Dear Ann, and all Cast D 93,
Greetings from Tiancheng, and his host mum Aurora, Cast D 93 Admission Manager, from Querétaro, México!
I’m sorry it’s been almost two weeks since I wrote the last e-mail. I know you all are eager to be with us on the tour through this e-mail. Sorry for keeping you wait so long. And at the same time, I would love to share your cast photo and stories with our cast as our trip goes on. The world has changed a lot since your travel, but the spirit of Up with People remains to be the same. And we are alike as well – a young group of people from all over the world traveling around the world, passionate, and impactful.
During the past two weeks, we had traveled for over 2000 km (or 1300 miles). We left Lake Havasu City, Arizona on Aug. 30th, and took a flight from Phoenix to Mexico City on the same day. This was followed by an overnight drive from Mexico City to León, a city 350 km away from the capital and famous for manufacturing shoes. People were so tired that they slept on the floor of our arriving site (Tec. Monterrey) till the morning activities began. In the afternoon we were welcomed by a group of Tec Monterrey college dancing girls and a mariachi band. The mariachi was so emotional and inspiring that on half-way of our Taco lunch the cast left their food on table and began to dance to their rhythms. At the end of the day when the cast met their host families in the rain, we couldn’t wait to say to them ‘Viva México’.
Our Mexico trip then started with a city tour on two buses without roof. We had two CI days and a cultural fair in Tec Monterrey campus. In the city we saw a big board of Viva la Gente by the expressway. And our show was on a manmade island-like stage on a lake, with the dressing rooms lie under the water. The show was a big blast and people were driven crazy when we reached our ‘Mexican Medley’ part. We saw lots of cellphones were waven among the audiance and during the intermission almost all the families their headed down to take pictures with cast members and got their signatures on T-shirt or cast photo.
My host family in León was awesome. Host sister Erika runs an Italian Spanish restaurant in town (called El Mediterranio) and we had everynight dinner there. For 5 days I felt I had finished half of the dishes on their menu. Let me take some time to write down my Tuesday dinner menu to convince you 🙂
Tuesday (Sep. 1st)
Botana Arabe (Pan Arabe & Libonese bread)
Kebabs meat balls with Tsatsiki source
Enchiladas de Mole
Tacos de Cordero (Lamb tacos. Flour tortilla with spicy lamb, buttermilk, and wine honey)
with Salsa Verde (Green tomato source)
Maccdonia de Frutas Rojas (Mongo icecream with berrys)
Dark beer Victoria
Bonderita (means Mexican Flag, lemon juice, a strong liquor tequila, songrita – salty tomato juice, all together look like the Mexican Flag color combinations)
So for this entire week everyday I’m basically working with three things: cast, dinner, and sleep. On Friday evening we had a dancing ball together with Tec Monterrey dancing girls. That night my host sister Erika’s those generous dinners got rewarded – It was pouring heavily, some of the streets just behaved like streams, I along with my roomate Matt dressed up and headed for the dancing club. On our way there we received the call from Erika, saying her restaurant had water leaked in and she’s considering to close that night. We then rushed there and helped to pump out the water and got the floor, tables and chairs back to order. Our hour long dressing code No.5 CI work prevented her restaurant from closing on busy Friday night and we were so happy to see lots of customers were there eating then. I enjoyed that night coz I felt I did something quite impactful there. That’s truly something featuring ‘Up with People’.
On Sunday the free day Erika’s family brought me to Guanajuato, a nearby old town, there is a Mummy’s museum, oh my goodness, I dare not to take pictures there. It’s said the soil in Guanajuato area is powerful enough to turn a corpse into mummy within 20 years.
The day we traveled from León to Querétaro we stopped at a small town San Miguel de Allende, it’s one of the nicest town I’ve ever been to in my life. It’s like a city built by LEGO bricks, so colorful, giving people a sincere and homecoming feel. As soon as I got the pictures sorted up I’ll upload them online for you.
And here now we’re in Querétaro, I attached my host family’s picture to this e-mail. The welcoming ceremony on Monday night in Conservatory we had a group of Mexican Indian people playing traditional musical instrument for us. The music was so touching and deep to heart. I felt I was under sort of meditation and my soul was directed back to the Inca or Aztec civilization then.
We just finished our 3-day CI days here. I went to a drug addicts recovery center and a women prison. To be honest I’ve never had chance to go to those kind of places in China. So the visits were quite meaningful for me and indeed good experiences. I made two friends in the women prison and I would like to send them postcards when we are in Europe next month.
There are always so many stories to tell. This above is just a small part of our fabulous tour in Mexico. Next week we’re going to Veracruz and will be celebrating the 199th year nation’s Independence Day there. And I believe even more fun is waiting for us there. I’ll get you involved in our big feast in Veracruz next time!
Attached is our cast photo from staging month in Denver, Colorado,
and also a photo of me with my host family (Aurora & Daniel Hunkeler, with their 6-year old kid Dominik), and roommate Tim Lewis (from Illinois, USA).
Enjoy being up with us Cast B 09 ! And take care!
all the best,