Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Club Rotario Zona Rosa

This morning I joined Club Rotario Zona Rosa for their weekly breakfast meeting. The members were very welcoming and, in addition to my presentation, we had some interesting conversations and discussions on topics such as migration (into Mexico and the US), dynamics at the UNAM, US/Mexico relations and developing global perspectives, and my experiences in Mexico.


presenting. photo courtesy of CR Zona Rosa



















presenting. photo courtesy of CR Zona Rosa





CR Zona Rosa
 with Pedro del Paso Regaert (L) and
2010-2011 Club President Sergio Ruíz Campos (R)

CR Zona Rosa



Pumas: Mexican League Champions

UNAM Pumas beat Morelia Monarcas on Sunday, making them league champions and earning them their 7th Mexican league title.

Photo source: http://televisadeportes.esmas.com/tdn/ 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Concert at Casa del Lago

Saturday the choir gave a concert at Casa del Lago (Lakehouse) in Chapultepec Park. The hall we performed in was pretty -- though a bit small (and hot!) for the turnout. 

It was a cool moment singing Mi Ciudad (My City), a song written about Mexico City. There's a line that says "....es un bosque de espejos que cuida un castillo" ("It's a forest of mirrors that guards a castle"), referring to Chapultepec Park and the Chapultepec Castle. The song has been a staple in the choir's repertoire (at least since I've joined) -- but it was a first for me to sing it while in Chapultepec Park, within view of the castle! 

in front of the Casa del Lago


Lake in Chapultepec Park  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Club Rotario Ciudad Universitario

Friday morning I joined Rotary Club Ciudad Universitario for their weekly meeting, held at Casa Club del Académico behind UNAM's stadium. I'd been planning a visit for a while since it's the club near/associated with my university, but last semester's class schedule just didn't permit it (Friday 8am Philosophy -- not sad that's over). We had a few technical difficulties, but I was able to present and was warmly received, including some follow-up questions as well (differences between US/Mexico cultures, changes in behavior of Mexicans in Mexico vs. Mexicans in the US, etc)



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Article: Mexico City plans to send residents quake alerts by text message, social networking sites

Apparently there's a new plan in the works to alert DF residents about earthquakes via texts, Facebook and Twitter. Sounds good to me, because, even though the early-warning alarm system went off, I certainly never heard anything. (Though I'm not sure how effective texts would be since sometimes they're pretty slow arriving...)

To read the article, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/mexico-city-plans-to-send-residents-quake-alerts-by-text-message-social-networking-sites/2011/05/06/AFKz8fCG_story.html

Monday, May 9, 2011

A man and his duck: Part II

For those of you that may have doubted my story about the man and his pet duck that hang out in the park.... here ya go: 

Peace March photos link

To see photos from this weekend's peace march, taken by Fabrizio Lorusso, visit:

https://picasaweb.google.com/FabrizioLorussoMex/MarchaPorLaPazMexico#

A visit to the doctor

Sunday afternoon at the doctor's (yup, sick again) I got the normal questions -- what's wrong? fever? aches/pains? This time, I got some extras as well, including:
  • Why am I in Mexico?
  • Since I'm interested in Latin America, which country do I like the best?
  • What's the biggest difference I see between the US and Latin America? 
  • Do I think 9/11 was real or a conspiracy?
  • How do I (and the rest of the US) feel about the US being such a military/defense-oriented country? 
I had to start my antibiotics with two intramuscular shots (ouch!!). I had to buy the antibiotic and syringe and then find someone who could give it to me. Not quite what I'm used to. 

While at the pharmacy, I also saw a boy playing video games with his pet iguana perched on his shoulder/head. 

Just another Sunday afternoon in the DF.....





Sunday, May 8, 2011

Biking in the city

Friday I met up with a friend for lunch around Reforma and the Angel de Independencia. The DF has a bike program in certain parts of the city where -- once you have a card -- you can borrow a bike for up to  two hours and then return it to any of the designated bike stands. I borrowed a card and we rode bikes to lunch, her apartment, and for frozen yogurt (yum!).

I'm not going to lie -- it was slightly terrifying as my first time riding a bike in the city. Traffic rules are more like suggestions and the mentality is every man/woman/car for themselves here in the DF. So, while we did ride on walkways and in bike lanes when available, we still had to cross streets, weave through cars and people, and sometimes ride between the parked and moving cars. And bike lanes don't necessarily mean there won't be a car parked in the middle of it. It's great that the DF is providing the option of biking in the city (for environmental reasons, health reasons, etc), but the "bike culture" still needs some work.




