Friday, March 4, 2016

101 Views of Mexico

I've just returned from three amazing months of travel in Mexico.  This is the country where I began what has become an annual winter escape for the last 33 years, where I honed my skills as a vagabond.

Statue and glass highrise, Insurgentes, Mexico City
I first traveled to Puerta Vallarta and Yelapa in 1983, flying from Tijuana after crossing the border from San Diego.  Flights were really cheap then.  The next year I took a second longer trip where I stayed in Zihuatanejo for a month, followed by Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende to visit a friend, and Guanajuato.  I didn't return to the States until I ran out of money and made a pledge that I would try to skip winters in Oregon from then on.  I am probably diagnosible with Seasonal Affective Disorder, struggling to cope with the gloom of so many dark rainy days.  So why chose to struggle?  Winter travel to warmer climes was my cure and a far more appealing option than Prozac.  The next year I took the train up the Barranca de Cobre (Copper Canyon) in 1986 with friends and then traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula.  I returned to the Yucatan again the next year, and on to the Mayan ruins at Palenque, San Cristobal de las Casas, and Oaxaca.  Then I went to Spain and Portugal.  The next year, a  trip to Bali and Java in Indonesia started a series of adventures in Asia that continued for over a decade of winters.

Woman and sculpture, Centro Judicial, Centro Historico, Mexico City
I hadn't been back to Mexico since I went to Cuba via Cancun in the year 2000 with friends, after which we explored more remote areas of the Yucatan by car before heading south through Belize and Guatamala, and on to Ecuador.  I went to South America 10 more times after that, and then spent 6 incredible winters in the Mediterranean region of Europe and Morocco.

Woman and Eagle, Hemiciclo, Alameda Central, Mexico City
A tighter budget last year made me decide that it was time to revisit the country where I originally learned to travel.  My Spanish is borderline conversational and the dollar is strong against the peso.  Going to Mexico maybe doesn't sound as glamorous as say going to Morocco, but this wasn't a trip to Mazatlan or Cancun to lay on a lounge and read by the pool.  I had a loose agenda of places I wanted to revisit and new places to explore.

Mimes, Centro Historico, Mexico City
I started with 10 days in Mexico City.  The first time I was there was the year before the great earthquake of 1985, and then the year after to see the extent of the damage.  Over 4,000 buildings were destroyed,  (  The city has changed enormously and doubled in population to something like 24 million people.  The North American Free Trade Agreement ushered in a new era of American corporate and commercial influence, making affluent parts of the country look a lot like their neighbor to the north.  There are over 500 Starbucks in Mexico now, and Costco, Walmart, and even Bed Bath and Beyond.  Its rather disconcerting to see, but fortunately the old mercados are still full of life and much of the country has hung on to its cultural identity.
Sueño de una tarde domenical en la Alameda Central, Dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central, by Diego Rivera formerly housed in the Hotel del Prado.  The hotel was destroyed in the 1985 earthquake but the mural survived and was moved to a new museum a block away.
Futbol in the Hemiciclo, Alameda Central, Mexico City
Mexico City is an amazing place to be these days, with a vast array of spectacular museums, parks , and vibrant neighborhoods.  I stayed in Roma Norte, a neighborhood that was run down 30 years ago but has transformed in to a hip bohemian district today.  There is so much to do in this sprawling metropolis that I had to push myself to see as much as I could without burning out.  I used the extensive metro system a lot, and some buses and an occasional taxi.  The city was originally founded as Tenochtitlan by the Aztecs in 1325.  It was conquered and raised by Spanish conquistadors lead by Hernán Cortés in a period of only two years beginning in 1519.  Thats 100 years before the pilgrams landed at Plymouth Massachusettes.

Reflecting pool with pyramids, Centro Justicia, Centro Historico, Mexico City

Underpass mural at Insurgentes, Mexico City

Mexico is a country of murals.  They are often compelling compositions covering the dramatic history of conquest, oppression, revolution, and the liberation of the people.  Some of the most reknowned were painted by Diego Rivera, who depicted scenes of great complexity and expression.

