Jalisco

Region
The costumes worn by Conchero Dancers can easily cost a life's savings. They are heavily influenced by Miztec or Aztec design.

Masks and feather headdresses: Mexicans celebrate danzas

Mexicans love to wear masks, to dance and make music in a blazing display of fireworks, feasting and shooting off pistols. Appearances are deceptive; even the poorest pueblo collects money to celebrate the patron saint’s day, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Independence Day and whatever else calls for gaiety and loud noise. Religious and historical dances […]

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The Battle of Calderon Bridge (Tony Burton)

Did you know? Independence battle map is upside down

The battle in question is the Battle of Calderon Bridge (Batalla del Puente de Calderon), fought just outside Guadalajara in January 1811 as part of Mexico’s fight for Independence. The decisive battle was waged on the morning of Thursday, January 17. Imagine the scene. One side, led by Ignacio Allende, had some eighty thousand ill-equipped […]

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A message declaring "Palm Sunday" spins atop a castillo during Palm Sunday festivities in Mexico. © Julia Taylor, 2007

Fireworks artist: José Zuñiga, castillero

Jose Zuñiga has been making castillos for the better part of 25 years. His father was a Maestro de Fuegos Artificiales, and from boyhood, he remembers being part of the family business. Today, he runs his own fabrica, with 5 men who help with the armature, delivery and illumination of Mexico’s favorite fiesta perk. Castillos are lightweight towers of cane and wood, which […]

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Caldo Tlalpeño

Esta sopa es un clásico mexicano, y aunque se dice que sus orígenes están en Jalisco, se encuentra en menús por todo el país. Esta versión es suficientemente sustancioso como para servir de platillo fuerte. El ingrediente que le da a esta sopa su distintivo sabor es el chile chipotle. Ingredientes 1 pollo de 4 […]

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Primitive tequila still (Lumholtz, 1897)

Did You Know? Tequila dates from the sixteenth century

In 1897, Carl Lumholtz, the famous Norwegian ethnologist, who spent several years living with remote Indian tribes in Mexico, found that the Huichol Indians in eastern Nayarit distilled agave juice using simple pot stills, the pots being quite unlike any other Spanish or pre-Columbian vessels. By 1944, Henry Bruman, a University of California geographer, had […]

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This Jalisco style flan boasts a fresh fruit garnish

Jalisco style Mexican flan: Flan de Jalisco

Ingredients 2 cups of whipping cream 1 cup milk (do not use low fat) 1 pinch of salt 1/2 teaspoons natural vanilla 1 cup of sugar 4 large eggs 2 large egg yolks 7 teaspoons sugar Position rack in center of a preheated 350 P. oven. Combine cream, milk,salt and vanilla. Bring to a simmer […]

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Swiss Chard Tamales: Tamales de Acelgas con Salsa Verde

This is Billy’s adaptation of a dish he first encountered at the hotel La Casa de Maty in Tapalpa, Jalisco. The use of Swiss chard leaves to wrap the tamales, instead of the usual banana leaves or corn husks, means that the tamales do not have to be unwrapped before eating and gives them another […]

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Beef fajitas with tequila: Fajitas de res al tequila

At the El Callejon restaurant in Tequila, Jalisco, my questions about preparation and proportions led to an invitation to their large, open kitchen area, where there was always something appetizing sizzling on the grill. This is a good recipe for outdoor cooking, but may also be prepared in a skillet. Although the tequila was added […]

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Beans, a staple in the Mexican kitchen: Frijoles

Since pre-Hispanic tmes, beans have been a staple in the Mexican kitchen. They appear in a world of traditional recipes, from frijoles refritos or refried beans to frijoles charros (cowbooy beans) and many many more. Ingredients 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) black or pinto beans 1 harge onion 1 head of garlic, whole, unpeeled 5 tablespoons of salt or to […]

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Chicken Vegetable Soup: Caldo Tlalpeño

This soup is a Mexican classic, and though it is said to have originated in Jalisco, it is found on menus throughout the country. This version is hearty enough to serve as a one-dish meal. The ingredient that gives this soup its distinctive flavor is the chipotle chile. Place the chicken, onion, garlic, chiles, cilantro and salt […]

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Paul Carrigan's car

North to Nogales from Puerto Vallarta (and back)

Two years ago, I would’ve been leery about driving out of Mexico alone. Well, “everyone says” that the drive to Nogales (from Puerto Vallarta) is a drag: long, flat, boring, and nothing to see – something like, “straight roads and lots of desert.” As is the usual case with “the CV” (the Conventional Wisdom), it […]

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The Desfile The official parade to begin the Charreada. Photography by Gilbert W. Kelner. © 2000

Charreada in Guadalajara

In rural Canada, I live close to the land and to a farming lifestyle that was once traditional. Therefore, when I’m in Mexico the countryside draws me to its peoples and traditions. It seemed natural to me to seek more information about the charro (cowboy), heir to Mexico’s charrería or equestrian tradition. The search led me to people on […]

