Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quintana Roo

We arrived safely here at the fabulous Hotel Presidente in Cancun! We had a free afternoon to explore! Family, I only took a picture of the jet skis! The white sand is soft and cool! I did go walking on the beach with a teacher from the Ukraine. She is an ESL teacher in our group from Oklahoma. The Tropical Storm Alex left piles of seaweeds on the beach! You could hardly get in the water.
Alex, Comexus assistance, has joined Jacques to assist us on this trip! We have our own Coach Bus which will take us across Mexico. Jacques is a Frenchman, but has lived in Mexico for 30 years. He is also an accomplished historian. We feel confident that our experience will not just be a touristy time. We have had typical American/Quasi Mexican dishes. I had chicken wings! We will be leaving Cancun tomorrow to begin to see and meet the people of the Yucatan!
Our roommates are changing with each hotel stay, so tonight my roommate is from Minnesota. I enjoyed meeting the teacher from Laos. She is an ESL teacher in Portland, OR. Our group is very geographically and culturally diverse. We are getting to know each other. This experience will be enlightening as we get to know the culture of Mexico as well as explore the regional diversity of our counter parts!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Count down to Cancun

Well, we've met each other and completed our orientation. I am traveling with a great group of teachers and another school administrator. We are from diverse backgrounds and will certainly learn to appreciate each other after this trip. We had lectures given by two of U Austin's finest. The information about the history of Mexico; then the geographical presentation about the Maya sites were very interesting. The Teresa Lozano Long Center of Latin American Studies will be an excellent resources! The Benson Collection includes authentic pieces from Hernan Cortes and geographical maps dating back to the 1570s. Of course, I asked the presenter (Marcos from Veracruz) about Yanga, Veracruz. He knew of the history right away. Africans in Mexico--I will certainly explore this issue further!
I went to the LBJ Presidential Library this pm. There are so many memories there about the Civil Rights Movement, JFK, etc. It was a moving experience! Ciao, folks! Our coordinator has assured us that Alex has passed the Yucatan; actually it's raining here in Austin today! :-)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Count Down

Wow, less than a month to go! I am interested in finding an "African presence" wherever I visit. Belize was a mixture of Kriol, African, British, Spanish and a little bit of everything else! Many of those people could have been my cousins! :-) Even in Argentina, I woke up one morning and Gabino Ezeiza, an African-Argentine, was being honored on TV! He was an Argentine troubadour (payador) back in the day.
My research interests are the African Diaspora, academic achievement gaps and multicultural issues! My brief searches indicate that I may find evidence of an African presence in Mexico as well. Anyone remember Estavanico, an African Slave who traveled with Spanish explorers through the southwest and Mexico, looking for the Seven Cities of Cibola? I recall learning about him in my first African American Studies course many years ago. Maybe I will write more about this connection upon my return! Ciao!