El Hombre en el cruce de caminos, Man at the Crossroads, by Diego Rivera, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

Diego Rivera's shirt, hankerchiefs, and walking stick, Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, San Angel
Rivera's wife Frida Kahlo would attain greater fame than her husband as an artist after her death, perhaps because of the compassion inspired by the physical suffering she endured during her life, which is powerfully expressed in her paintings.  Today she has become a pop icon and her image is heavily merchandized.

Frida Kahlo T shrits and hats for sale in Chapultapec Park
The largest park in Latin America is the Bosque de Chapultepec in Mexico City.  This amazing green space contains one of the World's great museums, the Museo Nacional de Antropologia.  I discovered and revisited a lovely water garden there several times while I was in the city, lounging on these ingenious and popular day beds.

Lounges in a water garden near Museo Rufino Tamayo, Chapultepec Park, Mexico City
Mexico City is a great place to people watch.  There are a lot of people, and since the weather is usually nice, they come out in droves to enjoy the city they live in.

Boys with a Pad, Centro Historico, Mexico City

Curandera, Centro Historico, Mexico City
A girl selling socks in the Centro Historico
An elaborately costumed mime in the Centro Historico
Performance at Museo Jose Luis Cueva, Centro Historico, Mexico City
Ashtray at a Skeleton Altar, Centro Historico, Mexico City

A homeless man naps while sitting in front of a mini market, Roma Norte, Mexico City
Not far from the fringes of the megalopolis of Mexico City lies one of the oldest and greatest of Precolombian civiliations, Teotihuacan.  Founded around 2,100 years ago, this was for a long period the most populous city in the Americas.  It is known for its monumental pyramids dedicated to the Sun and Moon.  The Pirámide del Sol is the 3rd highest in the World after Cheops in Egypt and the pyramid at Cholula near Puebla in Mexico.  I was here over 3 decades ago.  There were a lot more tourists this time, but the day was quite epic for me.  I've spent many a late afternoon watching the light turn golden on sacred mountain like structures in many parts of the world, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan in Burma, Borobodur in Indonesia, Hampi, Konark, and Mt. Palitana in India, Mihintale in Sri Lanka, The Acropolis in Greece, Baalbek in Lebanon, Tikal in Guatamala, Uxmal in Mexico…the list goes on and on.  When I look back on my life, these afternoons come to me as some of the most profoundly beautiful memories I have.
The Temple of the Sun, Teotihuacan

Sunset at Teotihuacan
Another place I went in 1985 was San Miguel de Allende, where a good friend of mine's parents had a home.  I jokingly call the World Heritage Site town, "Gringolandia".  There are over 15,000 Americans  living there.  I would say they are lucky people.  Its so beautiful, and filled with festivity all the time.  My first day there I encountered a wonderful parade with indigenous dancers and giant puppets and women in bright dresses spinning to make them swirl.  Vaqueros (cowboys) rode through on horses.  No apparent crowd had gathered in expectation.  I almost felt like I was getting a private welcome.  Over the 10 days I was there I think I saw 10 different festivals.

Parade, San Miguel de Allende
Needless to say, the gringos in San Miguel can be a colorful mix.  They blend in fairly well into the fabric of town, and bring a fair amount of character and prosperity to it as well.

A long time gringo living in San Miguel de Allende

The main reason I came back was to see a friend of friends I had met on Facebook.  Anando McLauchlin and his partner Richard Schultz live in a fantasy world of what Anado would call "adorned" space.  The primary medium of adornment is mosaic, and via that medium, we are brothers.  All I can say is that it was a wonderful time in a place without limitation.  Everything here is art.

Anando McLauchlin and Julie Brumlik, Chapel of Jimmy Ray, San Miguel de Allende
His chapel of Jimmy Ray is a shrine like gallery named in honor of his Father.

