The Odyssey
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Latin America Abeja Dispatch

 
 
 

Killing Time with The Kidz in La Paz
(by Abeja and Kavitha)
 

So...it's 8:00 PM, and the ferry we're catching to Los Mochis doesn't leave 'til 10 PM...what should we do on a Tuesday night in La Paz? Let's go to the zocalo (the town square) and find out what the kids in the capital of Southern Baja California do!

Ornella Meet Ornella...an 18-year-old high school senior who speaks perfect English! (Are any of you fluent in more than one language?) Ornella spent last year as an exchange student at Moncton High School in New Brunswick, Canada, where she not only learned English, but she also learned a lot about the similarities and differences between life in Mexico versus life in Canada.

"Our high schools are very different. My high school has 700 students; their high school has 1500. We wear uniforms; they don't. In my school, we don't change classes; the teachers change between subjects, so you always have the same classmates."

But there's one thing all high school students, here in La Paz and back in California and up in Canada, seem to have on their minds: "We party all the time. We love to go to friends' houses or to clubs. You've got to be 18 years old to go to the nightclubs downtown, but they're so much fun. We dance all night long. In Canada, my friends there also like to party all the time, but since it's colder there, instead of going to beaches, we'd go to the woods or just hang out at someone's house. The main difference is that we don't drink as much here. In Canada, everyone was drinking at the parties. We don't drink that much here, we have more fun dancing. We don't need all the drugs and alcohol."

We asked Ornella what the main thing she wants kids in the U.S. and Canada to know about kids in La Paz? "Sometimes exchange students come here expecting to see horses on dirt roads and no electricity. We have cars, televisions, computers; we have everything here. Sure, there still are rural parts of Mexico, where there aren't such things, but all of Mexico is not like that. My mother is from Chiapas, where you still find small villages; they are so beautiful. Mexico has both worlds."

Omarj Jumps

Next we met Ceasar, Omar, and Luis. These guys had just finished their homework, grabbed their patinetas, skateboards, and headed out to the zocalo, where we caught up with them. They spent the rest of the night showing us their moves and practicing new tricks.

They learn their tricks from each other and by watching videos by American Companies like Shorty's, DC, Crazy Pig, and Big Brother starring their favorite skaters (Chad Muska, John Carter, Steve Caballero, and Steve Olson). They love rap music, especially Ice Cube and the Wu-Tang Clan. They remind me of some kids I know back home in California! Any skaters or rap lovers out there?

To Skate = Patinar
Skateboard = Patineta
Town Square = Zocalo

Luis Tricks

For them, high school (secundaria) is divided into six semesters, two every year. In the third year, they have to choose a concentration, like Math, Arts, Computers, Navigation, or even Water Sports! Luis is 16 and in his third year. He is studying Navigation, so that he can guide ships at sea (an important trade for a seaside town such as La Paz). Ceasar is 13 years old, and in his first year of "secundaria." Omar is seventeen, has already graduated from la secundaria and is in la preparatoria, a year of school to prepare for the university. He is studying computación (computer programming).

Elementary and Jr. High = Primaria
High School = Secundaria
Senior Year = Preparatoria
College = Universidad

These guys made our night hamming it up for the camera. (Hey, if you guys read this and want to get e-mail from kids around the world, send us your e-mail addresses so we can be your connection!)



Our Favorite 44-Hour Bus Ride Ever!
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Mexico City
Mexico City - Then and Now
Plaza of Three Cultures, Much Pain
Abeja and Kavitha...Soap Opera Divas
Mamá Rumba - The Next Best Thing
Tacos al pastor, por favor
 
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