Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday: La corrida de los toros

WARNING: As of a couple days ago, my camera is now broken :(  Which is sad for me because I can't take pictures, but not horribly sad since Jill takes approx. 1,000,000/day.  It is sad for you, however, because I have less easy-access to her pictures and thus, my posts from here on out will be text-heavy and photo-light.  If you're a patient reader, though, you might still like them :)

Tony took us to school today and lent us his flash drive so we could print our papers out for class... but all the printing places were closed! Sad. Luckily, they were also closed for everyone else, so he told us we could email him our papers after class.  Btw - I was so happy about how I did my paper - I felt like I was the only one who didn't finish at like, 2:30 this morning.  The first hour of class was spent talking about our papers, which I really liked. It was interesting to hear about other people's papers and to also hear a little of what my teacher had to say about my topic. I feel pretty good about it.  Plus having some discussion made class go way faster :)

After our class, Nate, Jill and I decided to go to the prepa to buy some clothes!  Background: The students here wear uniforms, including many people at the university, and Jill and I thought it would be really to buy one of the shirts as a souvenir.  They're not just skirts and plaid - there are a lot of different styles. Well, last week when we were on the bus, Nate saw this boy's shirt and we all really liked the style of it so I sat next to him to find out where we could buy a shirt for ourselves. He told us you could get them at the prepa but he wasn't sure if that particular style would be there.  Prepa is short for Preparatória; it's the same age as our high school but it's kind of like community college - it's where you prepare to go to the university, take more general classes, and decide what field you want to study later.  

So we went to the prepa!  We found some t-shirts we really liked that cost $100MEX. I'll have to put up a picture one of these days. It's a really good-looking shirt.  It was funny - we went to try one on and when I came back, Nate was surrounded by all these little girls who were at the prepa :)  (they must also have an elementary section) helping them open their drinks for lunch. It was so cute - it always makes me laugh how much people here love Americans :)

After the prepa, we decided to go to Walmart because they're practically next door and I'd been wanting to buy some granola bars.  I found out that they sell Neopolitan oreos here!  I bought a box of Oreos and two of granola bars. Yum :)  The Oreo boxes are interesting here - they're boxes instead of those plastic wrappers and every six cookies are in their own individual package. I think it's so they don't get all soft from the humidity. Or so they can stay protected from the hormigas...

Guess what! At 4:30 we left to go to Komchén to see... a bullfight!  Isn't that awesome!  I've been excited about it all day! Not everyone from the whole group went, but a lot of people did. I sat by Jen on the way there and we had a fun chat. She's a lot of fun.

When we got to Komchén, we walked to this restaurant place. It looked like someone's front yard. I thought we were going to eat there, but we didn't. We just mostly hung out in the front (where there were a million biting ants!). After a while we walked down the street with our guide (who was less than half as awesome as Guillermo) and got to look at a little town cemetery. It was absolutely beautiful. I felt insensitive because most people were very solemn and some people even cried, but I couldn't help but feel happy there it was so beautiful. All the tombstones are shaped kind of like churches or houses and are painted very bright colors. Also they all have beautiful decorations - flowers, necklaces, even sometimes Coke bottles and stuff.  You can really tell how much the people love their family. That was the sad part for me, seeing how obviously the families missed the person who'd died.  That and seeing tombstones for people who died young. That always gets me. But really, though, I want my tombstone to be as lively as theirs were. I really appreciate that about Mexican culture, their respect for and "celebration" (is that the right word?) of death and the person who died. There's not the fear and taboo around it that exist in our culture.  It was great.  Also, I learned something new about Mexican cemeteries - two or three years after the person died and has a chance to decompose, their bones are taken out of the casket. In some pueblos they wash the bones every single year after that. "How did you learn that?" you might ask.

taken from Nate's blog

"That's how," I would respond.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, at several of the tombstones there were boxes attached that were full of said bones.  We even found a skull that still had hair! That was a little creepy.

After all of this, I was INCREDIBLY THIRSTY but I left my water bottle on the bus because they told us to leave big things on there.  Thankfully, Adrienne let me drink some of hers even though I was sick, which was very nice of her.

By the way, I forgot to tell you - there were drunk men everywhere whose attention a big group of white people really grabbed... I think someone took a movie of the sounds they were making if I can get it and figure out how to post it :)

After the cemetery we went back to the bullfight ring and waited for it to start. We got to take pictures in there! Without any bulls, of course, although Bryce did us the honor of acting like one for pictures :)

The bullfight was different than I expected. I was a little nervous because they usually kill a bull at this festival and I wasn't really excited for that, but they never did. At least, not while we were there. It went until like, 11:30, and we left much earlier than that.  The bullfighters looked like kids! Except for this one man wearing hot pink tights; he looked at least 40.  It was interesting, though, because the bulls were nowhere near as aggravated as I've always seen in videos (most of the time - there were a few really exciting parts!).  The "men" :) would hold up their curtain deal and sometimes the bull wouldn't even run towards it... but sometimes it was super exciting! There were these walls for the men to hide behind if the bull didn't stop chasing them. One time the man fell down and I thought it was going to get crazy! He managed to get up right in time, though, to run behind a wall and stay safe.  Also after round, some cowboys would come out and get the bull back inside the pin. I hate to say it... but they weren't very good lasso-ers. Yikes - I hope none of them read my blog! :)  It was a very exciting bullfight, though. Also I got an excellent back rub from Bryce because he likes giving them (I guess) and when he asked if anyone wanted one, I said yes first!  Afterwards I had to give him one, but it turned out good.

After the bullfight we just came home, didn't do anything productive, and now are going to bed. It was a great night! And I still can't believe I got to go to a bullfight! I love Mexico! :)


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