Posts Tagged: mexico

Throwback Thursday: Mexico 2008: Veracruz – Papantla, El Tajin, and Xalapa

Throwback Thursday

This was originally posted on 12th May 2008 on For lack of regular new content, I’m going back and grabbing some stuff that has gone missing since the demise of to repost here. I don’t think that I will follow any pattern, most likely will just be looking for some cool stuff and post it chronologically each Thursday. I’ll only post stuff that I can still find the pictures for, which means my original trip to NZ did not make the cut (unless I can find them again). I’ll also be re-formatting slightly and fixing up any grammatical errors or (mostly lower case everything text) to suit the new theme.


Veracruz: El Tajin

El Tajin

We left Mexico City on Thursday morning to go up (north west) to Papantla in Veracruz state, from where we would pay a visit to the El Tajin ruins, and then onto Xalapa to visit the anthropological museum there. we arrived in the afternoon and immediately found it warmer than Mexico City (more tropical), wandered around and finally settled on a hotel, that was worse than we expected (more later). the plan was to visit el tajin on the Friday, leave for Xalapa Friday afternoon, and do the museum on saturday.

That was the plan, and that was how it turned out, although Alf and Ozzy had some issues in Xalapa. Papantla was quite a nice town, smallish but with a nice vibe. Cars (some of which were pretty cool) were driving the circuit after dark, and lots of people wandering around the square. It’s a hilly town, seemingly higher in the south than the north.

Veracruz: El Tajin

El Tajin

After an amusing bus ride to the El Tajin site arriving about 10am, we wandered around the site for a couple hours. There were some very impressive ruins there, it wasn’t on my itinerary initially, but Ozzy wanted to go, so i think I took a day out of Mexico City or something, I certainly wasn’t upset, it was a cool site. It was more popular than Teotihuacan, but that could’ve been because there were lots of school groups there. After the ruins, we wandered out to see the flying Totonac voladores, traditional to the area. These guys seemed to charge before performing, we each handed over twenty pesos.

After that, we weren’t sure what to do regarding the bus back to Papantla, we waited at the ruins entrance for a while, before walking out to the highway, eventually a bus came, it went down to the ruins before coming back to the highway. on the way, a bunch of school kids got on, and started hassling Alf and Ozzy, in broken English, and Spanish, they loved it.

Veracruz: Volador


Next was an afternoon bus to Xalapa, it arrived around 8-9pm, in a very busy city (the capital of Veracruz state). Ozzy was to get sick, and Alf was soon to follow, we didn’t get up to much (Friday night!!), but had a big dorm room all to ourselves.

The next day we went to the impressive (and fortunately not so big) anthropological museum, with a load of giant Olmec heads, and other relics from the region, it was a pretty cool place (although it pretty much drained me of my museum visiting interest for the rest of the trip) despite not having anything (?) in English.

Giant Olmec head three is the near one, i’m not sure what the other one is, but Alf is standing there for a bit of perspective, there were definitely bigger ones, I think there were seven total, plus one in Mexico City.

Vereacruz: Colossal Olmec Head 3

Colossal Olmec Head 3

Ozzy was really feeling crappy at this point, and after the museum, we had a bit of a wander looking for a view of the city, but gave up cos we didn’t have enough time before the bus to Puebla. so a kind of rushed time in Veracruz state, and Xalapa especially, but I guess that’s what happens when you add something to the plan later on, and also when people are sick.

Veracruz: Voladores


A picture of the voladores sitting on top of their pole, ready to jump off and swing about upside down (tied with ropes) till they get to the bottom, the guy standing up plays a flute-like instrument while the others swing. Note: I changed the picture here so the line preceding this doesn’t make sense 😉

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Throwback Thursday: Mexico 2008: Federal District of Mexico City

Throwback Thursday

This was originally posted on 10th May 2008 on For lack of regular new content, I’m going back and grabbing some stuff that has gone missing since the demise of to repost here. I don’t think that I will follow any pattern, most likely will just be looking for some cool stuff and post it chronologically each Thursday. I’ll only post stuff that I can still find the pictures for, which means my original trip to NZ did not make the cut (unless I can find them again). I’ll also be re-formatting slightly and fixing up any grammatical errors or (mostly lower case everything text) to suit the new theme.

Mexico City

We arrived in Mexico City at around 6am on a Sunday, and headed for the hostel straight away (I’ll post reviews on transport, accommodation, food and drinks as separate items when I have finished doing each region). we were able to get three beds in a dorm, two other people were sleeping when we got there. we slept straight away, to try and catch up a bit, and eventually around 2pm, we finally got out and about around the zocalo. Sunday is probably the busiest day in town, as there were lots of people around, and stuff going on everywhere.

