As Thanksgiving got closer, so did finals, which meant lots more school work. I was working on a bunch of assignments and by then had animated typography, printed and designed a book about raccoon metabolic reactions, created a weather app and designed my own font. I was in the process of creating a website and a motion graphic on time vs space.
Alongside school work, I was still able to enjoy all that New Orleans had to offer. A popular piano bar called Pad o Brien was definitely a highlight of NOLA. This place has such a fun atmosphere and very talented pianists. Everyone is singing and dancing, you can hand the players song requests of any genre and they will know it, the bigger the tip, the sooner your song is played. Very cool place.
And although I miss New Zealand meals (fish n chips, good bread, marmite, cheap apples and home cooked meals), I am still enjoying eating at the interesting restaurants around here. A large group of us went to Superior Seafood, where you can get a dozen oysters for $6 and huge $5 margaritas. We also went to a Korean BBQ where you are given meat to cook on the grill in front of you. Very unique and very tasty. The international department also held a Thanksgiving dinner for all the exchange students. There were turkey and good hearty foods.
Finally, Thanksgiving arrived, and Guillaume and I headed off to Mexico!! Upon arrival, I realised not many people spoke English, and the few that did were not very proficient. However, Guillaume knew basic Spanish and was a major lifesaver during the whole trip. Mexico City was a pretty incredible place with so much to offer.
We arrived at our cute Hostel in the afternoon and headed off to explore Zocalo (the closest neighbourhood). There were beautiful buildings, big cathedrals, museums, street performers and little food stalls everywhere. For dinner, we grabbed a feed at a cute restaurant in Roma. The food was amazing! Afterwards, we strolled further into the neighbourhood, stopped for dessert and then headed to some groovy bars.
After having an amazing sleep we got up for breakfast at the hostel. Here we met another traveler, Hangda, who has been doing an exchange in America too. We went off into the city center and checked out all the sites. A highlight was the Temple de Mayor that was built 1325 and later discovered in 1978 when digging the tunnels for a sewage system. This place was so historically impressive and just sitting in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. We grabbed lunch at a rooftop bar with an amazing view. Then had a quick power nap before we grabbed dinner at an authentic Mexican restaurant and headed to a Lucha Libre fight. While waiting in the line we got to know a Paula from Rio who is a romance novelist. She found us seats up super close to the fights that we hadn't paid for. So for about three-quarters of the show, we had a sweet view. Near the end, we were discovered and had to move to our actual seats. It was a great night, the fights were hilarious and very entertaining. The crowd was buzzing and really getting into it.
The next day we Ubered to San Angel for the Saturday Art Markets. We saw lots of colourful paintings, jewellery, materials and some interesting artists to talk to. It had a lovely atmosphere there. We also headed to Palacio de Bellas Artes, which was incredible! We had a great view of it when we had drinks at a rooftop bar in front. That night we headed to meet Hangda and Paula for drinks in Condesa, but on the way there Guillaume and I were caught in a manifestation. There were lines of police holding riot shields and many many people everywhere. It was a bit wild! But thankfully we found an Uber after an hour of walking in the crowds and we got to have a nice night.
For our final day, we woke up early and got on a tour bus to the Teotihuacan Temples. The tour involved seeing a few sites around the city, we saw a few historic buildings, got to taste tequila straight from the agave plant, see a selection of silver and walk around the temples. First, we climbed up the Sun temple, it was massive and there were so many people wanting to explore the holy grounds. We then had a tour of some old buildings and climbed a few mounds. It was a strikingly beautiful area. We all went out for our final dinner at a lovely restaurant in Condesa. It was sad to say goodbye to Hangda and Paula but we certainly were going to keep in contact.
Once we came back it was cool hearing about all the other Thanksgiving adventures, but more importantly, it was great to be back with everyone. We had 3 weeks left and were ready to make the most of it. Many nights were spent at our favourite places: Brunos, The Boot, Waffle House, rooftop bars, and Mint.
There was also a last minute decision to go to the Jay-Z concert, booked the tickets for $14 and the next day we were jamming with Jay-Z. It was such an amazing performance, just one man, with so much charisma was able to entertain a huge stadium. Most of the crowd was made up of Black people who created a funky vibe. Jay-Z really appealed to this audience as he spoke of the tough times he has had as a black man, and how he never let anyone knock him down. Such a powerful message. There was also powerful smells of weed. I don't think I would get an experience like that anywhere other than in NOLA. Afterwards, we got tasty pancakes and iHop.
Once all the assignments and exams were done, it really started to hit me that this was it. People started leaving to go back to their families for Christmas or to travel around the states. Leading up to my last day, there was Audubon Park walks, last minute shopping, cooking with Hannah, flat parties and many goodbyes.