Come to Mexico for the Sites and Stay for the Food

The research component of the trip has been very interesting. I am working at the Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (INCan) with my partner, Camille Cooley. We are working under the doctors Silvia Allende and Emma Verastegui. This is the first year that they have allowed students on the trip to work in the palliative care unit of the hospital so the doctors did not have a research project for us. So, Camille and I have been making progress creating and updating our research question and finalizing our project.

We took a weekend to visit the state of Oaxaca and explore the area with one funny guide who I will never forget. Again, we saw more pyramids and learned about the land. Interestingly, we had the chance to take part in a Mezcal festival. Mezcal can be described as a cousin to tequila. We also visited a site where Mezcal was produced.

Some of the Cuates during our trip to Oaxaca

So far, our host mom has been introducing us to the wonderful food of Mexico with all the dinners she cooks for us. There’s esquites, which is essentially corn in a cup with other ingredients. There’s tamales, which are made very differently from the tamales my Salvadoran family makes. Mexican tamales come in many different flavors, but I think that my favorite is the one made with mole. Mole is a type of Mexican sauce that must be tried. The mole in Oaxaca was especially great. Tacos al pastor are a huge hit in Mexico, although there are many other types of tacos. According to one of the cuates, true tacos al pastor are cut with a big knife instead of the battery powered razor used in Los Arcos, the restaurant we eat lunch at. I could go on and on talking about the food but I’ll end here by saying that I am in love with how fresh the mangos are.

By now it doesn’t shock me how cheap everything feels compared to in the US. I love making the two-minute walk from where I’m staying to buy tacos al pastor at less than one US dollar each or how Uber rides are never more than ten US dollars.