Thursday, November 18, 2010

The gates are open...

It's been almost a year since we tied the knot.

And almost two years since we began the stressful/exciting/anxiety-filled/wonderful world of wedding planning.

All the time and effort spent into making one day the most perfect one

Seems so long ago, but yet almost like yesterday.

The same amount of time has gone into thinking/planning/strategizing about the incredible setting of our wedding...EL CID.

The beloved rancho of my gordo's family has finally opened its gates (and heart) to other hopeful novios as the perfect place to celebrate the most important day of their lives...

Aside from weddings, any special event will surely shine with EL CID as its backdrop.

So check out our site:
Like us on facebook: 
Follow our tweets: @elcideventos
Email us your thoughts: elcid.eventos[at]gmail[dot]com

Thanks for your support! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Lovely Day for a Picnic

Before the weather changed drastically - my Mom keeps saying it's colder in Mexico than in Finland - we were blessed with one day last week that was perfect for a park picnic.

So with cold cuts, cheese, bread, and other yummy munchies on hand - we headed for Chapultepec (Mexico City's version of New York's Central Park) along with 2 other couples, their babies, another friend, and my mama for an afternoon of lounging, good company, talking, and just enjoying having absolutely NOTHING to do...{sigh}

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our First Ofrenda!

With all that is happening, I'm amazed that we were actually able to set up our ofrenda for this year's dia de muertos. Although this post is slightly late (as usual!), I can assure you that our altar was indeed set up on the right day :)

There is SO much behind the concept of Dia de Muertos - that I won't do it justice by attempting to explain the traditions that surround this event. I'm sure there are websites out there that do a far better job of detailing the historic, cultural, and local beliefs that blend together into creating this fascinating holiday.

But I will give you a little rundown as I understand it:

  • November 2nd is definitely one of the most important days on the Mexican calendar. People decorate altars inside their homes for loved ones who have passed. The idea is to create an offering so that when your loved one comes to "visit" on the 2nd, s/he finds an altar decorated with things that they loved during their life.
  • The idea of skulls and skeletons bring to mind horrific images of death - but that isn't the case at all. Here they are used to represent the dead mimicking the living; in fact, some of the skulls are made of sugar and given to children. This allows them to realize early on that death is a part of life and they shouldn't fear it. 
  • Come late October, Mexico is covered in the symbolic orange of the Cempazuchitl flowers (marigolds) and smells of the burning incense from its bark. 
  • And last, but surely not least, one of the best parts of dia de muertos - Pan de Muertos. Only baked this time of the year, this sweet bread is made with anis and mandarin water, and also used as an offering on the altars. In our case, it was used day and night for a week to satisfy our carb cravings. We started looking like pan de muertos already. But it is oh-so-good!
So here are some photos of our humble altar in our space restricted apartment :) It's the first of I'm sure what will be many to come over the years... 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spinning around...

Today was my last monthly prenatal check up. I say monthly because the time has come to start seeing Dra. A every 2 weeks now!

Everything so far seems to be right on track: baby's measurements are on target, s/he gained 800 grams in a month (gordito/a!) and now weighs about 2 kilos. We saw baby´s mouth opening and closing on the ultrasound monitor...either yawning or gulping down some delicious amniotic fluid for breakfast. 

I was told to continue with my prenatal yoga, but to avoid other exercise that could tire me out. Obviously, I have NO problem with that whatsoever!

I'm at 33 weeks and baby is still sitting upright - although Dra. A didn't seem to worried - there is still time to turn around; but she did say that it wouldn't do me any harm to crawl around for about 10 minutes every morning. Seems like it would be easy, but now that I think about it, moving around on all fours for 10 minutes could be a little tedious. 

So of course I turned to Dr. Google to ask about "ways to make baby turn around" - and only 3 search results were of any use - the rest were sites about "baby turn around" lyrics. I don't know what song it's referring to, don't really care, and obviously I need to work on my search word skills.

