Category Archives: Mexico

Happy New Year

Happy New Year America; from the meat markets of ol’ Mexico.

P1060066

P1060065

 

P1060067

 

…ride the worm. 2013

 

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Mayan Dreams in the Banana Republics – Muy Norteamericano

Hey Richie, you got change for a Quetzal?

El Gringissimo

…if this leg goes I’m going to miss it. Man, we’ve had some good times together. I think what I’ll remember most is playing soccer with it.

Shit, this looks and feels awful, a puss-filled skin volcano that’s ready to erupt all over my right leg. My favorite leg. It’s cute almost, with conical shape, and reminds me of all the volcanoes I’ve seen thus far on my travels. Another trip to the doctor yields another round of antibiotics. Dont touch it! But, I can’t help it! Stop poking at it! Nein! Well, we’re in the third world and it’s all part of the game now. I guess.

Why don’t the guidebooks ever give you real information? You know, the important stuff. Tell us all about the thousand yard stares, the mangy dying dogs in the street, the souless ninos begging for quetzales, the glue-sniffers. Tell us about the leishmaniasis baby. Inquiring minds want to know.

Leon, Nicaragua

Travel Tip: Don’t drink the water in the 3rd world and don’t eat the food, ever. It’s crawling with worms and parasites. It is rumored to be that I ate once in Guatemala and was violently ill for days. Fortrue, it had been a really long time since I had ever been that ill, halucinating and shivering in bed with a dangerously high fever. I was really sick, man! I had to poop in a cup and have it tested for cholera and typhoid, diseases fazed out in the states a hundred years ago. I remember my characters getting these while playing Oregon Trail on an Apple Macintosh, lo so many moons ago; and they always died. Terrible deaths that lasted for many screens. The lab tested for parasites too and when the results came back negative for everything I was elated and raised a weakened fist in triumph. I’m still here; a small victory in a battle barely fought. But it’s just another thing to add to the list, another notch in the Mexican leather belt. The truth is that it is incredibly easy to get sick down here and when you do get sick or have an infection it’s hard to get well again. The climate, I guess, has a lot to with it. The heat, the dampness, and the alternating heat and cold cycles of the highlands weaken the immune system I imagine. No one washes their hands. I’ve had several fevers, a bunch of weird infections with bubbly puss that wouldn’t go away, and pink eye. And there is always the leishmaniasis.

Max Headworm (Johnny Gusanic): My spanish teacher told me a story about her friend who was walking down the street one day when she suddenly went blind. It was only for a few minutes, but then she started having other symptoms, like problems with her balance. Apparently the amigette had eaten some undercooked pork which contained a parasite which then burrowed into her brain. The little gusano will be with her always, because you can’t kill it. She has to take medication which puts the worm to sleep instead of killing it, but also makes her tired all the time. Believe it or not, but be warned. I wonder what that worm be dreaming of yo. Brains probly. Un paraiso de sesos.

Travel Tips: Look it’s all fun and games but If you have to eat something in Central America just be smart about it. Eat at a place where other people are eating already. The ciudadanos of the 3rd world don’t drink their own tap water and they don’t really possess any special abilities to ward off germs or parasites so they’re not going to eat at a place that constantly makes them sick. This is common sense advice, but it’s important because sometimes people don’t always use common sense. I meet a lot of palefaces who think that by drinking just a little bit of tap water each day and then increasing that amount the next, say a spoonful and then a cupful, that they will gradually adjust their bodies to it. Un poco retrasado, no? Right? I dunno, maybe that works, but I doubt it. I didn’t follow my own advice and thought I’d be safe by just ordering up a slice of pizza somewhere. Pizza is safe right? I was hungry. An empty restaurant and soulless, million mile stares from behind the counter should have tipped me off.

