Category Archives: Mexico

Xochimilco, Mexico: Mating Season

 Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; deeply loving someone gives you courage.
                                        ~Lao Tzu                         

I think this peacock was flirting with me. This is at the Dolores Olmeda Museum which also is a peacock sanctuary of sorts with dozens and dozens of peacocks all over the property. They seem to be in mating mode and this guy kept showing me his beautiful plummage and his butt so I guess he thought I might be interested. I got dive bombed by another peacock trying to get into this pen and it scared the heck out of me and I “hit the deck” as they say, much to the amusement of the other patrons seated a little ways off. What can I say, I provide entertainment on any continent, in any time zone.

This museum was a great surprise, I ended up here because it is one of the largest collections of Diego Rivera’s works and also has some of Frida Kahlo’s prints as well. When I first planned my trip I was interested in Frida’s work because her story sounded so interesting and drama-fied. Horrible accident as a young adult, her body never quite recovered, abortion* while married to Diego Rivera, mutiple affairs, etc. However, though I find her work to be colorful and engaging, it is very intense and honest and requires a level of engagement that is hard to articulate. She depicts her mutilation, the abortion, health issues, etc. Diego on the other hand was more low key. His paintings, drawings and murals are more political and erotic which are easy enough to view without dredging up emotions. I still find it unbelievable that an attractive young woman married (twice) this older, not at all attractive dude who also had multiple affairs. But what do I know about love?

Anyway, my mojo must have been on point this particular day because I also got hit on by an older (but not unattractive) Mexican guard at this same museum. He has 3 kids, a wife and an english vocabulary of maybe 10 words. That didn’t stop him from asking me for the name of my hotel, my phone number while in El D.F., and for my e-mail (I’ll let you guess what I did). That being said, if you are wondering where your romantic “mojo” went, it is probably somewhere on the outskirts of Mexico City.

 

*Frida was never able to have children due to the accident that nearly killed her. She had to have an abortion because she would not have survived the birth of a child.

Mexico City (El D.F.): Museo Nacional de Antropologia

One of the best museums I have ever visited. 45 pesos ($4.50 US). After my visit I read up on the museum some more and it turns out it is one of the premier anthropolgy museums in the world. The picture doesn’t do this fountain justice. With the sweetly scented breeze, sunshine and light filtering through the top, you have to physically restrain yourself from going to stand under it like a giant personal shower. I’m sure that is why they have guards, to keep people like me in check.

Mexico City (El D.F.): Cinco de Mayo Parade

  

I decided to make a run for Mexico City (4hrs, $27US) after I learned that Guanajuato (and most other places in MX) don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo in any real special way. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Puebla (and nearby places like Mexico City) which is the site that actually won the battle on that date with 200 Mexican troops defeating over 600 Frenchmen. I made this decision at 5pm on Friday afternoon after my last client call of the day. I arrived in El D.F. (el day-effay) at midnight and talked my taxi driver into stopping for “anything that isn’t mexican food” and I treated him to a hamburger and a soda (33 pesos for both of us = $3.30 US). He made me a little nervous by taking some back streets and going around in cirlces and all I could think of were the stories of taxi drivers kidnapping tourists and ripping them off. At midnight in one of the most crime riddled cities on the planet all I could do was: TRUST.  Turns out he was just showing me some Mariachi bands and some of the local hot spots. I slept in the next day but soon I grabbed my Nikon and hit the streets for 3 days of parades, museums, gardens and people trying to sell me tourist crap.

I just lurve this picture. Well I grew to lurve it after I got over the fact that this parade woke me up. And it was the longest.damn.parade.ever. But I boogied down to the street and snapped almost 100 photos if not more. The kids marching in the parade were a mix of excited and “over it” and it made for pretty interesting people watching. As the only snap happy African American person in 50 miles I got people watched right back. Sometimes you watch the parade, sometimes the parade watches you.

Guanajuato Mexico: Nos Vemos*

    

You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.

