Spring Break in Mexico and Texas
I arrived back in New Haven on Saturday evening after three weeks of traveling through the north of Mexico and Texas. “I could really use a break,” I thought to myself, on the penultimate day of our spring break. As a fan of backpacking, I had decided to attend the EGADE Mexico City’s Global Network week during the first week of March, to give myself the second and third weeks of spring break to travel freely in the neighboring regions.
My journey started in the departures lounge of JFK, where I bumped into an SOM classmate, Andres, who was on his way to the Japan IE trip. Despite being from the same cohort, I had never had an extended conversation with Andres and was pleasantly surprised to hear he and his wife came from Mexico City, the first stop on my itinerary. They sat me down and enthusiastically told me about all their favorite places in the city, and gave me welcome suggestions on all the different food I had to try out. My favorite of their recommendations was the lime paleta (popsicle) covered, like everything else in Mexico, in a sour chile sauce.
I arrived in Mexico City on a Friday morning with a full weekend before the GNW was due to start. Never one to waste time, I set out immediately for some sightseeing and spent an evening watching the ridiculous and hilarious Lucha Libre. This is a weekly wrestling show, of a similar vein to WWF, where wrestlers have characters, and the “good guys” face off with the “bad guys”. Like any good fairytale, the good guys win more often than the bad guys, and the wrestling itself is highly choreographed. On the Saturday, I went with some new friends to the Electric Daisy Carnival, which just happened to be held in the city that weekend. We were able to enjoy music from DJ’s including Francis Dillon and David Guetta, and some fantastically designed monuments including owls and dinosaurs. On Sunday, we wrapped up the weekend with a walk around the Chapultepec region, featuring a lake with pedal boats and a winding street market, where we stopped every minute or so of walking to try some new food or admire the view.
EGADE is the business school of the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey and there is a satellite campus for both in the Santa Fe district of Mexico City. During our Global Network Week, we covered a range of topics from dealing with cultural differences to entrepreneurship in Latin America. One of the highlights was learning about Kidzania, a Mexican company growing in the world that provides a space to allow children to role play in different “jobs”. Children have the autonomy of earning and spending “kidzos”, the currency of Kidzania. Aside from the course itself, it was a great pleasure meeting students from other countries including Costa Rica, Guatemala and Japan who also attended the course. We took part in activities including a cruise in the canals of Xochimilco to the music of mariachi bands, and wandering the bright blue house of Frida Kahlo.
After wrapping up the Global Network Week course, I was able to set off on my own independent travels. Armed with a Lonely Planet guidebook, I took buses through cities of Mexico’s northern central highlands, staying in hostels and guesthouses on my way. I joined a traditional street party in Zacatecas, a callejoneada, in which a marching band leads people throughout the streets of the city. I visited a mummy museum in Guanajuato that displayed somewhat morbid mummified bodies, excavated from old crypts. And in San Miguel de Allende I navigated the many art boutiques through a labyrinth of cobbled stones. A week after leaving Mexico City, I departed from San Luis Potosi on a bus journey to Austin that lasted 18 hours.
The final phase of my adventure in Austin was the South by Southwest festival. I have read about SXSW (as it is abbreviated) since a young teenager, and have always been looking forward to the opportunity to attend in person. It was the most fantastic week, in which I saw many of my favorite bands playing shows for free, and discovered many new ones. My two top new finds over the week were Jack Garratt at the BBC Introducing Showcase and Marian Hill at the Historic Scoot Inn. I attended shows in a church, a living room and someone’s back garden. I even put my negotiating skills learned at SOM to use, talking my way into concerts that weren’t supposed to be free.
At the airport in Austin, I felt gutted to be leaving, but at the same time excited for the final half-semester of this year. I feel incredibly lucky to have had free reign over SOM’s generous three week long spring break, and to have visited so many new places. One of the best parts of travelling was stepping back “home” here in New Haven knowing that I have a lot to look forward here over the rest of the semester.