We arrived in the beautiful city of Morelia late on Sunday evening fully expecting the worst from the student apartment we'd arranged for the week.
Our expectations of a cramped single room studio, furnished with little more than a stained mattress on the floor couldn't have been further from the truth. Instead we unexpectedly found ourselves with a recently renovated apartment in a beautiful historic building, complete with a stylish fitted kitchen, flat screen TV, queen sized bed, and even our own private courtyard. A definite candidate for nicest lodgings of the trip, and a total bargain at a tenner a night.
In order to maximise our time at the Baden Powell Institute (above) we've opted for separate one-on-one tuition for the week, with Mel taking the academic approach (conjugating verbs, lots of homework) whilst I'm taking the conversational learning, no homework approach. Some things never change. Our days now consist of back to back 50 minute lessons with a conveyor belt of frustrated tutors as we flail around with various aspects of the Spanish language.
It seems I spoke far too soon on the merits of Mexican food. Just a couple of hours after publishing my last post I found myself "talking on the great white telephone" in our bathroom with great enthusiasm - an act I would repeat with alarming regularity over the next few hours.
An expression they use in Mexico when foreigners get food poisoning is "la venganza de Montezuma" which translates to "Montezumas Revenge", or in other words payback for invading their lands. Descendants of European colonial types take note, I have settled your ancestral debt in full.
The timing was pretty lousy as not only did I have to skip school the following day (again, some things never change) but we were also expecting our first house guests, Ed & Fi, who are travelling around the world without flying (read Ed's blog here). While my amigos enjoyed chilled bottles of Tecate served with fresh lime, I found myself reduced to the pitiful state of sipping the otherwise excellent Fresca (a little like lemonade) as my stomach accompanied their conversation by simulating the sounds of a distant thunderstorm.
In the run up to Christmas we've been subjected to everything from Hawaiian versions of all the traditional carols (on Ukelele and slack key guitar) to the rampant consumerism of Rodeo Drive in Beverley Hills. But as far as taking things seriously go, our amigos the Mexicans just can't be beaten - as this life-size nativity scene outside Guadalajara Cathedral should confirm.
I'll be taking a brief break from the blog over the Christmas period, but I'll be back in the New Year to let you know what we got up to. For those of you not already pickled to the eyeballs in festive mirth may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Feliz Navidad!
Or Merry Christmas.