Travel Journal

By. Varenya S.

Travel Journal Entry #1

Mexico City : Modern Government

Dear Diary,

The absolute BEST thing happened today! I actually met Mexico's president, Enrique Pena Nieto! He welcomed me at the National Palace in Mexico City and I learned a lot of things about the Mexican government.

President Nieto (I call him that, though he insisted I call him Enrique) first told me about the basic requirements of a Mexican president. Some of the requirements are: you must be a natural-born citizen of Mexico, you must have lived in Mexico for atleast 20 years, and you must be older than 35.

Following that, I learned that Mexico has a federal government with 3 branches, much like the U.S. All branches are independent. The legislative power is vested upon the Congress of the Union. President Nieto explained the powers of the Congress to me. They include the right to pass laws, impose taxes, and even declare war! The second branch's, the Executive Branch's, power is vested upon the President himself. The president is responsible for executing and reinforcing the law. He also has the authority to veto bills. The last branch, the Judicial Branch, consists of the Supreme Court of Justice. This is composed of 11 ministers appointed by the President. They interpret laws and judge cases.

The President has a busy life and I thanked him profusely for taking time to tell me about the Mexican government. I will never forget this day!

-Varenya S.

Travel Journal Entry #2

El Salvador : Culture

Dear Diary,

I couldn't be happier! I finally got to visit my best friend, Maria, who lives in El Salvador! I surprised her by buying an airplane ticket and showing up at her door. She showed me around the city.

We went to a restaurant to eat. I was surprised that a typical meal in El Salvador has pulses and loroco... two vegetables that I have never heard of before! Other basic Salvadoran food includes meat, dairy items, and tortillas.

During my visit, I heard many people speaking a language that I had heard before. I just couldn't remember what it was. Maria then told me that the main language here is Central American Spanish. English is taught as a second language.

Maria also took me to a futbol club. In El Salvador, futbol is another name for soccer. We had a fun time there! Basketball and volleyball and also popular sports. Honestly, I never knew there were SO many futbol clubs here!

I went to the Cathedral of Santa Ana. It was beautiful. The Catholic Church has been the most prominent religious institution since colonial times. 75% of the population is Roman Catholic , and over 40% of the country is Evangelical Christian.

I saw many things during my visit to El Salvador and learned a lot, too. I hope I can visit Maria and El Salvador again!

-Varenya S.

Travel Journal Entry #3

Galapagos Islands : Geography

Dear Diary,

I went on vacation today! I had heard about Galapagos Islands in South America being really relaxing, so that's where I am. My tour guide explained to me the basics of the geography.

It is located in the East Pacific Ocean. The islands belong to Ecuador, which is also the closest landmass. The islands consist of 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets! It is an archipelago (DUH!) and is located on the Nazca Plate, above the Galapagos hotspot. According to the museum I visited, these islands were formed probably 90 million years ago. Some of the names of the main islands are: Baltra, Bartolome, Darwin, Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, Genovesa, Isabela, Marchena, North Seymour, Pinzon, and Pinta. The Humboldt Current brings cold water. During the garua (June to November) season, the temperatures are usually 72 degrees Fahrenheit. During the colder (December to May) season, it is 25 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a recent volcanic eruption on the island of Fernandina, and luckily I wasn't there!

Ah, today was really relaxing. I read a book in a hammock at the beach, after touring the museum. I will go explore the islands again tomorrow.

-Varenya S.

Travel Journal Entry #4

Brasilia : Economy

Dear Diary,

Today I visited Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. It is an important economic center. The GDP is divided into: 54.8% Administration, 28.7% Services, 10.2% Industry, 6.1% Commerce, and 0.2% Agribusiness. The main economic activity results from the administrative function. It was ranked the 45th most expensive city in the world, as of 2012. The industries in the city are: construction, food-making, recycling, pharmaceuticals, and graphic industries. The main agricultural products are coffee, guavas, strawberries, oranges, and lemons. I went to Conjunto Nacional, the first mall in Brasilia! It was huge. Did you know that Brasilia has over 110,000 cows!?

-Varenya S.