Category Archives: Mexico

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusal POV

June 26, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 003

An Unusual Point of View (or POV) is the theme this week for WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

One of the hints given by the author of WordPress challenge is to take a familiar subject and frame it in a new way. That is the path I have chosen with a photograph I took of an iconic object.

On our third day out of Peru (and, coincidentally, our third day in Mexico), the family and I soaked up the culture as we visited the Museo Nacional de Antropoliga (as seen previously in this photo challenge).

One of the main artifacts housed in this museum is the Aztec Stone of the Sun. Often mischaracterized as a calendar, this gigantic slab of stone resides on a dias in the most prominent part of the museum. It sits by itself and museum patrons are free to walk up to it, but not to touch as the artifact is not protected by any glass.

To obtain a different perspective for one of my shots of the Stone of the Sun, I positioned myself near the entrance and put another stone artifact square in the foreground.

POVCrop

I chose this photo for this week’s challenge because placing the Stone of the Sun in the background fools the eye. The carved circle is twelve feet in diameter, but this shot does not convey that scale. A clue as to its true size is to notice the couple (man in white shirt, woman in sleeveless dress) standing to the right of the Stone of the Sun. They are up on the dias looking at the piece, but they are only half its size.

In The Hands of My Son

June 26, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 003

Your guest photographer for today’s post is my middle child.

I take no responsibility for the subject of his snapshot. All I do stand accused of is the fact that I have posted them for your amusement.

While we were in Mexico, we stopped in a grocery store where they had the following items on sale. My middle child, being of that age where certain words are deliriously funny (and apparently I am still at that age because I snickered too) asked for my camera so he could capture for all time the below products..

Only twenty-two pesos

Only twenty-two pesos

Get ‘em while they’re hot! And just in case, you’re felling tired, try some…

Tony says they're great

Tony says they’re great

In the next post, I promise a return to a maturity level that Sam would find appropriate.

Travel Theme: Big

June 26, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 003

It’s so nice to be moderately settled enough in our new home so that I can answer the weekly photographic challenges posed by on-line folk.

This week’s theme from Where’s My Backpack? is big.

On our third day in Mexico – and our third day after leaving Peru – (and once I was feeling better from the insidious effects of altitude sickness) the family, our host, and I travelled into the heart of Mexico City and visited the Museo Nacional de Antropologia.

In addition to many other fascinating artifacts, this museum is home to the Aztec Stone of the Sun (often mischaracterized as an Aztec calendar), replicas of Mayan murals (such as those an Bonampak), and an Olmec head.

As big as those above items are, there is one thing in this museum that fits this week’s photographic travel theme. After paying admission and handing in your ticket, the first thing the visitor sees of this museum is a large plaza. This plaza is not technically an open-air plaza, because there is a roof.

Except it isn’t a roof. It’s an umbrella. The covering that spans the entire plaza is held up by one single pillar. It is the pillar and the umbrella that are my answer to this week’s challenge.

That's a big roof

That’s a big roof

This picture doesn’t quite do justice to the bigness of the pillar and umbrella, so you’ll just have to travel to Mexico City to see for yourself.

A Place for his Stuff

June 28, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 005

After departing Lima, the family and I travelled to Mexico City. Once I recovered from my altitude sickness, all of us were able to enjoy a day of sightseeing around Mexico’s capital.

For this Friday, we took a tour around the Castillo de Chapultepec, a lovely piece of real estate and architecture that I might blog about later.

Okay, here’s one picture from the Castle, but only because my middle child took it and he’s quite proud of it…

Take Five

Take Five

After the visit to the castle, all members of the family (except for yours truly) went out on a paddle boat in the lake that is in Chapultepec Park. See…

Pedal Power

Pedal Power

All that aside, one of the neatest things I saw today was a view from outside our host’s window. As we sat down to a wonderful supper, my eyes caught a glimpse of an odd-looking structure off in the background of the apartment’s view of Mexico City. Take a look…

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…and closer…

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…and closer still.

DSCN4794

This interesting-looking building happens to be an art museum which opened in 2011. However, rather than being the art museum for Mexico City or for the country of Mexico, this shrine to the aesthetic houses the personal collection of one man, Mexican billionaire – and the richest man in the world (as of March 2013) – Carlos Slim. Named the Soumaya Museum, it houses works by Monet, Rodin, and Diego Rivera.

It’s also free to the public.

Nice touch, Señor Slim.

Off to the Pyramids

June 25, 2013 – Post-Peru Day 002

The Family is in the midst of our nomadic existence between stops on our international adventure. For the first week after our departure from Peru, we spend those seven days in Mexico.

