Monday, February 28, 2011

videos from mexico II

The vochos of Mexico!

videos from mexico part I

This is at La Quedabra - where the famous cliff divers jump every day. I'm sorry but the video is vertical and I'm not paying any extra money to Mac or Quicktime player just to get this right-side-up. Just tilt your head to the left and enjoy.

mexico: el fin

Mexico City: "One big fucking city"

I stayed with Belen's sister Estrella for my last few days in Mexico. She was a wonderful host, even made me sleep in her bed the first night while she slept on the couch (there's no refusing with these people!). By the way, everybody makes their bed there, they're so damn tidy! Am I just lazy or do people do that anymore? Is that just a Mexican thing?

There was a cute little dog that looked out the window every time we left or returned to her apartment. I wanted him to be mine.

I explored the enormous city on my own the day after we got back from Puebla. It's supposed to be one of the biggest in the world, and I believe it. I went to the Zocolo which means downtown and wandered around for a few hours and the weather was PERFECT. It was Valentine's Day and everywhere I went there were people walking around with 80 heart balloons and kissing couples. And the colors, wow the colors!! This ain't half of it!

I even found an adorable father & son in the center square playing with a paper airplane. They're together in this photo below and the airplane is small so it's a little hard to make out, but don't be lazy, you can find it, (to the right of the top center).

Everything was very lovely except that my stomach was bothering me (what else is new?). I went into the local Farmacia (you can guess what that means) where all of the medicine is behind the counter. I scanned the labels and found "estomagos" that would be for the estomach.

I pointed to the general stomach area and the lady behind the counter grabbed a box and handed it to me. There was a tiny picture in the corner of suppositories. "Uuuhhh no!" I laughed and handed it back and asked for the box next to the suppositories, today's not the day for that, I thought.

She handed me another packet. These were tablets, these would do. But, maybe I should ask to make sure they're for what I need. I pointed to my stomach and asked the lady if this was for the "estomago" she said yes and nodded aggressively.

That was good enough for me. I bought them along with a bottle of water and off I went. My stomach never did feel better, though. So when I got home later I looked up the active ingredients which I didn't recognize from my years working in the pharmacy. If my translation is correct, what I bought was actually for severe vaginal pain or dyspareunia. So while my vag felt like it was on cloud 9, my stomach was still not-so-happy. Quite a combo, huh? Happy vag, angry estomago.

I hate to end this post talking about vagina, but that's just how things go.

Thank you, so much, Mexico, for everything!! Even the angry estomago!! Viva Mexico!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

me and Mexico Part Dos

After a few gorgeous & hot days in Acapulco, Belen and I set off east for Puebla, where she lives now. It was a lovely drive, with the exception of getting splashed directly in the eyeball with water from a puddle by a passing car in one of the towns. At least, I really hope it was water.

On the way we stopped off at a little city called Taxco.

It's a very charming place with houses covering the hillside.

The people are also very friendly and somewhat pushy with the merchandise they're trying to sell. I saw one tourist, a middle-aged blonde woman looking upset & confused as she swatted away a sombrero that one of the tiny, smiling local women was putting on her head.
Also, random fact: In Mexico, you tip everyone. Including the guy who helps you back out of your parking spot at the Walmart (yes they have several there). Even these men, who hang out in the parking lot and guard your car without you having asked them to do it, get a tip.

This country is full of Beetles, just ask that guy in the photo, not the crunchy when you step on them kind but the cars. Mexicans call them "vochos." I loved seeing them everywhere.


We made it to Puebla in the evening and immediately I met Belen's younger sister and also a friend from her job. And we were off again. We went out to eat. In my head I was thinking "please God let it be somewhere where I can eat something light, because my stomach is going to kill me." Days worth of tacos, chalupas, enchiladas and MORE make you think these thoughts. We arrived to a pizza place/bar. They immediately ordered 2 pizzas and a round of beer for all of us. I smiled politely but my stomach was shaking its little fist angrily. It doesn't end there, though. Mexicans don't like their food bland, in fact they like it spicy enough to make you bleed from the inside. Spices and chiles go on everything from fresh fruit to chocolate, I mean it. So, of course, when they brought the beer, out came 4 glasses filled with a liquor mixed with chile spices. You pour the beer into the glasses to combine it with the liquor and chiles. Then, drink & wince accordingly. Bottoms up indeed. My stomach and I are still not on speaking terms.


The next day we traveled a short 30 minute distance to where Belen grew up to meet the rest of her family. Two sweet parents, one fun-size and adorable abuelita, 3 dogs & 1 cat. After we sat and got to know one another a bit more and I charmed the pants off the cat, we left for a birthday party.

Mexicans take certain birthdays very seriously. When a girl turns 15 it's a very special thing. When a boy turns 3 it's also a very special thing. We went to a family friend's son's 3rd birthday party. It was a big to-do. Even Belen's older sister Estrella & her boyfriend Ariel made it down from Mexico City to be there. (Yes, Ariel like from the Little Mermaid, we addressed that fact together the next day) At this huge party they had dancing clowns and games, even a mini-play involving the characters from the Lion King. They sang Hakuna Matata in Spanish and I almost burst into tears thinking about how alike we can all be when you really get down to it. I know, weird, but if you had been there you would've seen it was very touching!

That night we returned to Puebla for a concert - Mexican pop artist Paty Cantu.

