Category Archives: Mexican Cultural Stories

Playing Tourist–Dolores Hidalgo, Gto

I’m not a big fan of Mexican movies, but every now and then, one catches my fancy. Our latest tourist adventure was inspired by 2014 movie En El Último Trago. Three old geezers set out on a whirlwind adventure, well, as whirlwind as 3 old geezers can spin, to Dolores Hidalgo, specifically to the José Alfredo Jiménez museum. The movie is a hoot. There was nothing for it but to recreate their journey to Dolores Hidalgo ourselves.

It’s only about 3 hours from our home, so it was an easy day trip. Thank god, we had no vehicle problems or no random police stops. Nearly all of my proposed visit sites were clustered near the centro, so we parked and hoofed it.

After stopping for refreshment at a torta place, we began our tourist adventure with the Casa Museo José Alfredo Jiménez. I even got some pictures of the signature of José Alfredo Jiménez, which is a key feature of the movie. Entrance is $40 pesos with a discount for teachers and students with appropriate ID. We bought most of our souvenirs here, which meant lugging them around the rest of the day, but after seeing the other gift shops, we decided it was worth it.

We passed the Parroquia de Nuestro Señora de Los Dolores and saw some class trips reenacting the Grito de Dolores.IMG_20180711_121814

We went to El Museo del Bicentenario which was disappointing. I wasn’t able to exactly understand how the displays came together. The nearest I could figure each room represented an oppressed society. One had posters about censorship in Russia, another Vietnam, 2 full rooms were devoted to China and the last room was all about Israel. There were some exceptional stained glass windows in one room and a few spectacular Catrinas in another, but that was about it as regards to Mexico. Oh, and the two full wall surrealist murals were something to see. Admission was $20 pesos, half price for students and teachers.

Our next stop was La Casa de Los Descendientes de Hidalgo (the House of the descendants of Miguel Hidalgo), which was also an upscale restaurant. The entrance was $30 pesos per person and $10 for camera use. As the name implies, this was the home of the 5th generation descendants of Miguel Hidalgo, the last remaining descendant having just celebrated her 106th birthday. Apparently, after the 5 generations, the blood is no longer pure and the generation count begins again. So the children of the 5th generation, are no longer descendants of Miguel Hidalgo, or so our tour guide told us. This was my favorite museum. There were dioramas depicting some of the most relevant aspects of the fight for Independence. I have to admit, I always wanted to have my own handmade wooden dollhouse and these little scenes made my heart go pitter patter with longing.

We then took a turn around the centro, which was very pleasant, and had some ice cream (another reference to the movie). There were a few nice statues, lots of benches to sit on, and a whole lotta shoe polishing carts. We admired La Casa de Visitas from our park bench.

We hiked a few blocks to the Museo del Vino and the Casa de Hidalgo. Both had a $45 peso admission fee, which seemed a little steep now that we’d been to a few of the other museums. We opted not to tour either. I did peek in Hidalgo’s house and was reminded of another movie Hidalgo la Historia Jamás Contada which as far as historical movies go, wasn’t bad.

Of course, it could be that Hidalgo, who fathered children with two different women and spearheaded the national fight for Independence, was not quite what you would expect from a Catholic priest. Hidalgo had his own vineyards which were burnt in punishment for his treason against the crown, so the Museo de Vino wasn’t a far stretch of the imagination right there next to his house in what used to be a hospital. We did hit the gift shop and bought a locally produced bottle of wine called Lloro de Tierra. It was a nice, sweet, fruity rose and we enjoyed it immensely when we got home.

We did not get to the Museo de la Independencia, nor did we stop to see la Tumba de José Alfredo Jiménez en the Panteon. When we asked for directions to the cemetery, hoping it was close enough to walk to, we were told we’d have to walk “un chingo” to get there. My son’s flat feet were starting to ache and we were getting tired, so walking un chingo didn’t seem like something we were interested in doing.IMG_20180711_140241.jpg On the way out of the town, we stopped in another nice park with statues, a playground, some nice fountains (without any water) and benches that resembled sofas.IMG_20180711_141220As far as Pueblos Mágicos go, Dolores Hidalgo should be on your must-see list, not for the quality of the museums because they were rather ho-hum, but for the historical significance of the area, and the wine. I would recommend staying more than one day since there are so many things to see.

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Natural Remedies–Garlic tea

Although nowadays a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, did you know that garlic (Allium sativum) arrived in North America with the Spanish conquerors along with onions, pigs, cows, chickens, cheese, and rice? Garlic was quickly adopted both as a spice and medicinal herb.  Even today, traditional curanderos use a garlic clove inserted into the ear as a treatment for earaches, with olive oil for burns, in brandy and brown sugar for asthma, and with honey for a cough. Garlic is also believed to provide protection from negativity and evil spirits.

Apparently, no one told the author of my little book Antigua Recetario Medicinal Azteca that garlic wasn’t used by the Aztecs because there is quite a section about the medicinal use of garlic reportedly used by said people.

Here are some of the recipes I found:

To stimulate appetite and help with digestion: Eat 3 cloves of garlic raw with a bit of water before a meal or cook an entire garlic head in a liter of water, adding lemon juice and sugar to taste.

To help with anemia: Eat a salad prepared with radish, lettuce, tomato and raw garlic with a bit of oil and salt.

To reduce blood pressure: Mince a garlic clove and drink it in a glass of water.

