Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mexico. Day 7

Visiting the mall and relaxing at home today. First off, a great picture of Isa, Carlos and little Santi James...

Later we went for a walk to pick up a few things at the market. On the menu for the next day was Caldo tlalpe├▒o so we needed to buy chicken and garbanzo beans since those are the two main ingredients (I'll give you details on the rest of the soup's ingredients on the next post). Edu and his papa and Santi went to a separate market since they walk faster, even though they had to push and help steer Santi in the tricycle. On the way to the market I saw, for the first time in this trip, a coconut cart! Normally, and I mean very, very frequently and commonly, you will see people pushing carts full of tamales, hot chocolate (those two go hand-in-hand here), candies and gum, fruit, among other things. By the quick glance I gave this cart, he would serve you the peeled coconut meat in a cup with hot sauce and lime, and the fresh coconut water.

Like my mom wrote in one of her emails, you see meat often just sitting in markets, in the warm-ish heat of the day, which you would very rarely find in the U.S. Yet, the meat is fresh from that day and we go home and cook it within an hour or two or three or four so it doesn't really have much time to get bacteria-filled, you know? Here, the gal cuts it however you want; Isa ordered 5 thighs with the legs, but with fat removed and bones trimmed a bit. As she prepared the chicken, I took some snapshots of items in the store that caught my attention.

  • One: 3 Liter jugs of Coca Cola 
  • Two: Coca Cola Life ~ sweetened with Splenda for people with diabetes
  • Three: warning labels on cigarettes
    • "Second Hand Smoke hurts your children"
    • "Smoking Causes Cancer"
    • "Smoking kills you...    ....and not just you."

After that shipping trip, we made our way to the fruit and vegetable stand. It is probably a 10 minute walk, give or take 5 minutes (I never pay attention to travel time...) and I'm happy to say I can make it to this veggie/fruit stand by myself from the house. Finally I am getting to know these streets! Some fruits that caught my eye were: mini plums and gigantic mango that are actually overly fibrous and I regret encouraging Isa to buy four of them.

Below: The sign says, "Today I go to work with gladness and enthusiasm, I will tend to my customer with excellence and to my Lord Jesus Christ I ask with faith, worship and joy, that He bless my business."

I am always very, very interested in the visible, unashamed faith of the people in this city. Most of them are devout Catholics, so you will see a lot of worship of Christ Himself, but also of Mary, His mother. It's confusing, but thankfully God doesn't call me to convert every. single. one of them to Christianity as I rip down their posters and statues and candles devoted to the Virgin Mary, He instead calls me to love them (John 15:12) and share my faith with them with gentleness and respect if/when they ask (1 Peter 3:15).

 Later on, we visited the mall where Santi enjoyed: escalators, elevators, mechanical cars, and pet stores (no photo of the pet store, but you can see them in last year's visit) (Oh, sorry, I just looked at that post and actually there is only one photo of the pet place and it is of a giant parrot, enjoy! haha). The mall is a really kid-friendly place; there is a train that runs mostly every day, you just pay the conductor a couple pesos (a buck or two or three) and you hop into any one of the 4 cars connected to the train, then the conductor drives you around the mall, and you do three loops around the end-section of the mall. He toots his horn, you get stared at by everyone... and it's fantastic! Also, there is a painting station (picture below) that, again I assume costs a little money, you just sit at and paint away freely then you take your picture home! That would be fun, a wet painting you have to not only carry in the mall throughout the remainder of your shopping trip without getting yourself covered in bright rainbow colors, but also you will need to carefully exit the mall, walk through a busy, wild parking lot with your child, while holding up said painting in the air somehow so its wet paint doesn't touch you, your child, or your car's seats once you arrive and buckle up.... Sounds great!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Mexico. Day 6 [Parents' Goodbye]

Snapshots of the last evening my parents spent in Mex.