She was beautiful, but maybe not quite as gorgeous as Belen and her sisters.

The following day we had a big lunch to celebrate Estrella's birthday. Belen's parents & grandmother came over and the cooking began. We sat down to a delicious meal that started with a bowl full of fresh papaya. Next came a chickpea soup to which you add lime juice and - you guessed it - peppers for extra flavor. Next it was lamb's meat, onions, cilantro & salsa in tortillas. (these detailed descriptions are for you Meagan & Dusty) Finally, if you were still breathing, and I was, there was a huge tiramasu cake.

After they stuffed me silly I answered questions and they chatted away with me. I understood most of it, but there came a time when they didn't understand me. Belen's mother was describing this beautiful low-cut blouse that she saw being sold in Chiapas on a family vacation they recently took. She asked if I'd like that type of shirt. I laughed and tried to tell her in Spanish that I can't wear a blouse like that because of what I lack upstairs on the chest level. Her parents just stared at me in confusion, her sisters were beginning to laugh. They asked me to explain it in English. So I did with hand gestures and everything. When I finished her dad looked like he was going to faint but luckily they all cracked up.

Finally, before I took off with Estrella & Ariel for Mexico City, the family gave me a gift of a beautiful lamb's wool sweater they bought in Tlxacala. I was so touched. What an incredible group of people to take this little dandelion in as their own. I can't express how grateful I am to them for giving me such an amazing time. I almost cried when I drove away from Belen, but I'm sure I'll see her at some point again.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Me and Mexico

..might be in love. What a beautiful & interesting country, with beautiful and interesting people! There's so much to tell. Luckily I brought a little notebook with me in my purse to write down all the random thoughts I had or things I saw. I would love to share that with you now so that you may better know the highlights of my trip to Mexico...:) I give you part one...

Day 1: Travel / Acapulco

- sat next to a man with an authentic Jamaican accent on the plane, was in heaven, took this as a good omen

- flight attendant looked like Anthony from Designing Women, also took this as a good omen

- my friend Belen who lives in Mexico picked me up from the airport! *wipes brow*

- ate some delicious seafood from a place called Treinador

- Belen took me to "La Quedabra" which is a place where the famous cliff divers of Acapulco do their stuff. I was completely aw-struck. Men of all ages that could fit in your pocket climb rocks and then plunge gracefully several stories into rocky water.

- amazed by the beautiful lights on the mountains around Acapulco driving home, also amazed at how incredibly nice Belen is

Day 2: Acapulco

- went to breakfast at "La Granja" a mexican tradition

- ate some delicious oatmeal-type stuff from a traditional handmade basin, also drank interesting papaya juice

- it's called "La Granja" which means Zoo because there is a little zoo behind the restaurant. here live some of the saddest animals i have ever seen, including a little raccoon that i wanted to carry out in my bag were it not for the risk of him mauling me embarrassingly

- went to a lovely beach, rode a 4 wheeler around for a half an hour, felt like a bad ass

- watched a gorgeous sunset with Belen

- later at home, Belen and I gussy up for a night on the town, realized how frumpy I am as she emerged from the bathroom like some ancient Mayan goddess, more on that later

- on the way out of the house to go out we met a couple in Belen's neighborhood who could not get into their daughter's apartment, Belen spent almost 2 hours trying to help them break the lock with everything she could find in her midst. heart. of. GOLD.

- we didn't go out this night as it was very late after we finished with the couple, but we did go out to have a lovely glass of wine at a nice restaurant at the local mall

Day 3: Acapulco

- had a picnic in the backyard of ham & cheese sandwiches

- we to La Capilla de la Paz (Chapel of Peace) to see Acapulco from the top of a huge mountain, amazing view ensues

- went onto a naval ship and walked around deck, heard "Uptown Girl" playing

- went to the oldtown part of Acapulco and took a boat around the peninsula

- ate at Zorritos, a place my old boss suggested to go to for awesome authentic Mexican food, she was totally right

- while there I was enchanted by the servers who were all older men. there was a cute little girl of like 3 or 4 running around to each one and they scooped her up and hugged her each time she came and then let her down to run back to her mom

- went home to find what Belen described as little "takatakas" because they make that takataka sound when they run. turns out the takatakas are little white lizards with black eyes. we found one near my computer cord. i'm proud to say i didn't scream when i saw it, but i did stay frighteningly conscious of it's whereabouts when it scampered away.

- las hormigas - ants!! they're everywhere, houses, walls, sidewalks, everywhere!

- went out to "Paradise" a nice little nightclub on a touristy strip, met 3 European guys from a country i didn't know when they first told me (maybe i had a few daquiris, maybe i didn't, turns out much later it was Slovenia!). they stuck out just as much as I did. white. we made friends with them and belen even offered to take them home to the copa cabana where they were staying (of course). one was especially drunk and kept singing a song he knew in English (mcdonald's, KFC, pizza hut, repeat). he kept referring to American music and other American things and saying to me, YOU know what i'm talking about. yes, i do know kurt cobain. we got home around 4 or 5.

all of this in 3 days! more soon...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

viva mexico!

There is so much to tell about the first stop on my trip. I absolutely loved Mexico. Amazing. So much to see and and so much to say about it, but for now here are a few of my favorite photos from Mexico. More to come soon...