A portrait of Anando's Father on the back side of a wall outside the Chapel of Jimmy Ray
An hour and a half away by bus, Guanajuato is a beautiful old silver mining town in steep ravines northwest of San Miguel de Allende.  I had been there too many years ago.  I had found it to be an exceptionally special place.  The silver wealth made for some grand colonial architecture stacked almost vertically on to the slopes, with many tunnels burrowed through the hills and underneath the town.

It was Christmas week and Guanajuato was thronged with mainly Mexican tourists.  The evenings are filled with music as performing groups guide gatherings through the streets in what is called a Callejoneada.  Calle means street, and this fills them with music and laughter.  The houses are painted brightly in every hue, splashing the hillsides with color.

Bougainvillea blossoms on steps in Guanajuato

Calle Postitos, near the birthplace of the artist Diego Rivera

Traditional Mexican markets are the flipside of Walmart or Safeway and a lot more fun.  I walked around the Hidalgo market several times during the week I was here to soak up the ambience.

The Mercado Hidalgo, Guanajuato
My next destination was another old silver mining town called San Luis Potosí, where I met up with my friend Karen who flew in from Hawaii.  This was to be a stop on the way to Las Pozas, in the jungly mountains to the Southeast.  It also happened to be end of 2015, so I had somebody to ring in the New Year with.  For some reason this holiday has often involved a lot of drinking and this one was no exception.  We were so fun that we bonded with the rock band playing in the bar.  So San Luis was our rocker town.  It has some beautiful colonial architecture and very few tourists.

A dazzling projected light show set to music on a beautiful church that we watched a number of times over the nights we were in San Luis Potosí
Girls dress up for their birthdays, San Luis Potosí
Cobbled street, San Luis Potosí
Alpha showdown, San Luis Potosí
It was a long bus ride over the mountains to Xilitla, and I've found that the mountains of Mexico tend to be very beautiful, with fine diverse forests of oak, pine, jungle or desert cacti.  They don't practice clear cutting like they do where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest so the forests are often in pretty good condition.  Xilitla is a booming jungle town in the Sierra Madre Oriental near a garden called Las Pozas I was doing a pilgrimage to.  You can read the photo essay I wrote about it at

The pictures I chose to use here are rather abstract in relation to why I came to Xilitla, but they stood out photographically to me, and made the cut in chosing 101 images.

Paletas (Ice cream and fruit popsicles) painted on a shop wall, Xilitla

I must look absolutely huge to this Chihuaha on the street in Xilitla
From Xilitla I traveled alone to Queretaro.  Another World Heritage Site, the city's colonial center is beautifully preserved.  These photos tend to be more about moments than touristic sights so you'll have to look Queretaro up online.  I also wrote an essay about a wonderful little mosaic park you can read about at

A man selling things from a basket by the street
Since I was on my own again, I started going to places I hadn't planned on.  Reading the guidebook convinced me to visit the city of Morelia in Michoacan State.  The old center is distinguished by its grandiose cathedral and fine colonial buildings, yet another World Heritage Site.  Its also close to Patzcuaro, another town I wanted to visit.

A pigeon sits unconcerned on the back of a heraldic eagle outside a civic theater, Morelia
Patzcuaro is a special mountain town with lots of old adobe architecture and a strong indiginous population. Adobe has an earthen softness to it that exudes a different feel than stone buildings. The markets are colorful and lively spill out in to the streets.

Templo del Sagrario, Patzcuaro
A woman feeds pigeons in Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, Patzcuaro
A decaying old door with patches, Patzcuaro

Pueblo Magico is a title used for special towns in Mexico
Daddy was obviously grey
Near Patzcuaro is a large lake I had always wanted to see, although it wasn't at all what I had fantasized.  A tourist boat trip across the murky brown lake to the unfortunate party town on Isla Janitzio was what I had time for.  I ran up to the top of the hill to see a monumental statue and the view and encountered an extremely kitch bar scene.   I ran back down in fear of missing the last boat back and being stuck here.  I was back in Morelia in time for dinner.

