walking inside and seeing her work and photographs... also there were rooms that contained the actual furniture and equipment she used.

I saw her kitchen, where her name and Diego's name were spelled out using miniature houses and figures attached to the wall.

Her studio was upstairs. There were book shelves that lined the walls, completely filled. And on the other side was her artist table, palette, easel, wheel chair, etc etc. As stated earlier... it was in that room that I could actually feel her presence; I experienced a tingling sensation in my hands and that's when I knew she was there. In the next room, I was only a few inches away from her day bed, where she spent most of her time. This was the bed where a mirror was installed on the canopy of the bed. Next to it, in the corner, were her crutches and her prosthetic right leg! My eyes filled with happy tears when I saw this.

Moving along, I entered Frida's bedroom. This bed was slightly different than the day bed, instead of a mirror on the canopy; there was an image of butterflies! At that moment, I was absolutely sure that Frida Kahlo and I were connected!!!!

This year, there was a new photograph exhibit opened at the museum. I definitely made time to see that. Afterwards, I visited the gift shop and spent 680 pesos on Frida Kahlo souvenirs! I bought some framed photographs of her, a nice wall piece that resembles the Blue House, two unrelated Hispanic childrens' books, and a few other things. What a great day!

Thoughts: Sunday, May 23, 2010

Panteon Xoco Cemetery

  • located in Coyoacan
  • obvious economic class separation - wealthier people have more lavish graves - poverty stricken people have more simple, lower quality graves...
  • separation of classes is evident throughout life and even after death...
  • the cemetery was unkempt
  • dead flowers
  • everyone except for Evan, Erin, Ashley, and I were taking pictures
  • there was a service going on
  • Mr. Brown was sketching

Leon Trotsky House

  • 35 pesos for admittance because I didn't have my student ID
  • interesting museum/house

  • bullet holes in the wall of the room where he was assassinated

  • some images of Trotsky resemble Martyka and others resemble Mr. Brown
  • very small museum, easy and quick to go through
  • I went around twice, and took pictures the second time around
After the Trotsky museum, we visited the beautiful Blue House of Frida Kahlo aka Frida Kahlo Museum. The experience there was magical!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thoughts: Saturday, May 22, 2010

Today was an event filled day. We basically had four places to visit. El Museo del Carmen, which is a cathedral and museum; el bazaar sábado (Saturday Bazaar), Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Studios, and the San Angel Inn Restaurant for a fancy lunch.

We met for breakfast where we were served tortillas and black beans.

Breakfast at the Hostal Cuija Coyoacan

Then we set out in taxis towards our first destination. We are a group of thirteen and so we had to hail four taxis. My taxi and the one behind us got lost... and we ended up at the wrong cathedral. Luckily Dr. Burmeister had her phone and was able to call Marcela and figure out this situation. We hailed two more cabs and met the rest of the class at the Museo del Carmen. It was a pretty interesting sight... I really liked the architecture.

Museo del Carmen

After visiting the cathedral/museum, we walked across the street to the Bazaar Sábado. There were so many vendors walking the streets, and stations set up everywhere. It was really cool. I bought many items and used my Spanish a lot. I was mostly translating for my friends, telling them what the vendor was saying about the cost and what not.

I bought two ceramic things: a decorated sun and moon piece that can be hung on the wall and a colorfully painted bowl for 600 pesos. The vendor also gave me a small ceramic container for free. I also bought a Frida Kahlo tote bag for 65 pesos, four wooden bookmarks for 30 pesos, a scarf for 80 pesos, a sketchbook with a Mexican motif on it for 90 pesos, six postcards for 60 pesos total, four magnets for 180 pesos, and one ceramic butterfly piece for 70 pesos.

After we were done shopping... well as 'done' as we could be with the alotted amount of time... we all met at the doors of the indoor bazaar and began our walk to Frida and Diego's Studios.

Frida's Studio

That was a pretty interesting site, Frida and Diego each had their own buildings. Obviously Diego's was bigger. My guess is that because he was a large man, a man in general, and more prominent as an artist; his place had to be bigger. It was still really cool to see. I like his work, I just don't appreciate him as a person. We couldn't take pictures in Diego's studio, but we were able to in Frida's... I took pictures of the outside of the studios. It was awesome to see the bridge between the two studios where Frida and Diego used to cross over into each other's workplaces.

