Sunday, August 24, 2008

mexico part 2

k, I need to blog about the Mexico vacay

But it was amazing. Like truly so. What started out way back in January me sending an e-mail the the HW Mexico city list, saying 'who wants to go travel w/me after?' and two of my favorites writing back and saying yes, ended up being this amazing beach vacation with 10 queer AIDS activists and friends camping on a beach in Playa Ventura, this beautiful tiny beach town. And I'm proud that I made this happen. And making it happen made me feel like I contributed to the team even though I had no skills to contribute with driving, navigating, Spanish, kayaking or camping or anything basically useful. And I was initially totally skeptical such a trip would work. When this trip was being "planned" it was bsaically a series o e-mails back and forth saying nothing but deciding we wanted to camp on a beach near Acapulco. And I'm like, 'ummm, do we really want to camp?' and everyone else is like, 'ummm, yes.' Basically, I have the Scholl stress gene, which my cousins and I thought was the dominant gene, but we learned at the family reunion in July it is actually a recessive trait that my grandfather passed on to three of his sons who passed it on to many of us, but the rest of the family seems to have replaced a stress gene with an alcohol gene.

But I digress....We did find a beach to camp on! Thanks to Lonely Planet's guidance we camped under this leafy thing at a restaurant, where exchange for eating their food and paying $5/a tent, we essentially had an entire beach to ourselves. The people I traveled with were so laid back and fun that it made me way more laid back and fun, and thus I was not stressed at all. Every day included one activity. Kayaking and swimming in a poluted lake. Driving two hours to the Afro-Mestizo culture and then not really learning all that much except that the African slaves may or may not have crashed a boat into Mexico but they definitely came and started a new culture. Seeing the "biggest circus in Latin America" which i really hope for Latin America's sake is not true, since this was the saddest, littlest Circus ever with lots of child performers who made me sad.

Mostly we just lay on the beach, went into the ocean which was totally not safe to swim in since the waves were huuuge, played games, hung out, ate much Mexican food. I am totalyl being bad at describing but it was lovely. There was also two dogs and a little boy who spent too much time with the dogs and played fetch. I posted a picture of him on facebook which makes me a little ashamed of myself, but he was just sooo cute.

after the beach laurel, lucile and i went to this silver-mining village called Taxco, TRIED to climb to see a pyramid but got there too late and back to Mexico City which was all full ciricle except this time I went to museums and not just the conference center. And I learned (or re-rememebered) Spanish! At least enough to get us not to die.

All in all a lovely trip. I should have written this earlier when it was fresh in my mind, like the way I'll do research and interviews for "long-term" articles then by the time I write them I forget the passion I once had. But trust me when I say go to Mexico.

Monday, August 18, 2008

IAC wrap-up

hmm, how do I attempt to summarize 16 days in Mexico, half at a conference and half on vacay into a blog post? I already tried to make it into a facebook album and perhaps i'll addd some pics here.

Wellllll, I attended the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Was it fun? Not exactly, since I barely saw an inch of Mexico City that wasn't a conference center the entire week. Educational? Not in the traditional sense, since I didn't attend a session where the goal wasn't to disrupt it with a cheer of "Housing is a human right!" (in English and espanol). But it was inspiring and exciting. As long time readers might remember, I attended the 2006 IAC in Toronto, where I dutifully attended sessions to complete my half-assed research on "AIDS activism" in order to swag some grant money from Northwestern even though I had not a clue what was going on (Oh, I wish I could go back to college---Avenue Q). I barely spoke to anyone and had lovely nights hanging with Anne.

But actually I don't wish I could go back to college. Because now my life and job is maybe harder, but it's better. This time I spent the entire time doing press and writing about and participating in and in some cases helping organize daily protests about the need for AIDS housing. It was tiring and crazy but also exciting, like when we disrupted Bill Clinton's protest and he responded to us, and meeting the tons of people who responded positively to our message. I saw tons of people I know, met more people who I will know, and in a short year am integrated into this weird AIDS activist community.

And also feeling like part of a community of people at HW (I just realized I could abrev my place of work as to not show up on the google alert, duhh). Anyway, just hanging at the hostel w/HW folks, I totally still feel like the young white girl from Westchester especially when I tried to salsa dance.repeated that apparently Spades is a "black person game" which I was mocked for all week and Though one Latino colleague kindly noted, "I'm not a traditional white person." But despite feeling different, I also feel the same. I have never felt so accepted by a group in my life. As one colleague said, "I am so HW" and I feel sososo fortunate that this was where I happened to land after college and to be a part of and loved by this crazy group of people. And just hanging out at the hostel with them made all the getting up at 7am days worth it.

Ok, I will blog about the vacation part soon, I promise! It was amazing. I just need to go to bed now. Plus it's good to break these things up and to give you something to look forward to.