By aaron.axvig, Sat, 12/23/2006 - 03:00

I've been to several interesting things over the last couple of days:

Thursday Javier, Daniela & I went to an area of the town called Xochimilco.  We saw an old cathedral (not as nice as many that I've seen, and definitely showing it's age, but still impressive), ate at a market, and went for a ride in "trajineras."  There is a canal system in that part of the city, and the trajineras are the most common type of boat there.  They are propelled by pushing a pole against the ground, which is about 8 feet under water.  We went on a trip of about 1.5 hours.  It was very relaxing.  There are other trajineras that pull up along side you, offering a variety of services, ranging from taking your picture or selling you food to a real live mariachi performance (and even marimbas if you prefer).  Reportedly they are pretty popular for parties at night too.

Friday Aline, Angeles, Daniela, and I went shopping (Christmas shopping of course).  First we went to Suburbia, which is a lot like Herbergers, and then to Wal-Mart.  After that Angeles dropped us of at Frida Kahlo's former house, which is now a museum/art gallery dedicated to her.  She was a painter who lived a very traumatic life.  Then we went to a market and had quesadillas and sopas, which are tostadas with beans, lettuce, cream, and steak.  The museum is in a part of the city called Coyoacan (my third trip there), and we went to the market in the plaza area, where we tried some new candies.

This morning we went shopping with Aline's friend Miren at the same Suburbia as yesterday.  Well, that was after waiting "1/2 hour" (actually more like 1 1/2 hours) for Miren to dye her hair.  We had frozen yogurt at a place called Nutrissa, which was very similar to TCBY.  We dropped Miren off at her house, and then went home for a afternoon lunch of hamburgers, which were very good.

No special plans for tonight, but tomorrow will be busy with all the relatives coming.  It's a very large family.

By aaron.axvig, Fri, 10/27/2006 - 03:00

Today at 1:00pm all the international students took a picture together.  (Except for the one guy on my floor who partied too hard last night and slept though it.)  It actually went surprisingly fast, and afterwards I went to a new restaurant with some friends.  Their signature food is the "Papa Especial," or Special Potato.  So of course I got that.

It turned out to be huge--probably a liter of mashed potatoes mixed with two kinds of cheese, covered in finely chopped steak.  It came in a sort of tinfoil bowl.  I somehow managed to choke most of it down, and then waddled home.  I'm headed to the pool now to enjoy what may be one of the last days where it's warm enough to do that.

By aaron.axvig, Wed, 10/25/2006 - 03:00

In Mexico there is an interesting little innovation called Tetra Pak.  In the grocery store there are cartons of milk sitting on the shelves, warm.  Evidently, they don't get old because they have been sanitized using the Tetra Pak process (which is owned by a company, also called Tetra Pak, which invented the first paper milk carton and is based out of Sweden).  This process involves heating the milk to higher temperatures than pasteurization, but for only a few seconds--much shorter than pasteurization.  It is then instantaneously cooled to avoid killing all the nutrition.  By killing all the bacteria at the high temperature, there is nothing to make the milk get old while sitting on the shelf.

They offer a couple of different flavors of this, in addition to the regular plain milk.  I've seen chocolate, strawberry, and cookies and cream.  The strawberry is pretty good; I haven't tried the others yet.

I don't know if this hasn't made it to the US yet or maybe I just never saw it there, but I think it's an interesting little thing.

By aaron.axvig, Fri, 10/06/2006 - 03:00

After being reminded by my mother several times that I should try chilaquiles sometime, I finally got around to it today.  My Bolivian neighbor walked in and asked me if I had tried them yet, and I said no.  About 15 minutes later we were at the cafeteria on campus.

This is a type of food very much like nachos.  The chips are little corn chips like Fritos, and covered in beans, cheese, and some sauce.  They are pretty good.  Apparently they consider them junk food here though.  I reckon they aren't any worse than pizza.

By aaron.axvig, Tue, 10/03/2006 - 03:00

The latest installment in this series features frankfurters.  I have realized that this is probably a name made up by someone in my family (just like "corn-flake bars" which a lot of people know as skotcheroos).  Frankfurters are approximately 3"x4" pieces of dough deep fried and eaten with jelly or syrup on top.  Very delicious, and not unlike homemade elephant ears (the circus food).

By aaron.axvig, Sun, 09/03/2006 - 03:00

I went swimming with some other guys from the floor yesterday afternoon.  They had gone to the mall and bought 4 big float water toys, so they were diving in and out of them, jumping on them from out of the pool, and generally giving them a beating.  I threw a lot of frisbee too, but sometimes my throws were pretty bad.  Particularly every time Kyle would want to jump from the side of the pool and catch the frisbee, when I would crumble under the pressure and execute a horrible throw, maybe behind him or about twenty feet short.  Or there was the one time were I motioned where I was going to throw it with my other hand (in an attempt to give myself confidence for a good throw), and then he jumped thinking I was going to throw the frisbee.  I never did, because I was still motioning.  After a while, I just floated around, half-asleep on one of the floaties.

Maybe an hour later, my enrollment in Conversation Club wandered through my mind.  Then I realized I was supposed to meet a couple Mexicans for it that evening, and jumped out of the water to check my watch.  Luckily I made it to the coffeeshop in time to meet them.  They (Misamy and Pedro) were fun to talk with, probably because their English wasn't perfect like everyone else's here.  In fact, they struggled a fair amount, but I'm sure that my Spanish is still far worse.