Upon leaving the studios, a few of us stopped by the gift window and bought some Frida and Diego items. I purchased a Frida Kahlo mug for 95 pesos. Amazing.

After that, we walked directly across the street to the San Angel Inn Restaurant. It was a very fancy place, I've never been to an upper class restaurant like that. All of the employees were in nice white and black suits, and there was a Mariachi band that would come table to table and play instruments and sing. Their singing was lovely.

This was our midday meal. In hispanic culture, it is typical to eat a large meal in the middle of the day. All other meals are light. With that said, the plate that I ordered was pretty huge.

I had arrechera bien cocida, cebollas, y frijoles negros (really tender steak well cooked, grilled onions, and black beans). I also tried one of Marcela's tortillas with cow brains... that was pretty interesting. There wasn't much of a taste... it was the texture that got me. It was squishy and strange. Lol. For sweet nom nom noms, I shared a slice of chocolate cake with Ashley. It was super special awesome.

Steak, onions, and beans. Yummy! ^-^

Cow Brains on a Tortilla

After our big lunch, we took a stroll down the cobblestone streets of San Angel, looking at all of the houses and scenery. When we reached the main road, we hailed cabs and headed back to Hostal Cuija Coyoacan.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today we had breakfast at 8:30 AM, it was pancake and jello with orange juice day. Today, we had a bus reserved for the entire day as our transportation! It was amazing, a fourteen people van of very nice quality!

We boarded the bus a little after 9 AM. The first stop was the ATM, the second was a store on the corner to get water. Then we were off towards Teotihuacan. Once there, we visited an ex-convent and walked around taking pictures there. We spent about an hour or so. There were many tarnished frescoes, and obviously a bunch of religious relics. We were even privileged enough to go into the sanctuary which usually is not open to the public. Again, opportunity for tons of photos.

After that, we headed to the site of the pyramids!!!! That place was huge and there were many tour buses there already. The first thing we did while there was go to the Pyramids Restaurant to eat. I ordered mole verde: pollo, frijoles, totopos . It was chicken covered in green mole sauce, black beans, and tostito chips. And I drank a naranjada, which is like an orangeade. It was really good! I took a picture of it, don't worry. The meal cost 185 pesos, which already included a service charge..and so Marcela suggested we add in another two pesos extra.

After our huge lunch, we were pumped to walk the Avenue of the Dead, la calzada de los muertos and then get to the pyramids. There were so many vendors everywhere, it was crazy..and of course since we are Americans..we were easily targeted. The walk just to arrive at the pyramids was approximately 1.5 miles long, and it isn't a straight, flat road... you have to climb up and down, walk across a field and up and down walk across a field and up and down walk across a field about seven times. There was a short cut however, where you could just walk along the top, because the structures were connected. So it was a work out...

Finally, I reached the Pyramid of the Sun's base. The pyramid was a step pyramid made from local stones and looks very pretty. Of course parts were deteriorating, but hey...that thing is really old. Pictures coming soon...

Tons of vendors swarmed towards me... it was insane. I did not buy anything though. Then I began my ascent... it was soooo tough. It took me a while to get up there, I did not time it... but my lungs and legs were burning... some of the steps were normal sized in width...but each step was like a foot or so that was hard to climb...also some of the steps had chipped away or were very very narrow...luckily there were rails that you could grab on to to pull yourself up...It was so funny to see other people climbing and their expressions and the curse words they were saying [in Spanish]... I almost gave up because my heart was pounding so hard, my feet were hurting, and I could not really breathe... lol... but when all of my other classmates and professor was cheering for me, I had to cave into peer pressure and reach the summit. It was amazing, even though I do not like heights... Of course I took tons of photos while on the pyramid, it is the tallest one in the area.

After that, we climbed down...that was scary. I buddied up with Christina and we climbed down together. And of course, once we reached the bottom of the pyramid, two vendors were there waiting.... I bought three bangle bracelets from one for 200 pesos, and a sun and moon bracelet for another 200 pesos from the other vendor.

