Mummies, Torture Chambers, and Mines

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of Mexico  , Guanajuato,
Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mexico Journal 07-17-10

Well, today has been a pretty "chill" day for me so far. I did get up early (7 a.m.), considering that I went to bed at 4 this morning. I felt all right when I woke up, though. I took a shower, organized my things, folded some laundry (we washed clothes yesterday), packed up my things for today, and got myself ready. Holly and I ate breakfast quickly. We had pancakes, cantaloupe, and milk for breakfast. Magda took us to our ISA meeting place so that we could leave to go on a tour of the museums around the city.

We took a bus to the Museum of the Mummies. It was really cool to see all the preserved bodies, but it was also creepy to think that my body may look something like that someday. I know the body won't be “me” per say, but just to think of my body decomposing like that weirded me out. It was also strange to see that the people’s bodies were so well preserved. One interesting observation that one of the girls made was that the mummies were not even stored in air-tight, pressure contained boxes. They were just in cases with glass on the front. There was even a space between the edge of the box and the glass – big enough for dust to enter and even for little papers to be thrown inside. We were amazed that the technology to preserve and store artifacts so important as those was not present in the museum. We had some time to shop outside the mummy museum, so I bought some things there. I got bells for my Peruvian host family because they always would ring bells when it was time for our breakfast. I figured it would be a cute and funny gift to send them. I also got myself a keychain and a book about the city.

After the mummy museum, we went to this prison where the Spaniards used to torture the native Mexican people. We saw all sorts of terrible torture devices and even some skeletons of people who had died there. It was really depressing, actually. I know it is important to understand the different parts of the world’s history, but it wasn’t a pleasant sight. The sad thing, though, is that torture like that (or even worse) still goes on today in the world, I’m sure. I don’t know where and I don’t know how, but I believe it is probably happening somewhere – such a sad thought. I pray that God blesses and protects those who are being tortured and that he convicts the hearts of torturers, because that is just a terrible thing.

Last, we went to the Mina de Valenciana (Valenciana Mine). They mine gold, silver, and a lot of other metals out of the rock there. We got to put on hard hats and walk through the mine. Our tour guide was this really wonderful old man. He was really enthusiastic and knowledgeable. He also seemed to like what he was doing. We ended up going down to the bottom of the mine. He told us that at first, to carve out the rock, they had to burn the rock and then put cold water on it so that it would crumble. Then they had more efficient technology like getting wood wet so it would swell and break the rock. Even later, they had metal tools to help cut the rock. Many people died from working in the mine, though, because they used very old jackhammers that they put up to their chests. With the combined pulsation on their chest all the time and the inhalation of horrible fragments of rock (almost like inhaling glass), their lungs became really, really bad. What a horrible job! Our tour guide worked in the mine for many, many years and is now able to do tourism. He asked us for tips, but Alma paid him a large sum for all of us. I really felt like giving him a tip anyway, because he was so nice, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to make the other students feel badly for not or stand out. I should have just done it, though. I regret that now.

On our way home, we had to pass by our house, so the bus just dropped us off at our street. Holly and I walked home. I did a little journaling when I got back, but I was so tired that I just wanted a nap. I ended up taking about an hour nap before we ate lunch. We had potato salad, Spanish rice, breaded chicken, and bread for dinner. It was really good! Magda also made cantaloupe juice. Yum! During dinner we had so many interesting conversations! We ended up talking about the Mexican government first. The girls were saying how frustrated they are that the Guanajuato government is spending 200 million pesos (about 20 million dollars) to build a huge building for the bicentennial festival of independence when so many people in the country are suffering and the money could be used for some other cause to help the people. They were saying that the President was raised in a poor neighborhood, so he doesn’t really know how to run a country well. They were also explaining why there is so much violence and drug problems in Mexico now. According to the girls, there used to just be a little drug trafficking near Tijuana and the border. However, the President’s brother is in the drug business big time. The President wants his brother to be the only drug lord in Mexico, so the police have started really cracking down on all the other drug distributors and are causing drug wars among distributors. This is why the violence is spreading all over. What corruption! I guess it is interesting to know what the perspective of a true Mexican person is about the violence, though. After talking about that, we moved on to sad movies. We are thinking about going to Eclipse (the third Twilight Movie) tonight. We talked about how we cry at movies and Aura was telling us about how her boyfriend, Mao, cried at Toy Story 3. Then, she told us that he was so moved and he told her that the movie had such a profound message. He was crying and she said, “Yeah, the message of unity in the movie when all the toys clasp hands at the end is powerful!” He commented back, “No! It’s that all our toys are still in our closets and we should take them out and take care of them!” He was totally serious, too. All of us were DYING with laugher! It was hilarious. Maybe you had to be there for it to be funny, but the fact that he said the message was so profound and that was what he got out of the movie was really funny.

