I spent my spring break in Mexico, having an amazing reunion with my high school friends from Singapore. At our high school graduation, we’d talked tentatively about having a reunion in the United States (where we all chose to come for school) but never though it would happen so soon — and neither did our friend Valeria, originally from Mexico City, who hosted us and showed us around! The week preceding the trip was full of frantic facebook messages from her in the line of “I can’t believe this is actually happening!” And it was unbelievable to see all of my friends again so soon.
We spent the first day of vacation exploring Mexico City, seeing many of the tourist attractions and getting adjusted to the heat. My Albanian friend Ira, who is attending Macalester, also spent most of the day trying to tell me how much she spent on her plane ticket, but after I found out it was significantly less (and she lives further away than CC) I refused to hear it. I knew there must have been cheap tickets somewhere!
One of the most amazing places we visited in Mexico City was Teotihuacan, known as the “birthplace of the gods”, an archeological site built around 500 BC. There were several large pyramids such as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, and our english speaking guide told us that Teotihuacan had been laid out in the shape of the universe.
We climbed both pyramids, and because it was extremely hot (even in Mexico’s winter!) we were wrung out by the time we got to the top and sat for a while to enjoy the scenery.
After we descended, our guide took us to some nearby caves to do a little exploration. We were each given a large white candle as our light, and a funny dance ensued after we entered the cave, as we tried to not bang our heads on the ceiling while not dripping hot wax onto our feet. I wasn’t too thrilled by the caving, especially after twenty minutes of crawling the guide told us that he’d taken us inside the cave to simulate the feeling of being inside the Pyramid of the Sun.
After the first couple days in Mexico City, we were off to Puerto Escondido for some sun and relaxation. We spent the hottest part of the day by the pool, and in the morning and evening when it had cooled off ventured to the beach. Puerto Escondido has massive waves, and while I wasn’t brave enough to try surfing, I did rent a bodyboard for several days. Trying to use the board on the waves was like riding a rollercoaster — or, often as not, like being pounded in a washing machine! But when it got too much we’d retreat to the beach for some cool drinks, and often watched the hammock sellers and horses pass back and forth as the sun went down.
When we returned to Mexico City to catch the plane home, we first went to go see the National Museum of Anthropology — one of the most famous in the world. It had an amazing array of artifacts from all different periods of Mexican history, among which my favorite exhibits were the Mayan and Mexica. I felt like I could have spent three more days in that museum without running out of new things to see! On our way home we passed by Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera’s Blue House, and popped in for a chance to see some of their artwork and the beautiful garden at the center of their house.
It was amazing to be reunited with my closest friends from high school so soon after graduation, and in such a beautiful place. It was also fun to practice my Spanish after just completing two blocks of Spanish 101 at CC, and I found that most people were really pleased when I tried to talk to them in Spanish (except for the storeowners on the beach, who were quite nonplussed by my poor attempts to very slowly and badly bargain with them.)
And the next reunion? Well, the 2010 Winter Olympics are on the Horizon for Vancouver, B.C., which is 45 minutes away from my house, so, I think Canada’s next!