snapshots of mexico, literal and figurative


Viva Mexico! Viva!
September 16, 2010, 6:01 pm
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Today marks the official bicentennial of Father Hidalgo’s call-to-arms and the start of the Mexican Independence movement, but the major celebrations happened last night in Mexico City and beyond.

The BBC has photos here, while El Universal has a number of different photo galleries, including this one of the culmination of last night’s celebration in the Zocalo

Closer to home, Chicago held its own celebrations in Millennium Park, with mariachi, ballet folklorico, classical music, and more–as well as quite a collection of Mexico-themed shirts, jackets, ponchos, capes, sombreros and wrestling masks in the crowd.  Battling a nasty cold, I didn’t last long enough to hear El Grito–the traditional “shout” led by a dignitary based on Father Hidaldo’s speech on the steps of the church of Dolores–but the parts of the program I did see were well done and well attended.

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Protect Your Statues
May 20, 2009, 12:28 am
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Zach and I stumbled across this little scene the other day, and luckily he happened to have his camera with him.

Zach and I stumbled across this little scene, and luckily he had his camera with him.Fun with Swine H1N1 Flu


Wheeeeeeee!
May 15, 2009, 12:16 pm
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Empty waterparks are the best waterparks

Empty waterparks are the best waterparks



Atotonilco el Alto
April 17, 2009, 10:36 am
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Small town, Big church

Small town, Big church

We unintentionally spent an afternoon in the town of Atotonilco el Alto, another tequila town.  I say unintentional because we had only planned on grabbing lunch and connecting to another bus.  The other bus, it turned out, had decided not to run because of Holy Week, leaving us with a bit more time than we had planned for.  While waiting for another bus (which also didn’t come), we wandered into what I can only describe as the ultimate Mexican bar.  Swinging doors?  Check.  Dudes in cowboy hats openly gambling on the bar?  Check.  Bull horns on the wall?  Check.  No women anywhere?  Definite check.  Pretty great experience, even if everything momentarily screeched to a halt when I walked in.

Eventually, we ended up splitting a cab to our next destination with a woman who had also been stranded by the non-existent bus.



Tequila
April 16, 2009, 11:10 am
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Where your Cuervo comes from

Where your Cuervo comes from

Northwest of Guadalajara lies Tequila, a small town whose name is famous worldwide thanks to the distilled spirit the it has been producing for hundreds of years.  The town is surrounded by fields of maguey (blue agave)–the spikey plant used to make the town’s primary export–and highways lined with liquor shops trying to sell the town’s product to motorists passing through.  Odd buses shaped like giant barrels and bottles ply the streets shuttling tourists between distilleries.  A museum dedicated to the making of tequila sits just off the main square downtown.

It was a hot day when we were there, however, so we settled on spending our time in Tequila drinking a couple of margaritas and visiting a waterpark.  Now, to be clear, we didn’t intend to visit the waterpark.  We had been approached by a tour guide who tried to sell us on a trip to a waterfall in the canyon outside of town, but the bartender we asked said the waterfall was easily reached by taxi or bus for far cheaper.  The bartender, unfortunately, seemed to be confused on what waterfall we had planned to see, as following his directions led us to a water park partway down the canyon (where the above picture was taken).  While there was a manmade “waterfall” at the park, it was definitely not what we were looking for.  As we waited for the bus to return to the town, we were told that the real waterfall was a 45 minute trek further down the canyon.  Lesson learned:  never trust a liquor-country bartender’s tourism advice  if he needs you to explain how to make your drink (especially when it’s something as simple as a bandera).



Guadalajara
April 15, 2009, 7:52 am
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Gazebo in Guadalajara

Gazebo in Guadalajara

Mexico’s second largest city, and my second stop in Jalisco, is Guadalajara.  It has some serious colonial buildings in el centro, a nice little metro and metrobus knock-off, and whole lot of construction going on.  This plaza, near the cathedral and government palace, is one of the few places in the historic core that was not torn up and blowing dust in our eyes.

Guadalajara also had the sketchiest bus terminal I’ve been to in a while (though the new main terminal is much nicer), where we caught a bus to our next destination.



Back, to let you know
December 3, 2008, 10:36 am
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I can really shake ’em down

Ooooh lawdy

Ooooh lawdy