Leon Cathedral

Boxed-text Travel tippet – Caca en una bolsa: It’s all the rage in the 3rd world. Another story. Kids who can’t afford glue to sniff will shit in a bag and leave it in the sun for a few hours and then huff the contents. The rotting sewage produces methane, which evidently gets you high. Is it worth it? No se. These are lives snuffed out before they even began. Welcome to the Promised Land dog. I’ve never seen this before and never ever want to, although we’ve run across some glue sniffers, who are not as ubiquitous as you might imagine.

All this nonsense makes me pine for the states at times. One more thing, for those who haven’t been down south, know that you can’t put used toilet paper in the toilets in Mexico and beyond and instead have to put it in a garbage pail. This means that there’s a big stinking pail of used toilet paper in every bathroom, even in the choosiest of places. It’s gross man and you face this stark reality every time you go to the bathroom. It’s always there, sometimes out of sight, but siempre within arms reach and you can’t help but think about it. The heart reels for the high school nerd, face down in that mess and forced to inhale, requisite Mexican bully gripping the neck hard.

Alegria, El Salvadorable

Subcommandante Dickie, you been doin’ all this dope bloggin’ you aint had a chance to show ’em what time it is.

It’s Eastern Standard Time pibe, same as old New York and we’re doin’ it live.

I’m in Panama now, looking for a way out of Central America. I wan’t out. I’ve had enough.

…which is not to say that the badlands south of the border and stretching all the way to the jungle are all that bad. They’re different indeed and, at times, exceedingly beautiful. But I’ll never be able to reconcile the crushing poverty and class dichotomy with all the rest; the smiling caras blancas and the dead inside ninos and street dogs. Some can. But to turn a blind eye to all of that wouldn’t be…honest.

OK, 1…2…3 everybody jump at the same time and throw your hands in the air  with big smiles *click*

zany!

yea…memories

I dunno che, I’m just calling it like I see it.

We’re just looking for the Promised Land right?

Right!

Crossing the border into Panama from Costa Rica

Mexico: It was a weird weird world then, full of cacti, when the CB nosed towards old Mexico and indeed, it’s a weird world now. The hysteria surrounding travelling through Mexico is un poco surreal, mythic even, inspiring real fear in even the most intrepid, and tepid, of souls and souless wanderers. The reality is that the situation is entirely worse in every nation south of Mexico and one stands a far better chance of experiencing something truly awful in, say, Honduras, than New Spain. The media has been hitting old Mexico hard as of late. The drug mafia. The swine flue. You’re gonna die, dog. All that stuff has put a huge dent in the number of estranjeros pouring into old Mexico. Believe what you will, but remember that it’s always best to stick to reliable sources of info, like this blog, and then make up your own mind. I won’t lead you astray, I promise. No mames, Guey. Anyway, Mexico is great and will always hold a top-secret special place in mi corazon. Goat heads, tacos, culos, pyramids, cacti…old Mexico has it all. Personalidad, guey! Le extrano, mucho.

Pyramid of the Sun: Awe-inspiring if only for its size and astronomical precision, which I wasn’t able to verify, having left my collapsible travel-astrolabe at home, next to my bulky life jacket and pantalones that convert into pantalonetas. A strange place to say the least with a decidedly negative vibration. Bad things went down here; you can feel it. But don’t tell that to the large group of new age palefaces humming and chanting and being urged on by their spiritual guide to feel the engergy! They won’t listen to you anyway and I bet they all went home with terrible sunburns. The urge to roll heads down this thing was strong. Powerful strong.

