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!!

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Checking Out Little Haiti

Little Haiti, a place of real culture and down to earth people. Going to Little Haiti was a very eventful time in my life. I made friendships that would open many doors and eventually this blog.

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Little Haiti Cultural Center, Hugo Morel

Going to Little Haiti, I do recommend going by car. Public transportation to Little Haiti is not always the best. Once you are there, most of the corner stores are Haitian owned. Make  sure to check them out, when you get the chance. You can get a lot of Haitian products from fruits to candy bars.

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Haitian Flag street art, Hugo Morel

While in Little Haiti, you must eat at a local restaurant. No fast-food or Mcdonald’s! Eating from those types of restaurants, will ruin your experience in this cultural paradise. If you want some real cultural food, always ask the locals.

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A nice family owned restaurant,Hugo Morel

After asking around, I was told about a restaurant called The New Piman Bouk restaurant. It was a great place to go. It gives you the feels of being in Haiti. The restaurant is owned by a Haitian-American family. This is authentic as it gets for Haitian Creole food in America. One plate of food can feed two people. It is a great place for food at a great price.

Little Haiti has many cultural activities. While in Little Haiti, make sure to check out the Cultural Center. The Cultural Center has many events throughout the year. From movies to social groups, Little Haiti’s Cultural Center is place to visit for anybody looking to experience the local culture.
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Just want to say thank you to you all for reading and liking my posts. We reached over 100 followers. I met the person who pushed me into starting this blog in Little Haiti. Drop a like and a follow. Next week we will be going to Dallas for some workshops to teach English in mexico. Much Love!!

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!!

Sleeping on the beach, seeing the pope

After exploring the city, the time came for us to crash on the beach. Seriously, we slept on the beach like bums. It was a very interesting experience.  This event led up to the real reason as to why we were in Rio, to see Pope Francis.

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published by Hugo Morel

It was a nice 2013 winter day in Rio. The sun came and went at times. When the sun came out, it was extremely hot for the winter time. The type of hot that would give you a headache. Like the picture above, many of us found something to shield our heads from the sun.

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skyscrapers in Rio by Hugo Morel

Once lunch time came, we had to stay in line for about 2 hours to get our meal and our meal cards. The meal cards would give us two free meals per day. The pictures below were taken during us waiting in line.

Once night time came, we found our spots on the beach to sleep. We decided to explore a little around the city. Going with the flow of the crowd, we got dragged into a march from people all over the world. It was very interesting meeting and talking to them.

After a rough night of trying to go to sleep, the pope came. The crowd was extremely cheerful. With 64.6% of Brazil being the pope’s follower (not on twitter), the beaches of Copacabana were never this filled. It was amazing to be apart of history.

After seeing the pope, the crew packed up and headed towards the airport. Unfortunately, we missed our flight. We had to negotiate a deal with the airlines. Long story short, we had to drive from Rio to Buenos Aires. Trust me, it was a butt-numbing experience.

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the stink-eye, Hugo Morel

Thanks for taking your time to read this post. Don’t be like the guy in the picture above, drop a like and a follow. Much Love! Next week we go to Miami!

Riding Rio’s Public Transportation

Rio’s metro is the second most used in Brazil. With 1.1 million riders daily and 401.5 million yearly, the metro is on a global city level.

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published by Hugo Morel

Waiting for the train at the station, makes you feel like you are in Brooklyn, NY at the L train Bedford ave stop. One way metro fare is R$3.50. Remember that the American dollar is about double of Brazil’s currency. The pictures below were taken as we waiting for our train. It was more modern than we expected. Being Americans, we tend to not think so highly about other countries’ subways.

The picture below is one of Rio’s subway trains on the outside.

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published by Hugo Morel

Taking Rio’s subway was very similar to New York’s. The train we took was like  New York’s A train. You got your crazies and your trains’ panhandlers. The major difference is that the whole train is connected. In New York, the trains are separated by carts with doors in between each cart. While in Rio, there are individual carts but they are connected with  no door dividing them. The train on the inside, looks as if you were inside a giant snake.

