Teaching English in Monterrey, crossing the usa/mexican border

After a few days of workshops in Dallas, it was finally time to go to Mexico. We were all excited to teach English and to get out of Dallas. For many of us, it was our first time to America’s Southern neighbor.

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mountain range in Monterrey, Mexico- Hugo Morel

As we got on the bus, we had no idea how long of a bus ride we were in for. Once about 8 hours passed by, we arrived in Brownsville, Texas. A border town with lots of social problems. The atmosphere completely changed, you could cut the air with a knife. The city looked very poor, broken houses everywhere. It was as if, we were in another country and not the USA. The people walking on the streets looked very tensed and scared. This was completely another world.

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border guards, Hugo Morel 

Once at the border, the air became thicker. All the guards had semiautomatic guns. This was not a laughing matter. The border control made us get out of the bus and checked our bags on a white table, as shown in the picture above. As one of the guards was checking my bags, I looked him in the eye by accident. The other two were quick to put their hands on their guns. It was as if, I was some type of criminal. The lives these guards live, there is not much smiling. I didn’t felt love here and I only sensed hate mixed with fear.

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USA/Mexican border on Christmas day, Hugo Morel

After the scare from the border control, we passed through the border. On Christmas day, we were finally in Mexico. You can see the differences and it was heartbreaking. A lot of women showing off their bodies on street corners. There were a lot of men just sleeping on the floor with a look of despair. The hopelessness in people’s face, made us realize how lucky we are to be Americans. Seeing all this, made us want to teach even more.

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another shot of the Mexican mountain range , Hugo Morel

We finally arrived to where we were going to teach, the University of Tecmilenio. Unfortunately, they did not allow us to take photos of the school or the classroom. As the classes started, we saw the looks in the adults’ faces. Their faces expressed friendliness and warmth. As we taught more English, their faces lite up and English was finally clicking. This experience was so amazing. A lot of the adult students, invited us to their homes. The stories they gave us really touched our hearts. Many of them, have seen crimes unthinkable. Coming to the USA, for a lot of them, was their only way for a better life. The rest that will stay, learning English is needed to getting better jobs. This was one of the most memorable experiences on my travels.

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outside view of the school we taught, Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking you time to read this post. Drop a like and a follow. Much love!! Love you guys so much! Next we will be heading to Cambridge, Massachusetts for my friend’s graduation at Tuffs university and explore Boston!! Take care and stay healthy!!

A walk through Little Havana

Little Havana, the soul of Miami’s Cuban culture. Where you can find questionably legal Cuban cigars and Cuban flags on almost every block. Little Havana was a blast to visit. My friends just arrived to Miami and we were in for a treat.

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Street Art on Calle Ocho of Latin America , Hugo Morel

Memorial day weekend in Miami is very hectic. When traveling to Miami, try to avoid this weekend. You will not be able to fully experience the city because of the bumper to bumper traffic. Luckily for us, Little Havana and Little Haiti were unaffected.

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Cuban and American Flags, Hugo Morel

After finally meeting up with friends, we tour little Havana. Little Havana has many choices of Cuban restaurants. For more authentic Cuban, the best restaurants are on Calle Ocho (8th street). Most restaurants would serve you a huge platter of food for about ten dollars. Some are buffet style, if you want to pig out or want the most bang for your buck, these are the best spots. The only problem with buffet style restaurants, there is a lost of authenticity to the food.

Something you must do in Little Havana is to walk down Calle Ocho. Walking down Calle Ocho, you get to see more of the Cuban culture. From the Cuban movie theaters to the Cuban liquor. On Calle Ocho, there is a Latin Walk of Fame. Similar to Hollywood’s, The Latin Walk of Fame honors Latinos of celebrity status.  This is why, Miami is called, “The Capital of Latin America.”

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The Latino Walk of Fame, Hugo Morel

The deeper you go along Calle Ocho, the more influences of Latin America you will encounter. Although, Little Havana will always have Cuban roots, many Latinos from all over have moved in.  Specifically, many Central Americans have made Little Havana their home. Little Havana will most likely forever be a center for the Latino community in Miami.

