Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Birthday Party and Thanksgiving

So this year for my birthday I actually got to have a party!! We had it at my friend Olivia's house and it was tons of fun.

My Birthday landed on a bad day during the week, right before a holiday, so tons of people weren't able to come but that’s ok. We had cake, talked, played games and just enjoyed the evening. My party was actually the day after my birthday.

For my actual birthday my boyfriend Alan took me out right after I got home from work. He took me out to Aristo's, which is a Greek restaurant here in Salt Lake City. I love Greek food and was so excited. It was perfect. After that he took me over to temple square and we had a carriage ride over to City Creek.

I'd never been on a Carriage ride so even though it was freezing cold I was more than happy to jump in the buggy.

We got to cuddle up in blankets anyway. After that we went back to his place, had hot coco to warm up and watched a movie. Yes it was the perfect birthday. I was sad I forgot my camera, but I took a few pic's on my phone.

Thanksgiving this year was exciting! Alan and I went over to his grandmother’s house and chatted with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, while having some of his grandmother’s wonderful pie and yams. We couldn't stay there to long before we had to jump in the car and hurry on up to Tremonton for the main dinner. My sister and her family were going to be there so I had to see them. We loaded up the table with food and all settled in to a wonderful dinner. The food was amazing. I sadly couldn't eat to much because I was so stuffed from the pie and yams at Al's grandma's house.

After dinner we played some card games and then had another little birthday party for Lisa and I.

We had pie for our cakes and then opened presents. Or the nephews opened our presents. You can't help, but let them do it. They were so cute. It ended up being a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tepoztlán and Teotihuacan

I loved my trip to Mexico City, but after awhile I was glad to be able to get outside the boarders of that concrete jungle out to something a little more country and to what Roberto called True Mexico.
The first place I was able to go was a city called Tepoztlán it is southeast of Mexico City.

It was so beautiful to see the countryside as it passed and the fields full of stacks of Hey.

As we entered the city it looked like a little village you would expect to see in Mexico. Colorful buildings, little markets in the streets, lots of little places to buy wonderful food.

We first went for a hike up to the top of the mountain above the city. The hike was 2 miles. At first it was really easy with stairs cut into the rocks, but it gradually got more difficult. We had to start crawling over rocks and hiking up switch backs in a deep clef in the rock.

The day we choose to go up happened to be a holiday. There were many people so it was good that we started early. Access was restricted for people traveling through the narrow passage and the line soon would take hours to get to the top.

It was hot and humid and a hard hike, but once we got to the top it was worth it. The view of the valley was beautiful and the temple, though small was very pretty. We enjoyed our sit at the top for awhile before heading down.

At the bottom we went through the markets, ate the best quesadilla's I've ever had with cactus, mushrooms and pumpkin flowers.

We also had Elote or Corn Ice cream which was amazing. We also went into a cathedral and relaxed on the grounds before ending our day.

The next day we went Northeast of the city to the Temple site of Teotihuacan. The Area was huge! The first part of the site that we visited was the Quetzalcoatl Temple. It was ringed by 12 other smaller temples and one large on in front.

We soon took our walk through the avenue of the dead through the smaller buildings of the city over to the gigantic Pyramid of the Sun.

It was huge and we hiked all the steps to the top. The steps were steep and we had to hike sideways across them to keep our strength. The top had a wonderful view of the ruins and the surrounding countryside.

All the buildings in the ruins had been painted but I thought they were beautiful the way they were. The colors of the rocks they used to build it were so colorful and there were smaller decorative rock in the mortar.

I loved that you could hike all over the buildings and explore the city and imagine what it used to be like when many people lived there. We then made our way through all of the junk sellers and headed the rest of the way down the avenue of the dead to the Pyramid of the moon.

The steps on this Pyramid were very steep and Roberto decided not to hike this one, but I'm glad I did. The view of the Sun Pyramid and the Avenue of the dead was my favorite. I'm so glad I was able to come and have this wonderful experience.
The only thing I regret from this last day was buying a straw hat to shad the sun. The Sun Pyramid really lived up to its name and I got really Sun Burned.

Make sure to bring cash for all the little junk shops here. If you are looking for a Souvenir this is the place to find it. I'm glad I was able to enjoy this my last day. It was beautiful and all the walking and Hiking was worth it!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mexico City

