Sep. 23

I started writing the following text a few days ago, but it turned out to be a lot so I didn't finish it until just now. Anyway, it covers our whole trip for 8 days last week, and if you get bored of reading, there's also photos on Facebook.

Back in Monterrey! The last 8 days have been so good! 9 of us went on a trip together to celebrate the 200 years of Mexican independence. Of course it's a huge event here every year so there's a couple of days of official holidays, so we took advantage of this and left Monterrey. The week before was very hectic as I had a lot of schoolwork to finish before going away, but it was worth it! We also had a meeting with the Swedish consulate, who had come from Mexico City to inform us about the situation here. Turned out they went because they had received many calls from worried parents. The meeting was nothing new to us, just the same information we have heard before. There's a lot of stuff going on here now and the war on drugs is huge. So far it hasn't affected us and we're doing our best to stay safe.

Anyway, back to the trip. We went to the airport on friday afternoon and already there we met a lot of other exchange students who were going away as well. When checking in we realised that we had to print our boarding passes online before going to the airport, so we all had to pay 400 pesos extra to get our boarding passes. Boring cost, but we were still happy when entering the plane and leaving Monterrey.

Ready for Puerto Vallarta! The flight only took about 2-3 hours (I'm not sure since I was sleeping the whole way) and then we were on the south west coast of Mexico. Got a really nice hotel with good rooms and for a decent price. The first day we got on a bus to take us to a beach that was supposed to be really nice. Turned out that the beach was close to an area of hotels, but since it's low season we were practially alone on the beach. Except for all the people trying to sell us crap. I guess the youngest seller was about 5 years old and the oldest one was 70. Was still very nice to just relax on the beach a whole day! The next day we went on a boat tour that took the whole day. The first stop was for doing some snorkeling but we saw almost no fish at all. A bit disappointing but the next stop was a lot better! We hiked barefoot for a while through a forest and a couple of rivers, until we finally came to a waterfall. Very cool and totally worth the hike through the mud! Afterwards we were pretty tired, so it was nice to spend the night on a bus taking us to Guadalajara. Arrived at 7 in the morning and after finding our hostel we took a nap for a couple of hours. Then set off to see the city. We were told that a place called Tlaquepaque would be a nice place to see so we took a cab there. It felt like a small city, although it was just a part of Guadalajara, which has around 7 million inhabitants. Colonial style buildings and streets, so a nice place to spend an afternoon. In the evening I met up with Fabiola, who was in Sweden as an exchange student last year. She drove me around showing me some parts of the city, and then we had a dinner at a nice restaurant. Met up with the other guys afterwards to go to a club, but didn't find one. Apparently monday is the day of the week when people in Guadalajara doesn't go out. Thankfully we stayed at an awesome hostel though, so we just hung out there instead.

The next day we checked out from the hostel and took the bus to Tequila, a small town where (obviously) Tequila is from. Just like Tlaquepaque, it was a nice feeling to walk around in a small city, very unlike Monterrey. Much more calm and beatiful! We also took a guided tour which took us thorugh the city and showing us a couple of Tequila factories. Of course we tried some different flavours and brands, and I bought myself a bottle of coffee-flavoured Tequila. Really good! Came back to Guadalajara to celebrate Fabiolas birthday at a bar, but we could only stay for a couple of hours since we had a ticket for another night bus.

This time leaving to Mexico City! Us four guys had booked a hostel and the others were staying at friends. The four of us spent the whole day walking around the city centre, which was closed for traffic. Perfect for us, since we were able to walk all the big avenues. Before going to Mexico City, I was a bit curious how they would take care of the security issue. After all, 20 million people live there, and celebrating 200 years of independence is a massive event. Turned out they took the safety very serious. Never in my life have I seen so many cops! Every 5 metres there was cop on each side of the street, almost every intersection had a group of around 20 cops. Plus even bigger groups of maybe 30-40 here and there, mobile watch towers, buses parked and full of cops. Metal detectors and safety barriers that you normally just have in airports, was also something you had to pass while going to the main plaza. After we bought hats with ”Viva Mexico” written on them, we got a lot of attention and many people wanted to take pictures with us. We were even in an interview with a TV station on the main avenue! Luckily, Antonio did the talking, I just probably looked lost standing next to the reporter. Later at night we went to meet up with others at a small part of the town, to take part of the independency celebrations. The next day we got up early and went to the park, which is huge! When at the entrance, the military did a fly-over with around 15-20 helicopters, which was pretty cool to see. Apparently there was a big military parade through the city, and we got to see some of it from the paddle boat we rented on the lake of the park. Later we met up with the girls, and went on a boat ride. It was just a small canal but with loads of boats, which all went around in a slow pace. The concept is that you rent one and then sit there and have a few drinks, it was really nice! The evening we spent in the hostel, playing Uno and drinking Tequila.

