Nothing to fear??


Another take on elections from Mexico.

Richard Grabman writes a blog, The Mex Files. I find it most interesting and recommend it to all interested in Mexico.

The following is a post from the Mex Files on the US election.


In an obviously divided US, I hope Trump can find his Becket-Self and govern in an inclusive way.


A Quip for Columbus Day from a Guanajuato Spanish teacher


Cristóbal Colón llegó a America en 1492. El pensaba que estaba en las Indias. En realidad, el estaba perdido. Un grupo de indígenas lo descubren a él, pero la historia oficial no reconoce esta ironía.

Cristopher Columbus comes to America in 1492. He thinks he is in the Indies. In reality, he is lost. A group of indigenous people discover him, but official history does not recognize this irony.

Sunrise at the Piramide del Sol

A Morning Hike up the Pyramid of the Sun


The idea of watching a sunrise from the top of one of the world’s largest pyramids had grabbed me, and I wasn’t going to let it go.

I planned to climb the Piramide del Sol, Pyramid of the Sun, in the ancient city of Teotihuacán north of Mexico City. This site was established a hundred years before the birth of Jesus.

I had read the placement of the Pyramid of the Sun was over a lava tube thought to be sort of an umbilical cord connected to the gods of the underworld—perhaps the place of human origin.

Just who built the pyramids and surrounding city is a matter of continued debate. Yet, it is clear a cultural mix, Otomi, Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya and Nahua people inhabited this multi-ethnic city over an extended period—maybe seven hundred years. Perhaps what held this once vibrant city together for so long was its multi-ethnic nature.


We arrived from Mexico City in the late afternoon, and I planned to be the first person on the site when it opened before dawn. I wanted to be at the top of the tallest pyramid as the sun rose. Perhaps in doing so—alone, with no distractions—I might feel the spirit of this monument of early civilization, the place where Gods were born.


In the darkness, scrambling up the pyramid’s narrow steps, not made for my size-thirteen shoes, I overtook a young woman ascending with a large backpack.

Guten Morgen,” she said between deep gasps for breath.

“Good morning to you, Buenos Dias,” I replied, surging past.


I had counted two hundred steps as I approached my goal. Just as I was feeling sure I would be the first to arrive, I spotted movement above me. I stopped and looked again. Over the edge of the summit—through first light—peered a friendly face.


A handsome, yellow-brown dog, wagging his tail, greeted me as I stepped onto the top of the pyramid. He rubbed against my legs and then nuzzled my hand, looking for a treat. I opened my shoulder bag, pulled out a Snickers Bar and watched it vanish.

Now he’s my buddy.

While waiting for the sun to rise above the mountains to the east, I walked across the one-hundred foot wide flat top. Then in a flash, the dull, yellow-gray light disappeared, replaced by blinding gold—the sun, full glare.

I looked back toward the steps. The German girl arrived and plopped down on the stone surface. She opened her huge backpack, searched a bit, and began feeding the dog.

Later, as I descended, passing groups of visitors on their way up, I stopped and looked up as the first large group arrived. They all paused, started going through their bags, and fed the dog.


My spiritual takeaway?

It seems dogs, like people, may or may not have a fortunate birth. Yet, they too may adapt and discover how to position themselves for a rewarding life.




Chickens in Mexico


On my first visit to our little neighborhood grocery, tienda de comestibles, I carefully requested in Spanish, “Quisiera una docena de huevos, por favor.” I believed this to mean, I would like a dozen eggs, please. I was surprised by the reply, “¿Te gusta blanco o rojo? Rojo? I was stumped. I thought rojo was red. It is, of course. Yet, it took me a minute to realize the patient shopkeeper referred to what I have always called brown eggs.

When it comes to chickens, Mexicans have viewpoints different from most US citizens. Actual contact with chickens for most in the US generally consists of buying chicken parts wrapped in plastic. Mexicans, on the other hand, are not fazed when a flock of hens and biddies strut down a public street—even in the middle of a city. They don’t find it unusual if roving chickens poach a couple of bugs from their gardens, or if a rooster crows at any time of day or night.

Perhaps the reason for their higher tolerance of live birds is Mexico’s long history of tending chickens.

It had been widely thought that the first import of chickens to the New World arrived from Europe with the early voyages of Columbus and others. However, recent scientific investigations have revealed that bones found in Chile followed the same DNA sequence as prehistoric Polynesian chickens from Tonga, Samoa, Niue, Hawaii and Easter Island indicating an earlier introduction of Asian chickens perhaps via Polynesian explorers. Radio carbon dating of recently unearthed Chilean chicken bones indicated a date of between 1321 and 1407 AD. So, introduction of the Asian chickens to the New World must have taken place at least 100 years before the arrival of European chickens on the continent.

Likely, the arrival of chickens came much earlier as evidenced by language references. Also, Gavin Menzies’ book, 1421, suggested another introduction of Asian chickens may have taken place when the Chinese undertook to map the world from a huge fleet of junks around 1421. He believes there is evidence of the Chinese sailing into New World harbors including Acapulco. He also notes the easily discerned difference in crowing by European and Asian roosters—both heard throughout Mexico today. Menzies believes the Chinese left behind Asian chickens as well as other strange animals.

Here in Puerto Vallarta, we see chickens on roofs, chickens in yards, chickens in the neighborhood and chickens on the table. Mexicans love chicken. Chicken eggs are an important protein source for many Mexicans.

