Viajando, trabajando, capacitacion, etc

19 04 2011

Another busy month, I wish it hadn’t been so long since I’m finally sitting down to write a bit! But things still going well down here. Some progress with the job, more on that in a minute. But have been pretty busy, until last weekend, I was away every weekend the previous month. First, visited Pachuca and El Chico national park, where a few vols live, and as it happened, a bunch more were visiting for the weekend. So we had kind of a camping weekend, courtesy of Lindsey, Becca, and Mindy. We stayed in some cabins up in the park, did some hiking, had a campfire, smores, the whole bit. And oh yeah some wine and a beer or two. Actually, along with PCV Debbie I discovered my new favorite beer in Mexico- Jaguar, made up in state of Hidalgo I believe. They call it a pale ale and it really is- not quite as hoppy as an IPA but damn good. Especially compared to the alternatives down here. Other than getting sick as a dog on the tail end of the trip it was really a lot of fun and great to also see Jai-Jean and Ana, Cole and Jason.

And then Puerta Vallarta. Hard to describe that weekend. Just terrific. Chason came down with Andrea and were staying at his parent’s place there for a week, and he invited me to come out. I was only able to spend 3 days there but was well worth the 11 hours it takes to get there! I took an overnight bus Fri night which arrived early Sat morning, which was surprisingly pleasant. I sprung for the ETN bus, which is a step above my usual Primera Plus- ETN has wifi and most important, only 3 seats per row and only 8 rows. So the seats really recline and you get a lot more space than on the other buses down here. So I managed to sleep most of the trip and when I rolled into PV Sat a.m, I was pretty well rested. Then spent the next few days with Chason, his folks and Andrea, in their condo that is really nothing short of breathtaking. Just a beautiful 2 story penthouse with huge windows, its own roof deck and private pool. I’ve stayed in nice places before, but especially in my current life as a PCV, it was just bomb. We hung out by the pool, ate, played poker, hit the beach etc. A great weekend with some great friends from back home.

The following weekend, did a quick band trip down to Toluca, a small town near DF for a reggae festival. The van broke down on the way but amazingly, some dude stopped and after about an hour, managed to get us back on the road. We set up and played in a pretty cool amphitheater type place, which included cows in a paddock behind the stage. Who knows if they were reggae fans, not surprisingly they seemed pretty oblivious to the whole thing. But it was a fun crowd and show.

That same weekend I went up to Leon with Charlie and Juliet, some PCVs here in Qro. Let’s just say its reputation as Mexico’s leather capital is well-earned. In a couple of malls right near the bus station there is an interesting collection of little leather shops and stalls. Everything from $500 cowboy boots to $10 Puma knockoffs. Leon has historically been the center of Mexico’s shoe industry – people down here are worried about what happens when the final tariffs on Chinese shoes are dropped, I think next year. It’s probably not going to be pretty.

The following weekend we played an indigenous culture festival in Lago de Chapala- the largest lake in Mexico. Its really a beautiful place, will have to go back. From Qro its about 4-5 hours, on the way up to GDL.  We were in Ajijic which is super gringo- kind of a funny place for a culture festival I thought. But a sweet stage set-up, pretty good sound and good fun. Fortunately since it was quite a hike we stayed overnight- the first time for me with the band, definitely a good idea and some good times.

Then a couple weekends back in Qro, which was really nice, especially since this past weekend we were traveling again. We were in Cholula on Thursday, back in Qro for work on Fri and up to Leon on Sat.  Both shows were a lot of fun- and it was great to see Jason and Cole up in Cholula! But getting back to Qro at 6:30am on Fri and having to be at work for the taller at 8:30 was not pretty.  Then on Sat we went up to Leon for another gig- and got back again at about 6:30a. It was a little tough to say yes to Julieta’s unexpected invite to go up to Bernal for Mariano’s birthday at noon. But of course it was a lot of fun hanging out with the old anfitriona familia (along with their new PCT Emil, who’s an interesting and fun guy.) The traditional blue corn gorditas up there made me happy, as did our stop at the Cavas Freixnet for some bubbly on the way back. I’ve now been up there twice, and both times it poured! Totally dry all weekend in Qro of course..

Also had an entertaining week a couple weeks back- we were back at the PC office for the week, for our first week of training since we swore in. It was fine and fun to see everyone for a few days but I am sure glad to be out of training, a week back was enough to remind me of that. We also spent a couple days with the new trainees who seem like an interesting bunch- they’re all Tech Transfer so there’s kind of a different and more mature vibe than our mixed up group.

And work has been going pretty well- we have continued on with the taller and its even being extended a couple weeks. Over the last couple weeks I’ve had some good conversations with Hilda workwise and felt like we were communicating pretty well, in spanish no less. Always a good thing with one’s boss. Its funny how some people I feel like I can understand pretty well, while with some people they might as well be talking Russian or Klingon. Mas tiempo yo supongo. We also had a meeting with the new director general, who is the former head of research at the big appliance maker down here Mabe. Along with a lot of other folks I’ve talked with here at Ciateq, I think they made the right choice in bringing in an outsider. Thus far I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve heard from him- I think he recognizes that more of the same isn’t going to work in getting Ciateq to become the kind of innovative research center they want it to be. We’ve got another meeting with him in a couple weeks to present the final results of the taller and hopefully he will be give us the go-ahead for the next phase. I am contemplating that a next step for me may be developing a taller on vigilancia/mkt intelligence and analysis. Its definitely one of my takeaways from the sessions of something that, done right, could be very useful.

And this week is Semana Santa, so I’m planning to meet a few PCVs in DF for a few days. I can’t say I’ve exactly been going stir-crazy in Qro with all the traveling, but I’m looking forward to it!



2 responses

19 04 2011

This is great! Glad you got to PV; looks like you had a great time in a great place.

You’ve used the term “the taller”; how does it translate?

21 04 2011

Hi Mom, the taller is the workshop I’ve been involved in- the word is quite common and flexible- can be everything from a class like this to a car mechanic’s shop!

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