The CA-4: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua comprise the CA-4, a loose conglomerate of nations in Central America that are supposed to share some sort of trade agreement or something. When you enter Guatemala, you get a stamp in your passport that is supposed to be valid for 90 days in all four nations but this is never the case and the only country that seems to be somewhat aware of this is El Salvador. I spent 2 months in the highlands of western Guatemala more or less trying to learn Spanish, which proved harder than I thought. It’s my own fault mostly. I spent a lot of time badgering my teachers into teaching me slang and bad words. I’m bad with languages on the whole I think, even English, and it all just reminded me of chemistry class. Lots of memorization. I have no patience for it all. Mamame la, puta! Guatemala was an introduction to the third world. Scenes of striking natural beauty punctuated by garbage everywhere. Mayans on every street corner in colorful dress. Volcanoes blowing their tops. Everyone is really short. A weird scene. El Salvador was surprisingly orderly and clean for the most part, at least coming from Guatemala. Everyone, it seemed, spoke English, having worked in the states for many years. It’s a small place and you can ride it in a day and get to know everyone there if you really hustle. I saw a dead guy in the road. A motorcycle accident no less. I spent an extra day there checking out Laguna Alegre, a sulfurous lake set in the ancient cone of a dormant volcano. Within the cone is also a soccer field, a true field of dreams. Encuentrame there, para un partido…porfis? Honduras is a forgotten place and dangerous, at least up through Tegus and on through to Nicaragua way. It’s everything you’ve ever been told Central America is. Nicaragua was surprisingly clean and safe, with great roads and the best food since Mexico. Behind the ancient church in Leon, a couple of ladies man fritangas and sling all sorts of delectable barbecued meats and other fried edibles of which I could not identify. Muy saludable. Nicaragua was a total surprise and it was even full of nerdy backpackers. I predict it will become the new Costa Rica. I’ll remember Granada for the seedy market behind the main square. There’s a carniceria (butcher shop) there, the worst I’ve ever seen. We’re used to buying meat that gets sliced off hunks on hooks that are hanging out in the open air by now, unrefrigerated; this is the norm from Mexico on south, but this was different, with great stinking stalls of gray meat idly hanging in the stagnant tropical superheated air beneath a tin roof, flies buzzing everywhere and foul smelling street dogs lining the floor, children racing about up and down screaming, the thousand yard stares of the women tending the stalls, and the sun streaking in casting weird light and giving it all a sickly pallor.

Crater Lake – Alegria, El Salvadorable

Old Xelatown. Te extrano.

Tajamulco – Central America’s highest point down old Guaemala way, guey.

Changing tire in Leon, Nicaragua – 6th tire of the trip

Isla de Ometepe looms large out in the middle of Lago de Nicaragua and sports two volcanoes

One of the rickety boats that ply the lake. I didn’t want to put my motorcycle on it.

Isla de Ometepe tambien

The gente in Central America unaminously hate Mexicans and Costa Ricans. Too arrogant they say, but it’s just an obviously veiled form of jealousy. And America too, is universally hated, although everyone wants to go there to work and make money because there’s none to be had here. All of these nations are desperately poor. There is no money here. The halloween head I have strapped as a masthead to the CB has been doing a great job for diplomacy though, and is universally loved everywhere. People love to touch it, especially Hondurans.

Costa Rica: Sort of second world now. I’d been here before with lil’ Marlo some time ago and wasn’t really looking forward to it. A shock-intro to Central America maybe it was, but I was put off by it. A second chance was given and the most was made of it, although I was in and out in a few days and I’m used to all the dead-doll eye stares by now. I hit up some old haunts down in the Carribean and was pleased. Completely idyllic tropical beaches studded with palms and empty and alone, stretching as far as the eye can see and then evaporating into jungle. Pura Vida ineed son. Food and gas and beers are expensive here, the stapes of life with New York prices. It was here that I would become Coconut Hunter M.D., scaling tall trees and trepanning even the most resilient coconut husks with my small, yet practical knife. I forgot how hard coconuts are. Once you get one out of the shell a couple of really hard smacks against a tree trunk or rock will crack them open but man, I couldn’t imagaine having to crack one of them open against someone’s skull like Rowdy Rodrigo Piper did to Jimmy Snooka so many moons ago. It would kill a man. That had to be a trick coconut. Was there milk inside? Rewind the tape. Piper is still trying to sell it after all these years. Muy profesional!