Neighborhood tiendas sell unrefrigerated fresh-that-day eggs by weight—not dozens by size. These eggs vary wildly in size—ahh, that’s why they weigh them. The yolks are a rich orange color and don’t break when you crack them into a pan to fry.

Mexico abounds with chicken restaurants. There are chains and Mom ‘n Pops. Pollo Feliz—why is that chicken happy?—El Pechugón—the Bustier, huh?—are examples of chains. In addition, the US, thanks to NAFTA, has introduced the Colonel’s contribution to chicken in Mexico—KFC/Kentucky Fried Chicken. Some Mom ‘n Pops offer awesome hardwood-fire roasted chickens. You will see them along the streets. They are relatively inexpensive and well worth trying.

Perhaps it is time for us to all embrace chickens in a more natural way and adjust our history books.



Institutional Public Art I

When Alice and I traveled to the city of Vera Cruz, we found a beautiful sculpture in front of the PEMEX building, Torre de PEMEX, just off the Malecón de Puerto de Vera Cruz.


The scale is heroic and the work awesome. We liked it, but despite asking dozens of people who the artist is, no one could tell us. We’ve since found that Francisco Zúñiga, Costa Rican born Mexican artist, was the sculptor. The name of the work is La Riqueza del Mar, The Wealth of the Sea. We think it is probably sculpted in clay.  Do you know?

Slideshow of our pictures gives an idea of scale, texture, and detail. Alice, viewing the work in one of the pictures, is 5′ 11″ (180 centimeters) tall.

There is a nearby sculpture also by Zúñiga named La Cosecha, The Harvest.


The Silence of the Birds 


Tenochtitlan rises

From the great lake of life

Shines like a jewel

Shines the natural light


The causeway is lined

With the birds of their world

With their colors so vivid

With their songs so pure


Symbols of beauty

Symbols of grace

Hernan has seen them

He knows their power


Now the silence has come

He has burned the birds

There is a new order of power

Of power without grace


The illness of the heart

That is only cured by gold

Is Hernan’s  obsession

Is Hernan’s shame

El Silencio de los Pájaros


Tenochtitlán se eleva
Desde el gran lago de la vida
Brilla como una joya
Brilla la luz natural


La calzada está bordeada
Con las pájaros de su mundo
Con sus colores tan vivos
Con sus canciones tan puras


Símbolos de la belleza
Símbolos de la gracia
Hernán ha visto
Él sabe de su poder


Ahora ha llegado el silencio
Se han quemado los pájaros
Hay un nuevo orden de poder
De poder sin gracia


La enfermedad del corazón
Que sólo se curan con el oro
Hernán es la obsesión
Hernán es la vergüenza


Chorizo Almendrado

As a trained lifetime recreational eater as opposed to a refueler (you know the type), I like to eat, drink, record recipes for food I enjoy, and poke fun at food pretension.


A chorizo is a fat spicy Mexican pork sausage. There are many variations to the spicing mix. Most feature a lot of paprika.

When we were living in Ciudad de Guanajuato, Alice taught English to school teachers in the nearby city of Silao. During that time, we had an opportunity to get to know that beautiful city. It is about the same size as Guanajuato, around 150,000 people, but there are some major differences. Due to the remarkable history and iconic landmarks of Guanajuato, it is more a national museum and tourist destination than Silao. Silao is better known as a manufacturing center anchored by a gigantic General Motors plant. The city is also flat! Bicycles abound. Guanajuato is only a pleasant half-hour drive away, yet it is up and down, hanging onto the sides of a bowl on the edge of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

Many of our friends in Guanajuato went to shop in Silao each week as the price of high quality food there is cheaper than in Guanajuato. One day, our friend, Poncho Medina, introduced us to a carniceria, butcher shop, in Silao where he goes to buy a special chorizo, Chorizo Almendrado. What a gift! These sausages are unusual and delicious. We became addicted.

The name of the shop is La Unica, Carniceria y Tocineria. The operators of the shop, Luis and Diego, are incredibly patient with Gringos struggling with Spanish. Further, their meats, bacons and sausages are all awesome!


Luis is very serious about his trade. He told me his chorizo has a complicated list of ingredients. They are stuffed with pork, lard, several kinds of chiles, garlic, Mexican oregano, cloves, pineapple vinegar, dried fruits, almonds and more. The mixture is stuffed into cleaned intestines, la tripa, and tied off into individual sausages with strips of corn husk.

We like them best grilled over charcoal. The fat bastes them and the slight sweet and sour flavor is punctuated by the dried fruit and almonds.

I highly recommend this shop with one caveat; call before you go to buy Chorizo Almendrado. Once I made the drive but didn’t call ahead. I got no chorizossold out! All was not lost. I bought a beautiful custom-cut (leaving the fat on) pork shoulder and a rack of the prettiest and best tasting pork chops we’ve ever eaten. Taking a cue from Luis, we grilled the chops with a pineapple/vinegar basting sauce.

We have purchased enough Chorizo Almendrado there to sink a boat.

La Unica
Luis and Diego are located in the back left-hand corner of the Silao City Market. Their phone number is 01 (472)722 2366



No time left to borrow
No time to delay
No time left for sorrow
Regrets, or rainy days
No time for crying
No time to be blue

No time to waste the dreams we dreamed

Time is today

Time is today