ANYWAY, so here are some tips to help coax your baby into position. I highlighted some of my favorites, so you don't have to read all: (Oh, and I'll let you know which worked!)

1. Visualizing the baby moving down with the head very deep in your pelvis, several times a day; especially in conjunction with positions and exercises below.

2. Swimming as often as possible. This keeps your body and pelvis loose and relaxed. Do in conjunction with headstand below if you have help.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's been keeping me busy?

I've been ignoring my blog. Not on purpose of course, it's just unfortunately keeps descending on the totem poll of all the things I feel I constantly need to get done. My list just seems to get longer, even though I religiously tick off a task a day. Pues bueno, asi es esto when you are expecting I guess.

So what to write about? I guess it is finally time to start mentioning baby stuff; since my world has and is revolving around this particular theme at the moment.

This is the latest photo, at 31 weeks, although today I'm already at 33. About a month and a half to go! Que nervios!

If you happen upon my tweets, you'll see that Mondays for me have become the craziest day of the week. Aside from prenatal yoga, lunch with la abuela, prepping for my English class (then the actual class), we end the day with our birthing classes.

As like most well kept secrets, we found this birthing course through word of mouth. The mouths being our best friends R&R and their new baby A. I guess this is the kind of thing you have to rely on when being new to a city, I would never have found this on my own.

The course is given at CEPAPAR: Centro de Educacion para el Parto (Education Center for Birth). I still remember my first day there {I was barely showing} sitting in this room with all these super pregnant women - I thought it would be forever until I was considered one of them. Last Monday, I realized I am now one of them. There were two new couples who just signed up, and they were probably looking at the rest of us with the same thoughts that I had just 4 months ago.

So anyway, the course is about 15 weeks long - there is a new topic every Monday - from the introduction of psicoprofilaxis all the way to newborn care, and everything that comes in between; including some very graphic video clips that most men can't stomach. But I find it all absolutely intriguing. Next week we have breast feeding.

Prior to the class, there is an hour of couples yoga (my second class of the day) and my gordo's chance to squeeze his perineal muscles. We do all sorts of breathing, sitting, standing, and relaxing exercises to prepare for the big day.

If you are planning for or want a natural child birth and all that comes with it, this is the place for you. You probably need at least an intermediate level of Spanish to understand the course. Or if you are married to a Mexican, he can do all the translating.

One of the best investments during my pregnancy so far. KNOW YOUR OPTIONS, FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Good luck!


Cuauhtémoc 111, Tizapan, San Angel
Mexico DF55 50 41 82, 55 50 42 64 

Melchor Ocampo 130, Col. del Carmen Coyoacán
Mexico DF
56 59 41 78, 56 59 47 36

Friday, October 8, 2010

Check out Mexico City!

I love this! Pretty cool place I live in, huh? Not that I needed this video to know that, but it helps to be reminded! :)


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The latest video of the state of Sonora was aired on September 13th, right before the Bicentenario celebrations. I wonder if there are more videos to come still...even though we are supposedly done with independence celebrations. The city is already preparing for Christmas and it isn't even Halloween yet.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dreaming of Chiapas from across the Pacific

I've been traveling for about a month now, but these clips remind me of why I can't wait to go back home to Mexico. I think Chiapas is definitely one of my favorites from the Estrellas del Bicentenario series...

I can't wait! When are we going gordo???

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This wasn't there yesterday!

I thought that maybe, maybe, it was the McChicken I had the night before. My last craving as a 28 year old.


But no.

My belly finally popped out! This is my baby's way of saying, "Here I am!!! Happy Birthday Mom!"

Best. Present. Ever. 

(along with my gordo, of course!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dining Anew

The other day after the Food Expo (another post to come about my discoveries there), we decided to check out Monica Patiño's newest addition to her restaurant empire - Delirio.