Pablo took this one as he was teaching me some tricks with focus on my camera, since I have been struggling. I love how this photo turned out - candid and deeply sweet!
another photo taken by Pablo of the flowers from the wedding.
Below:A group shot of our parents together! This is such a sight to see. We were laughing so hard after this photo because of my dad's arm looking like a growth coming out of Humberto's neck, and the hand on my mom's shoulder that looks arm-less. These little rules in photography really prove that they need to be obeyed for a good portrait, once we took them away the photo looked better, but almost everyone's smiles got a little weaker, so I'm posting both pics. 

the newlyweds, Cris and Pablo!
my brother-in-law, Carlos, who lives in Northern Mexico and stayed just for a few days, too.

haha, Santi's eyes in this one. I don't think it was intentional but it's a great look!

wee Santi James with his two pairs of grandparents! Praise the Lord!
Twin brothers with their wee-man.

Mexico. Day 6 [Pyramids]

The pyramids in Teotihuacan. Three hours of walking in 70 degree heat that felt like 90 degrees, sharing the last gulps of water as if they were pure gold, and thankful that our toddler could stay home and play with his abuelos (grandparents) since he wouldn't have handled more than 20 minutes of this.

Below is a snapshot of one of the archaeologists looking through his findings from underneath the ground. Edu made it clear in saying, "these guys aren't just rock diggers, they're highly intelligent professionals in what they do."

This pyramid is only half visible, the other half is still underground and not open to the public. So mysterious, so fascinating! The lion heads represent one god of the Aztecs, and the chair-looking faces on the steps represent another god. There is also a snake design between each of the steps, and its tail wraps around the entire pyramid. 

The great mystery is that the rocks you see on all of these pyramids and below your feet where you walk are not found within a thousand kilometer radius around this area. Where did these stones come from? How did they get hundreds of thousands of them here? Only God knows...

Souvenirs were being sold all around us. Vendors came up to us, sometimes speaking in English, "$1 my friend" trying to sell us something. I was tempted on more than one occasion, I won't lie. But honestly if I took a trinket from every place in Mexico that I visited, I would have an entire room full of items. Which, would actually be kinda cool, now that I think of it.
to get to the main pyramids, called Moon and Sun, we had to walk, and walk, and walk some more. Maybe that's why this 70 degree weather felt a lot thicker and warmer; there was a whole lot of exercise going on!

God sharing His artwork with us.
I believe this one is called the Sun.
the Moon pyramid, which we opted out of walking up since it was pretty far away and we had run out of water shortly after exploring the Sun pyramid.

light headed, anyone? Below, center, is half the group. My ma and pa reached the half-way point. Edu and Carlos went to the top, and Cris and I did 3/4.
Papi finding refuge in the shade.

Prickly Pear fruit left on this cactus, even though this fruit's season has been over for a couple months. These probably wouldn't taste very good, since after the season passes they start to get prickly even on the inside.

The Dance of the Flyers!
You can read all about this ceremony/ritual here on Wikipedia. We waited as they just began their routine, which starts with them wrapping their ropes/harnesses around the pole. Then they start playing their flutes, later one of the dancers climbs on top of the center of the pole (which I imagine juuuusttt fits his two feet) and starts to toot his flute as he dances. A minute or two later, he sits down with his friends and they all start to spin downward, flying in the air. T'was peaceful and fantastic to watch.

Dinner time!
We went to a fish place, which is called a Mariscos (literally meaning "fish food") Restaurant. The boys ordered Mojarra, a fried, light fish that is compared to tilapia. I ordered shrimp, and my mama and Cris ordered fish fillets; Cris' was fried and my mama's was covered in minced garlic. Everything was delicious, except Edu and Carlos' Mojarra, which was expected to come covered in spicy goodness, but instead was covered in what he describes as a chili-pepper-flavored mayonnaise or sour cream sauce. The meal came with complimentary fried fish taquito things, soft baguettes, which are used instead of tortillas, and saltine crackers for the fish soup they give out (or for just munching on) (or for bringing home, like I told my mama to).

Also there were guys playing music, which they offered to each group of people eating and you have the choice whether to request a song or not. If you don't, they go to another table. If you accept, they play and then you give them some money (the last time we went to a restaurant and Edu requested a song, they gave us a flat price for the song afterward of a couple bucks, but maybe these guys would be OK with a tip). We were actually really glad when no one requested a song for a while, because the restaurant was extremely loud when they were playing, and it is completely open in front of a busy street, so the traffic was additionally noisy.

Exhausted by the end of this day, but a good exhaustion. Like, when you run a marathon or something. Bedtime was blissful!