                                                                                -Outkast      

I was chatting with another blogger/traveler about how every day traveling isn’t a paradise of party and sunshine. Sure a bad day traveling generally beats a good day at work, but traveling this way has its own thorns and trials.

You are all probably sick of pictures of these four but this is likely to be one of the last. I had my hardest goodbye to date on Monday when Mario and Andrea headed down to Queretaro to visit his uncle. From there she’ll head on to Puebla to hang out and celebrate Cinco de Mayo and continue south on her journey. Jorge left a few hours later heading for Morelia on a pilgrimage to take a look around his mother’s hometown. He will also head south in due time. Myrna is still here with me, but things aren’t the same. She is sad too, but she has the salve of her daily life and other friends to divert her attention. Her day-to-day life isn’t much changed whereas I feel like the sky is a little less blue and the fun a little less…well, fun.

I pondered why this goodbye left me feeling “off-kilter” and realized it was probably because I would have to do my homework and buy most of my own drinks from here on out. Seriously though, I think every now and then a group just gels in a way that is inarticulable. We looked after one another and it was nice caring about someone else for a change. When we went out I felt like I could let my guard down a little more than usual because Jorge and Mario had our backs. But mostly it was the companionship, the conversation and the comraderie. The bittersweet knowledge that it would end made our time together burn more intensely, the quiet moments and the crazy moments equally full and perfect. I’ve said hello and goodbye to literally dozens of people the last three months and this was one of the hardest but also one of the most perfect in terms of loving people (and being loved) where they are and when they are, with no other expectations. 

*We’ll be seing each other

Guanajuato Mexico: I have found my people

  

well…not really. these cutie-pies are actually French (probably by way of Senegal).

Michaella (13), Keppy (15) and Maranatha (16) were in town for a hot minute with their mom and older sister, both of whom i met later. it was so funny because i was WAY excited to see them and they just thought i was nuts. it didn’t help that the only common language we had between us we spanish and Keppy was the only one of the three who knew that! The older sister does actually speak English very well (as well as several other languages) and we had a great chat about working internationally, living in Mexico City (El D.F.) and you know, stuff that grown women talk about. it may not have meant much to them, but it made my day. well, until dinner time anyway and then Restaurant Luna made my night with an excellent Spaghetti Carbonara. by the way the two M’s are siblings and Keppy is their cousin.

Marfil Mexico: Tourist and Traveler

  

I finally decided to go check out some of the sights around Guanajuato since I’ve been here almost two weeks. Travis (commenter extraordinaire and fellow bootsnall‘er) was here in GTO last year and tipped me off to the San Gabrielle Barerra Gardens outside of town. He remembered that I’m a confirmed zoo/aquarium/museum/botanical garden nut and thought I’d like it. That is an understatment. Michael (29, Swiss) and I had a leisurely breakfast on Sunday and then took a taxi out to the Gardens (60 pesos = $6 roundtrip). The entrance fee was 22 pesos=$2.20 and you can really get your money’s worth if you have time, a camera or a picnic.

The garden is divided into various styles: Italian, Roman, Mexican, English, etc. in this meandering way that sucks you into a dream like state. We went on probably the most perfect day. It was sunny but there was a nice breeze. It was Dia de los Ninos so most everyone was in town for the festivals so the Gardens were virtually deserted. This is one of my favorite pics from the day. The only thing better than a great tourist attraction is having a fellow traveler to share it with.

You can also check out a short video of how the local grown-ups spend some of their sunday afternoons. Safe for work viewing, just adjust your volume.

 

Guanajuato Mexico: College Deja Vu?

 

The past few days have been so much fun that I have slacked on my spanish homework. As Dan points out, times like these are special because you are wise enough to know they can’t last. Eventually one or all of you will wake up and pack your bags to yield to the siren call of adventure. It has been a fun group in general, but Jorge, Andrea, Mario, Myrna and I seem to have bonded in a way that makes me smile even as I write this. Myrna and Mario are from Guanajuato and both speak maybe 5-10% english. Andrea is Swiss and knows french, german, spanish and english and Jorge is Mexican American (from California) and is fluent in english and spanish. As the week wore on our cash stashes seemed to dwindle and we were eating more and more pizza and the beer was getting cheaper and cheaper and at one point on a rainy afternoon (the day I took this pic) I had on a shirt that says “College” and that is exactly where I felt like I was. Complete with the spanish homework that I haven’t done and all.