The rains come in Costa Rica

 Washed out bridge on the way to the Carribean – Costa Rica

Idyllic tropical paradise at the end of the road in Manzanillo, Costa Rica

Jungle meets the beach – Manzanillo

Panama:

…getting lost in the banana fields

In my arsenal now is a recipe for turtle.

I got it when I was camping behind the bombero station in Almirante, waiting for the ferry to Bocas Del Toro. A lot of the coastal blacks in Central America speak English, descendants of slaves they are, and I was able to gleam this gem from Burton, one of the bomberos. Look, I could have hashed it out in espanol but it was a treat to speak English again to someone other than a tourist.

What the hell is that?

It’s turtle mon.

Dame la receta.

DAME LA!!

Receta para tortuga:

Ingredientes:

Costilla Criolla (packet of spice)

Caldo de Pollo (chicken broth)

Camaron(shrimp) seasoning

Gallinita con sabor y calor (another packet of spice)

Vinegre (vinegar)

Salsa de China (soy sauce)

BBQ sauce (if you so desire)

Adobo seasoning

Hot pepper

Curry

Onions

Celery

Fresh thyme

Sweet peppers

Garlic

First wash the turtle meat with some lime seasoning and a little water. Then dip the turtle meat in boiling water for 15-20 seconds and remove. This will clean the meat and help even out the flavor. In a large bowl, mix the meat with the aforementioned spices to create a marinade. After marinading, brown the turtle meat in a pan, next adding your vegetables, thyme, and garlic. Best served with coconut rice and pigtail. Boil up some coconut milk, then add rice and simmer with a piggilytail. Easy. And if you want to be a real hero, fry up some Besks, little delicious hotcakes. Make them with flour, a little baking powder, salt, sugar, water, and a couple of eggs. Delicious. Receta by Burton.

Camping out in garbage-strewn godforsaken Almirante, getting the turtle recipe from Burton, and watching Chiquita banana trucks rumble by in the dying sun while drinking beers in my tent and getting leishmaniasis from a mosquito was my favorite part of Panama and what I’ll remember most about it. All this happened my first day there, more or less, and was punctilliated by getting lost in the banana plantations that morning (there aren’t any signs in Panama either). Banana trees stretch for what seem like a million miles, tended to by the modern day slaves of the banana barons who sit behind desks supping besks in distant lands. Bocas Del Toro, the supposed turistic mecca and paradise, was overhyped and full of garbage too, partying tourists and opportunistic locals alike.

Banana truck to banana boat bringing bananas to hungry Americans

Outside of Panama City, the rest of Panama is desperately poor; lots of people living without dignity; rude and angry. Something I did not really expect. I didn’t like it and it was a weird way to put a cap on Central America. But so be it, the time had passed for me to move on and I began counting the days…

On the road in old Panama

Helmet cam

Suicide Showers: For those not in the know, hot water heaters rarely exist south of the border. What you have instead for taking hot showers are electric shower heads. Almost all of them are sloppily wired and spliced to an existing wire and appear deadly to anyone from the first world. They’re safe I guess, but only some of them make the water truly warm. I bought one the last time I was in Costa Rica. The novelty hasn’t worn off yet and I love them very much.

So there we are, goodbye North America.

We’ve come a long ways yo. We remember the rains of Alaska, the stink of the Salton, the food and the drink of ol’ Mexico, and the dead souls of Central America, although we must keep moving and push on. Adios North America. I’ll see you in my dreams if you’re lucky.

But don’t be sad because the time has come now for Incan dreams, with colorful frocks and bowler hats.

I’m going to the Sun, putas.

Photo montage of ol’ Mexico:

Chapulines -Fried Grasshoppers down old Oaxaca Way. Not bad, really. I was figuring them to have a peanuty taste, but they just taste like whatever they’re cooked in: garlic, limes and chile, and other assorted flavors.