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Jalisco Style Red Pozole: Pozole Rojo Jalisciense

In Jalisco, red pozole is more common than either white or green, and any red pozole, even if found in other regions, is usually called jalisciense or tapatío, meaning Jalisco style. The use of both pork and chicken, plus the flavor and color of the red chiles, takes this pozole over-the-top. Ingredients: One recipe Basic White Pozole 1 4-pound […]

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Fish “Meatballs”: Albondigas de Pescado

A delicious and economical way to use just about any firm, white-fleshed fish, this is a common meal along Mexico’s Pacific coast, especially in Baja California and the Puerto Vallarta area. The albóndigas, served in the tomato broth, can also be made with leftover poached fish. Ingredients: For the albóndigas: 1 pound firm, white-fleshed fish filets, ground in […]

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The Virgin of Talpa and her church by Guy Garber Guerrero

My first pilgrimage: the Virgin “Rosario de Talpa”, Jalisco

If you live here in Mexico and don’t study the culture or experience first-hand this ancient and mysterious country, you are missing the richness that surrounds you daily. It is one thing to go on an air-conditioned bus with a guide, yet quite another to accompany a Mexican friend, willing to share information about his […]

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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

Mexican folk remedies

March is the month Talpa de Allende receives hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to pay homage to the little twenty inch tall image of Our Lady of the Rosary, also known affectionately as La Chaparrita (the short one). They come from all parts of Mexico and most of them come walking, at least […]

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Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara

Posted by Leroy Blankenship on Marzo 28, 2000 We will be driving (yes, my brother insists upon driving instead of riding the bus) from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara next week, and return. It would be nice to take the fastest route in one direction and the most interesting or scenic route in the other direction. […]

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Day of the Dead in Mexico: A personal perspective

The air is crisp as we head up Highway 45 to celebrate the Day of the Dead, passing through increasingly barren land. Trees, that cover the gentle slopes and crops of russet milo maize, give way to prairie grasses and then nothing except cacti and the hardy shrubs that live in this area of little rainfall […]

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Where angels fear to tread: an interview with Silvia Flores

This morning Nurse Practitioner Silvia Flores Gonzalez is a little tired, having gotten up at 4:00 am to deliver a baby. The young mother knocked on the door of “El Centro de Desarrollo para Mujeres” in Ajijic at 4:00 am, and she only had $30.00 pesos to pay for the delivery. The women’s center serves […]

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Gary West with Salvador

Lake Chapala fishing trip

A fishin’ we will go, a fishin’ we will go; hi, ho, the merry-o, a fishin’ we will go. Second son Gary came to the west end of Lake Chapala, to the suburbs of Jocotepec, in the colorful state of Jalisco, for a winter holiday, free food and probably an inspection of his aging parents’ […]

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Tlaquepaque street

Tlaquepaque, a shopping paradise

Once upon a time, long, long ago, the village of Tlaquepaque just outside Guadalajara was where Guadalajara’s upper crust built their summer homes, places where they could escape the congestion of what was then considered to be a very busy city. Today, Tlaquepaque seems like a natural extension of the city of Guadalajara and, although […]

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The beloved Virgin of Zapopan. Photo by Ute Hagen

Pilgrimage with La Virgen de Zapopan

Lightning is with us all the summer. It forks and it shimmers and it zips, and sometimes it pulsates for seconds on end. It is white and yellow and greenish and bluish and carnation pink. It has given rise to legends. They say that, in the seventeenth century, the storms in Guadalajara were so severe […]

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The Folkloric Ballet (Ballet Folklórico) of Guadalajara, Mexico

The whirling skirts of a dancer from the Ballet Folklorico at the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara fill this month’s cover. The costume belongs to the Jalisco segment of the show, which features traditional dances from all regions of Mexico, now in its 37th consecutive year. Following the Sunday morning spectacle, I spoke with Carlos Ochoa, […]

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Beach in Puerto Vallarta's Old Town

Puerto Vallarta: escape to paradise

Puerto Vallarta is steeped in enchantment. Its charismatic history reaches back some 600 years before Christ. At that time this vast untamed area was called Xalisco and was ruled by King Nayarita, known as the god of battle. He fought to keep his lands and his precious cove – now called Mismaloya – in his […]

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Art in Puerto Vallarta

“Every Child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso Art of every description is exhibited in Puerto Vallarta, from bohemian and Huichol to expressionistic and figurative. You’ll find a variety of media: watercolors, oil, acrylic, felt pen, pencil, charcoal, gold leaf, mixedmedia, ceramic, bronze, terra […]

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Puerto Vallarta

A ten year retrospective of Puerto Vallarta real estate

*Statistics from Multi List Vallarta The last decade of the millennium has brought a multitude of changes to the real estate market of Puerto Vallarta. The effects of this can be seen by the expansion of the market itself beyond the confines of the Bay of Banderas. New phrases have been coined to describe the […]