On the way back home from that, I met some guys from the floor that were going out to eat, so I tagged along.  They showed me another new restaurant, and since I hadn't eaten much yet, decided I would go for the 12" pizza that I saw on the menu ($9).  When I ordered it, the waiter babbled something which I couldn't understand, so one guy that was with us told me that they had two-for-one pizzas on that day.  Basically, she was asking if I wanted a free pizza.  But I figured that I would have enough trouble eating one pizza, so said "No thanks."  Just Kidding.  I actually did eat a whole pizza, and shared the other one with everyone else who was eating too.

Then we headed back to the dorm and got ready to head to a club.  This one was supposed to be different because they had "reggatone" music, but I thought it was about the same type of music as the couple of other clubs that I went to (no live band, but lots of projector screens with music videos).  Afterwards we went to a friend-of-my-neighbor's apartment for a couple of hours, where I spread the great American tradition of Go Fish! to some Mexicans.  I finally made it to bed at 6:30am.

By aaron.axvig, Sat, 09/02/2006 - 03:00

Today I ate tacos again, but I was adventurous and tried a new type of meat.  They have what could be called a "spit" outside of the taco shop, but it's a unique spit because it is mounted so the axis that the meat rotates around is vertical rather than horizontal, and the fire is next to the meat with a reflector directing the heat.  The meat is in a conical shape, with the fat part towards the top.  To serve it they hold a tortilla against the meat and shave some of it off with a knife, catching it with the tortilla.  I guess it's some kind of pork, and it ended up being really good.  It looked a lot like bacon, but was more moist and had excellent flavor.  As my dad would say, it tastes just like candy.

Then I went to a class that was rescheduled from Wednesday night two weeks from now to tonight 6-9pm.  I got there and someone from the class was sitting outside saying she'd just gotten an e-mail from him informing us that he was out of town.  He's got a horrible e-mail technique: he sends an e-mail to two of the girls in class, who then have to forward it on to whomever else in the class they have an e-mail for, who hopefully then give it to everyone else.  Next class period I'm going to give him my address too.

For supper I went to a different taco shop and had quesadillas with sausage that tasted a lot like the sausage we use in our cheese dip at home.  They were "make-you-own" quesadillas--I was given a small frying pan with melted cheese and meat in it and three tortillas.  It was very filling.  We saw Vicente Fox give a speech on TV at the restaurant, but I couldn't hear enough to try to understand it.


2019-10-20 - Its called tacos al pastor, and I still love it!

By aaron.axvig, Wed, 08/30/2006 - 23:00

I just confirmed that I'm going on a trip with some friends to Guadalajara for Mexican Independence Day.  I'll be leaving on the 15th and getting back on the 17th.  The actual Independence Day is the 16th.  It's the day that Miguel Hidalgo kicked off the overthrow against the Spaniards who were governing Mexico.

In the category of stupid things that happen, today I bought what I thought was a thing of yogurt at the grocery store.  It didn't really say yogurt on the front, but it did say "Light" and "Crema Acidificada Reducida" on the front.  It was in a yogurt-type of container though, so I thought I'd take a gamble.  Plus, yogurt is made in some kind of culturing process that involves acid, right (and so is cheese, except they both actually use bacteria I think)?  Now before you go assuming I ate cheese like it was going to be yogurt, I can proudly say I didn't.  This is because after I took the cover off, I saw on the tinfoil seal the word "queso."  Why they couldn't be bothered to put this on the outside of the container, I have no idea.  So now I have ~8 ounces of cheese in a plastic tub that I have no idea what to do with.  Maybe I'll find some crackers.

By aaron.axvig, Tue, 08/29/2006 - 23:00

Yep, I'm sick again.  I don't know why, but I suspect some relatives of mine may accuse me of not eating enough fruit (I do have some bananas every once in a while, but other than that, it's just some lime juice here and there).  At the advice of my sister I just went and got some orange juice, which besides probably having some good stuff in it feels good for my throat too.  I also picked up some of the pastries (alright, I'll be honest, they're cookies, but one looks like a croissant) they have at the little grocery store.

For my class tonight I'm supposed to track down financial data about the Mexican economy from 1990 to 2005, but that is proving difficult to find.  Also, we have to find out the meanings of all 13 "Incoterms," which are pretty interesting.  It's funny all the new stuff that I'm learning in these business classes.

By aaron.axvig, Mon, 08/28/2006 - 23:00

This morning at 11:30 my roommate and I met some classmates from our Wednesday night class to go an take a tour of Bancomext (the national bank of Mexico).  Our professor had told us that we should do this to try and learn about what influences they have on importing and exporting operations in Mexico.  So we all took a couple taxis there, and wound up outside a gigantic mall.  It wasn't very busy though, and there didn't seem to be a lot of stores in it.  I wonder if I just keep going to malls at the wrong time of day, or what, but I've been to 3 multi-level malls that were nearly empty.

We found the bank inside, and all signed in at the front desk.  Then we got to the back area, and there were already a bunch of people from out class standing around.  I'm not sure what all went on then, but some of the native Spanish speakers talked to the guy behind the desk there, and got some pamphlets for all of us.  However, there was evidently no tour (or maybe there is if you call ahead of time, no one really seemed to find out for sure).  We left, and a couple of us walked across to eat at Popeye's.  I had some fish that was a lot like at Long John Silver's.

This evening I had Chinese food for supper which wasn't real good, and watched some TV with the other residents here.