Mexico City’s ancient cathedral

Zocalo dreamin’

Enter the Zocalo

The frenetic beehive of humans that is Mexico City

Top of the Pyramid of the Sun – awe inspiring and massive

Pyramid of the Sun

Facing the Pyramid of the Moon

Top o’ the ol’ pyramid o’ da mooooon

Top o’ the ol’ Torre Latino, once the tallest building in Central America – spying Mexico City

Pyramid of da Sun, son

ol’ Cathedral

National Teater in Guadalajara

Baroque church in downtown Guadalajara

Oh shit, the fuzz

Party Down -Oaxaca

Party Up -Oaxaca

Eh…eh…yo tengo miedo! Yo tengo miedo!

Riding the Oaxacan death roads 2-up

Tuesdays with Abi and the Oaxacan Wunderkind

Ruta 175 down old Oaxacan way stretches through the mountains and into the clouds, bringing intrepid travellers just a little bit closer to God, before dropping off into the jungle and ending on the tepid shores of el Pacifico. 100 miles of curves.

Guey.

Happy Thanksgiving America

…what are you thankful for?

Guadalajara Especial: Dia de Los Muertos Spectacularrr

With my ride for the day cancelled at the last minute I was left to ponder the fact that the Day of the Dead is not quite as ubiquitous a Mexican holiday as I was led to believe. Antonio and fam do not even celebrate it, as he states, “I remember the dead every day” while noting that there is little need for such a holiday. Wise words from a wise man. But look I’m an American, an inquisitive visitor, in this strange and savage land, and as I yearned and pined for the Americana on that voyage through our vast nation so I yearn for the archetypical Mexico that floats about in my head, the one that celebrates Dia de Los Muertos with verve and gusto and style and skeletons dancing about playing guitars and shit.

Some of the finest DdLM celebrations in all the land of old Mexico occur in the traditional and predominantely Indian strongholds along Lake Patzcuaro, a place where ancient customs still hold their macabre spell. It is a breathtaking sight when all the village gathers about in the cemetario holding vigil, singing songs, and putting the final touches on their altars to the dead, or so I hear. I also hear that it is a massively touristic affair and that the strap sandal, khaki shorts, and fanny-pack wearing crowd is reppin’ hard so it wasn’t a terrible dissapointment missing out on all that fanfare when Daniel and his papi, my chaueffers for the day, had to go to work instead. I would spend the day strutting about Guadalajara, blending in with the gente, taking in the real deal Day of the Dead with real Mexicans, all the while tuning in and picking up on that ancient vibe.

Deep in the bosom of Guadalajara centro lies the Parque Morelos, which is the place to be if you need to pick up your last minute Dia de Los Muertos stuff. Market stalls ring the park and hawk all sorts of delightful trinkets and delicious treats. Dolls, candied skulls, and the bread of the dead. You can have it all. A celebration of death. Beautiful.

Cemetario Mezquitan is the epicenter of all DdLM celebrations in Guadalajara, indeed it is the largest cemetary in one of the largest cities in all of Mexico. Familes come here to set up their altars on the stone slab graves of loved ones passed. Enterprising urchins march up and down the rows of slabs with buckets and brushes to whitewash the markers of the dead so fouled by urban soot for a few pesos. Roving bands of mariachis, hungry for their share of the action, will sing and strum to a tomb for a small donation only. Golden marigolds are the flower of choice for all decorations and are blown about and snuffed under foot. Ancient grave markers faded and gone mix with towering spires to rich men who died long ago. One must be careful not to slip into one of the countless and deep open graves that wait with gaping maw for the once living, too deep to sleep. it is a cool scene no doubt. Mas chido.

 

Street Eats: Old Mexico Edition

Ryder Strong awoke before dawn

He put his boots on.

He lit a shuck for old Mexico

and he walked on down the hall…

I’m in old Mexico now, growing long in the tooth and fat in the belly. The final chapter to the Adventure in America has yet to be told; indeed, it hangs in the air like an oft-remembered dream. Although, it has some weight, really it does, and if one were to reach an outstretched finger to it they could probably touch it and watch it pop like a bubble, showering its contents all over God and everyone.

