Monday, June 13, 2011

week 6

this week we...
went to the zoo!
we saw toucans, which was one of my goals in Mérida. {I was hoping to see them in the wild, but that's okay. I'm not sure if they even really live in the wild here.} There were also jaguars, tigers, lions, monkeys, etc. All the animals were behind chain-link fences and only about 10 feet away. It was kinda frightening.

we went to the temple and got serenaded on the bus on the way there! This video is sideways and I don't know how to turn it. . .sorry.
We also went to a hacienda. First we walked around the tiny village and hung out with some school kids! They were adorable. We asked them how old they were and they were like, "I'm 18! I'm 90! I'm a million!" And we were shooting a soccer ball into a goal and a little girl came up to me and was like "do you want to try" and i said yes, so she made them give the ball to me. :) Another girl told me afterwards that they were all staring at me because they had never seen blonde hair before.

We learned that the families that owned the haciendas only went there about 3 times a year. So they have these huge houses in the countryside and don't even live there. Crazy.
We got a tour of the whole hacienda, and saw how things are made from henequen (a plant native to the area that looks like aloe vera but is bigger and more fibrous). It seems like a looong process and there are a lot of machines involved. My favorite part was seeing it go through a machine that literally turned it into green goo. Here's part of the process:
Then we went by horse-drawn train/cart thing again (!) to go see a mayan man and his "house." Basically they had an example of a mayan hut and the mayan man who "lived" there (named Antonio). He showed us how they harvested henequen, and then said a few sentences in perfect spanish...haha. 

The whole hacienda was pretty touristy, it was very funny. After that we got back on the horse cart/train thing, and I got to sit next to the driver and chat with him. He said that tourists came there from all around the world, and that there were a bunch of french tourists that had been coming to the buffet there everyday. I asked him if he or any of the other guides there spoke french, and he said that the guides only spoke spanish, mayan and a little english. I asked him how they communicated, and he said well...they didn't really. Whaaaaat? Anyways, we passed literally thousands of henequen plants on the way to the cenote.

After the cenote, we went and ate lunch at the best buffet everrrrr, and our host moms came. Lili is the best...she started talking to one of our friends, and she was like, wow I love your mustache! And then she grabbed his hands and started singing and dancing about mustaches. She does this stuff all the time. It is the absolute best.

That night we went to an institute dance. It was semi-formal so lili chica let me borrow one of her dresses, and she went with us too! I think she had a lot of fun. So Mexican dances are a lot different than I would have expected. We got there and the lights were all on and everyone was dancing salsa in couples. Thinking about it, it's kinda weird that we turn the lights off at our dances...I danced with one of our friends from church here and it was pretty fun, however, I cannot dance like those women at ALL. It  was pretty funny because none of us knew how to dance to salsa but when they put on "normal dance music" no one else knew how to dance. Also they played this song which is really popular here, but the only words are "Barbara Streisand." I am so amused/confused by this.

Saturday we woke up and were dead tired. We had some really cool plans...but they didn't go through. That's okay though. We went to el centro and there was a Christian festival type thing going on there super randomly! (????) They were "preaching" and saying "Jump for Jesus!!" and people were jumping and clapping, and there was a rock band playing Christian music and these cool dancers with tambourines and ribbons. I really like two out of three of these things (tambourines and ribbons, not christian rock).
Then we hung out in El Centro, and we had elote with chile and queso! I was not expecting it to be good at all but it was delicious. {see here} And we also had marquesitas, which are sort of like crepes but harder. We had nutella and cheese in ours. It was good. And then there were some street dancers randomly...they were pretty good! I was not expecting to see that here. I have a video but blogger wont let me upload it for some reason, so...

Then yesterday we went to church and at night it started raining really hard. It lasted a few hours and our street flooded a little bit. 


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