First, a few things about Monica Patiño. Silly me had no idea who she was until we got to Mexico, but she is quite the celebrity chef here. This of course means the requisite upscale restaurant, cookbook, and self-branded product line that, in today's world of self-marketing, is a must in order to be recognized as a successful cooking guru. I've also seen her on TV, though I have to investigate as to whether it was actually her show.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Maneuvering Mexican Markets

Most weekends we head off to Cuernavaca - to de-stress from city living. But staying in Mexico City every once in a while does have its perks. One of which is discovering the many markets this metropolis has to offer. Instead of plowing through second hand gems and local crafts you find at tianguis, we decided to visit a market that was sure to satisfy our palates. 

I'm talking about the Mercado San Juan. This place has been around forever, and it has become widely know for having exotic meats and a variety of ingredients you won't find elsewhere in the city. It's become a staple for chefs who look for the perfect item to create their dishes. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Seventh!

I can't get enough of these videos! It makes it nearly impossible to decide where to vacation next!

The seventh in the series features Quintana Roo. Simply breathtaking. Gives me goosebumps.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

To believe or not to believe?

As a kid I used to remember my yaya (nanny) flip out every time she would see a black butterfly or moth inside the house.

A huge part of Filipino culture centers around their superstitious beliefs. Although my family itself did not pay much attention to these "explanations", growing up around Espie and Rosal* pretty much guaranteed all sorts of crazy ideas, stories, signs, omens, and whatever it was they told themselves to justify strange or eerie occurrences.

After doing some research (read: internet browsing), I found that not just Filipinos, but most Asian cultures believe the black butterfly or moth to be the reincarnation of a spirit that has come to visit. European cultures seem to attach a more somber meaning to these creatures - as an omen of death.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Green Day

Mexico City is pretty green. Maybe not so much in the eco-friendly manner we have taken the word "green" to mean nowadays - but in the simplest of meanings - the actual color green.

For a city as big as this one, I would say that there is a fair proportion of tree lined avenues and parks that makes living amongst the concrete and traffic somewhat bearable. Most neighborhoods around town have a park for its residents to enjoy daily...and if you want a more Central Park atmosphere, you can always head to Bosque de Chapultepec and enjoy its vast sprawl of green.

Anyway, in an effort to make the inside of our little home greener, we headed over to Viveros de Coyoacan to see what we could find. Viveros de Coyoacan is a huge park and plant nursery in the heart of Coyoacan in the southern part of the city.

When we moved to Mexico City, there was a slight attempt at keeping up our workout routine through early morning runs at the viveros. It's quite a popular spot for running enthusiasts. Open by 6:00a.m., there is a circuit around the park about 4 km long. By 6:15, if you don't run, stay on the left side please. Unless you want people running all around and over you. Anyway, I said attempt because I lasted all of 5 days getting up at 5:30.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

All that has happened

I should have actually posted this a couple of days ago, May 28th to be exact, but anyway, what's a few days?

We have been in Mexico for ONE year! I can't believe how much gordo and I have managed to do in such little time...settle in to new jobs, find a new home (not to mention decorate it), plan a wedding, get married, make it through Guadalupe-Reyes, side trip to NYC, and the grand finale - getting pregnant!

I'm exhausted just reading all that - but I have a feeling this year isn't going to be any less hectic.

Gordo's cousin replied to my FB status today: "Ya eres oficialmente chilanga. Felicidades!!!!! jajajaja"

At what point does one become a chilanga? I don't know if I'm ready for another identity to be added to my growing list of culture confusion.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday is Market Day

I love Mexico.

Today I specifically love the Tuesday market a block from mi casa in the park of Colonia Acacias.

If you are in the need for an ego boost, this is the place to fish for compliments. With the vendors calling out "que quiere mi reina?" (what do you want my queen?) or "que mas linda?" (what else pretty lady?) - I guess it would make anyone's day a little brighter, no?

Not to mention of course all you get for 210 pesos (at today's exchange rate: exactly USD $16.30)...

Monday, May 24, 2010

I shouldn't really make this a habit...

...only blogging once a month, that is.

April and May have been a blur, but now that I've managed to make it through the first trimester (yes! I am pregnant!), I promise to be better at posting! I need to get organized and back into my routine.