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Tortas Ahogadas: Tortas with Tomato Sauce

Ahogadas means “drowned”, an apt word to describe these sandwiches on a French roll, filled with meat and bathed with tomato sauce. While some restaurants and food stalls automatically top the tortas with both salsas, most people prefer to indicate how much chile sauce they want, since it is quite hot. When serving them at home, […]

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Mexico’s extraordinary arts and crafts

Living here in Mexico offers me so many opportunities to be thankful. How did I ever fit a career into my life? My days are filled with friends, with travels, with bridge, with doll making and writing books… and, recently, installing my new computer, learning new software programs and figuring out how to save important […]

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Mexico: a visit to Sayula, Zapotlanejo and Zapopan

After having read an article in the local Guadalajara Reporter by a man who retired in Sayula, some friends and I decided to check it out. It’s a nice-sized town with a population of about 200,000, located about 1-1/2 hours from Ajijic towards Colima. The central plaza is large and full of benches and shade […]

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Area around the Colima volcano

Posted by dave on Mayo 04, 2000 Can anyone tell me what the area is like around the Colima volcano? I am interested in learning if there are any small villages, lakes and nice valleys around the area where one might buy a piece of property and spend the summers at a higher altitude. Are […]

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Hacienda Sepulveda

Historic hacienda inns: hidden gems of Jalisco

These amazing, restored historical mansions dating as far back as 1622 have been turned into luxurious hotels. I’ve lived in Jalisco, Mexico for more than 18 years, running a 300 acre ranch. I thought I knew it all, having exhibited and sold our purebred animals in every corner of Mexico. Perhaps then it is my […]

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A wee malarkey about Melaque, a beach town on the Mexican Pacific

San Patricio/Melaque, on the Pacific Coast of Jalisco draws its name from Saint Patrick. Legend goes that Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland and drove out all the snakes to boot. Locals say Saint Patrick became the area’s patron saint when an Irish company logged the area during the last century. But what do I […]

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Jorge Negrete in "Cuando quiere un mexicano" (1944), directed by Juan Bustillo Oro © Producciones Diana Internacional, Coleccion Pascual Espinoza

Jalisco style chicken stew: Cuachala

Jalisco often seems to symbolize nearly all things Mexican, especially in the country’s Golden Age movies, which abounded with charros, huge sombreros, and lots of mariachi music. The singer and actor Jorge Negrete seems to devour the food with as much passion as he performs the title song in 1949’s Cuando Quiere un Mexicano. From Tuxpan, Jalisco, this Jalisco-style […]

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Ancient Lake Jalisco

The geology and geography of Lake Chapala and western Mexico

The following is a story concerning an ancient lake that covered a large area of the State of Jalisco and spread into Michoacan and Aguascalientes. This map is a visual portrayal of the lake superimposed on a regional map. The south central portion of the State of Jalisco presents a panorama of lakes arranged in […]

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Opal mine

Mexican fire opals

Few gemstones evoke the excitement of a precious fire opal. The flashy show of this gem makes each specimen unique, a fountain of mystery, enchantment and legend. Some say that opals convey foresight and good health. No wonder that it is the October birth stone. Pre-historically, the Aztecs are said to have decorated their most […]

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Driving from Guadalajara to Laredo and back

I would love to be able to read detailed accounts of how you drive from one place to another in Mexico, with tips on hotels, tolls, pitfalls, choices of routes and all the other things that make a journey easier and help you avoid getting lost. In talking to people I find there’s great interest […]

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Western Mexico: A Traveller’s Treasury by Tony Burton

Cogan’s Reviews I’m not sure why I haven’t reviewed this book sooner. It’s been around since 1993 and it was one of the first books my wife and I read when we arrived here in Ajijic eight years ago. And – heaven knows! – I’ve reviewed more than 60 books about this fascinating country in […]

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South of Yesterday: A True Story by Virginia Downs Miller

Cogan’s Reviews The simplest way to describe this tale is to quote from the author’s preface. “South of Yesterday” is the story of my mother’s life as a bride coming to a strange land. The book flows through the charmed life of an American living in Guadalajara in the early nineteen hundreds, into the violence […]

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A Mexican Odyssey: Escape to Paradise by William Reed with Sylvia Garces de Reed

Cogan’s Reviews Where on earth do you start with William Reed? It’s as if he’s done everything in his first 75 years. His career beginning makes him seen quite unlikely for what was to follow. For example, he closed that first chapter on November 30, 1967, when he quietly retired from the U.S. Navy after […]

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Mexican Mornings: Essays South of the Border by Michael Hogan