Friday, May 6, 2011

Article: Mexican protesters begin 3-day march seeking end to drug war

An article about this weekend's march for peace and an end to the drug war violence.

See the original article at http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/05/05/mexico.peace.march/


Mexican protesters begin 3-day march seeking end to drug war

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 5, 2011 9:25 p.m. EDT



Cuernavaca, Mexico (CNN) -- Hundreds of protesters began a three-day march to Mexico's capital Thursday, demanding peace in the war between the government and drug cartels.
Some carried signs bearing the names of victims of the brutal wave of drug-related violence that has hit many parts of the country. Others who gathered in the central Mexican city of Cuernavaca toted a large black banner that said "STOP THE WAR."
Poet Javier Sicilia held a Mexican flag as he began the 80-kilometer (50-mile) walk, but he sharply criticized the country's president, who began a crackdown on drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
"We cannot understand a war that is badly planned, a war that is badly directed. We cannot understand why he does not understand why the criminals are out there. If they are out there, it is because the institutions and the state are co-opted," Sicilia said.
The well-known writer has become one of the most outspoken opponents of Mexico's drug war and widespread drug-related violence since his son's slaying in March. He has led several demonstrations and vocally criticized officials' handling of the case.
Thursday's march is scheduled to culminate Sunday with a large demonstration in Mexico City's central square. The goal, Sicilia said, is to call for an end to violence and demand that Mexican authorities sign an agreement to re-establish peace and justice in the country.
Without referring directly to the marchers, Mexican President Felipe Calderon issued a statement late Wednesday night reiterating his government's commitment to fighting organized crime.
"Retreating from the fight is not an option. Quite the opposite. We must redouble our efforts, because if we stop fighting, they are going to kidnap, extort and kill all over the country," Calderon said. "Because marching back means things will get worse. If we retreat, we will allow gangs of criminals to walk all the streets of Mexico with impunity, assaulting people without anyone stopping them."
Sicilia's 24-year-old son was found dead on March 28, crammed into a car with six other bodies in Cuernavaca. Masking tape was wrapped around their head, faces, wrists and ankles.
Authorities believe all seven victims suffocated to death, and they have said members of Mexico's Pacifico Sur cartel are responsible. Two suspects have been arrested.
The case of Sicilia's son caught Calderon's attention, and the interest of the Mexican public, well before Thursday's march.
In an interview with the Mexican newspaper Excelsior last month, Calderon said the government is committed to finding those responsible for the crime.
"We already have clearly identified those responsible. ... We are on their trail and I hope we can capture them," he said.
Sicilia has said his crusade to demand justice is not just about his son.
"There are many dead and there is much pain. ... These citizens have the same dignity as my son," he told CNN in a recent interview.
In his statement Wednesday, Calderon acknowledged that some Mexicans are less committed to -- and afraid of -- his fight against criminals. But he showed no sign of changing his approach.
"Just like you, I also want a Mexico without violence. I want a peaceful Mexico. But this goal will not be accomplished with false exits. The solution is to stop the criminals, who are the enemies of Mexico," he said.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Earthquake

Well there's a new experience for the list....

This morning there was a 5.8 earthquake in the DF.

I was in my room, checking my email before heading out to class. I have necklaces hanging up and they suddenly starting to sway. I thought, "Well that's odd. I don't think the breeze is coming in that strong from the window." Then I felt my chair start to shake. It only lasted a few seconds (thank goodness), but was definitely a new and strange experience.

According to what I've seen online, no damage or injuries have been reported and helicopters have been circling (which I've been hearing from my apartment) to check for damage.

I can't even imagine what it must have been like in Japan, Haiti, Chile and other recent, more intense earthquakes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo (or May 5 in Spanish). For some people in the US, this day is a celebration of Mexican heritage. For many others, this day has become an excuse to drink margaritas and possibly wear a sombrero. I've already seen various Facebook statuses and events posted (yes, my personal "cultural radar") and know that many people will be going out for the "drinking holiday."

But do you know what Cinco de Mayo celebrates? Or that there is much less celebration in Mexico than in the US?

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day, but rather the remembrance of an unlikely (and short-lived) victory against the French in a battle in Puebla, Mexico in 1862, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza. Click here to read what All About Puebla has to say in "Why Cinco de Mayo Matters in Mexico, U.S."