So I hope, dear reader, that you understand my absence. I'll be back though.

Here is the latest Estrellas del Bicentenario video featuring Yucatan.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Almost a month later...

I know, I know...I've been gone for a while. Although I do have good reason, which shall be disclosed in due time (or I could just attribute it to sheer laziness...)

As I prepare for my slow return to the blogging world - here is the latest video of the Estrellas del Bicentenario, featuring the state of Veracruz.

More to come, stay tuned

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nothing to do with Mexico, but...

I was totally going to blog about this last night, but was too tired/lazy to turn on my computer.  Sunday nights for my gordo and I usually involve couch potato-ing. This is, of course, accompanied not only by the TV, but by the laptop as well. Must.Always.Multitask.

Anyway, with one hand on the remote and the other on the mouse, RS finds the most random websites that incite carcajadas {shrieks} of laughter. So I wanted to share this one with you.

Upside Down Dogs

Enjoy. More to come on the fabulous Sunday [March 28] we had yesterday that warranted being couch potatoes...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homesick, Nostalgia, and (maybe) Remorse...all in one.

As I was writing my previous post, I started thinking about what the Philippines is doing to promote its natural beauty, not only to Filipinos, but to tourists from around the world.

I'm so interested in these Mexican bicentennial videos partly because I am new to Mexico and the process of discovery is so intriguing. It's never really occurred to me to look for videos of the Philippines. Having grown up there, (1) I thought I already knew what it had to offer, and (2) I didn't need a tourism video to convince me of its splendor.

But that is not entirely true. Even after 18 years in Manila, I've barely traveled past Luzon island (OK, I've been to Palawan and the famed Boracay, but can you believe never to Cebu!?). It's kinda embarrassing to admit this actually. When you live somewhere, you always think you'll have time to visit what is close by. So growing up we always held off touring the islands in exchange for more faraway exotic (to us) places. Now that I live on the other side of the Pacific, I regret not having experienced more of the 7,107 islands. 'Cause who knows when I'll be back to do so...

So anyway, here are the videos. The first one is a compilation of short clips that were probably shown during TV commercial breaks around the world; and the second one is a lengthier, more complete and narrated version.

Maybe it will convince you one day to visit (if you haven't already) these exotic islands that will always be home. To me.

Now I Want A Leopard!

The last three bicentenario videos featuring - Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, and Sinaloa - not only cover the indescribable natural beauty Mexico has to offer, but each has their own 'mascots', if you will. The first appearances were of the mountain lion and wolf, then the deer and eagle, followed by the black stallion. My favorites were the lion and horse - until today. Now I want a leopard, as seen in the fourth installment of the series all about the beautiful state of Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-ha-ca). I wouldn't mind the parrot either. Check it out:

The other animals I was sure you would find in Mexico, but I have to admit, I did doubt the leopard. But after some (internet) research and talking to my gordo, yes there are leopards in Oaxaca.

I have yet to go to Oaxaca (ahem! gordo!)...but all I've heard are amazing stories about the culture and history and the incredible beaches. Not to mention the ravings about the extensive Oaxacan cuisine - mole, chapulines, chocolate- and who can forget mezcal? I found a cool website about visiting Oaxaca here.

I would assume there has been a surge in national pride as these videos are being aired, I mean, who wouldn't be proud of seeing amazing footage of their country? These short clips are fantastic for tourists too. If you are thinking about coming to Mexico, wouldn't seeing any of these videos help in making a decision of where to go and what to do? It would defintely make for a more authentic experience.

Sans the local "pet" by your side.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mexican Morning Madness

This morning, of all mornings, I WISH I had my camera with me. I should know by now that anything and everything can happen in Mexico City at any given time. So my fault folks...

With the absence of functioning red, yellow, and green lights since early yesterday evening - the Mexican driver has been possessed. Rutas driving on sidewalks, cars on the opposite side of the road, and of course, relentless honking.

