Sunday, March 25, 2012

Viva Mexico!

BYU doesn't have a spring break but I got to go to Mexico for ten days! For my senior project I went with a group of 15 other students and did some water analysis for the city of Guanajuato. I'll explain the project I worked on later.

So I left on Friday March 9th. Yeah, it was Natali's birthday. I hated leaving her on her birthday but left her some notes and presents to wish her a happy birthday and then she went out with some friends that night. We arrived in Mexico that evening and went to Guanajuato and stayed in the Hotel San Diego. Guanajuato is a really cool city up in the mountains and our hotel was right in the center.

Here is the view of the city from the nearby mountain. The big yellow building is a big cathedral and right behind it is the University of Guanajuato established in 1732. Yeah, older than the US!

At the top of the mountain was this statue of PĂ­pila that was pretty sweet.
On Saturday we went to San Miguel de Allende to check out the shops. A few of the guys bought some Mexican fighting masks and were showing them off.

Monday we got started on our projects. I was on a team with two other students from BYU, 3 students from Guanajuato, and a student ftom Zacatecas.
From left to right: Eduardo (Zacatecas), Karsten, Darren, Edith (Guanajuato), Anna (Guanajuato), Daniel (Guanajuato), and me.

The project I was able to work on was a flood analysis. Guanajuato is a mining town that is up in the mountains. There were hundreds of mining tunnels below the city and a lot of these tunnels have been turned into roads. Flooding is a major problem in these tunnels because Guanajuato sits in a valley with lots of mountains surrounding the city.

At the entrance of each tunnel there are flood warning signs with colors on the bottom. Our project was to check these risk level colors at the bottom of the signs to see if the signs were in the right place on the road and to check the heights of the risk levels.

In order to do the analysis we built a model to represent the tunnels from GPS survey points. Below are two videos. The first is the real tunnel, and the second is the model. If you could somehow hit play on both of them at the same time that will give you the best effect so that you can see how the model compares to the real tunnel.

We finished the project on Friday and then headed to Teotihuacan which is just outside of Mexico City. The best way to describe it is a bunch of rock pyramids that were built hundreds of years ago. It was really cool. We then went to Mexico City for the night. Two of my buddies and I went to go get something to eat. We were sitting outside eating our food when we heard a loud crash. A car had driven by and its tire fell off. Sparks were flying everywhere and I saw the tire bouncing down the road. Luckily it didn't hit anything (or us).

We also went to a cool museum and saw some really old stuff from the Mayans and Aztecs and other indigenous people in the Americas. The coolest thing we saw was the Sun Stone. I guess it was used as a place where they would have people fight on top of it. Pretty crazy.
Then we came home and now I am back to school. I am graduating in a couple of weeks so I am ready for summer to come. I'm not really celebrating graduation because I will be back at school in September to begin my Master's Degree at BYU.