We had to try to maneuver around several more vendors just to get away from the Sun was so overwhelming...they separated us and it was just crazy.... The last thing I bought was from a guy standing at the top of the stairs leading away from the was a handmade flute like thing shaped like Aztec god like figure for 40 pesos.

Christina and I debated about actually climbing the moon pyramid... but once we reached that area... our classmates yelled our names and everyone in the area literally stopped in their tracks to see what was going on. lol. Peer pressure was too much, and so we finally did climb it.

The Pyramid of the Moon, was not that bad as the Sun, we could only climb up to the first level because they are renovating the rest. Once there, the sight was beautiful. I even struck the Sailor Moon pose while on the Pyramid of the Moon! Lol....

The walk back was full of vendors as well.... so aggravating... I wanted to help them out by buying their products, but I do not have money like that to do so... it was sad...

We found a short cut around that area where we had to walk up and down and across yards..yadda yadda... so that cut about ten minutes off of our trip... I even had time to stop and take a picture in front of a huge cactus! We only had to walk through one of those fields because our short cut got cut off...

Finally we were on the home stretch on the Avenue of the Dead, there were some vendors but not many and not as pushy about selling their products..they understood to leave us alone after saying No Gracias.

We were all at the meeting place on time, except for four people. The rest of us went to the bathroom and to the vending machine to get a drink, while we waited... We were supposed to meet at 5:15, but we weren't all together until like 5:30 or so...

After such a long day at the pyramids, we headed from Teotihuacan back to Coyoacan, and visited the local supermarket to buy water and some snack foods. It was awesome... I bought cookies, chips, animal crackers, and three 1.5L of water for 83 pesos and some change. Amazing.

Then our van driver dropped us back at the hostal. His name was Miguel Angel and he was very nice.

Going out to dinner tonight was optional: Marcela, Stephanie, Sarah, Dr. Burmeister, Ashley, Jacob, and I went and met two of Marcela's friends at Telokete Restuarant. There I ordered chapulitas poblanas sin queso and a naranjada. Those are little tortillas with a slightly spicy red sauce, shredded chicken, onion, and cheese which I asked for it without the cheese and I drank an orangeade.

Marcela's two friends complimented me on my Spanish. And then she told them about how I talked to the taxi driver the other day. They were very impressed. Dinner with all of them was really relaxed and really fun. Almost everyone at the table had a Tequila or a Victora, I, on the other hand do not like alcoholic beverages...however, I was looking through my Latin American Spanish Phrasebook and was wondering what an horchata was...because in the book it says it is "refreshing tiger nut milk" .... it turns out to be some kind of rice milk drink. Marcela's friend ordered one for me. It was pretty good, I shared it with whoever wanted to taste.

People who did not go with us to the restaurant, stayed at el hostal and ate their snacks.. some even had Americanized meals like macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. I kinda wanted some...but then again ...I wanted to go sit at a different restaurant. They described that restaurant as a place that tourists do not usually go, mostly people from the surrounding neighborhood go to eat there. So that was really cool. It is only a few blocks down from where we stay...

When we arrived el hostal, I took a shower and came out to the living room where everyone else was just chilling and talking. At some point Sarah, Jacob, and Erin had a luchador was so hilarious! We were fortunate enough to get pictures of that... it started out as a wrestling type of thing...then it broke out into a dance off... and then back to wrestling. Pretty funny.

Thoughts: Thursday, May 20, 2010 Cont.

The metro

It is now 7:00 pm, we just arrived back at the Hostal Cuija Coyoacan... Today we rode the metro [subway] for the first time! It was insane, 3 pesos to ride the trains to wherever. The metro was crazy. There were so many people traveling in the station and in the train cars. **During rush hour, men and women ride in separate cars**

The first train ride, I wasn't able to grab the pole to hold on to... it was crazy... The trains move at a rapid pace and stop frequently. Our first ride took six stops before we exited the train. I almost fell at four occasions.

There were people selling cds, gum, etc on the train. One guy had a boom box in his bag, playing the music from a cd he was trying to sell... roca español... We boarded three trains in the metro, and finally got to the part of town where the Anthropology Museum. It was HUGE! I took so many pictures while there. Evan and I also had our pictures taken by some Mexican guys. It was kinda funny.