Cogan’s Reviews Here’s an interesting and entertaining collection of essays, mainly about Mexico, but also covering a surprisingly wide range of other topics that reflect Michael Hogan’s many and varied interests. The Mexican entries include items like “The Crawling Things of Paradise”, a small tribute to all the crawling, flying, buzzing, poisonous, and non-poisonous insects […]

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Mexico Magic by Dru Pearson

Cogan’s Reviews I think there are two audiences for Dru Pearson’s latest book. The first is the same as the audience for her first book, Retire in Mexico, which I reviewed here in 2004. That one was aimed very definitely at those people at various stages of contemplating making the big leap and settling, either part-time or […]

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December in Mazamitla by Ralph Rodriguez with Alan Cogan

The following article is essentially a letter which a friend of mine, Ralph Rodriguez, a resident of Guadalajara, wrote to his children some years ago. It concerns an annual festival which is held in the town of Mazamitla, Jalisco, every December. It’s a pretty interesting time to visit and make the 90 or so minutes […]

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Solitude and beauty distinguish the beach at Mayto, Cabo Corrientes, near Puerto Vallarta © David Kimball, 2014

Puerto Vallarta versus Cabo Beaches

Posted by Tim Bowen on July 12, 1999 I am going on my honeymoon in 30 days, and I was told by someone who just returned that the beaches at Puerto Vallarta were not very nice to visit. I was told that the beaches were very pebbly and that there was dog crap and garbage […]

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Good man comes home to Mazamitla: La Troje restaurant

Point your car (or take the bus) along the south side of Lake Chapala, past San Pedro Tesistan and San Cristobal Zapotitlan and San Luis Soyatlan and San Nicolas and Tepeguaje to Tuxcueca. Make a right turn and keep your eyes wide open. You may encounter official Mexican soldiers conducting inspections. Sometimes they just look. […]

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Barra de Navidad: the sand spit is slipping

It is my sad duty to inform you that the times they are a changing, at Barra de Navidad.Our favorite spit of Pacific sand, sticking out just a little bit from Highway 200 along the west bank, is not what it used to be. Oh no, nothing has happened to the T-shirt sale — still […]

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Central plaza in the mountain town of Tapalpa. Photography by Bill Arbon. © 2001

Traveling to Tapalpa

After an all-Mexico breakfast of fresh-squeezed orange juice, honeydew, banana, raspberries and mango, we dusted off our faithful VW bug and pointed it toward Tapalpa. (Tom McEwen of the Tampa Tribune used to begin columns with his morning menu. Then, I thought it goofy. Now, I think such small talk might calm a raging appetite, replace a […]

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White Pelicans on Lake Chapala; photo: John Mitchell, Earth Images Foundation

White pelicans on Lake Chapala

Granddaughter Kim couldn’t resist. Our slender, pert redhead scampered along the flatland toward the water. Thousands of white pelicans immediately got the message. After a second or three of awkward, cumbersome struggle, they got the heck out of there. Aloft, these majestic birds are among God’s most handsome creations. Big. Graceful. Glorious. Soaring. Gliding. Circling. […]

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Sweet secrets of Sayula

In the early years of the 21st century, the beautiful Mexican town of Sayula had a wildly fluctuating gringo population. Half of it was lost in one day — when Paul and Debbie Katz moved to Chapala. It doubled 10 months later when they returned. Don Sellers was the stable 25 percent. He’s there and […]

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Waiting for the crowds, umbrellas frame a popular snorkling location at Tenacatita on Mexico's Pacific coast. © Gerry Soroka, 2009

Beautiful Bay of Tenacatita

Waiting for the crowds, umbrellas frame a popular snorkling location at Tenacatita on Mexico’s Pacific coast. © Gerry Soroka, 2009 Despite hurricanes and earthquakes, political turmoil, higher gas prices and global warming, Mexico’s marvelous Bay of Tenacatita remains a sea of tranquility. White gold sand, the soft slope of the beach and shallow water gently […]

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Edd Bissell and students at Mexico's San Quintin school © Edd Bissell, 2010

Gringos are changing Mexico

Southbound gringos of retirement age have the uncanny ability to immediately identify changes that should be made in Mexican lifestyle. Maybe you’ve heard the laundry list. “Punctuality is in desperate need of instant adjustment. Mexicans simply can’t tell time.” “There would be no language barrier if Mexicans would just speak English.” “These people are devoid […]

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Jenny McGill

Writing about writers: Puerto Vallarta and Jenny McGill

Editor’s note: After a brief battle with cancer, Jenny McGill passed away peacefully in the early hours of December 31, 2009. I first heard of her when I was editor in chief of About Magazines and she was named U.S. Consular Agent in Puerto Vallarta, where we published a monthly ediition. She was, I heard, a tough, no-nonsense […]

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On the way to Oregon: Adventurers settle on Mexico’s Bay of Banderas

