Notes from Mexico Trip- Johnny Monsarrat Mexico Trip

MONDAY, DECEMBER 13TH, 1999 -- BIOTECH PLACES & DZIBILCHALTUN RUINS (CONT.)

This hacker is only "pale" Mexican brown. He's got a dressy t-shirt, stripes and a lizard, with pink sunglasses. Jeans and a digital watch with a cloth wristband. Black hair neatly combed, and brown shoes. Nobody in Mexico wears sneakers... that's how Mexicans tell the difference between Americans and Canadians.

I ask the hacker what could James Bond do here, if he broke in. Well, there's only one student who broke into the files of the school. But recently they've put in a firewall. People from other countries have tried to hack in.

The server room is restricted, but it's only a half-room. It shares a room with a public computer cluster, and the separating wall doesn't reach to the ceiling. So theoretically, anyone could just climb over the wall. He says there's an alarm on the door, and a security guard in the front at night. No access: even the janitor doesn't get in to clean the server room.

There are fluorescent lights above. Is there some technology they can't get from the US? He says no, they're very close to the States, but it can take them an extra 5 months to get something in a local Merida provider after it comes out in the US. Everything is also much more expensive in Mexico. But no import/export restrictions on technology.

This is a public school with no tuition fee. Just take the admission test, and pay your own books & materials. Outside is an acacia tree, and a "flame tree". Some buildings are 2 stories. There are tons of gum on the walls and cement walkways. The dirt has that reddish clay-like feature. "Sociedad de Alumnos".

When students graduate, they must perform 640 hours of public (or private) service for free. You need a paper saying you've done this: sometimes before, sometimes after you get the degree. It's possible to do this social service part-time.

Our guide says "As you can see, we are not a tall people," referring to Mexicans. Students wear t-shirts & jeans, and carry books.

We pass through a chemical engineering laboratory. It has brick tiles and is covered with plasticky stuff (like a gym floor). Some students have dress shirts. There are lots of metal tubes in a room 2 stories high, and big fans in the wall. It has a corrugated metal roof. There are brick walls. The room is filled with glass bulbs and metal pipes - filthy - connected together across the room. The sounds of people talking & echoes.

There's a faint chemical smell. A fresh smell, as if after a rain. We walk through a machine shop. There's a smell of oil. It's 2 stories high, and lime green stucco like the rest of campus. There's a row of ancient wooden bookcases. It's not so hot, but extremely humid. Red fire extinguishers on the walls. Outside, the smell of trash.

We go to the bio lab. There's a very strong smell that Amy says is a "base" smell (as opposed to an acidic smell). The lab is specialized for food research. The floor is filthy and stucco covered, but its peeling, revealing the cement.

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