Cool design at the Anthropology Museum

We ate at the restaurant in the museum. It was buffet style: I had beef cooked in a red sauce, green tinted rice, broccoli, beans. I had two servings. For dessert I had a corn pancake.

La Comida Deliciosa

**I actually practiced some Spanish at the restaurant when we were leaving... I spoke to our waiter... he said that I was preciosa. ***

After seeing the museum and eating at the restaurant; we traveled to el Castillo de Chapultepec, Chapultepec castle. There was a very long hike to the top, it took about ten or fifteen minutes... but it felt like forever... Luckily, it was nearly closing time...and instead of having to pay 51 pesos to get in, we were able to go into the castle for free!!!

Chapultepec Castle

In the castle, there were so many beautiful murals by several different artists including Siquieros and Gorman. I took several photographs. The castle rooms were huge. At the entrance where the grand staircase is located....there was the most beautiful chandelier. The mural on the ceiling in the entrance was of the young boys who sacrificed themselves because they did not want to surrender to the Americans. It was really breathtaking and full of action lines. There were other things on exhibit like oil paintings, clothing of the time, cannons, weaponry, statues and the courtyard.

I filled up one memory card so far, it was only 512 mb... and now I am working on 2.0 GB...I have a little less than 400 images left on that card. Woohoo!

After seeing the castle, some of us rode the metro back to Coyoacan whereas others, like me, rode in taxis. I was too tired to try to hold myself up on the subway again, after having walked around all day long... so I rode in the taxi with Dr. Burmeister. I took several images of Mexico City from the taxi. That ride was so much fun, and our driver was very nice. We actually didn't start talking to him until we reached Coyoacan... then I began to talk to him in Spanish because he didn't speak any English. The first thing that I said was No hablamos mucho español. And then the conversation went on. I told him the address to the hostal, and he knew exactly where to go. We reached the hostal in no time, when we stopped he turned around and said Yo conozco toda la ciudad. It was funny. Dr. Burmeister paid him, and we said our good byes, i waved and he waved as he drove off.

Since we were back, and it seemed like it will take a little while for those who rode the metro to arrive, we went to the nearby store to look around and then to the farmacia to get drinks and snacks. Then we walked back. **it actually didn't take long for the others to arrive, but we still went on our way to the two places I just mentioned.

The rest of the evening was basically down time. Some people went out to a restaurant to get tacos and such. I stayed at the hostal and caught up on my internet :D And finally went to bed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This is an image from Dr. Burmeister's phone, she had it activated for use internationally. This is us standing in front of Tlaloc, the god of rain at the Anthropology Museum! And of course, we have to represent we have a little Winthrop flag. :)

Thoughts: Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anoche, no pude dormir me sentía mal.

When I first laid down, it flet like I was on a plane as it was turning... I felt so dizzy and poopy. I woke up every was strange... oh well.

Since I showered last night, I did not take another one this morning. So I put lotion on and got dressed. Breakfast is at 9 AM.

Comemos huevos, frijoles negros, yogur y jugo de naranja.
We ate eggs, black beans, yogurt, and orange juice. I did not eat the yogurt though, I gave mine to Evan. I took a few pictures of breakfast.

9:35 AM We are discussing the Anthropology Museum. We will be going to visit it soon...and we will ride the metro!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This is an image from Dr. Burmeister's phone. This is us at Sanborns in downtown Coyoacan, eating dinner.

Thoughts: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 Cont.

We are staying at the Hostal Cuija Coyoacan-- Berlin 268, Colonia del Carmen, Coyoacan

The hostal is pretty nice but our rooms are slightly more compact than dormitories at Winthrop. Here four of us share a room, each girl gets a twin size bed arranged as bunk beds. I am rooming with Christina, Sarah, and Ashley. We got a room with three sets of bunk beds. There is hardly any walking space in here, but it will be fine. Ugh..we are such Americans...always concerned about having a lot of space...curse us and our need to have a large personal bubble!

