Saturday, October 28, 2006

Montar a Caballo

This past summer, my husband and I went to Mexico for 12 days. It was one of the best experiences of my entire life. I am very lucky that we travel so well together and that we both love doing the same things away from home. We each take one small backpack (I prefer my old red Kelty Redwing and he uses one from Underground Products, UGP) so that we can go anywhere at just about anytime without taking up a lot of space. We don't have a schedule, just a guidebook and a list of places we'd like to see. I am an obsessive planner so even though we don't travel with a stone agenda, I like to have information ready for all the possibilities.

We started in Mexico City. This photo is from the monument Hemiciclo a Benito Juarez at Alameda Central, a short walk from the Palacio de Bellas Artes. We were across the street looking at these amazing outdoor sculptures by Juan Soriano when we spotted this police officer on horseback! My husband had never ridden a horse before and he was fascinated by this guy. We crossed several lanes of traffic to go talk to him and luckily he spoke English really well. After we were talking to him for a while, he got off the horse and told us to get on. I wasn't about to, but Aaron didn't hesitate. It was his first time on a horse. It was great.

One of the reasons I love my husband is that every time we're in a Spanish speaking country, people will just start talking to him really fast in Spanish because he has very dark skin and looks like he could be of Mayan ancestry. The confused looks on their faces when he doesn't understand a word are priceless. No one believes it. But, we're about to change all that.

I've been taking advantage of my one-free-class-a-semester faculty benefit with Spanish 101. Every day after my class, I go home and repeat the lesson and give La Tarea. We just learned the words for activities like esquiar, comer, beber, patinar, and correr -- and the only thing I could think of when we got to montar a caballo was this image, burned into my brain forever.

I'll be posting more pictures and stories of the trip in the upcoming months. I also owe the Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forum a long trip report. I have to admit that we made the huge mistake of buying the Let's Go Guide because it had a more recent publication date than The Lonely Planet guide, which came out right after we got home. I used Let's Go for a trip to Europe about 10 years ago and it was perfect. But now that I'm older, my standards for where I sleep have changed and I prefer the recommendations of people who understand that the floor of a frat house is nasty and a hotel with similar levels of cleanliness could not possibly be considered "sparkling" (as was our experience with a hotel recommended by the writers of Let's Go). We won't make such a mistake again.