Real life is sometimes stranger than fiction. We stopped for late lunch at Octopus Garden in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, once an old fishing village a few feet uphill from the beautiful Bay of Banderas. The lasagna needed help but the ambiance was superb – classy courtyard with fountain, showplace wooden tables and chairs, slivers […]

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Luis Alberto Martinez Gomez © Marvin West, 2010

Sneaking north: an illegal immigrant returns to Mexico with honors

For some, illegal immigration is a simple equation, what you risk for what you get. Luis Alberto Martinez Gomez became an illegal immigrant four years ago. He was 16. “Everybody was on their way to the U.S.” He had shallow roots in Tepic, four years until his parents divorced. After that, his mother moved around. […]

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Tales from Sierra Madre - Jenny McGill

With love, from and for Jenny

Tales from the Sierra Madre including The Woman in the Trunk Jenny McGill Create Space, 2011 Available from Amazon Books: Paperback Joy, joy, Jenny lives on. The “other” Mexico book by the late Jenny McGill has made it to market. Tales from the Sierra Madre is not a miracle, just a beautiful, dedicated, determined effort finished by […]

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Reynaldo Vasquez Hernandez and his wife © Marvin West, 2011

Reynaldo in Mexico has handwoven Oaxaca rugs and more rugs

Reynaldo the Rugman has a problem. He and his relatives have made more rugs (beautiful colors, skillful weaving) than he can sell. Reynaldo Vasquez Hernandez is a fifth or sixth-generation artisan in spring, summer and autumn and a traveling salesman — representing the entire clan — in winter. Home base and workshops are outside Teotitlan […]

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Palacio de Gobierno, Estado de Jalisco, Guadalajara© Sergio Wheeler, 2012

Unraveling Mexico red tape: Getting a Mexican Driving License

Some of the stuff you hear about Mexico and Mexicans just isn’t true. Lazy? No way. Manana? No delay when it comes to lunch. Some of the tall tales about government bureaucracy and red tape are probably exaggerated but some are tragically true. I and others got a chuckle out of the recent government campaign […]

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Cozy cabins in Mazamitla Tony Burton, 2008

Mazamitla, a Mexican mountain town revisited

An old gringo and his still-lovely bride returned to Mazamitla the other day after several years in other exciting places. The intriguing mountain town, one of Mexico’s pueblos mágicos, seemed much as we remembered but the approach was startling — cabañas everywhere with workers rushing to complete more. Never would I have expected to find […]

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A Mexican berry farm © Daniel Wheeler, 2014

Mexico berries are the “in” thing

Corn was the crop of choice 17 years ago when we landed in Mexico, on the shores of Lake Chapala. Everybody who had a patch of ground had a corn patch. More land, more corn, some for tamales, some for farm animals, some for the market. A surge in tequila sales created a shortage of agave. […]

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San Patricio by the Sea, an interdenominational community church on Mexico's Pacific coast

San Patricio by the Sea on Mexico’s Pacific coast

Age-old question: Were great churches built to the glory of God or to satisfy puffed-up egos of men? Mexico has many magnificent cathedrals in a variety of architectural styles and craftsmanship, some with spires and bell towers reaching for the sky, some featuring spectacular art, some with lavish decorations, some of historical significance, some tourist […]

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Marsha kept her own horse, Marie-Elena, in the village. On this overcast day in summer 1966, she rode for miles along the shore to the east of Ajijic. She bred Marie-Elena with a stallion from Jocotepec. Photo in family collection of Marsha Sorensen; all rights reserved.

Jocotepec blessed with one sharp historian

Aguilar Perez is my favorite Mexican historian, in part because she knows all about our favorite small town, Jocotepec, at the west end of picturesque Lake Chapala, in the colorful state of Jalisco. She and we are near enough to the Guadalajara airport for quick getaways, but a reasonable distance, we think, from other congestion […]

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afilador de cuchillo

Ask an old gringo about knife sharpening, a new college, Trump and things to like about Mexico

MexConnect magazine readers ask good questions. They deserve at least interesting answers. Question: What is an afilador de cuchillo? Answer: I saw one not long ago. There was a new whistle in the neighborhood. Curiosity caused me to go to the gate and see what was causing the sound. It was anafilador, a knife sharpener, working the […]

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Mexico’s Hidden Gold

Some corrupt Mexican soldiers are also looking for the hidden gold, and so Kylie and Raven and their Yelapa companions have a lot more on their hands than they had bargained for. R. D. Lyons is a long-time resident of Puerto Vallarta. Fittingly his first novel is set in the little coastal village of Yelapa, […]

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Drama & Diplomacy In A Sultry Mexican Beach Town

I like this book, but I don’t like the title: Drama & Diplomacy in a Sultry Mexican Beach Town. The book is not about “drama & diplomacy.” It’s about one person’s life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico from the mid-seventies to the mid-nineties. And that life is a fascinating one. I think it might be better titled, Sex, Lies, and Lots of Fun […]