A place to get drunk, Isla Janitzio
Since I was in Michoacan, I decided I should go see the Monarch butterflies that gather by the millions in the forests along the border of the Distrito Federal of Mexico City.  My guidebook said that the more pristine of the sites was at Cerro Pelon, so I took a bus to Zitacuaro and then a taxi up in to the mountains to Macheros to stay at J.M.'s Butterfly B&B.  A wonderful family hosts guests in simple comfortable accomodation and make arrangements for guided trips up the mountain on horseback or on foot.  Macheros is a poor, mountain town with beautiful surroundings.

Turkeys and laundry in a yard in Macheros
The butterflies are something to see, but when the weather is cold they fold up like dead leaves, hiding their brilliant orange wings.  El Niño weather conditions were unusual this winter and there was some moisture and cold temperatures in what is usually the dry season.  The butterflies huddle in masses to generate heat.  If they fly, cold temperatures sometimes make them drop to the ground, which was littered with dead butterflies.  After mating, all of the males die.  It is one of Nature's great spectacles.

Dead butterflies carpet the ground at El Rosario
After visiting Cerro Pelon, I was talked in to making a trip to El Rosario, a far more touristed place but which harbors 60% of the Monarch butterfly colonies.  The scene was almost a theme park with masses of vendors and wide paved paths, and hoards of people, but the volume of butterflies was immense and breathtaking to behold.

A butterfly lands on my face and crawls across my eye for a very close range view, El Rosario

After climbing the hill to see the butterflies, a child decides its time to lay down and take a nap on the walkway, El Rosario
Michoacan was a detour for me.  My original plan was to go to Puebla, a large historic city southeast of Mexico City.  It is known for its tiled buildings, but a particularly gory Christ in the magnificent cathedral was what made the photo cut.

Christ after being taken down from the cross, in the Catedral, Puebla

A woman dozes while selling seeds in front of a toy shop, Puebla

A man texting in front of a clothing store with naked mannequins, Puebla

I was headed next to Oaxaca, but I recieved a message from a plantsman I know who suggested I check out the Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve, another listing on the World Heritage list.  These mountains contain the largest population of columner cacti in the world.  So I went to Tehuacan and stayed at the Hotel Mexico, a beautiful mid century Mexican resort with well preserved ambience.  The town itself lacks colonial buildings but has a lively street market to give it interest.

Entrance to the Hotel Mexico, Tehuacan
I planned from the beginning to spend two weeks in the fabled city of Oaxaca.  It was another of the places I went 30 years ago, lured by the spell that reading about Carlos Castaneda's shamanistic journeys had cast on me.  Oaxaca is a very special place, another Puebla Magica.  I rented an interesting modern apartment in a renovated industrial complex called La Calera.  You can read a photo essay I wrote about being there and the pebble mosaic I built at:

Triquis Women at a demonstration in the Zocalo
Oaxaca is reknowned for its multicultural population and fine artisanship.  Its also known for its sophisticated art galleries, and distinctive cuisine.  It has grown enormously since the first time I was there and now many of what were outlying villages are now connected by urban sprawl and terrible traffic.

Hanging out in a doorway at Templo de Santo Domingo, Oaxaca
A hat vendor in Plaza de Santo Domingo, Oaxaca
A woman sitting on terraces by Templo de Santo Domingo
The great Dominican church and monastery, Templo de Santo Domingo now contains the Centro Cultural de Santo Domingo, with a fantastic museum and the stunning Jardin Ethnobotanico, designed in collaboration with the famed Oaxacan artist Francesco Toledo.  I'll write about this extraordinary garden sometime in the future.

Turquois Mosaic Skull from Monte Alban, Centro Cultural de Santo Domingo, Oaxaca
Jardin Ethnobotanico, Oaxaca
Naptime in the Zocalo, Oaxaca
A temporary sculpture installation in the Zocalo, Oaxaca
Skulls for sale in Plaza Santo Domingo
Oaxaca is another city where there always seems to be some kind of celebration going on.  One of the more important ones is Candelaria, celebrated as the Catholic Epiphany in other parts of the world.  I saw some wonderful parades during this time, with giant puppets and brass bands and dancers in colorful costumes.  Small carnivals are set up by churches outside the center.

