Our Trip to Monterrey — October 4-7, 2009

The PC sent us on a four-day trip to Monterrey. We visited with a current volunteer to see what his work is like and how he spends his time. The trip from Querétaro to Monterrey is about eight hours by bus. Fortunately, Mexico has an excellent intercity bus system that includes first class service. Our bus was a comfortable, air conditioned vehicle that showed (bad) U.S. movies en route.

We stayed outside of Monterrey, in a suburb named Apodaca, with Cole Shaw, a PC volunteer that began his service in March of this year. He is an electrical engineer and works for one of the Mexican government agencies, CONACYT (that’s the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, or National Council for Science and Technology) that sponsors many of the volunteers. Cole’s office is near the Monterrey airport and he has to commute by bus to get there, since PC volunteers are not allowed to operate cars during their service. His house is a long metro and bus ride from the central bus station in Monterrey, where he met us when we arrived in town. The weather was hot and humid when we visited, but Cole told us that this is not even the worst time of year.

After visiting his office and meeting his colleagues, we headed downtown and walked through the Fundidores Park. Monterrey has four principal industries – steel, cement, glass, and beer. The buildings in the park are converted steel mill plants that now are used as art galleries and exhibition spaces. One building had an exhibit that included photos taken by children in Calcutta that became the basis for the documentary film “Born into Brothels.” Another building had a painting and sculpture exhibit based on the theme “Melancholy.”

On our second full day there, we met up with Jake, who is a PC volunteer with SEMARNAT (that’s the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, or Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources), and the four of us headed off to the Museum of Mexican History, where we saw an exhibit about the muralist Diego Rivera, and then the Cervecería (brewery) Cuauhtémoc, the largest bottler of beer in the country. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take the tour because two of us were wearing open-toed shoes that violated company policy and the local health code! Fortunately, it turned out that the company also sponsors the “Salón de Fama” (Hall of Fame) of Mexican baseball, so we were able to visit it before enjoying a free brew in the company’s beer garden.

For lunch, we sampled one of Monterrey’s specialties, “cabrito” (grilled goat), which tastes like roasted pork. The restaurant is well-known in the area and has carcasses of whole goats hanging in the kitchen for all to see – at least you know it’s fresh when you get it!

Our trip back to Querétaro was uneventful, but long. It took nine and a half hours since we stopped both in Saltillo and San Luis Potosí.

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2 Responses to “Our Trip to Monterrey — October 4-7, 2009”

  1. Maryann Penna Says:

    Did you see the carasses of the goats before or after lunch? Hopefully after!

    • bendgold Says:

      Maryann – We saw them before, but it didn’t affect our appetites!

      Also, congratulations on the newest addition to your family. Please send us pictures (bendgold@aol.com) when you get a chance. By the way, did Justin and Kathryn have their baby yet?

      Best wishes to you and Dick,

      Julie & Charlie

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