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Outdoors in Western Mexico

Outdoors in Western Mexico By John and Suzy Pint Quadrimag S.A. de C.V., 2011 Outdoor enthusiasts in western Mexico will love the new edition of Outdoors in Western Mexico, by John and Suzy Pint. For decades now, the Pints — who live in Zapopan, Jalisco — have wandered off-the-beaten paths in search of the beautiful and the mysterious and […]

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Did You Know? Puerto Vallarta in Mexico will become an island and float away

Literary-minded travel writers describing Puerto Vallarta as an “island of tourist delights” probably don’t realize that their words are closer to the truth than they might imagine. At present, Puerto Vallarta has plenty of tourist facilities but is certainly not an island. The Pacific Ocean may swish against Vallarta’s beaches on one side, but there […]

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Bandstand in the plaza of Ajijic

Seven reasons why tourists to Mexico should choose Ajijic

Mexico’s economic downturn may be worse than those of other nations, because so much of Mexico’s economy depends on tourism. Mexico City’s solution is the Tourist Assistance Card, offering insurance for medical, legal, and flight delays. Cancun has a problem with no sand on their beaches, a problem so severe that the Mexican Navy was […]

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The following morning after a campfire breakfast, the group breaks camp and prepares for another long hike.

Pilgrimage from San Miguel de Allende to San Juan de los Lagos in 1967

Founded in 1542, San Juan de los Lagos is set in the Los Altos region of Jalisco, an area distinguished by its devotion to the Roman Catholic faith. The Cathedral there is home to the diminutive image of the Virgin of the Immaculate Concepcion. Since 1623, numberless miracles have been attributed to the little Virgin, […]

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Idle ramblings of a homesick girl

After multiple trips to Puerto Vallarta I think I am becoming Mexican. I look Mexican, so when I jump into a cab, I have to politely say “No hablo Español” when the driver rattles off a breathless sentence about the weather, the roads, the fiesta or whatever the topic of the day is. I then get the […]

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Tenacatita: Hidden jewel in Mexico

Tenacatita: hidden jewel

The trouble with writing about a hidden gem of a place is that once the information is out the place will still be a gem but it will no longer be hidden. The little village of Tenacatita is such a little known treasure. Soft white sand on a two mile beach, mild waves, laid-back atmosphere […]

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Tequila

Tequila, more than just a margarita

Just about an hour from Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco, there’s a little town (population 17,740) with a big reputation: Tequila. Meaning “the rock that cuts” in the Nahuatl language, Tequila is the home of the famous Agave Azul cactus. Under the shadow of an extinct 9,000 foot volcano, this is the only place […]

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An inner courtyard in a traditional Mazamitla hotel reflects the architectural style of this charming town in the mountains of Jalisco. © Tony Burton, 2000

Mazamitla: its scenery, kitchens and customs

One of the prettiest towns in the state of Jalisco is Mazamitla, set high in the pineclad mountains near the Michoacan border. Among its many attractions are some fine restaurants specialising in Mexican food, more of which later, as well as waterfalls and gardens. Mazamitla is definitely a very old town, dating back at least […]

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Blue agave

Tequila: not just Mexico’s national drink!

The lovers of the curious will find plenty to whet their appetite (and satisfy their thirst) in the small western Mexico town of Tequila. The town lies in the shadow of an imposing 9000 foot volcano which has the distinction of being “drive-in” by virtue of a cobblestone road built for access to the shortwave […]

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San Sebastian del Oeste

Tired of Puerto Vallarta? Try the mountains: the road to San Sebastián

The seat sale prices for flights to Puerto Vallarta were simply too good to pass up, and the weather at home too cold and miserable to buoy our spirits. Time for a short winter break in the sun! Arriving in Puerto Vallarta in the mid-afternoon, we hired a small car at the airport and took […]

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Frutero_Near_Bus_Stop

Puerto Vallarta: where the art of life thrives!

Yearning for a sunny, relaxing Mexican holiday? Tourists often choose to go to Puerto Vallarta, which offers luxurious inclusive hotels and comfortable time-share condos. Yet many travelers also select Puerto Vallarta, as a magical destination. Here, colorful butterflies flit through lush tropical flora. Pelicans, egrets, and scissor tails soar above. Geckos scamper about while you […]

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Noches de Ajijic

International music, art and gastronomy festival: Noches de Ajijic

Set on the shore of Lake Chapala, the town of Ajijic has become a center of art and culture. The Noches de Ajijic International Festival of Gastronomy and Music highlights some of the region’s best. Seven host restaurants offer special menus prepared for the occasion by outstanding guest chefs. Other festival activities will draw residents […]

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Arena For Charreria Championship

Famed Singer Bankrolls State-of-the-art Arena For Charreria Championship

Motorists traveling recently along the Guadalajara-Chapala highway may have been puzzled by what looks like the structural foundations of a mighty cathedral rising up near the roadway between the airport and the Cajititlan turn-off. The towering tangle of iron girders is in fact the framework for what will soon turn into a temple for Mexico’s […]

