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Aguascalientes, already subject of a post here, is well-known in Mexico for hosting the largest folk and cultural event in the country, the SAN MARCOS FAIR (FERIA DE SAN MARCOS). During three weeks between April and May, the city goes through a makeover to welcome over 7 million visitors, in existing or specially-built places for the event which has been taking place for more than 180 years.

Today it’s raining in Dubai for the first time in the year and the feeling is the same as when it snows in Buenos Aires: people taking pictures, walking in the rain without umbrellas, etc. It’s awesome!

My hometown, Pelotas, is very proud of its history and preserves the heritage by transforming it into tourist and cultural attractions. In March I had the chance to see a little of this history from a new angle, a pleasant boat ride on Arroio Pelotas.

A sunny Sunday afternoon is an invitation to go for a walk at Coronel Pedro Osório Square, in the centre of Pelotas. The main attraction is Fonte das Nereidas (water fountain), bought by the Hydraulic Company at an auction in Paris and brought to provide water to the population at the time. Installed by the end of the 19th century and restored in June 2003, it has four Nereids (sea goddesses from Greek mythology on horses). Take your chimarrão and dog, meet friends and have fun. Besides the fountain, it is worthwhile paying attention to the centennial trees and buildings around the square, historical houses that are part of the city culture.

One of the most authentic experiences I had in Guatemala happened in San Andrés Itzapa, a small city around Antigua. I was with my Spanish teacher Francisco and we took a “chicken bus” to a place known by the devotion of San Simón, a kind of pagan saint beloved by Guatemalans. The ceremony was an excellent opportunity to see the religious syncretism so strong in Latin America. Catholic elements such rosaries and candles mix with indigenous religion represented by incenses and offers.

Traveling in Japan has an inner characteristic of non-western countries: one can lose patterns of culture and behavior. Globalization has leveled some differences some years ago, fine. Yet, the cultural shock is inevitable as soon as you arrive in the land of the rising sun.

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