Next day was mostly spent on the bus going to Zacatecas, the last stop on our trip. We arrived pretty late in the evening but wanted to go to a special club, which is placed below ground inside a mine. Unfortunately we got there too late so it was already full, instead we found out that there was a city festival, which was a lot of  fun. A lot of people dancing in the streets and people banging on drums everywhere, perfect combination! The night became late but we still got up early the next day to see the city. Started with a guided bus tour around town, then went on a tour in the mine, and finally a ropeway over the city. Great day! In the end we were all tired and actually looking forward to get some sleep on the bus back to Monterrey. It took us a bit longer than we expected so we didn't get back to Monterrey until 6 o clock on sunday morning. But no question about it, it was a great trip and we got to see a lot of stuff!

Sep. 5

The updates have been poor here on the blog recently, and I have nothing to blame but my lazyness. I'm gonna try to make them more frequently, especially since my good friend Anders ( recently started blogging again. Hopefully we can push each other to be less lazy.

So what happened since last time I wrote? I'll try to sum it all up quickly.

Went to a concert of Passion Pit. I didn't listen to them before so I didn't know what to expect, but I liked it. It was a mellow concert and not the one where the crowd goes crazy. Nice venue too, so I think there's gonna be more visits to that place. In general Monterrey should have a lot more concerts since it's a big city, but I think it's also a matter of us not knowing where to look for them. One concert we definitely won't miss out on is Black Eyed Peas, who are playing here in the end of september. It's pretty cool that they actually play in the arena on our campus. I'm not a big fan of them, at least not their new style, but it's gonna be a hell of a party!

Last weekend we went to a music festival held at a baseball arena here in Monterrey. The festival was just during one day so it wasn't that big, but we still had a good time. Especially watching The Sounds - partly because they're from Sweden, but mostly because they had a really good show. The only strange thing about the festival was how they had planned the gigs. After The Sounds you would expect some other energetic band/dj playing up-tempo music, to continue the party... but instead some hippie band was playing and for me the atmosphere just died. This band would have been nice to listen to while chilling in the afternoon but now it was just a party pooper. This was fixed by the band Zoe who played after, and they also had a pretty sweet 3D show on the screen while playing, so everyone in the audience wore these really ugly 3D glasses. But all in all, it was a very nice festival!

This past week has been quite a lot of school work, since it's time for project presentations next week. We're actually finishing the projects some days before deadline, since we booked a 9 day long trip! September 15th is the celebration of the Mexican independence, and this year it's very special since it's the 200th anniversary. Because of this, we get some days off from school, so most people are taking the opportunity to go travel. We will miss a few extra days of school but that's no problem as long as you plan the amount of abscenses. Anyway, the trip will start on this coming friday, when we fly in the evening to a place called Puerto Vallarta. It's by the beach on the west coast of Mexico and there's 9 of us going. I'm really looking forward to get some days by the ocean! The only thing is that this place got flooded last week because of heavy rain, and one of the two big bridges connecting it to the mainland is now gone. But we will see how it looks like in a week. Anyway, after staying in Puerto Vallarta for a couple of days we take the bus to Guadalajara. It's only 3 hours away so that's an easy trip. We're staying there for a couple of days too, and then we're heading for Mexico City. This is the final stop on our trip and we're planning on staying there for 5 days. This is also where we're gonna celebrate the independence. It's gonna be an experience for life, definitely!

This friday we went to a friends house for a barbeque and a pool party. We were a bit unlucky with the weather since it started to rain just before we got there but it was really nice anyway. And the pool was heated so the rain wasn't really an issue. Just hanging out with good company, having food and a few drinks in the pool made it a really nice day!

It' been rainy the last few days here, and when it rains you really feel it. The amount of rain hasn't been anything extraordinary but since there doesn't seem to be any sewers here, all the water is just flowing in the streets. An hour of rain and it looks like small rivers everywhere. No wonder they get hit by floods!

This week will be mostly work since there's a spanish exam on friday and 3 other projects to finish. On tuesday night there's a soccer game on the campus arena which I will try to get tickets for tomorrow. It's the Mexican national team playing Colombia so that would be really nice to see! Other than this it's focus on schoolwork and then vacation for 9 days... can't wait for it!

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