We were in Mexico City from Sunday till Thursday morning, so four full days (although Sunday was pretty much a write off). with our lonely planet and rough guides books handy, we managed to wander around different parts of the city, we were staying in the historical centre of town, so lots to see there. the main sights in the city that we saw were:

  • the Zocalo obviously, with Aztec performance
  • the cathedral, a massive and picturesque old building
  • the national palace, lots of great murals by Diego Rivera there
  • Templo Mayor, the ancient Aztec temple
  • wandered through Condesa, I’m not a coffee drinker, so this wasn’t a great highlight for me
  • the anthropological museum, massive museum dedicated to Mexicos ancient and modern history, too big to take it all in in one visit
  • rode the metro (more on this later)
  • watched the lucha libres wrestle it out, it’s definitely not real, but fun as a novelty
  • hundreds of cops (of cadets)
  • Mexico City: Aztec Performers
    Mexico City: Aztec Performers
  • Mexico City: Flowers
    Mexico City: Flowers
  • Mexico City: Cathedral Chandelier
    Mexico City: Cathedral Chandelier
  • Mexico City: Templo Mayor
    Mexico City: Templo Mayor
  • Mexico City: The Police Academy
    Mexico City: The Police Academy
Mexico City: Lucha Libre

Mexico City: Lucha Libre (I’ll see if I can embed the video at some point)
Just a short video of the wrestlers (lucha libres) going at it, it was pretty funny. It’s pretty chaotic, and you have to wonder if there is a script at all. We saw these guys on a tour provided by some guy that was looking for tourists at the hostel :D.

The one thing we did notice was that there are basically cops at every corner, either directing traffic, or doing nothing :D. In the Zocalo, there were a few dozen cadets just messing around doing nothing every day. there were also a lot fewer people speaking english than I expected :(, this was unfortunate, as it did affect the holiday a bit, I’ll make sure that I am much better prepared on future trips.

Teotihuacan: Pyramid of the Moon

Teotihuacan: Pyramid of the Moon

The big thing we saw was out of town, we got a bus out to see Teotihuacan, the ancient Mexican city, home of two beautiful pyramids, and several other magnificent ruins. It’s a massive site, and took us about five hours to cover it all, there weren’t as many tourists as I expected (which was a good thing). The refreshing feeling at the top of the pyramid of the sun is so awesome. Unfortunately, the pyramid of the moon could not be climbed the whole way, but despite that, the view was still good. it was a warm day, not overly hot, but walking around a big site like that will make you sweat. A gentle breeze blows at the top of the pyramid of the sun, making it extremely tranquil and pleasant. definitely a must visit location, lots of pictures to post, although probably not as many good ones as I hoped.

The weather was very pleasant, probably mid to high 20’s during the day, and cooling down to low teens (or cooler) over night. Smog and haze is a problem though, only one morning after it rained the previous night was the sky reasonably clear, otherwise, you’ll most likely see hazy blue or overcast skies. The only time I ever felt vulnerable in Mexico City, was once on a packed metro train with little breathing room, other than that, the city was extremely pleasant, and the people no different (in terms of attitude towards others) from any other place I’ve been. A great experience, and would definitely want to go back sometime and see more of the city and it’s surrounds.


Protest in Mexico City

Protest in Mexico City

Not sure why the picture is so hazy, but there was a friendly protest going on near the zocalo the day we came in, police were out and about (more than usual) and people were chanting.


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Holy Guacamole!

Yeah, it’s been a while since I posted anything, busy I guess, and even this is a re-post from my old site, but it’s too good not to appear here. So I learnt this recipe while I was in Peru (not when I went to Mexico ha!), and from our tour guide on the Inca Jungle Trek of all people. We were pretty much at the last stop before hitting Machu Picchu, and had stopped for lunch before making our way to Aguas Calientes for the night (and Machu Picchu in the dark early morning). We only had crackers, but this was avocado (aguacate) country, so for our entree to lunch, our guide made a quick guacamole dip. I’m sure everyone has their own twist on guacamole, it’s a very simple dip/sauce to make, but I thought I’d throw mine in the mix.



The ingredients are as follows:

  • avocado (1 for two people)
  • 1 (small and juicy) lemon per avocado
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (or more, depends how garlicky you like it) per avocado
  • black pepper (crushed is good)
  • salt (I don’t measure it, I taste the guacamole until the amount is right)

The following are optional extras:

  • chilli, sliced, the amount depends how hot you want the guacamole really, if they’re really hot like mine, then one is probably good
  • onion, I am not a big fan of raw onion, so I tend to only have cooked onion with chicken tortillas and not in the actual guacamole
  • I really like the smell of oregano, dried or fresh
  1. So if you have a ripe avocado (apparently you can tell if the top is a bit soft, google it for a better method), just crack it open and scrape the contents into some kind of bowl/dish and mix it up (or blend it if you like it smooth) with a fork to start with, and then a whisk to clean up (or a blender if you’re rich like me).
  2. Cut the lemon(s) in half and squeeze the juice in till it’s all in more or less.
  3. Crush the garlic and throw it in and mix it up.
  4. If using chilli, slice up the chilli and mix that in as well.
  5. If using pepper, crush it in.
  6. Keep mixing it with the whisk and adding salt, all the while tasting it, once the flavour is right, you have your guacamole.

I’ve tried this guacamole with both corn chips and with chicken tortillas, and for my personal tastes, it was really good, I was very happy to say the least, because it was the first time I actually made it, for the chicken tortillas, and I was working from memory. Give it a go, but I think avocados are seasonable fruit, so don’t bother if the avocados aren’t in season I guess. That’s a fast, easy dip for chips and chicken based tortillas/tacos. One avocado is about right for a pack of corn chips (180g I think).

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