Dead bugs, new fruit and gringas

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Churros on the street. These are just fried dough, coated in cinnamon sugar. Traditionally served with a chocolate dipping sauce.
Churros on the street. These are just fried dough, coated in cinnamon sugar. Traditionally served with a chocolate dipping sauce.
I'm surprised at how many stores sell very fancy ball gowns. Mexicans seem to need very fancy clothes! At many places you can rent the dresses.
I’m surprised at how many stores sell very fancy ball gowns. Mexicans seem to need very fancy clothes! At many places you can rent the dresses.
If you take the time to look, many old buildings have interesting architectural features, like this Mercury statue.
If you take the time to look, many old buildings have interesting architectural features, like this Mercury statue.
Here's a long shot of the building.
Here’s a long shot of the building.

8/21/2016

Sunday morning. The house was quiet so it seemed like no one was awake. I stepped into the shower and just put my head under the water when the hot water gave out. Wet hair, but too cold to wash it. Great. I gingerly washed the rest of my body in cold water and got dressed. I keep looking for another flat, but no luck so far.

In positive news, Thursday the place was sprayed for bugs. I don’t like the chemicals, but am at least grateful that it was done while I was at school. The next morning, the floor of the downstairs common areas were covered with dead crickets. Most are still there this morning. The even better news is that I specifically asked that the upstairs terrace (which is right outside my room) be sprayed too. Dead giant roaches everywhere. Pretty sure it barely makes a dent in the population, though.

This is oral exams week. Friday I gave about 25, plus 6 written exams for my off-set Level 8 class. Saturday I gave 17 more oral exams and graded two late written quizzes from Level 9. I’ve already started my paperwork for finals week, which is this week. Final exams in 3 classes are on Thursday. That’s the easy part. There are also final exams on Saturday and I have to teach, review and give the exam PLUS have all of them graded and my paperwork turned in by 1:30p. Since the class is officially over at that time, it’s pretty much impossible. And you don’t get paid until the paperwork is in. Ah, the exciting life of an English teacher!

Jardín Tequisquiapan, which I walked to on Sunday in search of breakfast.
Jardín Tequisquiapan, which I walked to on Sunday in search of breakfast.
Jardín Tequisquiapan is very popular. There are often food stalls, but not on this Sunday morning. Many people were walking with their dogs. The park is on Carranza Avenue, which is closed to cars on Sunday mornings.
Jardín Tequisquiapan is very popular. There are often food stalls, but not on this Sunday morning. Many people were walking with their dogs. The park is on Carranza Avenue, which is closed to cars on Sunday mornings.
They even had some activities for kids, including face painting and these easels set up for painting.
They even had some activities for kids, including face painting and these easels set up for painting.
Shoe shine and conversation.
Shoe shine and conversation.
Flautas at El Cubato. They weren't very good, but I'll give the place one more try.
I finally found breakfast for Sunday morning, but got quite a long walk in before I found a place open. Flautas at El Cubato. They weren’t very good, but I’ll give the place one more try since the staff is really nice.
This is where I get my whole, barbecued chicken, Pollo a la Lena. It's 100 pesos and includes salsa and tortillas.
This is where I get my whole, barbecued chickens, Pollo a la Lena. It’s 100 pesos and includes salsa and tortillas.

8/23/2016

Difficult day yesterday. Nothing was really wrong, I just slept badly and it was tough to get everything together and really going. Orlando invited me out for breakfast and that was nice, but I might have gone back to sleep if he hadn’t. Then Spanish class and 5 straight hours of teaching—including tutoring for a set of young teen-aged triplets. The boys were pretty spirited and would have been a lot more fun if I had more energy. I did have to tell them a few times to watch their language—you shouldn’t speak like that to an English teacher, after all, I know all those words …..and a lot more appropriate ones. As it was, it took all my strength to pretend it was amusing (or at least not overly insulting) and continue. I’d HATE to have them in class—they’d ruin it for the other students and I’d get annoyed with them quickly. Bright, but seriously affected with testosterone poisoning.

