Archive | January, 2023

Part Dos (2) Mexico 1973

22 Jan

The University transport chugged along through the mountains from Mexico City to Puebla. We were high enough that my ears popped 2,240 meters (7,350 ft). I never had altitude sickness thank God, but some of the students did.

Arriving in Puebla, I shared a room in a boarding house with a fellow traveler, Lela from Colorado. She was blond where I was dark. We both had four siblings and were raised Catholic. We even unpacked the same perfume. As a Spanish major, her Spanish was much better than mine. We became fast friends. The room included meals which were an introduction to Mexican cuisine. I’d never eaten tortillas in my life. Their fragrance was nothing I’d ever experienced. I found it strange at first but later it meant Mexico and home to me.

The wonderful corn tortillas of central Mexico.

The university was closed for summer break. In order to receive credit for a full semester we had a three-week class called Introduction to Mexico. It was an amazing three weeks. Week ONE covered pre-Hispanic Mexico. We learned about the Aztec, Olmec and Mayan civilizations. We traveled in the little green bus to Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City. We dined on traditional mole (MO-lay, like guacamole) Poblano, a bitter spicy chocolate sauce poured over chicken or vegetable filled tortillas. The recipe has more than 20 ingredients and is kept secret, handed down for generations.

I LOVE mole, but Lisa not so much.
Gotta love the grunge look and long hair of the 70’s.
Teotihuacan, (Aztec) on top of the pyramid of the moon with the pyramid of the sun in the background.
Replicating the places I visited in 1973, 44 years later.
The Temple of the Feathered Serpent is the third largest pyramid at Teotihuacan, a pre-Columbian site in central Mexico. This structure is notable partly due to the discovery in the 1980s of more than a hundred possibly sacrificial victims found buried beneath the structure. Wikipedia
Olmec carved basalt boulders dating 900 BC near Vera Cruz.

Our Week TWO of Mexican Culture covered Colonial Mexico, Spanish influence, cathedrals, indigenous rights and revolutions. Stay tuned next week for more adventures part three.

DOS TORTAS

Mexico 1973

14 Jan

I first came to Mexico in 1973 at the ripe old age of 21. Mexico was a very different country then than it is now. Very few people had cars. Everyone traveled by bus or train, first class if you had the money, and chicken bus for the rest. Chicken buses were not air conditioned and made frequent stops letting people on and off. There were also no rules about how many people could ride. Buses would be crammed with as many people as possible along with the occasional pig or chicken. They would creak down the road overflowing as we held our collective breath. Today it is one person per seat and the trains have gone the way of the dodo bird.

Stock photo but close enough.

Years earlier, in high school, I had read a teenage novel called Junior Year Abroad. “This 1960 book was a mildly fun fictionalized account of a real junior year abroad, perhaps written with an eye to encourage other American college students to try something that was then still a relatively new idea.” (I can’t believe I Googled this title after fifty years and actually found the very book that changed my life all those years ago!) The book influenced me enough that when I passed an office on my college campus etched with “International Studies” on the glass. I tootled on in. My options were France or Mexico. Mexico was cheaper and I had had a year of Spanish in high school. Why not? The decision was easy.

This book was the start of it all. I can’t believe I found it.

At 21 the world was my oyster. My parents weren’t keen on the whole idea of their only daughter traveling to a foreign country but I assured them that all would be well. My mother took me clothes shopping, her contribution to my adventure.

I now live near the blue dot to the far right near Belize.

In September of 1973, I flew from Newark, New Jersey to Mexico City and joined a group of students from all over the US. We were excited to attend the University of the Americas, an international school in Cholula, Puebla. The university transport picked us up at the airport and off we went to Puebla, about two hours away. I distinctly remember stopping at a large roadside stand filled with fresh fruit, some of which I had never seen before. I purchased a large glass of carrot juice. I had never tasted such a wonderful, brilliantly orange drink. It was served in a glass sitting on top of a block of ice. There was virtually NO PLASTIC of any sort at that time and the streets were much cleaner than today.

Our group waiting to board the university bus.

I have sooo many stories from my nine-month stay in Mexico. I travelled from coast to coast, Puerto Vallarta to Veracruz, Oaxaca to the pyramids of Palenque. I hitchhiked more than once and took overnight trains. School was on a trimester basis and we attended classes four days a week. Believe me, I took advantage of those three-day weekends and trimester breaks.

The view from my room in Puebla of two snow topped volcanoes. They no longer have snow due to climate change.
Puebla is known for its locally made tiles.
We students were in awe. Today there are few houses left with such elaborately decorated facades.

My wife has heard many of the crazy things my younger self survived such as buying marijuana in Acapulco, getting charged head-on by a cow while picking magic mushrooms in Palenque and so much more. I’m feeling the need to put finger to iPad before my memory fades any further. What better venue than my blog. So stay tuned. You won’t want to miss a single episode.

DOS TORTAS

Student dormitories to the right. The famous church of Cholula built on top of an ancient pyramid in the center and the volcano Iztaccihuatl in the distance. On a clear day you could see four snow topped volcanoes from the university.

Fractured Sternum Take Two

8 Jan

I’m so grateful that I got the X-ray and pain meds from my doctor. I guess two weeks with the inability to cough, laugh, sneeze, and turn over in bed, not to mention the screaming in pain, finally overcame my stubbornness. I suppose that the management of pain never crossed my mind as “something that can be done”.

Sometimes I’m just plain stupid.

It’s amazing how we use our upper body and arms for so many things, like standing from a seated position. I found myself scooting forward and using my legs to stand. All those squats came in handy. Do try it.

A full moon week.

There will be no bicep curls, bench presses or push ups for awhile. I can’t even carry a pitcher of water from the refrigerator to the counter. I am feeling better and this week we’ll begin cutting back on the meds. I hope it will clear my fuzzy brain a bit,

Sunday sunrise on Lake Bacalar.

Google says six to eight weeks. Today is three. I must admit to looking longingly at my gym clothes while selecting pajamas and sweatpants for daily attire. Sigh.

A little vid of our home and property.

I will continue to rest and stay drugged as needed. I am supremely grateful to my wife for taking such good care of me, and Dr. Oscar for the pain management. Life is good. So for another week, be well and don’t trip over any air mattresses.

DOS TORTAS

Happy Happy 2023

1 Jan

As a child in the 60’s I remember reading the book 1984 by George Orwell. The year seemed far far away and I wondered what the future would hold. I certainly never imagined the year 2023!

Big brother is watching.

2022 was filled with getting physically and mentally fit. I consistently worked out at the gym three days a week and added a rebounder to my off days along with my usual swimming. Having a beautiful lake out my back door made it easy.

Laguna Bacalar
Many many health benefits to rebounding.

In retrospect I realize that my life is about keeping the hot breath of aging off my neck. I was doing pretty well, or so I thought and then two weeks ago I fell…again.

I tripped over the air mattress that was prepared for the guest we had coming. A perfect storm of being in a hurry, a dimly lit room and forgetting it was there sent me flying and landing on my chest on a concrete floor. The result was a fractured sternum.

I also have scoliosis..sigh.

Yes it was an accident, but there have been too many to not factor in my age. My doctor’s comment to Lisa, “well she IS 70 years old” takes me aback. Not that I don’t know how old I am.

So the next month will bring rest and healing. In February I go to Merida to paint haciendas, landscapes and local scenery. I will continue to keep my fragile bones as strong as I can. Let’s face it, none of us gets out of this alive. My blog seems to have gone from the adventures of travel to the adventures of aging, the good and the not so good.

Happy happy 2023. DOS TORTAS

From our house to yours the future looks bright.
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