11 de marzo, viernes

Last day!  We were told we would go to the UDLAP and then Choulala and be back by 1 or 1:30.  Ha ha.  I knew that would never work out.

                So the bus left early, about 8:15 for the university.  We had a very long tour.  It was fine, but visiting wasn’t that interesting for me.  The UDLAP was pretty much like any other college campus of about 8000 students, so while it was okay to visit, I wasn’t horribly impressed or agog at anything.  It was fine.  Just that.  I know the visit was to recruit more international students, and that’s fine.  I would even consider teaching there (they want/need international instructors), but I’m not doing anything like that while my kids are still at home.

                After the UDLAP we took a short bus ride into Choulala proper.  It seemed like a cute town.  Tim said it has about 200,000, but it didn’t feel as big as Oaxaca.  Anyway, we ended up eating lunch in an old favorite hangout of Tim’s.  The Mexican food looked good, but I ended up having broasted chicken, rice, french fries, and salad with guacamole.  I was impressed with neither the service nor the food.

                We started a tour of the pyramid with Porfino, an old guy who I guess works on only tips.  Or something.  Anyway, he took us first to the museum and then up the hill to the church.  To get up to the church we climbed 196 stairs, I believe.  Or maybe it was 251.  At any rate, it was a lot.  The view was pretty and so was the church, even if it was a bit creepy.  Not being Catholic, I just don’t understand the religion.  It seems to be so much about wealth, power, control, and getting wealth, power and control through violence, yet it remains the most popular religion in the world.  And I know  a lot of religions are like that – probably because people are naturally like that, but I just don’t see how a place can be considered so wonderful and holy when it crushed an entire religious mecca and built a church of its own after knocking down another religious temple.  That, and the shops selling pop and ice cream in the shadow of the church’s doorway.  After the church, Porfino took the group to the courtyard of altars.  It was pretty cool.

                As expected, we didn’t get home until 4 pm.  So no free time for us.  We met quick to fill out evaluations, then Sue and I went swimming for a few minutes.  We got ready and proceeded out as a large group – Betsy, Anne, Bridget, Janet, Sue, Sandy, Josie (a student) and I.  We went inside the cathedral in the zocalo – once again, a ridiculuously ornate church most likely built on the blood, sweat, tears, and money of the most poor.  After that, we did a bit of shopping and had a slightly uncomfortable moment where Sue and Sandy decided to break off and go to dinner – Sandy is used to eating early. We continued down candy street to find the artisans shops, but were side-tracked by an interesting looking restaurant called Entre Tierra.  It turned out to be the best meal I had all trip, so that was kind of awesome.  I decided, that since I had a bit of extra cash, I was going to treat myself to an excellent dinner.  I had a gin and tonic, escargot, a yummy spinach salad with fried brie, tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, candied apples and a kind of sweet balsamic vinagrette dressing, and a fettucini alfredo made with a gorgonzola sauce and giant shrimp.  Also, Anne and I split a bottle of wine.  With tip, the meal came to about $55 US, and I was happy to spend every cent of it.  It was just a really fun meal, and I had a great time with all the girls (except, having Josie there – a student – made me a bit uncomfortable.  Besides the fact that she’s very immature, it was tiring to be around her and watch her vie for attention all the time).

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