This morning, I woke up before 7a, got on the computer, but didn’t last 20 minutes. Fell back asleep for 2 hours. Groggy now, but better rested. I think for my energy level (and my waistline) I need to join a gym. I need to find an hour for more intensive exercise and some weightlifting at least 5 days a week.

There are workers at a half-constructed apartment building just outside my window. They pound away every day, but I can’t see that they are making any progress. It seems in a month I would be able to see some difference. But they do produce dust. I have to damp mop the floor daily.

This is a popular "candy" made of amaranth, a traditional cereal grain here in Mexico. It's not too sweet and probably better for you than most snack items. I've seen it sold on the street, but didn't know what it was.
This is a popular “candy” made of amaranth, a traditional cereal grain here in Mexico. It’s not too sweet and probably better for you than most snack items. I’ve seen it sold on the street, but didn’t know what it was.
Here is the wheel of amaranth unwraped--very little sugar with a few nuts and raisins for sweetness. I'll get more of this. More on amaranth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth
Here is the wheel of amaranth unwrapped–very little sugar with a few nuts and raisins for sweetness. I’ll get more of this.
More on amaranth.
This is outside my window. I hear them working on this 6 days a week, but I don't see any progress.
This is outside my window. I hear them working on this 6 days a week, but I don’t see any progress.
"Urgent: (female) Employee request counter. 18 to 25 years old. Make application here." That wouldn't even be legal in the USA.
Sign in shop window: “Urgent: (female) Employee request counter. 18 to 25 years old. Make application here.”
That wouldn’t even be legal in the USA.
These are the restrooms. You get use to M (mujeres) for women and H (hombres) for men.
These are the restrooms. You get use to M (mujeres) for women and H (hombres) for men.
Who knew? Indian nuts = cashews
Who knew? Indian nuts = cashews

8/24/2016

This is a tough week. Finals week for four of my five classes and oral exams for my fifth class. Tonight I give a review for three of my four classes. Tomorrow I give the exams. I’ve got all the paperwork done ahead, but I can’t finish it before they take their last test.

According to an email from Michael, the final grades for each class are due at the end of class, on Thursday, the day you give the final exam. In previous sessions the weekday classes have been due on Friday, day after the exam. I questioned him in an email to be sure that’s what he meant. It was. Of course, it’s physically impossible to do. Through the week, the students have until the end of class, only one hour, to finish their final exams. THEN you have to grade the exam, add the grade to your (hopefully already prepared) top sheet on each student, staple the exam to it, and total the final grade. You also have to update your form that contains all the students (Well, most of them. Six were missing from my form). Physically impossible. I didn’t argue with him. I find that a waste of time. He’d just get more entrenched into his position and I’d get more frustrated. Plus, it’s a great way to get fired.

Saturdays are the worse for final exams. You really do have to turn everything in right away. I will have to start the final early—it’s the only way. I can’t leave or be paid until I turn in all my grades for that class—and there are 17 students taking the final. Every teacher I’ve talked to says that’s a record number in a single class. Just grading the exams will take over an hour. Yea, me.

Having trouble buying clothes--everything is tight, short and sleeveless. It's...well...kinda slutty.
I’m having trouble buying clothes–everything is tight, short and sleeveless. It’s…well…kinda slutty.
See what I mean?
See what I mean?. Even the clothes for old, fat women are worn tight. No fat woman needs that much spandex.

For today’s walk, I went to El Centro to buy more underwear. Since I have to have it done at a laundria, I find I need my meager clothing stash to stretch for more days. Since it’s not terribly hot, I can wear shirts and pants an additional day, but I needed more undies. Bought more socks when I arrived and that’s helped, too.