What is normally a 5 minute drive to work would have been an hour no doubt, so we decided to walk the 6 block stretch. On my way back, I saw the obvious reason as to why nothing is resolved:

Two police officers in the midst of the honking chaos, eating their morning tacos. God forbid they have to actually work and direct traffic!!!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

how my NG is helping my TL

LOL :) Totally random title, I know. Let me explain.

The thought of moving to a new country is daunting, especially if you don't speak the language. Case in point: CHINA. I really don't know how I managed 4 years of the same 4 phrases over and over again - wo ting bu dong (I don't understand), wo bu yao (I don't want), wo mei you qian (I have no money), and wo yao qu (I want to go...). But hey, I survived right? Unfortunately my Mandarin didn't.

So now I find myself in some what of a similar (but not as grave) situation. You might be wondering, "why? you speak Spanish already don't you?" Well yes, not 100% perfect, but I'll give myself a 94%, which is definitely enough to survive. But the Spanish I knew before coming here is Spanish Spanish...from Spain. Huh?

The same way biscuits in England are cookies in America; Spanish vocabulary also changes drastically across the Atlantic. Although I've expanded my word base over the years, I'm still learning. Here are some of my favorites thus far:

chale - no way
chamaco - child
chambear - to work
chaparrito - shorty
chela - beer
compadre / comadre - brother/pal/friend; but usually used to address the godparents of your kids.
desmadre - kinda used to describe a disastrous situation, but I think it's more on the not so polite side (I wouldn't use it when describing an event to your grandma, for example).
guacala - gross / ew.
guey - man/dude
orale - right on; cool.
padre - awesome
sale - that's cool / ok.
tener hueva - feel lazy (again, not the most polite of sayings).

I decided against including the nastier slang (although I definitely have one or two (or three) favorites in that category too!), but you can check out a full list here.

Along with new words of course comes new pronunciations, the most challenging of which (for me) has been the dreaded TL. Most of these are proper names from Nahuatl, the Aztec language still spoken today in Mexico.


I seriously have laughing fits in my attempts to pronounce these words properly, but I've been getting better and better. The other day my gordo was giving me lessons, and quite impressed after he said, "see, your ng has helped your tl".

The NG he is referring to is that very specific sound in Tagalog that only native speakers seem to grasp properly.

ng - of
nga - pressing confirmation, truly, really. Oo nga - Yes, indeed.
hangin - air
ngayon - now
ngipin - tooth
langit - heaven
kulangot - booger

Did you try pronouncing the above? I found this mini-guide that attempts to help:

The Letter NG

This is a single letter in the Filipino alphabet and its sound is not at all foreign to the English speaker. It can be found in words such as “sing” and “hang” etc. The difficulty for non-Filipinos is that the ng sound is often at the beginning of a word or a syllable. Here is a trick to learn this sound. It works as long as you don’t pronounce the word “sing” with a hard g.

Repeat the words “sing along” several times together in a continuous flow:
Sing-along, sing-along, sing-along, etc…

Now remove the last syllable “long” and repeat several times:
Singa, singa, singa, etc…

Now remove the first two letters “si” and repeat several times while making sure that the sound of the letter Y does not creep into your pronunciation.
Nga, nga, nga, etc… 

Now you’ve got it!

Did it work for you?

Maybe with more practice my gordo's tl will eventually help his ng.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The latest in the series of las Estrellas del Bicentenario...Sinaloa.


*If you need to figure out where Sinaloa is, check here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Made Muffins!!!

This is totally not a {food / cooking / baking} blog simply 'cause:

1. I never have a camera around while in the kitchen.
2. I usually don't follow recipes, so when the time comes to explain what goes where, I rarely remember. 
3. And really, I rather leave the food blogging to experts like my amiga at aromasysabores

BUT ~ today I was inspired by some overripe bananas sitting on my dining room table and thus commenced my baking adventure at high altitude. 

Gordo just had one and totally approved!!! 