We’ll get to that at some point but we need to keep moving here.

Look, America had been done man. Mission accomplished. So to what next? Was it time to go “home”? The CB was pointed towards the rising sun, to the East. I was tired. Tired of sleeping in a tent, tired of being filthy all the time with fingernails blackened by grease, tired of carrying around tools and shit on the back of this old beat up bike, constantly adjusting shit. What was left really? I’d done America. I had seen America, really seen it. I had lived out my own weird version of the American dream and come out on top. A champion on the Wheaties box astride the legendary CB500T.

So how did I wind up in this ancient plaza in Guadalajara on the Day of the Dead trading weird glances with a couple of ladyboys?

Shit just happens man. I was on my way back to New York when suddenly the bike was pointed south and talking to me in a strange, tinny Spanish voice, like some sort of ultra-ghetto version of KITT from Knight Rider. Old Mexico was calling. It was on the line. Never let old Mexico go to voice mail.

Krista quoted Castaneda

See munched her cactus raw

The Mescal worm would turn to Mecca

And squirm towards the door

I crossed the border at Nogales, a dusty little border town renowned for nothing more than being a border town and maybe more recently a hotspot of narco activity. Little fanfare erupts upon entering this new and strange foreign land. You don’t even have to put your feet down; you just get waved through a little gate and all of a sudden you’re in old Mexico, which is not the United States. There are trucks and busses and chickens and people and shit everywhere. Every building is made of concrete and everything is dusty. There’s no mistaking this place for the United States, but it’s not that different on first glance, like some sort of bizzarro version of America.

After Nogales, its about 100 miles to the first town of any sort of renown, which is Hermosillo. This is the Mexican frontier, the Sonoran desert. The heat riding through this stretch and onwards for the next week would be completely palpable and face melting. A powerful, scorching heat that would not subside until reaching Mazatlan and the tropics.

Bahia de Kino: Billed as somewhat of a “beach resort” for middle-class Hermosillans by my 17 year old used guide book, Bahia de Kino is a desolate and expensive little trap that should probably be avoided in the middle of a late summer heat wave. Low-rise concrete bunker hotels and apartment buildings kiss the beach about 30 yards from the salty shores of the Sea of Cortez. Make no mistake; although the Sea of Cortez hisses and brakes on a terrific and sandy beach, you will never forget that you are still in the middle of the desert. There are no trees to speak of and no shade. You can step from the desert into the sea but you still have to step back. This is a wasteland. Beautiful in its own way, but still a wasteland. Best to head for the tropics.

The sun has set on the Sea of Cortez and it’s nightime in old Mexico.

And here I sit, a stranger in a foreign land downing a Tecate caguama and staring into ocean’s abyss; the only thing a man can do really after speaking pidgin Spanish all day. I know some words but little conjugacion. Que Queso es? What cheese is it? Indeed. Only the motorcycle Gods know.

Tecate: Mexican beer and nectar of the demigods, one need only to press an ice cold Tecate tall boy to the temple to forget that all life is suffering. Drink it next in one big gulp and know that you’ve made it this far, to this corner of the world. But remember, this won’t work with Pacifico or Dos Equis, or even Corona Extra. Sure, they’ll all suffice in a pinch but Tecate will always hold a special place on the adventurer’s mantle.

Guymas: One’s first real taste of Mexico south of the border by Nogales way. Guymas is a dusty little beat up town on the shores of the Sea of Cortez, although it’s a port town and there is no beach. There’s not much going on here really. You’re still in the desert, but you’re in old Mexico now and it really feels like such. Men are roasting whole chickens right off the street and tasty lil’ tarts in school girl outfits and stretch clothes strut about. Mas Culo. Right off of Calle Quince, Casa de Huespedes Lupita offers up seedy little concrete cages for 120 pesos a night. That’s like $9. And can’t a man walk down the street in old Mexico without being offered sex in exchange for precious pesos?