Children in a procession for Candelaria, Oaxaca
A finished Elote, Corn on the cob, stuck in a doorway, Oaxaca
A man catches up on the news by the church at the El Pochote-Xochimilco Market, Oaxaca
A woman selling snacks on the street, Oaxaca
A clown waiting for the bus, Oaxaca

A dog I startled from his nap, Oaxaca
I love funny signs, and have been collecting images of them for many years.  This one cracked me up, Oaxaca
Business is slow late at night for an Elote (corn on the cob) vendor, Oaxaca
Young men hanging out in the Plaza de Templo de San Felipe Neri, Oaxaca
Near Oaxaca are the spectacular ruins of the Zapotec ceremonial center of Monte Alban.  The temple city has a number of beautiful stepped pyramids and ball courts at the top of a high defensible hill in the middle of the valley.  It was another of those amazing days watching the world turn from high places.

A toddler from a French family wanders across an expansive plaza at Monte Alban, Oaxaca

Friday is market day in the town of Ocotlán on the west end of the Oaxaca Valley.  I took the bus out and wandered through the huge market taking in the vitality of endless interactions.  There is a food stall in the market run by a woman who dresses like Frida Kahlo.  The food wasn't that great but who can resist being served lunch by Frida Kahlo?  She was lovely.

Lunch at Frida's
Beware of Clowns shopping for Machetes, Ocotlán
A wheel barrow full of Mamey, Pouteria sapota

There is a popular tour that takes small groups in vans to visit some of the more iconic sights of the Oaxaca Valley, to see the great Montezuma Cypress at Tule, a carpet weaving shop in Teotitlan, a Mezcal (Agave liquor) distillery, the beautiful Zapotec ruins at Mitla, and the travertine waterfalls at Hierva el Agua.  El Arbol de Tule is one of the world's most spectacular trees.  Over 1,500 years old, this incredible cypress, Taxodium mucronatum, has the most massive trunk of any tree in the world.  When I was here 30 years ago, the site was a dusty little town with this amazing tree with a fence around it to protect it.  Today there is a lush park filled with topiarys and manicured lawns, and many food and souvenir stalls.  The tree is as impressive as ever.

An incredible knot on the massive trunk of Arbol de Tule

The Mezcal distillery was a popular stop where we were walked through the process of making booze by roasting the hearts of agave plants in a pit and then squeezing and distilling the juice, to make a smokey tasting brew similar to tequila.  As we were leaving I caught this image of a little boy sitting in front of a sign painted on a wall with a giant bottle of mezcal.

A boy sitting by a sign for El Rey de Matatlán Mexcal Distillery in Matanlán
The last stop on the tour is Hierve el Agua, a breathtaking set of travertine springs flowing from the edge of a spectacular valley.  The travertine forms terraced pools and white flowing formations that cascade down the slopes.  The largest is like a natural infinity pool.  The water is not all that clean as hoards of tourists bath here, and it wasn't warm either, but I paddled around and the setting is certainly breathtaking.  The clouds and late afternoon light made for a beautiful scene.

The bathing pool at Hierva el Agua after a long wait for a shot without people in it

Organ Pipe Cactus and the grand vistas from Hierva el Agua

After my two lovely weeks in Oaxaca I took a van over the mountains to the coast on a road that is so winding that it has been knicknamed "la Carretera de Vomito".  We had to pull over a couple of times for people to do just that.  The forests are rich and varied as the elevation changes from cactus forest to pine and live oaks, and then becomes more jungle like while decending to the Pacific.

