Tercera Semana – León

Week three: León

After kicking off the new week in this new city with our lectures, we kicked off in a little football match organised for us on campus. Given that no one realllly played football already, the game was a bit of a mess. We were playing 9ish a side on a very, very small pitch, which meant legs were flying and tangling everywhere. It was such good fun and good to set some solid sunshine and exercise. 

The most intriguing company visit this week was to Grupo Cuadra, a leather goods company, which was fitting given that León is the leather capital of Mexico. Although some of their practices were perhaps questionable (using animal leather like elephant), we got to see the whole process of making a boot, from design to dying the leather to hand constructing/assembling it. We got a personal tour around the factory from the head designer. Each worker was working on a different job in the boot process, like nailing the sole, for example. Everyone gave us a welcoming smile as we walked past their station. Seeing the time and effort that goes into Cuadra’s boots made me want to buy a pair even more (though never any exotic animal skin, of course). The company was super open to our questions and had nothing to hide on their site. 

Leather cutting station at Grupo Cuadra

On Friday after uni, a few of us went to the Leather Zone. It was a little maze of stores with leather boots, handbags, and the sort. Later we went out to a local Mexican restaurant. The food and service were awesome; however, I did have one complaint. We got chatting with our waiter Jesús, and he thought we were from California!!! To add insult to injury, an Uber driver that night also thought I sounded American. And to round it up to a hat trick, a guy we met dancing that same night also said I sounded like a California girl (yet Hayley and Georgie sounded British to him!?). 

Obligatory weather chat incoming… Even though it’s winter in Mexico right now, the weather has been amazing! In all three of the cities so far, the mornings can be a bit nippy, but the sun sure heats up during the day! The air is pretty still and windless, the skies always clear and blue! I don’t feel any FOMO missing NZ summer right now when this is the sort of weather we’re having here, and Auckland is in lame rainy weather! 

*-Post first draft addition:* On a sombre note, on our Friday here, we woke up to news about the Auckland flooding. Was a hectic morning of checking in with family and friends back home and showing other Kiwis in the group pictures we’d seen. We felt quite helpless being here while Auckland is experiencing this unprecedented event

To top off our week, we all went on a day trip to the city of Guanajuato. I was sceptical about having to wake up so early for it, but upon getting there, we found that we very easily spent the whole day exploring and shopping. The town is full of cobblestone streets with colourful buildings. I absolutely adored a little ceramic store we found. All the pieces had such vibrant colours and quintessentially Mexican patterns – and for good prices, too! I also loved catching the funicular up the hill to see a stunning panoramic view over the colourful city and the little stalls and markets tucked in the hill up there, too.

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