Mazatlan: Enter: the Tropics! Ah, Mazatlan, where palm trees abound! A fine place to chill after a hellish baptism of fire through the Sonoran and Sinaloan deserts. You’re in real Mexico now and an outstanding variety of street eats abound. But remember, you’re in real Mexico now and you best not drink the water. Meat hangs on hooks here in the open tropical air with flies buzzing about. It’s just the way things are done down south. VW bugs and busses purr and coo in their magnigicent and antiquated way and pulmonas, little dub-based taxis with gazebo style roofs, dart up and down the streets ferrying white turistas to and fro, all the while puffing out clouds of blue smoke. The Pacific breaks on Mazatlan and one never really need stray more than a hundred yards from shore. I would spend a few days here, breaking myself in to the real Mexico and drinking Tecate, before heading towards Guadalajara to meet up with my old Mexican chums from Alaska. Mi casa es su casa they said on the ferry back to the states and I had designs on taking them up on that offer.

Travel Tip: Hotel Lerma in Mazatlan offers up really nice rooms for 150 pesos per night with intermittent wi-fi, potable water (aqua purificado), private baths, and safe parking. The windows are merely steel bars that serve to divvy up the tropical breeze.

Travel Tip: There are two types of highways in Mexico, cuota and libre. The cuota roads are toll roads, relatively well-maintained, expensive, and quick. The’yre mostly arrow straight and boring. The libre roads are free, not as well-maintained although not always bad. They go through small towns and over topes (Mexican speed bumps), and are generally curvy and slower. The libre road from Tepic to Guadalajara is a gorgeous stretch of sublime curvaceous asphalt running through the mountains and fields of the blue green agave. But remember, choose your libres wisely friends as many a traveller has turned an hours jaunt into a hard days journey; know your towns and pay attention to the signage, lest you be lost on the road of eternal topes in the Mexican backwaters. A place that no white man wants to be.

Although, worry not now and know that the libre to Guadalajara approaching from the West is easily navigable and wholly appropriate for spirited motorcycle riding. These are great roads and the first decent curves I had gobbled up since Lolo Motorway way back in Idaho. Indeed, the beauty encroaches upon the sprawl near Guadalajara as lush valleys of greenery and mountainous vistas can all be had within 30 minutes of the city center. I’ve been staying with my amigo Antonio in Chapalitas, some sort of posh little Guadalajaran suburb, for the past two weeks and have once again been adopted by a new family. They’ve been showing me around some and introducing me to all sorts of Mexican delights. The variety of food here is outstanding and I am forvever being fed like a hungry bird. An easy generalization to make about the people of old Mexico is that they like to eat, a lot. And drink. Constantly and all day long. It’s different man. People don’t eat like this in the United States, all day and all night long in plain sight of God and everyone. The Mexicans have a lot of curious habits like this which they’re not at all shy about. Limes and salsa and onions and sugar and salt are within arms reach always and liberally applied to everything. There are ten carts to a corner always, and each of them hawking some sort of strange and new edible or libation made right in front of your eyes.

Tejuino: Some sort of lightly fermented corn based drink often sold from great big stainless steel urns pushed about on rolled carts. Slightly thick and sweet with the color of coffee, and tastes sort of like it as well.

Horchada: Milk of the tiger nut, not of tigers’ nuts, horchada is a weird, milky drink that tastes sort of like vanilla soymilk. It’s allright, you can’t really drink too much of it. I feel like I’ve had it before at a hispanic restaurant back home.

Tacos de Cabeza: Tacos of the head, literally, are often sold from carts bearing the overt moniker Tacos de Cabeza. Not a single part of the head is wasted here and you’ll often be able to get some sort of normal cut to go along with your head taco. Mexican taco afficianados are fond of carnitas, little diced up bits of leftover meat, usually pork, fried to perfection. Delicious

Tacos de Lingua: Tacos of the tongue. Tender and delicious, if you like that sort of thing. Chopped or sliced, whatever you want.