Barking dogs on the roof of a rest stop in the mountains of Oaxaca State
My destination was the coastal village of Zipolite, Mexico's only designated nude beach.  Mexico is a rather modest country when it comes to beach wear, but Zipolite is a special place where nudity is tolerated.  There is even a Hotel Nude.  Of course most people wear something while they are on the beach, but they don't have to.  It makes for a very relaxed and open minded vibe that I found hard to resist.  I planned to be there for a week and ended up staying for two, and after I left I wondered why I did.  I can see why so many people spend their entire winters here.  Its so beautiful.

A girl reflected on the mirrored sands of Zipolite

A heron at sunset on a rock by Playa de Amor

I stayed at a wonderful place run by an Italian couple called Posada México.  The accomdations are simple, set in sandy gardens shaded by coconut palms.  The food is wonderful and the drinks are cheap, served at tables set up under palm thatch umbrellas on the sand.  Its paradise.  At night they light torches along the beach and the sky is filled with the brilliance of the Milky Way.

Bedspreads drying in the sun at Posada México

Every day ends with a beautiful sunset from Playa de Amor

Children playing at sunset in the surf on Zipolite Beach
When I finally did tear myself away from Zipolite, I took a taxi to the main beach hub of Puerto Escondido.  This is a famous destination for surfers who ride the pipeline waves.  Its a nice place but lacks the magical charm of Zipolite and I didnt stay long.  The popular swimming beaches were crowded and with lots of people come lots of debris from our disposable single use food distibution system, plastic bags and bottles and styrofoam, which often winds up in the water.  We certainly are trashing out planet and an alarming rate.

Girls by the Sea, Playa Principal, Puerto Escondido
An boy buried in the sand cracked up when I took his picture, Playa Manzanillo, Puerto Escondido
Dyed chicks for sale on the street in Puerto Escondido
It was a long bus ride up the coast to my next destination, Acapulco.  One of the reasons I've always longed to travel was because my Grandparents used to be awarded trips by the Gibson company.  They sold Maytag and Gibson appliances in Bend, Oregon and sold a lot of them.  Gibson sent them to many exotic places around the world for their good work.  As a child we spent many evenings in the den of their basement watching slide shows of their travels, and it made me long to do the same.  One of their trips was to Acapulco.  They stayed at the posh Las Brisas Hotel on the far end of the bay.  My mother and stepfather also visited Acapulco when my Mother was 16 years younger than I am now, and stayed at the mid century classic Hotel Boca Chica on the other end of the bay at Playa Caleta.  I wanted to stay there but economized by staying at another mid century relic, The Sands in the middle of the chaotic mess that is Acapulco.

A beautiful tile mural at the Hotel Boca Chica, Acapulco

A vendor with a boat full of shells on Playa Caleta, Acapulco
The one time "Pearl of the Pacific" has fallen on hard times, although it is trying to bounce back.  Drug violence has been pacified by an intense military police presence that is not unusual in Mexico.  You sort of get used to seeing heavily armed men wearing helmets and bullet proof vests everywhere.  A hurricane hammered the city a few years ago and some places have yet to be rebuilt, but on the weekend Acapulco was swarming with Mexican tourists.

I have a weakness for seedy port towns, and for some reason I found a certain charm to Acapulco, in spite of its tacky Las Vegas on the beach vibe.  The bay certainly is breathtaking, and except for the all the plastic bags in the water, the swimming is divine.  I spent hours paddling around off various beaches.  I gorged myself on fish, and took advantage of the pool at the Sands at night when it was empty.

A fistherman filets a sailfish caught by sports fishermen off the coast of Acapulco

Street scene in the hurricane battered center of old Acapulco
A man prays to the body of Christ in the Cathedral of Acapulco
Clowns are very popular, performing in nearly every Zocalo throughout Mexico   Acapulco
My time was running out.  3 months seems like a long time but alas, it is finite.  I took another bus over the mountains to Mexico City to spend my final week running around seeing some of the many sights I wasn't able to take in when I was there at the beginning.   I took the Metro and Tren Ligura out to see the famous canals and boats of Xochimilco.  They used to be decorated with flowers, but are now painted with garish dayglo paints.  There were several men working painting boats with the incredibly toxic smelling paints.  The canals are the last remnant of the once great lake that surrounded the Aztec capital.  Farmers mounded soil and vegetation to create land for growing crops, forming a vasts system of canals.  Today the area is a major producer of ornamental plants for gardening and there are streets lined with small nurseries.  It was a slow day for boat rentals and Mariachi bands stood around waiting for customers staring at their cell phones.