Guanajuato Mexico: Oh What A Night…

    

Andrea, Daniel, Jorge and Mario. 3:30am Calle Juarez, GTO.

Despite previous attempts to “slow my roll” as we say in Virginia, I got caught up in the fever and went out with Jorge and Andrea last night.  Magnus has left us for points south to hang out with friends in Puerto Vallarta, but we have our eyes set on a new arrival: Max (30, TX), Photograper and Production Assistant extraoridnaire.

Jorge bought Andrea and me Bacardi and Jugo de Pina (pineapple juice) which I think was part of a master plan to get us up and moving. We finally hit the town around 9:30pm and headed to WHY NOT? a bar on the other side of the Jardin Union. Everyone was chill but the music was totally out of control so the three of us decided to dance.right.then.and.there. Because hey, these people don’t know us! Our vibe must have been contagious (I think it was my “shopping cart” dance move) because a group of students came to chat us up and we were laughing, talking in 3 languages (Spanish, English and French) and suddenly invited to a private backroom party at Capitolo. I’m not really going to get into what went on there until the wee hours, but the music in the private room was so good that Jorge and I kept looking at each other like “are we really at a party in Mexico and they are playing _____?) Jorge is from California so he KINDA knows about good music.

I will not talk about:

1. Why Jorge thought it would be a good idea to put his sunglasses on someone’s grandma and dance with her in the zocalo. 

2. Why Jorge bought roses for EVERY woman in the back room. And a bunch for one in particular!

3. Where are Andrea’s hands in this picture?

4. Why these two (Daniel and Mariana) make me want to take Salsa dancing lessons.

5. Why Justin is probably NEVER going back to the US.

6. Why all of my single girlfriends should get.down.here.now.

7. What you get to do if your boyfriend is the bartender.

8. What kind of relationship you have to have with your friends to use this bathroom.

So, tell us about one of YOUR favorite night’s out on the town, either while on the move or while snug in the place you call home.

Guanajuato Mexico: College Town

What would college be without late night pizza and cheap beer? No McDonalds that I’ve seen, but Domino’s has a rather unique method of transporting gooey goodness to the students of UG.

Guanajuato Mexico: Note to Self

  

Note to Self: Go to Bed! You have spanish class in the morning. No more hanging out until 2am every night.

Do not go to Zilch with these chicks. Do not go to dinner with Ricardo at Dona Lupe’s. Do not stop at Callejon del Beso (street of the kiss) to hear the story of star crossed lovers wherein some woman’s father killed her lover and the street is so narrow that neighbors on opposite sides can lean out their windows and kiss each other.

Do not stop at the Oxxo to grab a drink to walk around with while Ricardo introduces you to everyone in Guanajuato. Do not stop and talk to Jorge and Olga while they prepare a new bar for its grand opening.  Do not entertain the idea of meeting up with the swiss girls later at BAR FLY. Do not meet up with Drew, Pablo and the crew for drinks with these chicas (and who brought the dog)? Self, please don’t get home at a reasonable time and then stay up jibber jabbing with Jorge (32, CA) and Magnus (26, Norway) all night.  But self, if you can’t help yourself a couple of nights in a row, don’t try to do your spanish homework on the way to class. Just a thought.

Love,

 Me 

**Next day update:

Self,

I don’t know why I even talk to you. Were the Mojitos, Micheladas and that shot of tequila really necessary at Cuba Mia? And just because you can watch people dance Salsa all night doesn’t mean you and Jorge and Magnus should plan on doing THAT again. And don’t you need to get some exercise?

Still with affection but rapidly declining trust in your decision-making abilities,

Me