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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Travel

Mexico City leaves lasting impression


Houston students had a chance to experience the culture of Mexico City and UNAM for their History 4396 course. | Miguel Cortina/The Daily Cougar

Houston students had a chance to experience the culture of Mexico City and UNAM for their History 4396 course. | Miguel Cortina/The Daily Cougar

The idea of attending a university with over 200,000 enrolled students is nearly unfathomable, but it’s the reality for college students at National Autonomous University of Mexico.

It’s the biggest university in Latin America — in fact, it’s so expansive that the part of the city where it’s located is called Ciudad Universitaria — or in English, University City.

Once walking through the campus, we not only see the Olympic Stadium used in 1968, but also the works of art by Juan O’Gorman, Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

UNAM is also a public university, but contrary to the United States, students in Mexico’s public universities don’t pay any tuition. However because of that, it is very hard for students to get in. In 2009, it was ranked in the 100 best universities worldwide. It’s also home of the Pumas, the Mexican soccer team that is in first place this year so far.

Not far from UNAM is Xochimilco, a part of the city where all you have to do is get in a trajinera, a sort of gondola, and relax. We went there on a beautiful Friday afternoon where we enjoyed more than 6.5 pounds of carnitas.

We bought the carnitas along with tortillas, guacamole, cheese and cactus and took them to the trajinera for the ride.

The canals in Xochimilco are very wide. You can find mariachis in their canoes asking other people if they would like to have some music played.

We also found vendors, who instead of sitting in the street, sat in their canoes and sold jewelry, textiles and T-shirts. After we finished the ride, some went to buy their last souvenirs from the stands that are at the dock’s exit.

Because it was our last night, we had to celebrate. We decided to go to Plaza Garibaldi, a medium-size plaza that is surrounded by cantinas and is full of mariachis.

We enter to Tenampa, perhaps the most famous cantina in Mexico. It’s here where the Mexican artists went every weekend to have a good time. We stepped out and made a deal with the mariachis for 4 songs. After singing and dancing, we drove to the Lucha Libre, where the Mexican wrestlers fight.

We each got a wrestler’s mask and enjoyed the different kinds of fights. We watched, yelled, clapped and chanted for whoever was winning.

After all the fun, we left Mexico City thinking about when we would come back. This megalopolis has trapped our hearts in hopes that one day we’ll return.


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