Thursday, February 27, 2014

Getting acclimated to one of the world's biggest cities

Letter from Cindy:

At the National Palace in the heart of Mexico City, where we saw Diego Rivera's murals.
Our neighborhood is densely packed, part of a suburb of 500,000. 

Dear Friends and Family,
Jim and I are still wandering the globe. We are in Mexico again, as some of you already know. Jim has accepted a one-year appointment as visiting professor of Communications and Digital Arts at Tecnologico de Monterrey's campus near Mexico City. Tec is an innovative private university with 13 branches around Mexico.
We are living in Ciudad Lopez Mateos, 30 to 40 minutes northwest of the capital. This is quite different from life in Guadalajara, where we lived in an upscale neighborhood with plenty of shops, restaurants, parks and a car. 
This neighborhood is a very large, middle-class, suburban satellite city. Steep hills, small colorful houses, no yards, no parks, no good restaurants within walking distance.

Along our walk to campus.
 The photo at left shows a street along our walking route (1 km) to the school. It's all uphill - both ways.

We are on the ground floor of our apartment building (photo below). It is a very nice apartment - bright, clean, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a laundry room, basic furnishings. Also, very secure with a fence surrounding the entire complex and a guard shack practically right in front of our apt. 

We are on the first floor, on the left.
We are very fortunate that we are right behind a small mall with a WalMart type grocery store. I've managed to find almost everything I need to finish off the apt - cleaning supplies, linens, kitchen do-dads. There actually is a WalMart that we can get to by bus for other items. And a very modern, upscale mall further away by taxi with some good restaurants and a large cinema complex.
The campus is modern and has beautiful landscaping. It's the closest thing to a park that I've seen. So I go there almost every day. Of course, the fact that there's a Starbuck's on campus is the biggest reason for my daily trek - my home away from home once again. 

We end up hanging out here a couple times a week.
But I have valid reasons for being on campus also. 
I'm taking a Spanish class and I use the gym 4-5 days a week. I'm also getting ready to renew my CPA license by taking online CPE (Continuing Professional Education) courses. Just 40 mores hours needed before June. And as usual, I'm doing a lot of reading and cross-stitching and cooking (when I can't get out of it) and playing internet games. What a great life I have. 

90 percent of the students live with their parents. There are no dorms. Some students rent off-campus apartments.

This Tec campus was built in the late '70s and has 7,500 students. The tower has labs and classrooms.

I really feel for all you guys in the frigid, snowy, icy parts of the US. It's been the 'forever winter' and I hope you experience Spring really soon. 

The weather here is good - 40's at night (which makes the apt pretty chilly) but 70's during the day. I think we're well into Spring already as far as the flora is concerned. The bougainvillea at left has been blooming for over a month. It's a beautiful thing to see every day on the walk to school.

We work out on this track.


Just two weekend trips so far. The school had a bus to see the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan one weekend. They are about an hour northeast of the city center.
We saw this balloon launch over the ancient pyramids at Teotihuacan.

We arrived just as a hot air balloon launch was getting under way. What a surprise. And what a sight. 
The photo above was shot from the south end of the these ruins that were abandoned 1300 years ago. You can see the Pyramid to the Sun on the right (about 1.5 miles away) and the Pyramid of the Moon straight ahead (3 miles way). Climbing the stairs of these huge pyramids is not for the faint hearted. 

One of Diego Rivera's murals showing the magnificent city built by the Aztecs and destroyed by Cortez.
Our other trip was into Mexico City with repeat visits to the National Palace and the Museum of Anthropology. We saw all of Diego Rivera's huge murals depicting the history of Mexico from before the Europeans arrived to the 20th Century. 

The trip into Mexico City involved a very bouncy 1 hour bus ride plus another 30 minutes on the subway. The lack of a car is going to seriously cut down on our jaunts this time around. 

That's it from the world wanderers. Everybody stay warm, dry and healthy.

The Pyramid of the Moon. The shirt has Cuban Santeria icons. Got it in Miami.


  1. Fantastic photos! Thanks for posting.

  2. Great photos and synopsis of your life. Miss you guys.

  3. Your graphic description of Mexico City took me back to my three month stay there as a college junior! Glad you are back to roaming the world. Stu and I wondered how long you would be able to stay stateside.

    1. We like Mexico City a lot. It can be hard on people who have to travel around a lot within the city, but for tourists it's great.