Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mexico City

In June we went to Mexico City to visit Sean's mission. It was great to meet the people he loved and served as well as experience the Mexican culture.

Day 1
After checking into our hotel there wasn't much time for anything but dinner on our first day in Mexico City. We ate at the rotating restaurant on top of the World Trade Center. Our first experience with driving in Mexico City was a little exciting but once we were there the view was

Day 2
After only one night in Mexico we took a road trip to Tenancingo which is a small town South West of Mexico City. This was Sean's last area on his mission. We all quickly discovered why he fell in love with it.

In Tenancingo we met the Sanchez family. Sean was able to baptize most of the family while he was there. They were very nice and invited all 6 of us over for a BBQ that night. The food was amazing... except for the special corn and mayonnaise dish which will forever make me think twice about eating corn. Why the pictures were taken while I was eating that stuff I'll never know...

Day 3
The Sanchez family insisted that we take their son, Jonathan, with us to be a tour guide around Tenancingo. He took us to a Monastery up high in the hills. It was a beautiful building tucked away in the middle of nowhere. There were only a few other people there at the time but apparently many people go there to worship and it can get very busy.

On our drive back to Mexico City we stopped at one of the many restaurants along the side of the road in a state park. The restaurant looked like it was safe and had a great view. The food was very traditional and pretty good. Unfortunately, we will now all remember it as the restaurant were Sean's dad got food poisoning and threw up over 30 times that night.

Back in Mexico City, before the food sickness, we were able to explore the downtown area and do a bit of shopping. Upon our return to the hotel we experienced our first Mexican protest. It just so happened that our hotel was on the main protest road. This one had to do with something about the school systems.

Day 4
Today we were able to explore Mexico City a little more via a 4 hour tour bus ride.

Sean's dad could not resist getting a picture of himself and his future partner in front of the Mexican Supreme Court.

There were all sorts of interesting things around Zocalo, which is one of the biggest public squares in the world. One of these things was the Indian dancers dancing around incense and other offerings to their gods.

Another interesting thing to see was the number of native lining the street that offered blessings and cleanings to the people walking by, for a price of course. What was even more surprising was the number of people that actually took them up on their offer, and were very serious about it too.

The Catedral Metropolitan was also a sight we stopped at while at the Zocalo. It is considered one of the greatest religious buildings in Latin America and, interestingly enough, it was built on the sunken remains of the Aztecs' principle temples. Inside was spectacular.

At all the traffic lights there are street performers and people trying to sell you stuff. They'll do pretty much anything to make a peso.

The Angel of Independence is one of the most famous statues in Mexico City. It commemorates the heroes of the struggle against the Spanish rule.

Here are some other random pictures from our tour.

Day 5
Today we took the subway, which was an adventure in itself, to a community in Mexico City called Coyoacan. We were the only white people in the subway, but then again we were usually the only white people every where we went. Coyoacan had some very nice weekend craft fairs and the walk along cobbled streets was gorgeous.

Upon returning from our walk around Coyoacan, we were shocked to find another protest going on right infront of our hotel. This was not any protest though... This was the gay pride parade... There were so many people there they posted police officers infront of our hotel to prevent any funny business from going on.

Kyle got a little too into it...

Day 6
Our day started with a delicious meal in a cave near Teotihuacan. It might not have been real Mexican food but the pina coladas were amazing and I don't think I've ever had better steak.

Teotihuacan is probably one of the most impressive ruins of the ancient world. The enormity of the structures is indescribable. We all enjoyed learning about the mysterious cultures and making small connections to what we know because of the Book of Mormon. We all laughed a little when our tour guide told us that the feathered serpent God is actually believed to be a white man that descended from the heavens who was believed to be the god of heaven and earth. He told us that it was just a German legend.

We decided this must have been an ancient toilet.

That night we went to the Mexican Ballet which ended up being a bunch of Mexican cultural dances. It was awesome to experience the culture through this show.

Day 7
Our last day in Mexico City we visited the first area Sean was in when he served his mission. This was probably the poorest area we saw while we were in Mexico. The pictures really don't do it justice.

Our minivan didn't fit in too well...


A toilet?

The people there were very kind and humble. It was so nice to meet people who loved and looked up to Sean so much. We all fell in love with Ana-lilia and her adorable family.

Her son was hiding from us.

This was their pet dog. We were a little afraid of what diseases we would get by touching it but it was just so darn cute.

And then there was the attack goose... This goose was actually trained to attack anyone who entered the yard!

Our last visit was to a man named Alejandro. He didn't speak any English but he shared his testimony with us and we could all feel the strength of his spirit. By the time we left it felt like we were old friends.