Editor’s Comment

For graduation celebrations: Mexican summer buffets

Besides the seemingly endless string of fiestas, weddings, baptisms and saints’ days throughout the year, the warm months bring graduations galore. Everything from a kindergarten commencement to the completion of a PhD is celebrated exuberantly in Mexico. And the season’s balmy weather invites merrymakers to move outside. Even the start of the rainy season does […]

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Travel

Overview of Chapultepec Park (Credit: Government of Mexico City, used under Creative Commons CC0)

Sneak preview of updates to Mexico City’s historic Chapultepec Park

It would be hard to overstate the symbolic importance of Chapultepec Park, not only to Mexico City, but to the country as well. It has played a key role in Mexico’s history since the Mesoamerican era, with emperors and presidents eager to leave their mark on it. But its recent history also includes neglect. To […]

Street food © 2024 Jane Simon Ammeson

Puerto Vallarta: a gourmet’s delight

The foods of the Pacific coast resort Puerto Vallarta can be as simple—and delicious—as those sold by vendors who stroll the beach hawking skewers of fire-roasted shrimp and trays of freshly shucked oysters or the street vendors like Caesar who, wielding a machete, sells fresh coconuts at his stand on Aquiles Serdán to a long […]

Food & Cuisine

Making tortillas by hand , Jocotepec. Credit: Gwen Burton.

Mysteries of the Simple Tortilla

You’re at your favorite Mexican restaurant and decide to enjoy a great tortilla with salsa and cheese. You palm the warm disc and spoon chili along the middle bend. That looks great, especially after you sprinkle cheese over the filling. You fold your masterpiece and take a bite. Great, but a second later, your tortilla […]

History & People

Acapulco in about 1954

What was Mexico like 70 years ago?

G. M. Bashford’s Tourist Guide to Mexico was first published exactly seventy years ago in 1954. It was one of a spate of motoring book guides written after World War II as Americans began to hit the open road and drive south in search of sunshine and adventure. How much has Mexico really changed in […]

Cover

Lake Chapala: A Postcard History (review)

Tony Burton’s most recent book, Lake Chapala: a postcard history, is an interesting pictorial romp through the Lake Chapala area from just before the twentieth century to about 1960. Over 150 postcards mostly taken from Burton’s private collection give a broad overview of what life was like around the lake from the time when the […]

In the Ex-Convento de San Pablo Apostol in Yuriria, Michoacan, graceful arches soar above the lower arcade and adjoin to columns that surround the inner courtyard. The beautiful old convent dates from the 16th century and is one of the largest in Mexico. This original photograph forms part of the Olden Mexico collection. © Darian Day and Michael Fitzpatrick, 2010

Mexico this month – June

Index to Mexico this month (all 12 months) June 1, 1565. Andrés de Urdaneta sets sail from the Philippine Islands on what eventually becomes recognized as a landmark voyage in sailing history. His return to New Spain, by sailing across the Pacific Ocean from west to east, is the earliest documented successful voyage in this […]

As the battle rages, General Porfirio Díaz leads his cavalry against the French.

Mexico this month – May

Index to Mexico this month (all 12 months) May 1, 1552 A royal decree establishes four schools for natives in the province of Nueva Galicia (now Jalisco): in Guadalajara, Atoyac, Ahuacatlán and Juchipila. 1, 1917 Venustiano Carranza begins his term as President. During his three years in office (until 1920) fighting continues in much of […]

Author at Cenote Xlacah. © 2022 Jane Simon Ammeson

Visiting Dzibilchaltún: an ancient city in an ancient land

Once a vast city of 40,000 spread across 8 square miles or so of jungle and meadows, Dzibilchaltún was a long-lived Mayan city, a major player in the salt trade, and the ultimate survivor. Founded around 300 B.C., Dzibilchaltún lasted until the arrival of the Spanish in 1540. An architectural marvel even now, as it […]

Cathedral in downtown Queretaro

Mexico this month – January

Index to Mexico this month (all 12 months) 1, 1857 Conservative general Tomás Mejía assaults the British consulate in San Luis Potosí and steals $240,000. The British government subsequently demands that this sum be included in the external debt owed them by President Juárez. 1, 1873 The birth in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, of the […]

Living, Working, Retiring

Farmacia Guadalajara in Puerto Vallarta

Best medication prices for expats in Mexico

A Mexican local bus

I swear the laws concerning size are suspended when Driving in Mexico

Mexican driving continues to astonish me even after cruising the country for over fifty years. Like most newcomers, I used to be amazed by driving differences ranging from speed to taking stop signs with a wink. Most of those alternative driving methods have not just grown on me, but I’ve adopted them and even prefer […]

Typical afternoon traffic on the Periferico in the south of Mexico City. © Anthony Wright, 2009

Car Troubles and Traffic Flow Patterns

If you break down in the middle of a busy highway, avenue or freeway, hope you are in Mexico and not north of its border. In Mexico, other drivers automatically adjust to the problem, and traffic continues to flow. Eight or ten lanes hurrying each way during rush hour can be common. Try Avenida Fundadores […]