After lunch, I ended up talking to Melanie on Skype, chatting with Rusty and Rebecca, and talking to my Mom and Dad on Skype as well. That took a long time, but it was worth it. After that, I worked on uploading pictures and finishing up my journals. I’m planning to work on homework for a while and also hopefully go to the movies with Aura and Bugui. I’m not sure they are going to go, but it would be nice if I could spend some time with them. Anyway, we’ll see what happens. Tomorrow we are climbing the mountain, La Bufa, so I want to get a little rest tonight, so we’ll see what happens! Hasta Luego!

Well, I finished up with my journals and Aura came in to talk to me about the movie for a while. I ended up showing her a bunch of my WCS videos. She seemed really into it and thought it was cool. I appreciated that she watched them with me. We had a fun time talking about dance together. She mentioned that she’d like us to see Center Stage together since I haven’t seen it. I’d like to watch it with her. Anyway, as soon as we were done with the videos, we got ready for the movie.

Magda, Aura, and I went to the movie. Magda drove, which was nice. We got there at around 10:00. The movie didn’t start until 10:30, so we had quite a bit of time to just hang out. We bought our tickets, popcorn, and pop. Aura and I ended up sitting at a little table and Magda went to get herself a drink for the movie. Somehow Aura and I got on the topic of guys. She shared with me that she broke up with Mao, her boyfriend, a few days ago. I feel bad for her because I know she’s hurting. I am so glad that I went to the movies with them because we had the opportunity to really get to know each other better. I feel like we established a friendship tonight, which was meaningful to me. It was so nice to just be with the two of them.

The movie was good, too. It was actually really funny because it was sort of cheesy and overly romantic. I am so absolutely proud to say that I understood the whole movie! There were a few words (around 10ish) that I didn’t understand, but that’s not bad in a 2 hour movie! I can’t believe I understood so much! I even caught the jokes and everything. That made me very excited. I can watch regular movies in Spanish and enjoy them just like in English. It is yet another development in my quest to become a fluent Spanish speaker. The movie was also funny because Bella kept switching from guy to guy. One minute she loved one guy and the next minute she loved the other one. It was really dramatic. Plus, the speeches that those guys gave to that girl do not occur in this world. Haha. I am a firm believer that no guy would honestly say what those boys said to her in the movie. Aura and I kept looking at each other in the movie, laughing, and saying, “That just doesn’t happen in real life.” Anyway, perhaps we’re a bit pessimistic at this point, but maybe it’s just realism. There were a lot of moments where we just laughed at the movie. It was really good and made me feel included with the family.

I don’t know why, but I feel happy here. Perhaps it is because I’m having amazing experiences, but I just feel like I’m able to appreciate the small daily moments so much here because I know I need to appreciate and enjoy each day. I wish I did that more at home instead of working so hard on stuff that doesn’t matter so much. Perhaps this will actually make a difference in how I do things when I return home. Oh, speaking of returning home. I’m already sad that the end of the trip is coming so fast. It just passes in the blink of an eye. It will be wonderful to see my parents, family, and friends again, but I will miss this place so much. Yes, I do realize that I still have almost a month of trip left, but I just feel like the days pass so quickly and that I am just going to fall in love with the people and the place and have to leave. I don’t know how I’m going to get back here, but I would absolutely love to come back. I guess I’ll have to figure that out later. Maybe in the next couple of weeks my attitude will change, but I’m not sure it will. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ve just been working on my journal since I got back from the movie. I’m going to try to upload some more photos before bed, but we’ll see how that works out! I am tired, after all. Well, goodnight for now!
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