Something happened last weekend which told me that I've been having too much fun. My camera reset its counter that names the photos because it reached its limit of 10,000. I've run out of space on my computer for all these photos and I still am yet to make my big trip around Central and South America!
What have I been taking photos of? Well since my last entry, I've visited some amazing places and had some experiences that I never would've thought possible.
One of the most beautiful mountains here is named "Saddle Mountain" as it has a peak that looks like a horse saddle. It towers over Monterrey at a height of nearly 1500m above the city and I've been itching to climb it for a while now! So we did, at 7am on a Saturday morning we set off for the 6 hour round trip that takes us to the top of the world and it was spectacular.
The following Thursday night was Rodeo night at a local rodeo bar, where we rode mechanical bulls and saw a live rodeo with some seriously large bulls.
The weekend saw us visit the historic town of Real de Catorce, which is a beautiful town nearly 3000m above sea level, known for its silver mining and ancient architecture which still stands today. Whilst there we went horseback riding to neighbouring ghost towns, climbed to the top of the highest peak and took a jeep ride down through a canyon on a road that can only be described as "don't let the insurance company see this"! :)
My other trip this month was a bit more unpredictable. I had heard of this place in central Mexico, about 9 hours drive from here, called Xilitler. It's a small town in a jungle that boasts a very remarkable castle built by an eccentric Englishman about 50 years ago. Anyway, impossible to get to by bus, I thought I'd never go, but then I was talking with a friend of mine from Sweden who mentioned that he was going to Xilitler for the weekend to a 4-day circus convention camp! So I went too.
It was a brilliant weekend, which started off with me sharing the driving, my first left hand driving experience. We camped down near a beautiful river, which also doubled as our bath, and shared the campsite with about 300 other mad-keen circus folk from around Mexico and the world. Workshops were held every day from puppeteering to aerial acrobats and the town was just really, really beautiful. The castle, which was never completed, was already overgrown by the jungle, but truly spectacular to see. Every night we were treated to 4 hour circus shows put on by all the international guests, in the middle of the Mexican jungle; an experience I can honestly say I didn't see coming.
I know you're probably wondering about my study habits here, as my focus is more on the whole experience than simply study. Well I'm doing fine with my 5 subjects as the work is not technically challenging, but there is a large quantity of work. It is already week 14 here now and we're wrapping up the semester so there is a vast quantity of group work and assignments to hand in, along with more partial exams, etc. It can become quite stressful with the sheer quantity of work, especially when I'm rarely home for a weekend, but it does encourage good time management skills.
I have set aside this and next weekend as catch-up weekends where I'm staying in Monterrey and getting back up to speed with all the homework. I'm also preparing for a rather large trip in two weeks which is going to be truly special. My mum is coming over from Australia and together we will fly down to Quito, in Ecuador, and take a 6-day tour of the Galapagos Islands. Yes, I will miss some university, but this is why I am spending this time now to make sure it will be possible with little interference to my studies.
The week after is exams and then it is the beginning of the end, where my time in Monterrey comes to a close and summer travels down south will begin.