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Pelea de Gallos Cock Fight

Cockfighting in Mexico: Chicken soup for the soul

The Sunday Mexican fiesta at Guadalajara’s Camino Real promised cockfighting. I should have expected the “cockfight” would amount to a quick display of two cheerfully bored roosters who could have auditioned for a wholesome children’s show. “Genuine cockfights are illegal in Mexico,” chastened self-appointed cognoscenti. I should have known that a real cockfight was as likely to take […]

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The museums of Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque

Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico. The metropolitan area includes Tlaquepaque, Tonala, and Zapopan, with a total population of about 4 million people. It is located about 200 miles east of Puerto Vallarta, and 300 miles west of Mexico City.   Guadalajara seems prosperous, orderly, and clean, compared to most Mexican cities. My wife […]

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Calandria

People I saw passing by

The streetlamp on any street, in any city, sees so many people passing by… Alberto Cortez I live now in this junkyard. It is not such a bad life. The open sky, the sun, the rain, and the beautiful starry nights of October are my faithful companions. Almost every morning, except when it is very […]

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Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara

The mariachi

I was born in a land that has her womb full of sunlight; that smells of tobacco, and the air intoxicates you because it tastes of rum. The sea caresses all of her body: it dresses her with garments made from coral and salt. Marisela Verena Each year here in Guadalajara, we host an international […]

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Agave pineapples ready to go in the oven.

Drinking Tequila In Tequila

One day Mary and I decided to go to the nearby town of Tequila where, of course, they make tequila. There’s a train you can take from Guadalajara to Tequila on Saturdays. Lots of tourists do this. I’d read articles in guidebooks that described whole groups of people getting stone cold drunk during drinking contests. […]

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Circling Lake Chapala

Today Mary and I set out to drive completely around Lake Chapala, Mexico’s biggest lake. It’s quite an undertaking, about a 180-mile drive. Before hitting the road, we went to “Sanborns” for breakfast. I ordered my own breakfast in Spanish, asking for eggs, ham, and orange juice. This was the second time I’d tried to […]

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one bay, two towns, three beaches

A bay, two towns, three beaches

Deep down in all of our hearts, there is that desire to escape the everyday world in which we feel trapped and find our personal paradise. Or, to be more precise considering the limitless alternatives of that thought, how would one conceive of their own paradise? Perhaps to some it would be a deep, dark […]

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Annette Castro, heiress to the charrería tradition. Photography by Gilbert W. Kelner. © 2000

To the charreada with stars in her eyes

“There is a sensitive filament in our beings, which responds to Mexican music…. To the sight of a horse well ridden, to the spectacle of a bull skillfully lassoed…. All of us, absolutely all of us, share the national feeling for horsemanship.” José Alvarez del Villar Bill, my husband, answered the phone and handed it […]

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The Paseo de Muerte is considered the most breath-taking of Charreada events. Photography by Gilbert W. Kelner. © 2000

Mexican espectaculos, or rodeo-type shows, a mini-series. the introduction.

How well can a person understand a culture not their own? Can experiences be understood without full command of the Spanish language; a language in which civility is interwoven like lace? With these questions I return again and again to Mexico. Invited to sit “down at the table,” I’m gradually getting to know the people […]

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Photo: Casa Laguna ©2003 J. Reyes Laguna A. Guerrero No. 140 Barrio Las Cebollas, Zacoalco de Torres, Jalisco

Mexican equipales: Seated through the ages in Zacoalco de Torres

Moctezuma ordered his special chair. Pedro Páramo, in Juan Rulfo’s award winning novel sat upon one. Both men enjoyed equipales, the rustic leather furniture found everywhere in Mexico. Equipales are still hand-manufactured in many parts of the country. However in Zacoalco de Torres, a small town south of Guadalajara, the tradition dates back to Pre-Hispanic times. By the […]

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Miguel Angel Martínez. Untitled.

Living memories: photographs by Mexico’s Miguel Angel Martinez

When Miguel Angel Martínez attended a photography class nearly a decade ago at the Universidad de Guadalajara (Guadalajara University), he suddenly knew that he had found his calling. A student in the university’s Escuela de Artes Plásticas (School of Plastic Arts), Martínez had been immersed in a world of painting and drawing. But when he […]

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DATA, an artistic evolution: Three modern Mexican muralists

An artistic evolution: Three modern Mexican muralists

Art is a necessity and as such, it is important not just in our personal lives, but is also the reflection of a society’s reality. If you are ever wandering around the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico, you may just stumble upon a larger than life young woman smiling down at you, her naked body partially […]

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Serpents writhe on a fierce horned mask by Tonala artisan Prudencio Guzman. He names this design "The Death of Ambition." Costumed Tastoanes in frightening masks battle Saint James in a ritual dance each year on July 25th. © Kinich Ramirez, 2006