Walking in the subway stations, we noticed a lot of shops. Very similar to New York’s Penn station. The pictures below were taken in front of a video game store in the subway station.

Rio’s Public Bus system is on a world class level. With 831 bus routes, you can travel anywhere in the city at cheap rate. The bus fare is R$2.40 one way. In American dollars, the fare is a bout $1.20. Make sure to know this when taking the bus, obese people have priority seating. Make sure not to look like a jerk.

Rio also has an express bus called BRT. The BRT has it’s own private lane on the highway (USA, we should take notes!). Going on one of these buses, can get you across the city in no time. The picture below is a BRT station.

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published by Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Drop a like and a follow. Much Love! Next week, we sleep on the beach and see pope Francis!

 

 

 

Another rainy day in Rio

Rio de Janiero, Brazil’s second city. The second largest city in Brazil and the sixth largest in the Americas. Home to some of the best beaches in the world. We were not too excited about it raining in this tropical paradise.

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published by Hugo morel

Even with the rain, we still took in the beauty of this city. Like the guy in the picture above, we kept it rolling. No rain will stop us from enjoying our time in the world famous beaches.

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Just look how empty these beaches are! It’s amazing and a rare sight for it to be a ghost town.

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Even with the rain, the ocean was beautiful. The Atlantic Ocean is seen in the picture below. It looks as if a major storm is near. Luckily, it was just a normal winter rain.

More views of the beautiful scenery during the winter rain. It is breathtaking.  Even with the gloomy weather, the views are out of this world.

At times, we felt like the statue down below, stuck and wet.

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published by Hugo Morel

Look at the photo below. It makes you feel as if you are in some horror movie. No editing went into this picture.

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published by Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Drop a like and a follow! Much Love! Next week the rain clears and we will be exploring Rio in the sun. Happy New Years and stay safe!

 

 

 

Rain in São Paulo

São Paulo, Brazil is the Americas’ and the Southern Hemisphere’s most populated city. We were so excited to finally be here, in Brazil’s Manhattan. It was towards the end of a 2013 July when we arrived and we were once again reminded the Northern Hemisphere has opposite seasons.

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Published by Hugo Morel

It was raining when we got to São Paulo. Even with the rain, the city still looked amazing. Summer in the Northern Hemisphere is winter in Southern Hemisphere The picture below is São Paulo’s  Octávio Frias de Oliveira Bridge. The bridge is a world class landmark. When an image of São Paulo is shown, the Octávio Frias de Oliveira Bridge is usually in the picture.

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Published by Hugo Morel

The Bridge is similar to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Although, not as famous as the Golden Gate Bridge. Both bridges represent their city in a world class level. The picture below is a close up of the Octávio Frias de Oliveira Bridge.

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The  Octávio Frias de Oliveira Bridge was created in an unusual form of an “x.” The picture below are skyscrapers with the Bridge’s reflection on the windows. You can see more of it’s “x” form.

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São Paulo’s skyline is so amazing. It really does make you feel like you are in Manhattan. The picture to the side, looks similar to when you are driving out of Manhattan and heading to Yonkers, New York.

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Another beautiful building in the world class city. The city’s skyline and buildings, truly make you feel like you are in any American city.

 

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The city’s subway and public transportation is very modern. It’s able to compete with Moscow’s. Which, Moscow, has the busiest subway in the world. The pictures above are examples of the city’s public transportation.

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brought to you by google

The picture above is a picture of São Paulo’s metro map. In 2013, the metro fair one-way was R$2.90. Which was about $1.45 in american dollars. The actually price of metro fair now, probably went up. Just remember one Brazilian Real is about half an American Dollar.

São Paulo is a beautiful city. Very similar to New York City, with it being one and a half of NYC’s population,  São Paulo is truly breathtaking.

Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Drop a like and a follow! Happy holidays and we hope you enjoy it with your love ones! Much Love! Next week we will be in Rio de Janeiro.