Tacos de Labias: Tacos of the lips. Thoroughly delicious and my favorite part of the beast’s head.

Tacos de Ubre: Tacos of the udder. Not my cup of tea. The udder sort of tasted like spoiled milk. Rubbery.

Tacos de Sesos: Ah, tacos of the brain, Wayne. Not bad really. Very tasty but sort of a viscousy, fatty texture. There’s no mistaking that these are brains you’re eating. I would eat Tacos de Sesos and dream about bovinity.

Tacos de Carnaza: It was explained to me that the carnaza cut is the area around the sternum of the beast. I couldn’t tell. After a while everything starts looking the same to me. These were good tacos though, served up by Mexico’s only bi-lingual taco cart chef. Antonio’s favorite (chef, not taco)!

Posole: Tasty lil’ soup and Mexican staple made with leftover cuts of pork and huge kernels or reddish Aztec corn, the like of which I have never before seen. Top notch.

Chicharonnes: Pork rinds baby. Sold everywhere in the Mexican street in little, or big for the little emperors, plastic bags. You pour salsa on top and then shake the bag. When in Rome.

Torta: Mexican sandwich served up on deliciously fluffy bread. I dropped one of these greasy fuckers right on my lap in Mazatlan.

Pulque: Fermented juice of the Maguey cactus and the alcoholic drink of choice of traditional and manly rancheros. Antonio was able to score me a jug from his ranchero connections. An aquired taste for most, but I can dig me some Pulque anytime. I would drink the whole jug in one huge gulp, ranchero style.

Chivo: Goat. Served up anyway you want, virtually anywhere. Check out your local Birria, or stew joint, where your chivo gets dished up along with a big ol’ cup of stew juice for you to decant as to your liking. Proud chefs display the heads of these beautiful creatures, just so you dont forget that your eating the intestinal tract of a goat, or whatever cut you so choose. It’s all really delicious. Really. Ich Lieben Es.

Charralitos: Ah, tiny lil’ fish served up fresh or fried. Eat em whole, bones and eyes and all. Don’t forget to add salt and lime and salsa! I like to give each one a little kiss before I finish em’ off. Or bite em’ in half and squeeze the remaining guts into an open mouth to terrify the babes.

Mole: Mole. It could be anything. There’s a million different versions of mole but I believe that most mole should be a heavily bean based dish that is also sweet, due to the presence of chocolate no doubt. This is how I like to think of mole. I like my mole thick. I don’t like it when my mole runs away from me. I enjoyed my mole tacos from the Mercado Corona in Guadalajara centro.

Jumex: Bottled fruit juice. They have these in the U.S. but in Mexico they come in these great big aluminum cans with screw tops and are only like 80 cents each. All of the flavours of the rainbow. Mmm my favorite is coconut pineapple.

Look, I have absoultely no idea how I woke up on Saturday with a stomach bug and 102 degree fever. Thankfully my new family was there to watch over me and take me to the doctor. A visit to the doctor in old Mexico cost about $2.50 and meds were about $13. Antonio’s madre made me chicken soup and I’m recovering nicely. I really can’t say enough about my new Mexican family and brother Antonio. He is a cool older bro no doubt, like a Mexican version of Cool-hand Luke or David Hasselhoff. Chido bueno, amigo. I am in your debt.

Regardless, the ride continues and I must move on. Indeed, I’m not even in Guadalajara anymore. I could be anywhere really. Maybe I’m playing Jenga in a Mexico City hostel or maybe I’m inside the internet like Lawnmower Boy. There is no telling.

Stay tuned for more tales of old Mexico…

Happy Halloween America

Greetings from Old Mexico and the church of the holy, divine, and quixotic lonesome adventurer.

Bahia de Kino

Guadalajara

Mazamitla

Guadalajara

…ladies