After settling in at the hostal, we walked to downtown Coyoacan to eat at Sanborns, a nice but inexpensive Mexican restaurant. I ordered my food in Spanish although I was holding an English menu, the waitress was pretty impressed I would say... Yo pedi las fajitas de pollo y un agua mineral. It was a really pretty dish... I did not take a picture of it until after I was nearly finished though.. The meal cost me 106.00 pesos (roughly 11 dollars) and I left a 15 peso tip... (a dollar and some change)

I hadn't been feeling well all day, my head still felt pretty hot in my opinion. No one else could feel it though... It was probably all of the stress mentally---from the flight, customs, being in a new place--- and physically ---not sleeping much, being dehydrated, hot, sweaty---that caused my sickness...

After dinner, we walked to a Churreria, and those who wanted to buy some, bought some churros y chocolate caliente. I didn't want any... Finally we started to head back to the hostal, where many of us had a lot more to do before we could sleep. Despite not feeling well, I still had to make up my bed--put the sheets and pillow case on-- get my clothes ready for the next day, shower, journal a little bit, and then finally go to sleep.

****** Es la medianoche y yo voy a acostarme. Buenas noches

Thoughts: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I woke up at 4 AM today and got ready to catch my ride around 5:30 AM. Christina's father agreed to pick me up from the Browns' house and take me to the airport with them. We got tot he airport around 6:40 AM and went through baggage. My bag weighed 32 pounds, the limit before being charged extra is 50 pounds... so I think I did a pretty good job packing...unlike my trip to New Hampshire..where I couldn't even lift my own Anyways baggage, and going through security went by pretty quickly. There weren't many people at the airport, which was great. At the security gate we had to run our carry on bags through the machine, as well as take off any metal items, and our jackets and shoes. Everything was a go from there. It all went rather smoothly.

The entire class was waiting in the gate, but the Browns were no where to be found. They must have thought that some of us had not gone through security yet... We sent Jacob to search for them. They arrived to join the rest of us around 7:50 AM. The gate opens at 8:10 and then we board. The plane will leave at 8:40 and head towards Dallas, Texas. To board thep lane, they call first class first..obviously...then all of the other seats are sectioned into groups. I was in group five, which was row 12 A, B, D, E, and F. I sit in 12E which is the middle seat. Jacob will sit beside me on the left in 12D which is the aisle seat and some stranger in 12F which is the window seat.

***mind you..most of this entry is written moments or a few hours after it happened...and i am adding in details that I left out in my written grammar...and tense...may be a bit off... ***

The first flight went really smoothly; the take off and landing were pretty hard to deal with, just because it was my first time on the plane since I was four ( coming over to the States from Germany)... but it wasn't really that bad. My stress and anxiety were just taking over my mind and body. The pilot was great and I am glad that my first plane ride went so smoothly. I think it took about 2 hours to get from Charlotte, North Carolina to Dallas, Texas.

Dallas airport was pretty fun... We had approximately 1.5 hours before our connecting flight was meant to leave. We were dropped off at the A terminal, and our next flight was going to take off at the D we got on the tram to get to the other side of the airport. It was a little crowded... but it was practice for the transportation we would be taking in Mexico. I lost my footing when the Sky line (the tram) started moving... I was not able to grab on to a pole, so I held on to classmates instead. lol. Then a seat opened I sat in it.

Once we got to the D terminal, we split off into groups and got food. I went with Christina, Terresa, Erin, and Evan to TGI Fridays. I ordered honey mustard chicken fingers and fries, with a strawberry lemonade. We were worried about our restaurant selection...because our food was coming out as soon as the first class passengers were beginning to board the plane. Luckily, we ate fast..and had a little bit of time to spare before they called groups 4,5, and 6 to board.

At 12:20, we began the adventure over the border. We were flying from Dallas to Mexico City, Mexico. This flight was not as smooth as the first. We hit a tiny bit of turbulence, but nothing major..just a little rumbling. The landing also was not as well executed as the first pilot...but still not bad.

I do not like the sensation I feel from taking off and me it feels like a slow motion roller coaster....and I hate roller coasters...and felt like I was suffering from motion sickness...Also I am not used to such changes in altitude...

