Today began bright and early here in the hostel.  We all share the same room (the guys I mean), and thus one person´s alarm, becomes that for the whole group.  We at corn flakes, bananas, toast, jam and eggs, an American breakfast really.  We eat in a daylight space, whose roof is made of clear, corrugated plastic, a divider more than an enclosure.

The weather out is like California, and I wear a black dress shirt rolled up at the sleeves, without any sunglasses though, and the Mexican sun catches my eyes.  We hop the BRT bus at Alvarez Obregon to Ciudad Universitaria.  The bus is packed with people and your arm reaches to hang out to any stable hand hold so you do not fall over when the bus jolts and jerks.  I look out the window at the high density low rise buildings passing slowly by our window, retail, a car dealership, restaurants, etc, and then a glimpse down a long avenue to the hills behind covered by houses like moss growing up every last inch of a craggly rock.

At Unam University, we walk into a large plaza, almost quad like area, seemingly a quarter mile long, flanked by a tower building, the library, and long classroom buildings.  Outside students play all kinds of sports games or are being affectionate to their significant others, with trees dappled here and there, and concrete spheres as sitting places; a 1950´s architectural microcosm.  At the architecture school, we hear about the Taxquena station, the new plans for the metro´s development.  I surprised myself by introducing my interest in the construction phasing of the transportation projects, an interest o f mine piqued by the study of Haupbahnhauf in Berlin, in which the station design reflected the construction phasing, which I found to be logical and interesting.

We proceeded to Taxquena station, where our exploration on Google Earth last week came to be realized before our eyes.  The informal vendors occupy any piece of property of commercial value, providing food, music, books, and all other things.  Some have stools where people can sit, and the Mexican cook becomes like a Japanese sushi chef, entertaining customers.  Their canopies, bright red, are strung out like sails of a ship, ropes tying them to any free standing pole.   And then they grow, accumulating, flowing, creating a continuous blanket that blots out the sky, admitting only a red haze to the dirty sidewalk below, creating commercial space from left over and forgotten.

The station is busy, but not entirely chaotic.  We enjoy the opportunity to see the place we will be designing a master plan for later in the semester.

While yesterday we had rib eye tacos, quesadillas, and pastor, today I had tomales, the corn husks insulating the corn flour bread at Café Tacuba, with cerveza negro, the dark beer.  We have fun conversations, and meet our studio classmates a little more.  On the way back, the taxi driver doesn´t really understand where we need to go, but we tell him the Spanish directions, and he asks for the cross street.  I tell him the closest metro stop I know of, and then we see some familiar landmarks, and my Spanish comes flooding back, and I tell him rudimentarily “Izquierda aqui”, left here.  We are near enough to walk back to the hotel, and an uneventful walk it is.

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