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Old 03-23-2008, 10:40 PM   #11
stickfigure OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Please don't call it 'Frisco
Oddometer: 523
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Doh! I forgot about our adventure before leaving Mexico City. Pretend, for a moment, that this entry predates the last.

Krisztina and I met a friend of hers in the DF, a 19yo girl named Leslie that Krisztina knew from a previous trip to Mexico. Leslie wanted to show us the university campus where she went to school. One hobby I inherited from my parents (hi Mom!) is "checking out the local universities" so I was all for it.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico is HUGE. 270,000 students huge. The campus covers a gigantic portion of southern Mexico City. Here's the view from Google:

The campus is so big that there are large numbers of taxis on campus to ferry students between classes. 4 pesos (about 40 cents) per person, as many as well fit in the car.

We met up with some of Leslie's friends and they gave us the grand tour:

UNAM is pretty much like most university campuses, just bigger. One thing I noticed is that food service is *good*, and it seems as if nearly anyone can set up a torta stand in the middle of campus. Fresh juices are sold almost everywhere. I recall with not just a little bit of anger when Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (my alma mater) signed an exclusive deal with the Pepsi Corporation that guaranteed all beverages sold on campus would be Pepsi products. Even school clubs had to buy food and drinks through the bureaucracy. The food sucked.

Many buildings had cool art:

One area of the campus was clearly the "make-out corner" because there were about ten couples in various states of mutual adoration:

A little "museum" in the medical building had this siamese-twin foetus:

Even the natives got lost a few times (did I mention this place is BIG?):

The art installations were really cool. One was this long wall you could walk on top of; at times it was twenty feet tall (don't slip!). Many other students were hanging out on top, some drinking pulque.

This was a neatly shaped concrete structure, art you can play on!

This reminded me of one of the things I love about Mexico - it feels FREE. No art installation like this (or the wall) would survive in the United States. The first time a student got hurt, the parents would sue the school into oblivion and the wrecking crews would knock over the "public nuisance". We don't even know about all the cool things that no longer (or never will) exist in the US because overwrought nannies are afraid someone, gasp, Might Get Hurt! I'm fairly certain that if the motorcycle was invented today it would never be allowed on the roads in the US, and that makes me terribly, terribly sad.

At this point our student friends had to go to class and they invited Krisztina and I along. I pondered this for a minute but ultimately translated "when in Rome..." to "cuando esta in universidad, va a clase". I wasn't quite sure what to expect, it was a Human Resources class and the kids said something about the instructor that I didn't quite understand.

I was horrified by what I saw. The instructor seemed to have no idea what he was doing, barely managing to write on the board what was in the handout and repeat it vocally. The students (about 50) had no respect whatsoever, loudly chatting with each other and trading candy in the isles. I was too self-conscious to pull out my camera and take pictures of the chaos, but I'm pretty sure none of the students would have hesitated.

Afterwords my friends informed me that none of the other classes are like that; this one is some sort of strange joke in the General Education curriculum. I actually had to stop myself from saying "kids these days..." lest they realize that I'm over 30 and no longer able to be trusted.

At any case, the class ended around 10pm and school was over so we hung out in the room for a little while teaching each other salsa moves:

El Club Desayuno:

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