The view from the plane was amazing though. I took a lot of photos above the one point when we were flying back down through them...there was this awesome looked like mountains of fluffy white cotton candy... I totally have pictures of that too!

**hours later***

Around 3 PM, we arrived in Mexico City. Before we left the plane we filled out some immigration and custom papers. The airport was really pretty... I could not stop to take pictures of it htough, because we needed to keep moving. There were stores in the airport, like Victoria's Secret, Starbucks, and various other stores...

All of our luggage had arrived safe and sound and as a whole! Thank Goodness! After retrieving our luggage, we had to go through customs... that went rather quickly. After that we were confused, well more confused because as a group we are all confused all the time..., about where to and how to exchange our currency from US dollars to Mexican Pesos. LUckily the Brown's friend and married-in relative, Marsela was there to greet and guide us. We exchanged currency 1 US dollar = 12.20 Pesos, at that changes every day... Pesos are such a pretty currency... I kinda wish our American currency was that aesthetically pleasing... I really like the Aztec symbols that decorate the currency... Also one of the bills has mariposas ( butterflies= and as you know...that is what my name means and that is my logo! Ha!

After everyone had their currency exchanged... We had to walk down a long hall to get to the taxi station. Five of us rode in one taxi van and th eother six rode in another. Our driver was so nice but we couldn{t really talk to him because we don{t speak Spanish...He was very understanding though...

Mexican traffic is so crazy...I do not understand all of the lanes and few stop signs...and how the roads intersect. I am so glad none of us have to drive while down here!! I don{t think we could handle it... everyone drives soooooooo fast down here. I think my friend said our taxi driver was going about 120... People do not always use their signals down here...most just honk their horns... we were changing lanes pretty quickly in some of the craziest looking intersections... but we reached the Hostal safely in no time flat!

Hostal Cuija Coyoacan


Cloudscapes flying from Texas to Mexico.

Thoughts: Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Today was the last day to make sure that I had everything for the trip. I double/ triple/ quadruple checked to make sure that I had everything! I waited for Mom to get off from work and then she and Curtis took me up to Rock Hill, SC. We met up at the Browns' residence, where other classmates were sitting around and chatting.

***insert slight stream of consciousness here***

food, laughing, boarding passes, dogs humping, happy, dogs snore, snacking, chatting, receiving presents, sketch book that doubles as watercolor pad, important trip information, watermelon, peanut butter cookies, chips and salsa.


Waking up at 4 AM, waiting for ride to the airport around 5:30 AM. Plane will elave at 8:40 AM from Charlotte Airport. BIG ADVENTURES!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mexico Tomorrow!

:iconimhappyplz: :iconbutterflyplz: So tomorrow morning, my VCOM 392-600 (Public and Political Art) course will be leaving for Mexico City...we should probably be there sometime in the early afternoon! :dance: :iconbutterflyplz:

Therefore I won't be on the internet as a whole for approximately two weeks......... *sigh*... :wow: :( In the meantime, I will do traditional blogging lol... which means I will keep a journal/sketchbook and a watercolor journal and do entries every day. It will probably end up being mostly writing...because I write more than I sketch/draw/paint/illustrate (how ironic...since my major is illustration o.O ) oh well... so um yeah... then whenever I get a chance to get on the internet (perhaps on a rare occasion while down there or just wait until I get back to the States)..I will upload them onto this blog...

We are also going to try to keep up with our class's facebook page while down there...but I don't know how well that will go..... ~_~'

So today I will run some errands, finish packing my suitcase and carry on.. double/triple/quadruple check everything... eat American fast fooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood lol ^^; , hopefully visit some people ....... and then wait for my mother to drive me up to Rock Hill... where I will spend the night and then meet up with all of my teachers and classmates...and we shall begin our adventure!
:iconimhappiestplz: :iconimhappiestplz: :iconimhappiestplz: :iconimhappiestplz: :iconimhappiestplz: :iconimhappiestplz: :iconimhappiestplz:

^^; lol wow...that's really creepy.... lol...... anyways see you guys later, as discussed before I will take tons of photographs, documenting nearly everything throughout the entire trip! :D :aww:

:heart: Vanessa :iconbutterflyplz: