I’m back on the blog to tell you about my summer in Mexico City and Ecuador, which began very early this morning.
If you’re confused by the previous sentence, here’s what’s happening: I got back from Argentina, enjoyed a few relaxing weeks at home before one of the most difficult semesters Penn could have thrown at me. There were student suicides, weeks of bitter, bitter cold, and so many papers to write. I did have a good semester and really enjoyed living in a cozy off campus house and working on street and walking around Philadelphia alone when I missed abroad.
Since last fall, I had a plan to spend this summer not in America and I am doing just that thanks to Penn’s International Internship Program, which gives students a stipend and lets them apply to a bunch of internships all around the world. I got an offer from Ashoka, a social entrepreneurship company with offices all over the world. Their Mexico City office oversees all of Mexico and Central America. In late July, I’m traveling to Quito, Ecuador to do research for my history thesis, but I’ll get into that later.
Today, I woke up rather early and headed to JFK. It actually took 10 minutes this time. Everyone had been talking about Mexico City like it was the most humid place on earth but it’s elevation means the heat is pretty dry and it gets cooler at night, which I feel right now. The flight was pretty empty and I had an emergency exit row to myself!!!! SCORE. I read some magazines, read The Fault in Our Stars, and watched some tv. There was breakfast served at like 11 am which included scrambled eggs with bacon (welcome to pork city) and then bar service (for free) at 1 pm. I didn’t have anything but they literally wheeled huge bottles of booze down the aisle, none of those mini bottles. I’ll take advantage on my flight home.
Customs was easy and all of my luggage made it! Then I got a cab for a flatrate to take me to the bed and breakfast where I’m staying for a few nights while I figure out exactly where I’m living. There was terrible traffic so it took over an hour and a half because a highway was closed and apparently all that traffic came to our highway. I got here and got connected to the wifi. It’s a quiet place on the edge of Condesa, one of the neighborhoods that I may live in. The office is in Roma, right next to Condesa. I have a nice little room though one wall is all windows so I have to close the curtain for privacy which makes it kind of dark but I don’t think I’ll spend much time here anyway.
After a few hours of plopping and some restorative snacks, I decided to walk and get some dinner. The list of nearby restaurants had a vegetarian section so I picked a spot a fifteen minute walk away and explored. The city, or at least this part, is gorgeous. The houses are old, the streets are tree lined, it’s so much quieter than BA was and the weather was perfect around 6 pm. I’m so excited to explore more and try all the paletas (popsicles) and taco shops and coffee places. I had dinner at La Buena Tierra, a chain with a menu made for me: tons of salads, a whole section devoted to weird nutritional shots (which I have never tried), and smoothies with chia seeds on the menu. It’s probably a little overpriced but I know I’ll be back. Eating by myself was no big deal and it was fun to observe the little plaza the restaurant was on. There are a lot of people selling goods so it’s crucial to not make eye contact or they think you’re a customer. I also can see that crossing the streets is going to be risky, just like it was in BA. There are lots of roundabouts and some fairly large streets that just don’t have traffic lights. I guess I hesitated at one point because a random girl on a bike told me to rush so I could pass. (Also they have a citibike like program here, ecobici, and I saw lots of people using it). There’s also not a parallel exchange rate so I can use my credit card when I need to AND I stopped at kiosk to buy a water bottle and found multiple varieties of greek yogurt (not plain) for sale. All very promising.
Tomorrow I have to buy a local pay as you go phone and visit a few apartment listings. My first day of work is Monday and I’m quite excited!