Since this experience went well, I'm back on par after my brownie disaster (you are really better off not knowing about that one). At this rate, maybe I'll be inspired soon again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wistful Acapulco

Only about 3.5 hours (without traffic!) from Mexico City, Acapulco has long been a favorite destination for many chilangos wanting to escape the stress of city living.

We just spent the last couple of days there basking in the sun and refueling with clamatos con cerveza. Gordo, me, and my in-laws went to celebrate my suegro's birthday, Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year...etc, etc...a lot of excuses to take a few days off, but I don't think anyone needs a pretext or justification for being at the beach. Just 'cause you want to is sufficient.

This was only my second visit to Acapulco, so don't judge (or maybe wholly trust) my judgment please.

First off, I feel like I'm in Manila. Ironically, this was same thing my gordo said when he arrived in Manila - 'I feel like I'm in Acapulco'. There is something about it - the sun, the humidity, the palm trees, the people - it all feels very similar to me. We have also been reading/skimming a book entitled Manila Men in the New World, which shines some light on the migration between Mexico and the Philippines. I don't know how much of the book is actually cold hard fact or wishful thinking, but nonetheless entertaining.

Second, there is an aura of nostalgia that surrounds Acapulco. Made famous as the glorious getaway of Hollywood stars in the 1950's and 60's, this vacation spot was the epitome luxury and exclusivity. But as the years passed, it tried to desperately cling on to the glamour and charm that once defined it, while being thrown into the era of modern consumerism. What was once, I imagine, a quaint fishing town is now a semi-city with monsters like Wal-Mart and Costco lining the coast, and every cliff with a view covered in houses and hotels. And the fact that it is relatively accessible to get to means throngs of people line the beaches on any given holiday.

In recent years, Acapulco has been trying to recover the charm that will turn in back into an international luxury destination, according to the Official Acapulco Travel Site. Multi-million dollar hotels, residences, and restaurants are popping up everywhere and renovations are constantly on going. I question though whether more jaw-dropping amenities will give back Acapulco what it may have lost. It seems to me that a lot of tourists flock to this cove of the Pacific coast in search of that glamour of a privileged life - ending up at such icons like Las Brisas and Baby O - to get a taste of what life was really like back in the day as a star.

The New York Times Travel section has some good tips on where to stay and what to do in Acapulco.

images on the left from

This trip's photos may not truly show the real Acapulco, but it's because we pretty much kept to ourselves by this pool. We only wandered out one night for dinner at (you guessed it!) Las Brisas. Even we can't escape the idea of a glamorous evening.

But obviously if you Google "Acapulco", there are a million images of infinity pool views overlooking the magnificent Pacific, romantic dinner settings, and chaise longues you just want to live on forever. This is Acapulco, or at least what it wants you to believe it is. Just remember, it can be expensive to be a star.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Under the (weather) Rain, literally.

As usual, Mexican Mother Nature has pulled a fast one on us with Cold Front Number 28. It's been rainy, windy, and freezing cold the last couple of days. So of course, we both have come down with sore throats and coughs. I managed to feel decent enough this morning to make oatmeal with fresh strawberries. Warm and filling for those icky days.

What is your comfort food on days like these?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Finally Friday

It's Friday night, the week is finally over, let the weekend begin.

We (my gordo and I) sometimes feel like we never take real advantage of our weekends. Granted, after a stressful week, yucky weather, and over all exhaustion, a weekend spent in PJ's on the couch is not only justifiable, but sometimes even well-deserved!

But on occasion, it feels good to explore, see what's happening, discover something new, right? So what are you going to do this weekend?

Here are a couple of suggestions if you live in DF:

Explore El Bazaar Sabado (Saturday Bazaar) in San Angel. For the last 50 years, Plaza San Jacinto turns into a labyrinth of little shops every Saturday. From hand made jewelry, clothing, house decors, paintings, and Mexican handicrafts  - perusing through all the artistic offerings is a great way to spend a Saturday.

