Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dispatches from Mexico: 911, drunk drivers and volcanoes

Our 10 KCPD officers learning Spanish in Kansas City's sister city of Morelia, Mexico, right now are half-way through their five-week stay. They just took midterm exams and checked out several police and cultural sites. Here's guest blogger Sergeant Lionel Colon's take on their recent activities and classes:

May 1
Today in class there was the introduction of yet another verb conjugation. Of course, it wasn't any easier than the previous ones.

Afterward, the class visited the C-4 Dispatch Center. Their radio technology is made by the French. They seem to have similar problems with their handhelds as we do. They have a network of traffic cameras distributed about the city that they monitor in a viewing room. Like all other law enforcement, they enjoy playing versions of traffic intersections' greatest hits. We gathered around the big screens to watch accidents and street fights caught on tape. As we left, they gave us hats with their version of the 9-1-1 logo.

Tonight we continue converstion class out of the classroom and in the community.

May 6
This evening's CCL class was interesting. One student was late (Jenny). When she arrived, she was wearing a neck brace. She had been the victim of a DUI accident when her car was struck by fans leaving the futbol game on May 1. As she described the details, her eyes swelled with tears. An unfortunate circumstance she is dealing with, but we assured her in our line of work it could have been much worse.

May 7
Hurray for Midterm exams, followed by a disturbing bilingual move called "Trade "

Our classes continued later that evening at the Santibanez household to try our hand at a menu of dishes to include agua de jamaica, crema de cilantro, tacos dorados, guacamole, and flan. After watching and assisting in the demonstrations, we ate everything for good measure.

May 8
Excursion Day. We drove several hours to reach the volcanic ruins of Paricutin. In the early 1940's, several volcanoes erupted destroying neighboring towns. A local church survived. It's amazing how the front of the church towers over the lava rock and yet near the back of the submerged church revealed the original altar. The journey to get there consisted of an almost-perfect ride on horseback.

After leaving the church, we headed to nearby Urupan and its national park. The plush forest and amazing display of waterfalls was so relaxing after the previous journey. The fresh water followed our every step even to the minute details of small gutters that were built into the walkways we traversed. Near the end of the tour, some of us could resist no longer and dunked our feet in pools of the refreshing water.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is a much needed free-day. Well, not completely free as we have ample homework and review to complete for the coming week.

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