Who said there is only one Mexico?

17 Jan

What is the first image you have when hearing the word ‘Mexico’?

“Beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters with summer temperatures almost all year-long”.

“Big sombreros and Mariachis”.

” The famous mouse Speedy Gonzales saying: andale, andale, arriba, arriba

Tulum ruins and beach

Tulum ruins and beach

Mariachis y sombreros

Mariachis y sombreros

 

“Mezcal and Tequila”. Right. (But probably you don’t know that it is actually considered the best cure for flu and other illnesses. Mexicans drink it at all times and with whatever excuse; it doesn’t matter if the day after they will have to go to work with the strongest hangover, which they call “cruda“).

A cactus might appear in your mind when someone says “Mexico”. And you might be right again, but you ignore that Mexican enjoy eating it with eggs, meat and tacos, and they call it “nopal“.

Cactus in Mexico City

Cactus in Mexico City

Cactus at sunset in Oaxaca

Cactus at sunset in Oaxaca

Guacamole with nachos is a combination loved all over the world; but don’t ask a local to get some for you, be aware that this is the North American translation for their beloved “totopos“.

You think you know Mexican cuisine until you arrive to Mexico and discover that its traditional flavours are kept hidden in the street markets.

I am not a burrito :-(

I am not a burrito 😦

Love for Food. In mexico, for sure. Lunch at "Delirio" in Mexico City

Love for Food. In mexico, for sure. Lunch at “Delirio” in Mexico City

You might feel disappointed to find out that burritos are not Mexican but you will fall in love with a huge variety of tacos and tortillas: Mexicans cannot delight a meal without this round flatbread made of corn or flour.

I loved to walk to the supermarket and observe locals queuing outside Tortillerias – old shops for handmade tortillas to be filled at home with the most delicious ingredients, especially meat, onion, corn and tomatoes.

A “torta” in Mexico is not a cake as in its usual meaning in Spanish. It is a popular, often cheap sandwich you might find both at the street vendors and restaurants, filled with res (beef), chicken, vegetables and so on.

Mexicans don’t put lemon in a Corona bottle as most of Europeans think. This is just a way to detect gringos – tourists. They would rather drink a michelada: a beer, which they call “chela” mixed with lime and tomato juice, salt and chili.

In Mexico they like to celebrate it all, even death. But I wrote an article dedicated to it, called Canta y no llores (on the day of the dead) , for if you want to know more about this peculiar celebration.

On 2nd November the most important woman in Mexico is actually the icon of death: an elegant female skeleton with a hat called “La Catrina”; here people “smile” at death with music and festivals, as no other culture might probably do.

La Catrina de Diego Rivera

La Catrina de Diego Rivera

Mexicans say “joven” – young – to a 70 years old waiter and “viejo” – old – to a 20 years old one.

But Mexico is in general a land of infinite contrasts, mysteries and surprises; between future and past, tradition and avant-garde, luxury and extreme poverty.

I took this picture in New Years Eve 2013, but the sign said Feliz 2012. I wish it was a better year for them

I took this picture in New Years Eve 2013, but the sign said Feliz 2012. I wish it was a better year for them

 

Different kind of landscape and environments meet in a 2 million square kilometres country of more than 110 million people spread out into 32 federal entities ( 31 states and a federal district ).

Chihuauan deserts, Yucatan and Chiapas jungles, stunning Caribbean beaches, beautiful colonial cities: Puebla, Oaxaca, Valladolid, Merida, San Cristobal de las Casas. Ancient Mayan and Aztecs pyramids. And so much more…

Me and Sandrine at Chichen Itza, Yucatan

Me and Sandrine at Chichen Itza, Yucatan

 

Playa de Mazunte, Oaxaca

Playa de Mazunte, Oaxaca

 

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You can never forget the first night sleeping in the jungle

Colonial house in Puebla

Colonial house in Puebla

When thinking about Mexico you might not associate it to “museums”; but Mexico City hosts more museums than any other city in the world, above all the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, the most visited in the whole country.

It contains significant archeological and anthropological artifacts from the  pre-Columbian heritage of Mexico, such as the Piedra del Sol (the “Stone of the Sun” or Aztec calendar stone)

Me and THE  Sun Stone

Me and THE Sun Stone

In this Museum there is also 16th-century Aztec statue of Xochipilli:  the god of art, games, beauty, dance, flowers, and song in Aztec Mythology. As well as in modern times, bon-vivants, life lovers are usually more open minded to diversity and people with diverse tastes and way of seeing life; Xochipilli was actually also the patron of both homosexuals and male prostitutes , a role possibly resulting from his being absorbed from the Toltec civilization.

Going back to museums and Mexico City, I can tell that this city has fascinated me with its beautiful buildings from several centuries ago and the most avant-garde architecture, full of contemporary art galleries, theatres, large avenues, upscale stores, trendy restaurants, exclusive bars and nightclubs;

The statue of Angel of Indipendence, Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City

The statue of Angel of Indipendence, Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City

A lovely cafe in Polanco, Mexico City

A lovely cafe in Polanco, Mexico City

 

 

Mexico City downtown

Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City

And Bosque de Chapultepec is right in the middle of the town, it is the largest urban park in Latin America, as big as some of the greatest in the world, such as Bois de Boulogne in Paris and Central Park in New York City.

There is just one thing you can’t do in Mexico and that is skiing; unfortunately this amazing country lacks of snow.

But you can’t have it all in life, in general. You have to make do with what you have. No one or nothing is perfect and believe me, you will still need many months to visit and experience the big variety of wonders that this country has to offer.

And through my travel experiences in Mexico, I hope I will let you discover the most hidden secrets and surprises of this mysterious country called MEXICO so that you can fall in love just like I did.

 

 

View from my 15 USD cabana in Mazunte, Oaxaca

View from my 15 USD cabana in Mazunte, Oaxaca

 

A walk in the jungle nearby Palenque ruins, Chiapas.

A walk in the jungle nearby Palenque ruins, Chiapas.

Gran cenote, Tulum

Gran cenote, Tulum

Street vendor at Oaxaca local market

Street vendor at Oaxaca local market

 

Canyon. Canon del Sumidero, Chiapas

Canyon. Canon del Sumidero, Chiapas

Guadalupe Church, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Guadalupe Church, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Making new friends in Cholula, Puebla

Making new friends in Cholula, Puebla

Afternoon laundry in Tulum

Afternoon laundry in Tulum

 

Cataratas de Agua Azul, Blue waterfalls in Chiapas

Cataratas de Agua Azul, Blue waterfalls in Chiapas

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