A recent New York Times article actually mentions this Bazaar as one of the 'to-do' activities when you have 36 Hours in Mexico City.

Aside from shopping, simply walking around this colonia is breathtaking. Houses from the colonial era still line the cobblestone streets shaded under trees making it all so romantic and nostalgic.

Take a break and grab a bite to eat at Fonda San Angel inside the Bazaar itself, or better yet, head over the San Angel Inn, which I hear is super famous for its margaritas.

If you wake up on Sunday wanting more, head over to Monumental Plaza de Toros Mexico and catch a bullfight.

Most people think bullfighting is really more of a Spanish pastime, even I did, until we went to see a corrida here last Sunday, but it seems that it is also quite popular here in Mexico.

Actually, many young toreros from Spain come to Mexico to debut their careers. They get practice fighting here first, so Mexican spectators even have a special cariño for Spanish matadors.

If you like bullfights, El Juli from Madrid is fighting this Sunday, January 31st. He is currently one of the best out there and definitely worth seeing.

Even if you don't live in Mexico City, I'm sure there is a local flea market near you that you can browse through for some great finds. Finding a bullfight may be a little more difficult though.

El Bazaar Sabado
Plaza San Jacinto 11
San Angel, Mexico D.F.

San Angel Inn
Diego Rivera 50 y Altavista
Col. San Angel Inn
56 16 14 02

La Monumental Plaza de Toros
Augusto Rodin 241
Col. Noche Buena

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Second Star!

The second installment of Televisa's Estrellas del Bicentenario is here! This one features the state of Tamaulipas:

In case you are wondering, Tamaulipas is almost in the middle (latitude-wise) of the country, but it's on the eastern coast, which is the Gulf of Mexico.

[Map photo thanks to Mexico Cronicas, click to view larger.]

If you haven't seen the first video of Chihuahua, you must check it out here.

It's not all fun and games!

You may have read my post about all the excitement in the air now that we are finally in 2010 and the Bicentenario celebrations can begin, but...

Here is a different point of view from TIME magazine:

