I can’t believe how short of a time we have left here in Mexico. I feel like this trip just started. My friend Nick told me a while ago that the next time we got on a plane we’d be going home. I miss my family and friends so badly, but thinking of leaving this amazing experience blurs my vision.
We went to a soccer game for Cruz Azul last week and it was crazy. I’ve never been a huge fan of soccer, but it was exciting to go to a game in Mexico because soccer is such a big sport in Latin America. We went to a really large stadium and sat pretty high up and had a great view of the entire field. Virtually everyone bought jerseys (including me despite the fact that I’m broke) and we were a huge blue and white mass. Pizza and extremely tall beer was everywhere and I think I may have broken a vocal chord screaming at all the wrong times for our team. I’m not sure I ever really knew what was going on unless we scored, but it was one of the most fun excursions we’ve had. And it definitely helped that we didn’t have to pay for the game. The results: we won the game!
A couple of days ago, group A went on an excursion to Mexico City (group B is there today) to some Diego Rivera murals and a Cathedral. I wasn’t too pumped for this excursion (mainly because I was extremely tired and had a paper due the next day), but it turned out to be very interesting. We drove around 3 hours to get to our first site, which was a sufficient amount of time for my nap, and the first stop was an archaeological site. The place we went to was on an island (I never saw any water though…), and the buildings were crooked because they were sinking. The site we went to had been discovered by construction workers while digging to create a new building or something, and they hit a lot of rock and could not get past it. It turned out that there are about seven layers of building underneath. When the Aztecs realized that they were sinking, they simply rebuilt everything on top of the old foundations. It was really interesting to see the different layers of the same constructions. There were flights of stairs that appeared to lead nowhere and large plazas dedicated to the two most feared gods, one of them being Tlaloc, the god of rain. In order to appease Tlaloc, human sacrifices were made. Now, we have learned about a lot of ancient people practicing human sacrifices, but nothing compared to these. To perform these human sacrifices, each limb was held by a different person, one would hold the knife, and then a very skilled person would cut out the victim’s heart and rush to drop it into the open mouth of Tlaloc while the heart was still beating. The victim would then have their throat sliced and temples pierced and was disposed of. The most intriguing part of all this is that sometimes over 60 people would be sacrificed a day. It sounds so incredibly brutal, but it was an honor to be a sacrificial victim. Today people are honored to serve their gods through preaching or going on mission trips, not having their still-beating hearts cut out. I think I’ll stick to honoring my God through prayer that this type of sacrifice will never again be considered.
During our time Mexico, most of us have become somewhat accustomed to life in Latin America, and our professors have notified us that they think we are slacking off a bit. Because of this, they have provided us with an incentive to behave better, which they are calling “The Mexico Challenge.” This is what I like to call the Cuernavaca Covenant. There are 5 rules that we are supposed to follow to increase our cultural experience and limit North American influence while we are here, and if we succeed in abiding these rules for one week, there is a grand, yet unmentionable, prize. The rules basically condemn eating, watching tv, going on the internet, and spending too much time with each other doing North American activities. In order to pass the challenge, you have to be more Mexican than the actual Mexicans. We’re not allowed to eat at North American food chains, watch North American tv or movies, go on the internet for any other purpose besides school work and vital emails, we have to spend at least one hour a day visiting a cultural site, and spend one hour a day talking to a local about something other than a purchase of food, drinks, or other items. I have signed on for this challenge, probably surprisingly to most of the people reading this, and the prize had better be worth it. The only aspect of my life here in Mexico that is actually unrestricted by the Cuernavaca Covenant is that cerveza is still allowed. And it’s probably the only thing that will get me through the next five days left of the challenge.
We have one more Mexico City excursion, and I’m not sure what that entails, but I am getting excited for the Day of the Dead festivities that will be taking place here soon. Many of us are also planning to celebrate Halloween here, and Fiesta Bar, one that many of us frequent, has decided to put on a Halloween party for us. The person with the best costume will win a bottle of Mexican tequila, so many costume ideas have been floating around such as transvestites, school girls, and Barney. Any ideas on how I could top that without any money would be greatly appreciated.