So, you know Spanish and Mexican culture concerning languages? A bit of advice

Unless you are one hundred percent fluent in Spanish, expect the Mexicans around you to know more English than you do Spanish. Bob, a friend, retired to Mexico and opened a small maintenance business. He didn’t need to know the simple or common Spanish words for chair, table, or car for his investment. He instead […]

Posts of Interest

Aztecs & Maya

Author at Cenote Xlacah. © 2022 Jane Simon Ammeson

Visiting Dzibilchaltún: an ancient city in an ancient land

Once a vast city of 40,000 spread across 8 square miles or so of jungle and meadows, Dzibilchaltún was a long-lived Mayan city, a major player in the salt trade, and the ultimate survivor. Founded around 300 B.C., Dzibilchaltún lasted until the arrival of the Spanish in 1540. An architectural marvel even now, as it […]

Labná

The Maya civilization, cities of the Maya

The material splendor of the Maya culture is appreciated, more than in any other field, in the architecture and ornamentation of their cities. These city-states were the center of power for the king-priests who administered the obedience, the tribute and the manpower of the people who believed in them. Many Maya cities and ceremonial centres […]

Palenque: The Palace seen from the Temple of the Sun

The Maya civilization and cities: a resource page

To the foreigner, the words ‘Maya’ and ‘Mayan’ conjure up images of archeological ruins and a lost society and culture. Currently, the word ‘Chiapas’ brings to mind rebellion, Sub Commandante Marcos and a sense of confusion. What many do not understand is the relationship between the historical Maya and today’s living expression of that culture […]

Aztec calendar stone

Mysteries of the Fifth Sun: the Aztec Calendar

-Valley of Anahuac, New Year’s Eve, 1507. Tenochtitlán, the great island city, capital of the Mexica empire, lies cloaked in darkness. An eerie silence pervades the vast ceremonial center — the Teocalli or Templo Mayor — spreading out over Moctezuma’s splendid palace, with its botanical gardens and well-stocked zoo, across the market places, canals, aqueducts, and within each of […]

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About Mexican Food

Piñata. © Maria Elena, 1999

A Mexican Christmas dinner: tamales, turkey, tejocotes

Mexican Kitchen The usually bustling Mexican markets become even more so in December, when the mountains of fruit for ponche navideño (Christmas punch) compete with a wild array of tinsel-y decorations for shoppers’ attention, and the excitement leading to the posadas and pastorelas builds up. The culmination of all this preparation is, of course, Noche […]

Culture & Arts

Promo shot from about 1946

Our Aunt Chela part 2: Chela Campos – Radio Days

In 1937, Celia Campos decided to try her luck at the XEQ radio station Amateur Hour talent contest. She would sing at parties for her family and friends. They would always tell her to try out for those amateur programs. Before you actually sang in the program, you had to go to the station on […]

Chela Campos and Luis Aguilar. Courtesy of D A Huse.

Our Aunt Chela: international singer Chela Campos, aka The Lady with the Crystal Cane

My husband’s Aunt Chela was a famous singer, who performed internationally. Fifteen years ago, I decided to write a book about Aunt Chela’s life for our family. I searched the internet for information on her appearances in Los Angeles, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, etc. but found nothing. Wikipedia had only one paragraph of the most basic, […]

Posts of Interest

Cultural Customs

Chiapas fruit stand, 2004. Credit: Marisa Burton.

Should You Walk with a Friend in Mexico?

After numerous forays into Mexico over the past six decades, I’ve learned a few things about Mexico and Mexicans. Most of our southern neighbors are honest, trustworthy and friendly to a fault. However, do not trust a Mexican amigo when it comes to accurate walking distances. I don’t care if you’ve known the person for […]

Dog Walker in Condesa, Mexico City

Linguistic and cultural language puzzles in Mexico

Pat Hall On one of our first trips to Mexico, my husband asked a perplexing question: “Why are Mexicans using the Welsh word, oi?” My husband is from Wales and, at that point, spoke no Spanish. The British use the word oi as an interjection to call attention, or as a challenge, depending on its […]

Dresses. © Marisa Burton 2018.

La Quinceañera: a celebration of budding womanhood

The transition from childhood to womanhood is a significant passage for adolescent girls in almost all cultures. In Mexico, it is marked with the celebration of the Quinceañera, or 15th Birthday. From a north-of-the-border viewpoint, it may be seen as a cross between Sweet Sixteen and a debutante’s coming out party. The celebration is a […]

Herbs in a botica or yerberia in Amarillo are sold by the ounce or bag, and the price of the herb will include advice from the yerbero who will specify what quantity of the herb to use and how to take it. The most common form is herbal teas. In other cases the herb may be applied directly to the affected area. © John G. Gladstein, 2010

Mexico’s alternative medicine in Amarillo, Texas

In Mexico, alternative medicine has long been popular. With the increase of healthcare costs, insurance, traditional medicines and a visit to the doctor’s office in the U.S., many people are seeking alternative means to treat ailments, both physical and mental. “In most cases with non-traditional treatment, there is no language barrier, no need for an […]