Forget 2012. As far as many Mexicans are concerned, the ancient Mayas were being generous: the sky's actually going to fall next year. Why? Because it's 2010, Mexico's bicentennial, and Mexican history has an eerie way of repeating itself. Mexico's 1910 centennial, after all, saw the start of the bloody, decade-long Mexican Revolution, which killed more than a million people. And that cataclysm was precisely a century after the start of Mexico's bloody, decade-long War of Independence in 1810.
You get the picture. As a result, there's been no shortage of talk lately about possible unrest, especially in the form of armed rebel groups, erupting south of the border in 2010. But is there really a basis for concern? None as apparent as the popular grievances that existed in 1809 or 1909. But this is still Mexico; and while Spanish colonizers no longer oppress the country, and dictators like Porfirio Diaz aren't brutalizing campesinos, the country nonetheless is reeling from the worst criminal violence in its history and one of its hardest economic slumps. "We are very near a social crisis," José Narro, the director of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, said recently. "The conditions are there."(Will the world end in 2012? What the Mayan prophecy is and how the movies see it.)
Mexican insurrections often do coincide with important dates. Most recently, Zapatista guerrillas in the poor southern state of Chiapas started a revolt on Jan. 1, 1994, the day the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect. A big fear now is that Mexico's drug cartels, responsible for almost 15,000 killings in the past decade, are lending their resources and firepower to emerging guerrilla groups. If so, their plan may be to sow bicentennial terror and turn Mexicans against President Felipe Calderón's drug-war offensive. This past fall authorities say they seized an arsenal of large guns and grenades allegedly being sent from the Zetas, a vicious drug gang, to José Manuel Hernandez, a purported leader of the rebel group called the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR). The EPR in recent years has claimed responsibility for attacks on Mexican oil infrastructure, including the bombing of six pipelines in 2007. (Hernandez denies the charges.)(See how Mexico took down a major drug lord and why it may not make much of a difference.)
At the same time, political observers like Denise Maerker, a prominent columnist for the Mexico City daily El Universal, fear that provincial governments in places like Chiapas, where the weapons were found, are using 2010 fears as a pretext for cracking down on social activists. "They're drawing questionable links between advocates for the poor and armed groups," says Maerker, who adds there's little evidence that Hernandez is an EPR boss.(See pictures from Ciudad Juarez, the most dangerous city in the Americas.)
Either way, the drug cartels have already shown they're willing to use high-profile national celebrations as a stage for narco-terror. Last year, during Independence Day festivities in drug-infested Michoacan state, narcos killed seven people with fragmentation-grenade blasts. Mexicans were rattled again in September when bombs went off at three Mexico City banks and another at a car dealership. No one was injured, but to many chilangos, or capital residents, the explosions seemed a warning of things to come.
Aside from inflated drug and guerrilla violence, another specter is unrest resulting from Mexico's deflated economy. Given its enormous reliance on the U.S. market — and on remittances from Mexican workers there, which have declined sharply this year — the global recession has hit Mexico especially hard. Its GDP, in fact, will contract more than 5% in 2009, exacerbating unemployment as well as Mexico's chronic poverty. A report this year by the Colegio de Mexico, one of the country's top universities, warned, "A national social explosion is knocking at the door." Said top Roman Catholic Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez, "We cannot separate the economic crisis from the violence and criminal crisis that we live day by day."
But while many fear the bicentennial year could galvanize that discontent, especially with the symbolic hype surrounding 1810 and 1910, Calderón insists the country will break the ominous century-cycle next year and make 2010 "a moment of peaceful transformation." Last month, he predicted next year will see "Mexico on a different trajectory toward development and progress." Calderón tried to get the ball rolling this month with a major political reform proposal that would allow re-election for Mexican office holders like mayors and legislators, a change he insists will give voters more power. It would still limit Presidents to one six-year term; but the move is significant, especially on the eve of 2010, because the ban on re-election was a pillar of the 1910 revolution.
Before Calderón can turn the bicentennial into a transformative engine, however, he has to get it jump-started. The economic crisis has forced chronic delays for a quarter of the more than 600 bicentennial projects Mexico had on the drawing board. Rather than being afraid of 2010, says Maerker, Mexicans are instead "just weary, especially of the economic situation." The year 2010 might not offer the fireworks of a revolution, but, unless Mexico can escape its general malaise, the bicentennial might see a quiet but dispiriting national devolution.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sunday Strollin'

If I remember correctly, I visited Tepoztlan on my very first trip to Mexico. And ever since then, every time we go, we end up at El Ciruelo for lunch. There is no better way to end the weekend than with an ice cold clamato con cerveza on a lazy Sunday with not a care in the world. And their sopes con queso de cabra* are to die for.

*these sopes are little corn tortillas (a little thicker than a normal tortilla you use for tacos) filled with beans and topped with goat cheese, lettuce, and fresh cream. Add a little salsa verde and you are all set!

In 2001, Mexico's Secretary of Tourism launched a program called Pueblos Magicos in an effort to promote towns across the country that are places with "symbolism, legends, history, important events, day-to-day life, in other words "magic" in its social and cultural manifestations, with great opportunities for tourism." The complete list of pueblos magicos can be found on their website, and I've also posted it here:

You may have noticed that Tepoztlan is currently not part of actual list, but it was one of the first towns to be added in 2002. To be considered a pueblo magico, the town must comply with certain requirements that are upheld every year, and unfortunately, Tepoztlan was not able to. Their prestigious title was removed last year.

Regardless, we still had a good time strolling the streets after our delicious lunch. To be fair though, you should be prepared to share the quaint streets with a million other tourists there to do the same thing as you. The Sunday flea market attracts plenty of attention.

As the sun was setting and the vendors were packing up, I added another 'to-do' on my never ending list:


I'm sure there is a completely different vibe without the hoards of people.

Zaragoza 17
Barrio la Santisima
Tepoztlan, Morelos