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.


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.