Wandering warriors: the Tastoan masks of Prudencio Guzman

As a boy, Prudencio Guzmán Rodríguez was haunted by the mysterious characters known as Tastoanes, who are part of a tradition that spans more than a century in the municipality of Tonalá, Mexico, where he grew up. The Tastoanes would come to Guzmán in a recurring dream, in which he was walking down the street […]

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Jorge Wilmot ceramic

Mexican master ceramist Jorge Wilmot: the interval between before and after

“I am from Mexico, but it is like (being) from another country that no longer exists,” says famed potter Juan Jorge Wilmot Mason. Born in Monterrey 77 years ago, Wilmot eventually made his way to his long-time residence of Tonalá in the late 1950s. He says that Tonalá had far fewer inhabitants back then and […]

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Flan de Jalisco

Ingredientes: 2 tazas de crema para batir 1 taza se leche (no utilice descremada o semi-descremada) 1 pizca de sal 1/2 cucharadita de vainilla natural 1 taza de azúcar 4 huevos grandes 2 yemas de huevo grande 7 cucharaditas de azúcar Preparación: Caliente el horno a 350°F. Combine la crema, leche, sal y vainilla. Hierve […]

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New Year in Puerto Vallarta, 1958

I digress from stories about the potters of Mata Ortíz, Chihuahua this month to reminisce about my first New Year in Mexico. I was 13, I was in Puerto Vallarta and the year was 1958. “Mike, come and look.” Dad shook me awake. I squinted, bleary-eyed around the dark room. It was still the middle […]

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The gallery and art of Bruno Mariscal

I have just had a very enlightening interview with a young man who some of you may know. Bruno is the owner of Ajijic Original T-Shirts, the small gallery/gift shop right down from Bancomer in Ajijic. His story is like many others in this wonderful, talent-ridden town. Born to Jose Mariscal and Sara Lazaro, Bruno […]

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Mayto Beach by Mayto Hotel and El Rinconcito on Jalisco's Pacific shore © Barbara Sanda, 2010

Tehuamixtle: the Cabo Corrientes shore on Mexico’s Pacific coast

Back when I lived in a Northern Virginia condo and traveled often to Mexico and the Caribbean with the Vienna-based Emerald Shillelagh Chowder & Marching Society, I adopted the habit of buying a tee shirt featuring the name of the city or island. My favorite shirt, the one that got the most commentary from fellow travelers on […]

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Interview with Judith Thomamichel: artist in Mexico

Q: Jude tell us about yourself: A: I was born in Chicago and grew up in the 50’s in a small suburb. I married young, had four kids, a son and three daughters. Fourteen years later in Seattle, I found myself divorced, enrolling as a freshman at University of Washington. I spent eight very successful […]

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Amate painted by Roberto Venancio

The Mexican art forms of ristras, papel amate and papel picado

This month’s cover is a digital photo of papier-mâché chili peppers taken in Ajijic. These strings of papier-mâché items are known as ristras and are just one of several Mexican paper, art forms. Typically, ristras are fruit, vegetables, garlic, birds and other animals. Paper crafts have a long history in this country. Everywhere you look there are paper articles […]

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Spanish terms for building and construction in Mexico

I think that it is time to cover some of the Spanish terms used in construction. There isn’t room in the space I have for this column to cover all the terms but perhaps a brief primer is in order. First, the proper term to use to address any worker is not “usted” but “tu”. If you use usted you send […]

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Silled as many champions, a A young Mexican skimboarder catches a wave on the shore of Melaque, Jalisco. © Gerry Soroka, 2010

Skimboard kids on a Mexico beach

The Months of Mexico When it’s winter up north, the skimboarding season is in full stride along the Pacific Coast beaches of Mexico. This is when the best talent goes head-to-head to determine ultimately who will make it to the world championship in Laguna Beach, California, where the sport was invented. It’s a sport that […]

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Waiting for the crowds, umbrellas frame a popular snorkling location at Tenacatita on Mexico's Pacific coast. © Gerry Soroka, 2009

Mexico’s endless Pacific beach: sun, surf, sand, seafood and solitude

The Months of Mexico Tomorrow’s champions are at work here, at Bahía de Navidad. In the hot afternoons along the wave-thumped beach of Melaque, lithe brown bodies dash along the alternately stirred and subdued sand and launch themselves at the sea. The steady winter sun descends in its unwavering plunge into a horizon washed faithfully […]

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The origin of Mexico’s gourds

A gourd is a member of the squash family. Grown in corn fields here between the stalks, they are harvested and stored in a bodega to dry. Indigenous people used the casings as practical implements like plates, bowls and water vessels. Here in Ajijic at Avant Gourd Gallery, they are lovingly carved, painted, decorated and transformed into […]

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