Thursday, November 3, 2016

Altar completed

Three days later.

Altar in progress

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Preparations are underway

Tomorrow we're helping prepare a community altar for Day of the Dead, so we spent today in the field cutting marigolds and coxcombs. We were rewarded with a picnic lunch of tortillas, grilled meats and mezcal!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Green space in CDMX

There are countless parks, big and small, tucked away in crevices or incorporated into main thoroughfares. Each includes water elements and art pieces in often unexpected places.

Nos faltan 43.

Mother's encampment on Paseo de la Reforma.

Riots not diets

Feminism is alive and well in CDMX.


Ice is delivered the old fashioned way to the food cart vendors of CDMX.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Street food rocks!

The torta stand in front of my hotel is considered one of the best.  This hot sandwich of chorizo, pierna español, cheese, avocado, egg, and onion weighs more than half a pound, could feed three people,  and costs 38 pesos.  That's right, about  $2.00.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Casa Gonzalez

The view from my doorway.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The hard part

Up at 3:55am, stumbling on board.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

To tour group or not to tour group?

I rarely participate in tours of any kind when I'm traveling, whether it's big-bus escorted excursions, cruise ships or small guided groups of local sites. Part of the fun of a trip is the research, planning and negotiating of local buses and subways to make my way around a new destination. I am definitely the Queen of Public Transport. But as I get older, and as the world's top spots make it onto everyone's bucket list thereby becoming more and more crowded, I'm rethinking my aversion to relying on someone else's expertise when I'm in a new place. Wisely chosen and done early, a guided tour can relieve some of travel's inevitable stress and lay the groundwork for the rest of a visit.

The top thing I want to experience in Mexico City besides a visit to Teotihuacán and the Anthropology Museum is the famous street food. I plan to eat most of my meals from carts and markets rather than sit-down restaurants. To that end, I've booked a tour with Eat Mexico on my first full day in the city to that I can scope out all the best and most reliable sources of good eats. The tour covers the Cuauhtémoc neighborhood of my hotel, Casa Gonzalez, and promises the following:

"On this tour you’ll gain an overview of one of the most vibrant street food scenes in the world, spread out across a neighborhood full of hungry office workers. Moving from stand to stand,
we’ll sample fresh tamales, squash flower burritos, carnitas (pork simmering for several hours in lard) and more. You’ll understand why the tacos de canasta can sell out before 11 a.m., and
bite into a cemita sandwich that packs an incredible punch."

Yum. That should set me up for the rest of the week. And for a touristy splurge, I might grab breakfast-with-a-view at El Balcón del Zócalo before hitting the Cathedral and the Templo Mayor.

El Balcón del Zócalo

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Election time

Well, yah, it seems like it's been going on for years. Part of the timing of my trip was meant to tune out the last three weeks of campaigning, and based on the last few days, that was a good plan. We voted yesterday,  partly to get it over with and to avoid the crowds on what promises to be an election day for the record books.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Peso watch 2016

In the summer of 2011, a dollar bought you 11.5 pesos.  Five years later, a dollar buys you 19 pesos, basically making one peso equal to a nickel. After the initial response of, "Yasssssss, I can buy lots more stuff!", I know this is not a good thing and will further damage Mexico's recovery. We'll see how it looks on the ground.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Un poco tarde

I fully intended to return to Oaxaca in 2013, but life -- in the form of a fall down a flight of stairs, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, and my father's final illness -- intervened. By the time Fall 2014 rolled around, I began my last year of teaching and happily retired after a cross-country move to Santa Fe. Now the opportunity to return to Oaxaca has materialized, and I'm off for a week in D.F. on October 14, then 2 weeks with mi hermana in Oaxaca. We're renting a sweet little apartment a block from my favorite park -- Conzatti -- so I'm thrilled to revisit old stand-bys and explore new spots.

Conzatti Park photo via Flickr by Ron Mader