Our second day in Mexico City saw our family unit visit the ruins of Teotihuacan. To be completely technical, the family unit minus myself partook of the majesty that is this site. I, on this Tuesday, was suffering through my second day of dealing with the same high-altitude symptoms (e.g., headache, dizziness) that leveled me in Puno, Peru. I have now learned that my ceiling for visiting high-altitude locales has been lowered to 2,241 meters (7,352 feet), which is the height of Mexico City.

So, Denver, Colorado, at 1,564 meters (5,130 feet) is still open to me.

Good thing Bangkok clocks in at an average elevation of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet).

For your viewing pleasure – and for mine, since I missed it this time around – here are some of the pictures from that visit.

The centerpiece of the Teotihuacan complex is the Pyramid of the Sun.

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It is possible (and permissible) to climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. From there, you can see another large pyramid entitled the Pyramid of the Moon.

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Now, while it is indeed possible to walk to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, you must take care. Below shows you the steepness of the some of the stairs you need to traverse.

DSCN4513

One of the other main structures at Teotihuacan is called the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. No one in my group took any pictures of this place, but during the next day we all (I got better) visited the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City. In that venue, they have a reconstruction of some of the statues that adorn the Temple of the Feathered Serpent.

DSCN4564Stay tuned to this page for the further wanderings and ramblings of yours truly.

Why Would I Cancel My Order?

Day 004 – July 26, 2011

George Bernard Shaw (BTW, whose 155th birthday is being celebrated today on this my 4th day here in Peru) is given credit for saying that…

England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

I can personally vouch for Shaw’s sentiment, as I beg your indulgence as I digress to a time gone past, to that day of yesteryear, to an epoch known as the 20th century…to when I was in high school.

One of my classmates in English class during my junior year hailed from the country of England (or Great Britian…or the United Kingdom…I can never keep them straight). She sat next to me so I was in a perfect place to hear one day in class as she turned to the boy behind her and politely asked, “Do you have a spare rubber I can use?” The boy was dumbfounded by this quite forward remark and my all-too-innocent ears were also quite shocked by this request…

…until I found out later that in England, a “rubber” is of these things (and that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?)

Back to Peru and Siglo XXI (21st Century) where on this Tuesday in July it was time for dinner and Shaw’s observation was about to be on the menu. Having heard so much about one particular chicken place in our brief stay so far, we decided to order in from Pardo’s Chicken. From the get-go, I knew I was going to like this place. First off, the reputation of Peruvian chicken precedes itself as it has a big name and a following in the States. Secondly, any business named after one of my favorite announcers, Don Pardo, is aces in my book. (Yes, I have favorites announcers…the other two are Gary Owens and Johnny Olson.)

When my lovely wife used our corded phone to call Pardo’s, all was going according to the usual ordering-in script until it wasn’t.

She told the person on the other end of the phone which promotional meal we wanted and the Pardo’s order-taker told her what the total would be. It was the next question that threw my wife. She kept asking the person to repeat the question and then she looked at me with a perplexed look as she said, “They’re asking me how I want to cancel my order. Why would I cancel my order?”

Now, my lovely wife speaks and understands Spanish flawlessly so there was no issue concerning the language barrier here (as, frustratingly, is the case with me as read previously on Sin Polaris). There was something in what the Pardo’s representative was saying that was causing a mix-up.

What the woman on the other end of the line was asking was ¿Como va a cancelar?, which does literally translate to “How will you cancel?” (translation provided by Google Translate). With this question being posed to my order-placing wife, you can see her dilemma.

This is where using the past as a guide would have come in handy. In only a quartet of days, we had come across a few examples of Spanish words that Peruvians use to describe things that are different from the Spanish words my family and I are used to. Just for appetizers, the name of the langauge itself is different. We call it Español, but in Peru, they speak Castellano. Moving on to the salad course, we call an avocado aguacate, but in Peru it is known as palta. Here at the main course, a waiter in Peru is known as mozo, but we know it as mesero. Finishing up with the dessert course on this linguistic menu, we have discovered that a peach is called melocotón in Lima, where we know it as durazno.

This concept of a shared language dividing two people was hitting our little tableaux. As my lovely wife tried to understand what the Pardo’s woman was saying, the order-taker asked in a tone and style similar to explaining math to a first-grader, ¿Como va a pagar?, which comes out to be “How will you pay?”

Peru Travel Tip #004: When ordering over the phone, the phrase ¿Como va a cancelar? means (roughly), “How will you be paying your bill?”. The company wants to know what type of bills you will be paying with so they know how much change to send along with the driver.

Once my wife told the woman that we would paying with two 50 soles notes, all was well. The food arrived earlier than expected, the chicken skin was crispy y muy rico, the French fries came with aji sauce, and the salad even had aguacate palta on it.

At the end of the day, it was good to know that I was not alone in the frustration of trying to navigate the linguistic landscape of a new country.

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