Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our new place - living and dining rooms

 The view when you walk in. Our "couch" is also a twin bed.

Very happy to have a full size fridge!

The small kitchen - no oven, but we are managing fine without.

The view from the dining room entry.
dining room

from dining room into bedroom

skylight in dining room

display nook for our treasures, plus some of the landlord's (all the bowls are hers)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quinta Chilla

We love our new apartment!

the gate to the street.TD will park his car here.
Looking back towards the driveway and gate, our place is on the right.

The opposite view, our place is on the left, the neighbors place is straight ahead. The iron bars are where the washer & dryer are.

Home sweet home. I'll post pictures of the inside next.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vamos a aprender Español!

We are going to learn spanish!

Last week TD and I were happy to register for our intensive spanish class at CEPE, part of UNAM. We will start our 6 week intensive class (9-12 daily) on Monday. We were both impressed with the organization of the center (the oral and writted exams, registration and payment ran like clockwork), plus they have developed their own curriculum and we even got our own credencial (ID). We were very happy to get a $200 discount because we are working at UNAM, but even the full price ($65 one time registration and $365 course fee) is a bargain. The fee includes the intensive language class, plus two culture classes. We passed on those, but there were several that looked great - geography of Mexico, Ethnobotany, Art History.  Maybe next time...

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I didn't have high expectations for Queretaro. Its the next large city north of DF and is one of the fastest growing areas with lots of industry and agriculture (Queretaro is the bread basket of Mexico). We've passed through several times and the city doesn't look like much from the highway.

Thanks to the guidebook and the GPS, we were pleasantly surprised. We got into town about 8, and after winding our way through the tiny cobblestone streets, we found a great hotel for only MN$500 ($40). We had a quick dinner of tamales in the plaza before falling asleep after our whirlwind weekend.
We loved the decor - stucco walls, super high beamed ceiling, tiled bathroom.

The courtyard was full of citrus trees and was nice and quiet!

We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel's restaurant

Chilaquiles verdes - I have been making this at home - delicious!

Aztec dancer in the Plaza de Constitution.

We enjoyed walking around the plazas and doing a little shopping - TD bought a cool metal cactus lamp - before heading back to DF. All in all we had a great weekend and got to see a little bit of 3 very neat cities - Zacatecas, Guanajuato, and Queretaro. Our next big trip will be to Oaxaca at the end of the month.

Friday, October 22, 2010


After our field trip, we headed back to Zacatecas, dropped off the students, and hit the road back south for Aguascalientes, where we met up with Jesus's wife and daughter Sofia. We had another great dinner - TD got un poco de todo (a little of everything) - and I couldn't believe when he ate the cueritos (pickled pig skin) and patas (pickled pig's feet)!!! Unfortunately I didn't get a picture.

We were up again early the next morning to head south again for Guanajuato. Another old mining city that is an UNESCO world heritage area. Guanajuato means Hill of Frogs and is the birthplace of Diego Rivera. The city was originally built on top of the Guanajuato River, which flowed through tunnels under the city. Now, the tunnels carry traffic through the city. Very cool, but very confusing when we were trying to get out of the city at the end of the day.

Jesus's inlaws live in Guanajuato and also have a house out in the country.

The house was in the town of Santa Rosa on the road to Dolores Hidalgo.

I loved the outdoor kitchen - the family primarily uses the house for big family meals on the weekends.

We had success with animals - we found three of TD's frogs - two in this rockpile - as well as lizards and three snakes.

We finished the afternoon with pizza made by Jesus's sister and brother in law.

The inlaws - the pizza maker was hilarious!

We polished off two large pies.

After filling up on pizza, Jesus and his family headed back up to Zacatecas - he had to teach at 7am on Monday. TD and I eventually found our way out of town. We decided to get a little closer to DF and hopefully avoid traffic, so we spendt the night in Queretaro, which was a pleasant surprise.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


We met the students at 7am (so early!) on Saturday for a field trip about 2 hours north towards Durango. We were in a beautiful area with sandstone outcrops, lots of cactus, acacia (catclaw) and mesquite. Unfortunately we didn't really see anything - we ended up with 2 lizards for the whole day - though we did find 2 road-killed snakes on the highway home. Unfortunately, we didn't put on any sunscreen - and with the sun at our back all morning - the backs of our arms and necks got fried!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


We arrived in Zacatecas on Friday evening. TD's friend Jesus took us up to the Cerro de la Bufa which looks over the city. After sunset we picked up his son Eric and went to dinner at a great taqueria. After dinner, a little sightseeing downtown. TD and I were surprised at how many teenagers were out in the city on a Friday night.

Really different rock formations as we got closer to Z - its the southern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert.

La Bufa - apparently the Cerro looks like a pig's bladder (pig's bladder = bufa)

Pancho Villa. Cerro de la Bufa was the site of the Battle of Zacatecas during the Mexican Revolution where Pancho Villa led the troops to victory.

The top of La Bufa had a museo, convento and mirador (lookout).

The old convento

Zacatecas is a beautiful city set in a steep hillside. The old town is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Stonework at the mirador

TD & Jesus

I had the best enchiladas for dinner - and we discovered Atole, a hot drink traditionally made with corn. Here we had it with guava and it was awesome!

The cooks were not happy about posing for a picture, but Jesus made me...

La bufa was beautiful at night

close up of La Bufa

The Governor's Palace decorated for the Bicentenario.

The beautiful Catedral built between 1729 and 1753.

The facade of the Cathedral is considered to be one of the best examples of Churrigueresque (Mexican Baroque) architecture.

The cathedral is beautiful at night

An enormous sculpture. Apparently the artist is working on the rest of the guy...

A "callejonada" or alleyway party. A group winds its way through the narrow streets - singing, dancing and drinking. There is usually a band, and the donkey carries a jug of Mezcal. People drink out of little jars called jarritos - its free and anyone can join!

A beautiful museum near the Aqueducto.

After our nighttime tour we headed home to sleep - we had an early morning Saturday for a field trip with some of Jesus's students.