During the walk, I went a different way and discovered several small eating places nearby that I hadn’t known about. There’s a cart that sells gringas for just 12 pesos (doce pesos). It’s a grilled tortilla with cheese and meat. I had bistec (beef steak, but probably really just hamburger). It’s about 2 ounces of meat and an ounce of cheese—perfect for a snack. Served with lime and salsa. I also stopped at one of the fruit and vegetable vendors. They sell ready-to-eat cups of diced fruit. I bought tunas, prickly pear cactus fruit. This was my first time to try it as it’s a season fruit. Tasty—sweet, rosy flesh, full of edible seeds, and at least three servings for 15 pesos (quince pesos). While I was in the mood for trying new things, I stopped in the downtown area at a stand I’d seen several times that serves a griddled bread. I bought a bag of 5 for 12 pesos. It’s just sweet dough, cooked on a tiny amount of oil. Nothing to write home about.

I noticed that the fruit and vegetable sellers are selling pumpkin blossoms, too. If I could cook in the communal kitchen, I’d buy a bag and fry them up!

Lots of fruit and vegetable sellers. This one is in front of the hospital.
Lots of fruit and vegetable sellers. This one is in front of the hospital.
She sold me a bag of cactus fruit, tunas, from the prickly pear cactus. They are in season right now.
She sold me a bag of cactus fruit, tunas, from the prickly pear cactus. They are in season right now.
The tunas come in many colors.
The tunas come in many colors.
This gentleman is making my gringa--I think it's the cheese that makes it a gringa (also a word used for Americans). Tacos never have cheese, despite what you see in the USA.
This gentleman is making my gringa–I think it’s the cheese that makes it a gringa (also a word used for Americans). Tacos never have cheese, despite what you see in the USA.
The prices are good.
The prices are good.
And here's my gringa--a good sized snack with salsa verde and limes.
And here’s my gringa–a good sized snack with salsa verde and lime.
I've passed this vendor several times but wasn't sure what she was selling.
I’ve passed this vendor several times but wasn’t sure what she was selling off that hot griddle.
I got a bag of five for 12 pesos and hoped there was a filling inside them. As you can see, they don't have a filling. Kinda dry, but like a cross between a sweet biscuit and a pancake, but dense in texture. Cheap and filling, but not my thing.
I got a bag of five for 12 pesos and hoped there was a filling inside them. As you can see, they don’t have a filling. Kinda dry, like a cross between a sweet biscuit and a pancake, but dense in texture. Cheap and filling, but not my thing.
Lots of little stands on the street with food, This one sells snacks in El Centro.
Lots of little stands on the street with food, This one sells snacks in El Centro.
Another fruit seller, this one in El Centro on the corner of the Jardín de San Juan de Dios,
Another fruit seller, this one in El Centro on the corner of the Jardín de San Juan de Dios.
This school is in session again as of this week. Unfortunately, they let out just at the time that I need to go to MY school. It's chaos.
This huge grade school is in session again as of this week. Unfortunately, they let out just at the time that I need to go to MY school. It’s chaos.
Cars and children everywhere--the noise alone is deafening.
Cars and children everywhere–the noise alone is deafening.
And 15 minutes before the school lets out, three snack stands set up to feed them, making the parking even worse.
And 15 minutes before the school lets out, three snack stands set up to feed them, making the parking even worse.
Then two blocks away THIS school lets out and they block off half the street for the cars to pick up the children. I must find another way to get to school.
Then two blocks away THIS school lets out and they block off half the street for the cars to pick up the children. I must find another way to get to school.
This is the menu as my favorite taco stand near the school. The Three Brothers. But so far, I've only seen one brother.
This is the menu as my favorite taco stand near the school. The Three Brothers. But so far, I’ve only seen one brother.

Yes, I’m a bit shocked at how many of my photos are about food. That’s just me.

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Beth

I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain and Mexico. I'm exploring the world.

4 thoughts on “Dead bugs, new fruit and gringas”

  1. Yeah, don’t cut back on the food photos. 🍔🍟🍝🍕🍜🍩🍺🍷🍛

    You can’t be fired, you are the best teacher each school has ever had! 😋

    1. You are too kind! Just got home from the weekday final exams. Director wasn’t there and all the staff agreed that paperwork is due tomorrow at 9pm. Why am I not surprised?

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