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My Mojito(a cocktail with origins in Havana,Cuba) Hugo Morel

Thanks for taking your time to read this post! Drop a like and a follow. Next week we will be in Little Haiti. Much Love!!

The sun is out, Time to explore

After experiencing a day of nothing but rain, the sun finally got over it’s shyness. We got to see Rio, the way it is in the movies. The true beauty of this city, was hiding from the gloomy weather.

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Rio de Janeiro is a huge city with many wonderful neighborhoods. The global image of Rio usually resides in the neighborhood of Copacabana. Copacabana is located in the South Zone. From what the locals told me, this beautiful area was once only for the rich. With time, the beaches became open to the public. As seen in the photos below, the scenery is very alluring.

 

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Modern art in Rio taken by Hugo Morel

The photos below, are more views of the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean really matches Brazil’s flag, Green and Blue.

The photos below were taken at top of Corcovado. Corcovado, meaning hunchback in Portuguese, is a mountain in the city of Rio. The mountain is known worldwide due to it’s iconic statue.

 

On top of Corcovado, sits the world famous statue, Christ the Redeemer. This iconic symbol  is the staple of most Rio de Janiero postcards. To get to the statue, you can take a local bus tour or walk it. I recommend taking a local bus tour. It’s easier and safer. The roads going up the mountain are not very  pedestrian- friendly. Once at the top, you must pay a fee to see the statue. We got in for free because we pretended to be priests. It’s hard to believe they actually believed us! I recommend to skip the gift shop. It’s too expensive and most what you find there can be bought at a lower price elsewhere.

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Thank you so much for taking your time to read this post. Drop a like and a follow. Much love!! Next week we explore Rio’s metro!

San Ignacio Miní and the Guaraní

 

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San Igancio Miní is a mission founded in 1632 by the Jesuits or the Society of Jesus. The mission located in the Misiones Province of Argentina. The Province of Misiones is located between Brazil to the north and Paraguay to the northwest.

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San Igancio Miní, like the missions of California and the Southwest of the USA, was created in order to spread Christianity. The Jesuits’ mission, pun intended, was to covert the native population called the Guaraní. The Guaraní are the native inhabitants of what is now mainly Paraguay but  also in some parts of  Brazil,  Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia.

The photos above are pottery and crafts the Spanish made the Guaraní make. The Spanish profited from Guaraní’s handcrafts by trade.

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This is a clay blue print of what San Ignacio Miní looked like in it’s prime. Before the indigenous people destroyed it.

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A painting of San Ignacio Miní, when it was active.

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A full view of the mission, in it’s prime.

The mission’s ruin. Gives you the feeling of being in Rome.

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The picture above was once a church. The fall of San Ignacico Miní was due to the suppression of the society of Jesus. In 1817, the Guaraní destroyed the mission and many others in the surrounding areas.

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The mission of San Ignacio Miní is highly recommend to go, if you are into culture.  The ruins of the mission have such a deep and rich history that you can easily get lost in.  Make sure to stop by!

 

Drop a like on the post and follow! Thanks for reading and next week we will be going to Brazil.  Much Love!!

 

 

 

Night Time adventures in Mendoza, Argentina

The City of Mendoza is located in the province of Mendoza. As the province’s capital, the city has a lot to offer.  To see the city’s true beauty, you have to experience it at night time.

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The night brings the city to life in a whole new perspective. The darkness brings an element of excitement to this city. The beautiful south american sky will only leave you in awe.

Walking down it’s street at night, the city makes you feel like you are in some European city. Mendoza has an interesting transportation system. They have trolleys similar to San Francisco. I really do recommend coming here and trying the public transportation system. You get a better view of the city.

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Another familiar sight, similar to when I was in San Rafael, Argentina. The Havanna coffee shops in Argentina are comparable to the Starbucks in the USA.  Make sure, to stop if you like coffee and pastries.

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Every time I see an American restaurant outside the USA, I tend to have mixed feelings. There is a sense of culture lost.

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At night, the city’s fountains shine more. It is truly beautiful, to see the lights hit the water as it shoots up.

 

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When traveling at night, in any city, make sure to always look at your surroundings. Argentina is a generally safe country but still be on the look out. I was warned by locals that teenage drug-use is high and they tend to commit crimes. Just watch out for local punks.