I had the Wonderful Opportunity to go to Mexico City in November to Visit my friend Roberto from my mission. I had wanted to go for a long time. The great part about this vacation is that I had a readymade tour guide and a free place to stay! As we flew into the City I had the feeling as if we were going to land on the houses. The urban sprawl was something to incredible. I thought Vegas was bad. Anyway just as midway airport in Chicago just when you think that you are going touch the roof tops the sea of buildings part making way for the airport. My friend Roberto met me out front and we started off on our grand adventure. The day was mostly gone but we had a few things to do before we called it a day. We first headed out to Azcapotzalco, the city that is part of Mexico City where he grew up. He then took me to an ice cream shop. He said that Ice cream was a little different here and I had to have some. It was wonderful. The kind that I had was called Chongos Zamoranos, which is a sort of creamed cottage cheese. We don't have it in the states. It was kind of weird and hard because it was frozen but tasted good and really rich. next on the agenda for the evening was off Salsa Dancing. We met Roberto's friend Shasllely and headed off to Mama Rumba's. Her driver dropped us off and some guys opened a gate to let us in. I felt kind of important. Anyway we went in and upstairs in a little area to watch the band play, people dance and we ordered Taquitos, which are more like little soft shell taco's there and virgin Pina Colada's. We soon cleared the chairs and started dancing. I didn't fare so well as they did. But it was a great place to try Salsa dancing in Mexico. On The Drive home that night we were taken home through downtown Mexico City, so I was given a little taste of what I would get to see in the morning, but in the beautiful colors of the lights at night. The next morning we started off early headed downtown Mexico. The first place we went was The LDS Mexico City Temple. It was so beautiful and a lot bigger than I had pictured it in pictures I'd seen. The color was such a brilliant white and the Aztec archetechture made it hard for me to take my eyes off of it. We went into the visitors center and met one of Roberto's friends, who was on a mission there. We even got to sit and listen to a message in German. You can here it in the language you know, so they played it for us in German. We soon went out and walked around the temple and took many pictures. So many people were around. I was amazed it was so busy. Next we parked the car and jumped on a micro bus which is an adventure in itself. These little buses are one of the cities main transport. The buses only have about 5rows of seats that fill up very quickly. Getting on and off is another experiance. The doors of the bus are usually left open, which I think is rather dangerous. If you don't know where they are going you are kind of out of luck. The drivers don't yell out where you are. If you are lucky enough to get to your destination you have to jump off very quickly or the bus will be going again. The same thing about getting on the bus. They were usually moving again as you stepped on. I can see why they only cost about 2 pesos Anyway after that adventure we caught the metro downtown to Casa de los Azulejos or The House of Tiles. It was an amazing building. We of course were there to eat. The inside as well as the outside walls were all tiled and painted. In the center of the building where the restaurant was opened to a big courtyard type area where a little fountain was on one wall and beautiful arches were on all sides. The food was splendid. I had enchiladas and Roberto had Chilaquiles, which is basically chips with some salsa and cheese, but so much better. We also had fruit juice. I could write an entire section on the fruit juices there. They are so much better than in the states. They mix lots of juices together and it is thick and fresh, more like nectar. It spoiled me to fruit juices in the states. Next we walked around downtown and looked at some of the buildings like the Torre Latinoamericana or Latin America Tower, National Post office as well as Palacio de Bellas Artes or Palace of Fine Arts, which was magnificent. The roof is a beautiful orange dome and the inside was eligant. We then went to Zócalo or the Main Square in Mexico city. The square was huge. This was the place to shop for souvenirs. Almost every street vender you could think of was here. They also had very reasonable priced stuff. Pesos are a lot less than Dollars. I was a little nervous at first when they said things were as much as 35 pesos. I had forgotten its only about $3.50 in Dollars. Anyway back to the main square at Zócalo. National buildings surrounded the Plaza de la Constitución and in the center of it all was a gigantic Mexican flag. To the north the Metropolitan Cathedral stands. It is said to be the oldest and biggest Catholic Cathedral in the America's. On the east stands the Grand National Palace or Palacio Nacional. This is where the federal executive is seated. They are a beautiful sight and well worth a visit. The Temple Mayor sits just to the north of the square. The Templo Mayor was the one of the main temples of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan which is now Mexico City. We only looked inside and watched some Aztec dancers perform outside, but instead of roaming the ruins we took a trip over to the National Museum of Anthropology to see all of the artifacts that were found in the ruins, which were not a few. It cost around 50 Peso's to get in and was worth every one. This museum was full of artifacts. It houses the Aztec Calendar, Many giant statues and Sacrificial alters. Tons of quetzalcoatl artifacts, the snake was everywhere as well as head dress figures and tablets of their writing. There was also housed many artifacts from the Mayan and Olmec cultures, Some including giant heads and recreations of pyramids. We were also able to one night of our stay go to the square at Zócalo and Celebrate Día de la Revolución. It is every November 20th. Hundreds of thousands of people crowded the Plaza de la Constitución to watch a light show. It was a little bit of a letdown to me. I thought there should be more fireworks and power and that the people should have been cheering more than they were. The light show was on the actual National Palace itself. This was quite impressive. They transformed the facade of it with lights and colors and optical illusions.
It was quite beautiful and stunning, but lasted a bit too long. It was worth it though. The crowd getting out was a different story. You need to plan on not being in a hurry to leave. The best thing to do is to enjoy the very slow walk through all the people and stop at one of the vendors, for some elote, a type of corn, tamales or some cotton candy. The cotton candy was a sight to see.
it would fly up into the air and catch on street poles or just fly up into the night. We even stopped to watch some street performs where you could draw your Destiny from a box. Kinda creepy, but interesting.