Mexico was fantastic.
- The zoo. They had a lots of endangered animals, and animals that only ever live in Mexico. They had not just 1 but 3 white tigers, renowned for being owned by drug lords (?). They also had a polar bear. As well as more normal ones; gorillas, crocodiles, white lions, normal lions, coyotes, hyenas (but they weren’t out), lots of birds, kangeroos, monkeys, flamingos, elephants, giraffes, cows, horses, wolves, camels. The camels were gross, they were lying down flopping everywhere. They don’t really use bars/cages there, they rely on just sort of moat to keep the animals from escaping from each enclosure. My irish friend Jonathan was excellent company, would not have been nearly as fun without him. When the female lion came towards us he said that that was because all females are attracted to him, regardless of species. Interesting theory.
- The covered market called San Juan de Dios. I saw some crazy things. Chicks dyed pink, purple, blue, yellow and red. Mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits. Lots of fake flowers. Cute shot glasses, keyrings and fancy mini sombreros. Lots of odd looking food. Weird pastes and gels, supposedly edible. Good vibes there; buena onda.
- The projects abroad office. You could just go and hang out with the guys there at any time during the day, use their internet for free, borrow books, get a drink and advice. I had a salsa lesson there, which was very enjoyable even though I was probably terrible! When we went out for drinks, they paid the first round which was great.. And the guys who worked there were very funny!
- Puerto Vallerta. This was a beach town 6 hours away by coach. Went quite spontaneously with Jonathan and JC one weekend. First night we stayed with a woman we met on the bus as it was very late and the second night in a hotel that had air conditioning. The food there was excellent, had quesadilla with chicken that came with rice and beans and tortilla chips with lovely fresh lemonade. Jonathan got totally sunburnt! Tried a margarita, and a mojito. The first tasted like sea water and the second I’ve had better in London! Was a great place.
- The people. Firstly my friends out there; Jonathan, Marie, Elize, JC. But the people in Mexico were also fantastic, so friendly. Got invited back to dinner a lot. One taxi driver turned to me and said in broken english “I cook so good, you want to marry me.” He was about 60. The people in Houston were also really friendly. Makes me think kind of differently about how we treat strangers in London/England.
- Nomad. This is where, half a week in, I got my nose pierced! The guy was so sweet, and hot. Had to put his fingers up my nose. I giggled the whole way through.
- Oxxo. This was the supermarket, they sold everything. Had to buy a phone there as normal phones just.. don’t work in Mexico, at all. Sold delicious cinnamon rolls made by Bimbo the biggest bread brand. Soo good, I miss them. They were everywhere, on every street.
- Lucha Libre! Crazy mexican fighting where they dress up in skin tight body suits and masks and fling each other around, or do acrobatic moves off the ropes ending up in painful body slams. It was so hilarious; like a very strange theatre piece, or dance.
- The weather, hot but not tooo hot. Didn’t rain too often. Sunny.
- Host family. Very friendly. Nice house. Good food.
- Watching the OC with Jonathan. That show is awesome.
- The kids. I love children. My favourite was Sergio. I am so sad I didn’t get a photo of him.
- Oreo ice cream. Yum.
- The orphanage. I was only there because they get paid to accept volunteers. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing as nobody spoke to me or told me what I was doing was right. They only wanted me to do chores, which I did some of. They hit the kids. The older ones control the younger ones. All the kids have seen so many volunteers that they don’t trust you at all, or some didn’t bother to talk to me. It was sad. I wish I spoke more Spanish so I could have engaged with them more. All I could do was show by example, that to get a 2 year old to sleep or calm down, you hold them and stroke them and speak quietly, you don’t hit them with a stick and shout..
- The mean taxi drivers who wouldn’t do 2 stops, meaning I had to walk down the dangerous road between my house and the other one at night.
- The buses. The roads there are terrible, makes going on the bus very painful as they’re always going on speed bumps and making people fly in the air, or smack your knees on the seat in front. Everyone sits on the aisle side rather than window, so you have to squeeze past them to sit down. But really, that was just part of the Mexican experience so it wasn’t really a lowlight!
- The way no one speaks English! But that’s really my fault, not theirs- I should have learnt more Spanish. It always worked out anyway.