Sunday, May 22, 2011

week 3

weeeeek threeeeeeeeee.

On Monday, we went to a small pueblo called Komchen.  It was a LOT different from Merida. Very poor and humble. We went primarily to watch a bullfight, and we went and saw the bullfighting ring they had set up right after we got there. I was really surprised at how small it was. I saw a bullfighting ring in Spain that seated several thousand, but this ring was probably for about 200. Our guide took us to a little party they were having there, and then to a graveyard. I am always super fascinated by graveyards...this one was beautiful. They build these box type things above the ground to hold the body, and then bring flowers or things that they think the person would need for the afterlife. They also dig up the bodies after they have decayed. Needless to say we saw some bones and a human skull that still had hair on it. I didn't think it was real at first, but apparently it's totally normal. It was nice to see how much these people cared for those who had died and also how important religion is to them. 
As we were walking back to where the bull fight would be, this old shirtless man started talking to Catie and I...and we had no idea what he was saying. After a second he explained that he had been speaking to us in Mayan. (Another guy tried to teach us some German if learning Spanish isn't enough for you people...!??!?!) He was very nice but very drunk and kept telling us that he wasn't trying to offend us (?). His granddaughter was learning English but was too shy to talk to us (she was about 6 years-old), but as we left she yelled "Goodbye!" and I yelled "¡Adios!" It was cute. 
When we got to the bullfight, there were some little boys playing around with the capes, pretending to fight eachother. Then the real bullfighters came out...only they were like 16. They had these white painted boards that they could run and hide behind if the bull got too close/violent, and they used those a lot. It seemed pretty dangerous. We had heard that they always kill the first bull, so I was excited/nervous about that. But the matadores lured the bull all around the ring and then older men on horseback lasso'd the bull and took him away. They did this 6 or 7 times. . .until it was 10:30 and we had to leave. So no bulls were killed in the making of this blogpost! Also these dudes have my same tights...
Tuesday we only had class from 7-9am, so Catie and I went to the mercado in El Centro. It was a lot like the souqs in Doha. They even had some of the same stuff. It was really fun and we were actually where the real people that live here buy stuff--not a tourist trap! I thought I forgot my camera but noticed later that it was actually just hiding at the bottom of my bag. Oops. I am definitely going back though, so I will get pictures then. We also stopped and ate a a semi-sketchy street vendor. We had these mini-tacos that they have everywhere here with salsa and watermelon juice. Right after we were finished eating though, Catie noticed an insect leg in her juice. Now I can't drink watermelon juice without wanting to barf and our Mamá keeps making watermelon-flavored tang...I thought I had a stomach of steeel because I didn't get sick afterwards. Thank you to my parents for teaching me while I was young to cultivate my immune system through letting me eat potted dirt, seaweed on the beach, and snails from the backyard (actually what the heck kind of parenting is that?) However, on Thursday we didn't get home from school until around 2. The hottest part of the day. And it was about 104degrees out. We came home and ate lunch but I had a headache and felt reallllly hot. But I went to a friend's house to go swimming and then came home early because I still didn't feel well. The next morning I felt like trash and didn't go to school. I slept forever and thought I probably just got dehydrated. My host mom got really worried though and took me to the program doctor (it's free, so why not?). He just prescribed some antibiotics and said I should be fine soon, but that he didn't know what it was from. It could be from food (but it had been three days since the sketchy stuff!!!) or just from heat or dehydration, or whatever. The thing was that we were going to Chichen Itza the next day...luckily I felt a bit better the next morning, so I decided I could go. I liked Chichen, but I thought Uxmal was better. Maybe I was just tired and grumpy and still not feeling that well. Probably. Chichen is considered one of the wonders of the world, so there were a ton of tourists and vendors. It was very impressive though, and a lot of the rock carvings were extremely well preserved.
That night we got back into town so we could hear Elder Cook speak to the young single adults. Elder Cook, the mission president over this area and the representative of the 70 and their wives all spoke about qualities they found in their spouses. Just when I thought I had gotten away from BYU.

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