Well, the last post ended up a bit long, so this time I think I’ll just start with the pictures and add captions from my journal as I go.
Friday July 5th was my 22nd birthday, and though at first it was a little bit sad to have my birthday here without my family, I was very spoiled and had a wonderful day. This was my breakfast, a delicious chocolate cake that was somewhere between tres leches and mousse, but definitely purely awesome.
At school Laurie brought a wide variety of pan dulce because I love bread, and a candle that played happy birthday. I even got a present, a stationary set since I write so much :). (spoiled)
In my Lengua en contexto class we took a walking tour of Querétaro where we were the tour guides using our research on the different monuments in the city. Alejandro had interesting information to add, and he was much easier to understand than the tour guide from Saturday. Before returning to the school he sweetly bought us drinks as a birthday gift, and didn’t even give us homework. (definitely spoiled)
That night we went out to dinner at a place with amazing fruit smoothies and sandwiches, and then went dancing at La Mulata. At first it was weird because they were just playing music videos (mostly english) and it was a bit pricey, but around midnight we all started dancing and it was a blast. We met a group of students from a different university and ended up combining and all dancing together. They spoke some English and since we spoke some Spanish we muddled along ok. It was amazingly fun, and I even got free Manzanita! (Did I mention I was spoiled?)
On Saturday we met up as a group (session 2) and explored the street markets a bit. We were supposed to do more, and go on the trolley, but the WOU group split off early since we’d already done the tour and it started to pour. We walked all the way across town in the rain and got thoroughly soaked since we all left our jackets at Josh’s house.
These are our “Do we really have to go back out there? We aren’t even dry yet!” faces.
The first week we were here was warm and sunny and beautiful, but that Saturday marked a definite change. It is apparently Querétaro’s rainy season and when it rains here, it tends to rain hard. Like, dumping buckets on your head for 30min to a couple of hours at a time hard. It isn’t miserable (usually), but it definitely is a lot more rain than I had been expecting. I wish I had brought more cool weather clothes instead of all summery, especially since it continued to be rainy throughout the week.
That Sunday was thankfully a beautiful day, and we all went to Bernal. The town of Bernal is small and picturesque, and situated at the foot of la Peña de Bernal. It really is about as tall as it looks, and though it isn’t bad for an afternoon’s hike, I’ve really never been much of a hiker.
I made it up about 2/3 of the way to where they had a lovely little view point and a warning sign. Apparently, the hike is much more dangerous after that point, and I decided to be satisfied with the view from where I was. I actually was the only one who chickened out and didn’t go all the way up, but I didn’t mind. I sat in the shade up on a comfortably shaped rock and talked to the people who stopped to rest there. Most families with kids stopped there too, so sometimes one of them would come sit by me 🙂
The sign in the left hand corner said something about being careful if you value your life, but all the people pictured made it back safely. Oh, also, a *lot* of people were hiking it in nice clothes! There were girls in fancy shoes, guys in dress-shirts, and even infants in cute little outfits. It made me feel like a wimp whining about the climb when there were groups of people of all ages cheerfully climbing in Sunday clothes.
After coming back down off the Peña, we had lunch at a pretty neat restaurant where you eat under the spreading branches of an old tree, and then went shopping. There were a lot of interesting things that we could buy, but they weren’t especially cheap, probably because it is a very touristy area. We decided to leave when the thunderclouds moved in, and it was good that we did because as soon as we got on the bus it started raining *hard*. Part of the freeway of the way back to Querétaro was badly flooded- to the point where the guardrail was completely underwater. It made me thankful that we were on a very large, very tall bus.
One thing about coming to Querétaro that was difficult to adjust to was the food. I love it, but it was difficult for my body to handle, and little by little the symptoms got worse. On Tuesday I finally gave up on ignoring how I felt and went to the doctors. I had an intestinal infection and a fever, which wasn’t at all dangerous but not fun either. I slept for pretty much all of Wednesday, and by Thursday I could get out of bed without my head swimming. Yay!
On the eleventh we all went to a “cooking class” that was actually just a cooking demonstration. It was still interesting, but not really what I was expecting. The chef was obviously very good at his job and it was interesting to watch, but it would have been nice to get to make something.
There was an option to participate by chopping ingredients… yay. Oh, and this lesson was at Las Monjas, which had good food, but a lot of people got sick after we ate there last time so we were all a bit leery of the food.
Also, if I study Abroad again I am taking less classes. I don’t really need the credits, and taking 3 intensive classes while wanting to enjoy my time and explore another culture is a difficult balancing act.