Colorful boats in Xochimilco, once decorated with flowers, are now vividly painted
Not far from Xochimilco is the Museo Dolores Olmedo, the former estate of the businesswoman and philanthropist who was a close friend to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.  The museum is a sanctuary in the city and contains an extensive collection of art and Precolombian works.  The gardens are lush and manicured, being a world apart from the city outside the high walls.  There are numerous peacocks strutting about flashing their brilliant plumage.

The spectacular patterning of feathers on a peacock's back at Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City
A met up with an old friend in Roma Norte one night and we went to a surrealistic bar called Bang Bang, that features a smoking lounge based on a recreation of the bedroom from Stanley Kubric's 2001 A Space Odyssey.  Mexico City is full of surprises.

The smoking lounge at Bang Bang
There is a fantastic computerized fountain by the Monumento de la Revolucion off Avenida Reforma that is hugely popular with Mexican families.  The unpredictable jets of water spurting from the pavement are illuminated with changing colored lights at night.

Girls playing in the fountain at Monumento de la Revolucion

I spent my last Sunday in the Centro Historico, which is filled with weekend strollers and an endless variety of amusements.

A shooting gallery at Alameda Central, Mexico City
Couples love to salsa dance in the plazas on Sunday.  It brought tears to my eyes to think that I would soon be leaving all this vitality and humanity.  Mexico has captured my heart once again.  I'm sure I'll be back.

Thanks for reading and looking in to my Winter's adventures, Jeffrey

A man sits in the doorway of the sinking Iglesia de la Santa Veracruz, Centro Historico, Mexico City


  1. Jeffrey - thank you so much for putting this fabulous look at Mexico together for us. You have such an astute eye and a sensitivity for what makes a place special. You remind me to make myself as open as possible when I am a stranger in a strange land lest I miss the magic. Warm regards, Nancie

  2. Thanks. Memories of Oaxaca to Zipolite in 1972.

  3. Thanks for sharing your travel experiences here, love the commentary and the photos too. Brings back memories when I used to take 2 months off to travel each winter, so very long ago now it doesn't quite seem real. Glad you're still doing it!

  4. Jeffrey: I've long been a fan of your fabulous pebble mosaic work... and was pleased to see how much you've enjoyed your time in many of the places you mentioned were very familiar to me in the late 60s through the very early 8os. I lived in Texas and flights to Mexico used to be incredibly cheap. I was able to spend a year in San Miguel and several months at a time in many other cities. While most of your photos brought back very pleasant memories of the beautiful Mexico I remember, it is sorta irksome to think of WalMart, Costco, and, for heaven's sake, Bed, Bath, & Beyond? What the heck? :( Again... LOVED seeing your photos and stories and I intend to check out some of your other sites you mentioned. Thanks for sharing! Jeannie D.

  5. I'm living my travel life vicariously through you, Jefreeee.
    I look forward to reading more. You give good travelogues!

  6. I know you must take thousands of you can whittle it all down to 101 is an art unto itself!! Thanks for the tour of Mexico, youve gI've me so many ideas--I love traveling off the beaten path without a strict itinerary and you do it so well!! xo

  7. National Geographic, eat your heart out. After seeing this splendid blog entry I just want to jump on a plane and go to these places. I was very surprised to see a photo of my dear friend Julie Brumlik here! She is on her way to San Miguel as I write. I can visit her there if I had the resources, and maybe I should. It's on my bucket list along with Las Pozas..What a small, beautiful world! Thank you for sharing.