 

 

Exploring San Rafael, Mendoza

When in Argentina, make sure to visit the city of San Rafael. In the province of Mendoza, San Rafael has a clam atmosphere. Still very city-like; yet, with a small town feel.

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The city of San Rafael has a wide selections of restaurants. Although, not as much as the country’s capital, Buenos Aires. Make sure to stop by the Havanna. It’s a nice little restaurant that I got a lemon key pie for about one american dollar. This was back in July of 2013. Hopefully, the value of the dollar has not fallen too much.

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Walking down it’s streets, San Rafael is truly small compared to Buenos Aires.  The city’s streets are not as compacted as the capital’s. Also, the roads are not as filled with traffic.

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Never expected to see this guy here, Goku. Along with Chuck Norris, these are signs of globalization.

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From what locals have informed me, Dragon Ball, and a lot of other manga/anime, have a big audience in Argentina.  Still, seeing Chuck Norris here, shocks me.

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While in San Rafael, we actually made a detour. These nuns that we met in Buenos Aires, invited us to a local shelter for abandoned women to help them with some chores. It is hard to refuse to people that made you pizza for free. One of the chores, was digging trenches so that water can flow into the shelter. At the end, it feels good to help others.

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Make sure when visiting another hemisphere to know that seasons are the opposite from North to South. We had to learn the hard way that Summer up North is Winter down South. It was freezing and this was our heater in the picture above.  It started snowing, while we were here. The lesson here is to bring a jacket.

 

America’s Independence Day en Argentina

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Published by Hugo Morel

When traveling to Buenos Aires, you will land at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport. Located in the city of Ezeiza, in the province of Buenos Aires.  The airport is about 22 kilometres (if you are american, 14 miles) away from the actually city of Buenos Aires. There are many shuttle buses from the airport that connect you with the city of Buenos Aires. Also, you can use city taxis that can drop you off to your destination. I always prefer taxis because it is a great to get an insight of the city from a local. Beware of shady taxis drivers!! If traveling from Newark, I do recommend traveling with United Airlines. They gave us dinner and breakfast with a great movie selection.

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Published by Hugo morel

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Before we went to the city of Buenos Aires, we stayed on a military base called Campo de Mayo. Campo de Mayo is one of Argentina’s most important military base. Located in the province of Buenos Aires. Walking down it’s halls, you do get an eerie feeling of sadness. No one ever told us it’s dark history. It wasn’t until after we came back from our trip, we found out it’s history. From 1974 to 1983, was the time of the Dirty War. The Dirty War was a time of state terrorism in Argentina. During this time, Argentina formed the right winged death squad called Argentine Anticommunist Alliance. The death squad, as stated in it’s name, fought against communism. They used the military base to hold the captured leftist guerrillas. Some locals rumors claim that the captured guerrillas were brutally experimented on. Also, the pregnant guerrillas’s newborns were taken away never able to see their mothers again. Lesson of the day, try not walk it’s halls at night.

Published by Hugo Morel

Published by Hugo Morel

Published by Hugo Morel

Published by Hugo Morel

On America’s Independence Day, we were invited by Gauchos for free steak at their ranch. This was a way of welcoming us, Americans, to their beautiful country. Probably one of the kindest forms of hospitality I ever encountered. The Gauchos are Argentine “cowboys.” They herd cattle year around, similar to the western movies. Their main form of income is earned through hunting. Our Gauchos friends put on a rodeo for us. After the rodeo was finished, they even let us ride their tamed horses. From fear, I did not even attempt to ride one. Horses are pretty tall, it looks like quite the drop to the ground.

Published by Hugo Morel

Published by Hugo Morel

When checking out the Province of Buenos Aires, make sure to not just go to it’s capital city, Buenos Aires. The province has a lot to offer. From the Gauchos to it’s Military bases, the province of Buenos Aires has so many hidden jewels of culture and folklore. Check it out when you get the chance. Also, make sure to bring the right plugin for the outlets. Otherwise, you might have to buy an overpriced plugin adapter. Unfortunately, talking from experience.

published by Hugo Morel

published by Hugo Morel