"Monterrey, My New Home" Top 5 Page for this destination Monterrey by John195123
Monterrey Travel Guide: 305 reviews and 582 photos
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Monday, January 10, 2005
As we made our way in on final, we passed over a neighborhood with swimming pools- not something I expected to see coming into Mexico. Of course, so much of what most Americans think of as Mexico is but a portion of the country. Monterrey is a city that, in part, could be anywhere in the USA. Shortly after what would have possibly been a shock to arriving Americans, a scene brought me back into context- a farmer moving his herd of cattle down a long and dusty road. My taxi driver had a screen on his passenger-side sunshade that played American TV... at least when I watched it, Conan O´Brian was slouched in a leather jacket interviewing the cast of Friends... in English. After getting off the plane, I noted that the majority of the customs line was comprised of middle-aged men. There were two women, and I was the youngest of everyone. We arrived at my hotel and I went upstairs to shower and review my map. At 3:00pm I went to UDEM to meet Hilde, and figure out just what I needed to do. So far there`s a meeting sometime tomorrow (before 10:00a.m.) to work on housing and I have to be there at 9:30 on Thursday for an introduction to UDEM. Hilde and company are in the office from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and then from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, so come during that time. They are in the Community Center, Second Floor. A taxi from the airport to the Best Western Valle Real, costs $235 pesos. Taxis can be hired from a desk just to the right as you walk out of the international arrivals area. The hotel is fairly close to UDEM, and costs about $50 pesos to get there and about $40 pesos to get back. The hotel can change money. There is a restaurant next door to the hotel, which I will go to this evening to see if it is good. Over restaurants are farther from the hotel and require a walk or a cab ride across the bridge. The city falls between two intense sets of mountains. They are quite impressive and I will send photos soon. The hotel has free internet, so while I`m here I will try to send photos. I will go to UDEM tomorrow morning around 8 to walk around campus and see what there is to see. You can buy breakfast at the hotel. I have vouchers for it... not sure if it is included or if I paid for it. They might speak a little English, but so far everything has been in Spanish.
Day Two: Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Today was fairly early as I wanted to be at UDEM early enough to get information on housing. No one knew about benefits or stipends when I got there, but I and a group of other students shared one borrowed telephone to call around and look for housing. Deissy Soto, the assistant to Vicky Carlos, helped us look and entered the top secret code to dial out to cell phones. This office is on the third floor of the Community Center, just as you get to the top of the stairs, pass a hallway, then turn right through a glass door. There were few places that still had openings, and many were difficult to understand. There were houses, rooms in houses, apartments off of houses (with and without services provided). There were group apartments (many rooms with one single central room and shared bathrooms, some of which had two beds per room, and then there were places with very little to offer but a place to stay. The people who rent the places speak Spanish, but Deissy will call for you if you want. Be sure to ask for/about: length of contract, services, water, gas and light (electricity), proximity to UDEM, bus routes, and what furniture the place actually has. There are other questions, I'm sure, but I don't remember them. Sometimes the owners will come to pick you up. Prices for places to stay hovered around $5000 pesos, which is different from what the IIS form says. Be sure to have at least three times that on hand. When I arrived, no one had any idea about the ISEP benefits for housing and meals, and at this point that is still not sorted out, so I had to have $1000 USD wired to me to cover the apartment's rent and equal deposit, which hopefully will arrive tomorrow morning so I can get the lease signed. There is a bank located on the first floor called Banorte, from whom I now have a debit card, as well as an ATM, from which I can't, for some odd reason, get any money off my credit card. I decided to walk to the hotel from UDEM, which is about a 30-45 minute walk. Just don't forget to look down as you might drop into an unmarked hole in the ground. The roads are very busy and fairly fast, so I don't necessarily recommend walking unless you're comfortable with that kind of thing and enjoy getting the unique chance to play a squirrel. It's not that bad, though. Walking along busy streets is probably not recommended, especially alone for females, but I didn't feel endangered at any time.(Through my travels in such countries, I have become used to looking out for some of the dangers a traveler may encounter, so I might feel more comfortable than someone who is there for the first time.) But it was an enjoyable walk home and tonight I am going to the restaurant next to the hotel, called Bahia. This is a popular hotel for UDEM exchange students, and the food is ok (fresh grapefruit juice in the morning).
The book store, just below the Housing office (or maybe on the first floor) sells phone cards if you bring a cell phone (Vodafone or similar SIM card compatible 1900band/multiband phone) They sell $300 peso cards, but you can onl get 8 at a time. I don't know yet if there is a cheaper way to call, other than using an 800 number.
Tomorrow I should have my apartment paid for and I will move in around 4 or 5.
I am taking these photos using a cheap compact 3.0MP digital. That might be fine for some people, but for me it is like a writer trying to write a novel with a bowling ball. I'm going to try to get a better camera, though I doubt I'll be able to. I'm used to good cameras, but I'll stop whining and deal.
Universidad de Monterrey, UDEM... if you have any questions about UDEM, please ask me! more travel advice
Eh, it's a nightclub... loud music, expensive drinks... the only benefit I found was good company when I was there:... more travel advice
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