For asthma or a cough: Boil 8 peeled and pressed cloves in a liter of water.  Add a little oregano.  Strain.  Add 2 tablespoons of honey.  Take a tablespoon every hour until better.  OR Boil ½ head of garlic in a liter of milk with 2 carrots.  Sweeten with honey.  Drink warm before bed.

To rid the body of parasites: Mince a head of garlic and warm in ¼ liter of milk without boiling.  Allow to steep 3 or 4 hours.  Strain.  Drink before breakfast for 9 or 10 days.

For scorpion stings: Mash a garlic clove and use it as a plaster over the affected area.  

For rabies:  Soak 100 grams of garlic minced into little bits in a liter of water overnight. Strain and sweeten to taste.  Take several cups a day.

For light burns: 3 or 4 garlic cloves mashed and mixed with oil as a plaster over the affected area.

For athlete’s foot:  Use garlic powder on the feet and change the socks every day.  (The Aztecs wore socks?)

For rheumatism relief: Rub 2 halved garlic cloves on the painful area whenever you need to.  Do not get the treated area wet.  The recipe wasn’t precise as to the time you should not get wet. Two hours?  Two weeks?  Who knows?

Not to be outdone my little book Antiguo Formulario Azteca de Yerbas Medicinales. Manual imprescindible de los secretos indigenas also had a section on garlic. In order to give these garlic claims more credence, the author cited an incident a few days before publication concerning a man in Barcelona who had been bitten by a rabid dog and ate garlic and onions for 8 days thereby effecting a cure. While I wasn’t able to find any scientific evidence to back up this rabies claim, using garlic as a wound poultice does aid in healing. This book also added the following to the scorpion sting treatment: To be extra sure, use a sterilized knife to cut the wound open in the form of a cross before applying the garlic plaster.

Both books also highlighted the medicinal use of garlic essential oil and referred to Dr. Helle de Berlin.  While I was trying to look up Dr. Helle in the cyber world, I came across a plagiarized copy of Antigua Recetario Medicinal Azteca online published under the name Herbolarios Anonimos.  While several other sites refer to Dr. Helle’s pamphlet on garlic essential oil, I was unable to find the original.  (Budda de la Medicina, La Belleza de la salud con el ajo, el cebolla y el limon, Tintura de ajo como medicamento, Las curas con ALOE–AJO CEBOLLA–LIMON, Tintura de ajo como medicamento)

In a nutshell, the esteemed Dr. Helle assured everyone in his famous pamphlet that twenty drops of garlic essential oil diluted in water is good for the heart, helps the liver function better, improves digestion, cures hemorrhages, helps reduce fatigue, headache, and melancholy, and aids in insomnia.  I’d feel more confident in the curative effects of those 20 drops if I could find some information on Dr. Helle.  Wouldn’t you?

However, don’t be so quick to poo-poo these herbal remedies despite the more outlandish claims.  Scientific research has proven garlic to be a near miracle plant.  Quite a number of the aforementioned cures are medically sound. (Health Benefits of Garlic: The Medicinal Use of Garlic)

Look at what garlic can do for you:

Garlic is good for your heart.  It fights cancer.  Garlic is good for your liver and fights bacterial infections including Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and  Escherichia coli. Garlic is good for the digestive system. It aids the process of expelling parasites, including giardiasis and Candida albicans.

Garlic is especially good for women as it both increases milk flow for nursing mothers, possibly by making the breast milk taste better which encourages the baby to nurse longer, and reduces the severity and occurrence of yeast infections.

Garlic helps with the common cold and reduces cough. Garlic helps treat depression.  It aids in injury recovery. Garlic is an important component in the treatment of heavy metal poisoning, a primary cause of Alzheimer’s.

Garlic is useful in the garden as well.  Planted around other crops reduces disease, deters pests and increases the nutritional value of the soil and nearby plants.

Believe it or not, the whole plant is edible, not just the bulb. I have a pot of garlic sprouting in my back room.  As the tops grow, called scapes, I can clip a few bits and add them as flavoring just like you would with the clove.  The scapes or flowers aren’t quite as strongly flavored as the clove but are tasty nonetheless.

I have big plans of making a little garlic patch out back.  My hope is I’ll have enough in a few years to make my own garlic powder or essential oil. Of course, my efforts at gardening have been repeatedly thwarted.  (See Failing at Container gardening)

Continuing with my herbal tea series, I decided to try some Garlic Cold Buster Tea.  We are in the rainy season, after all,  and it’s likely somebody in my house will catch a cold before things dry out again.  

There are many miracles in the world to be celebrated, and for me, garlic is the most deserving.

It was pretty straight forward.  Boil 3-6 peeled and halved cloves in 3 cups of water. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice.  That was about 7 smallish lemons from our tree out back.  Add honey to taste and serve.

The tea was a lemonade color, probably because I didn’t skimp on the lemon juice and wasn’t half bad.  I don’t think that I will replace my morning tea with this concoction but in times of illness, it would be no bother.

There are some things to keep in mind when using garlic.  Some people have a sensitivity to garlic and will find it irritates their stomachs.  You should not ingest large quantities of garlic when taking blood thinners. Garlic will give you bad breath and body odor.  (Duh) And finally, applying raw garlic to your skin may irritate the skin.

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 Enroll in the Materia Medica Course!

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Surviving UFO invasion in La Yacata

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you might remember I’ve already written about alien contact in Valle del Santiago, Mexico. (See Valle de Santiago).

Believe it or not, those giant vegetables were not the only legacy left by galactic visitors in Mexico. Many of these alien-human interactions have been recorded by history for us to examine at this time.

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Pictured above is a 7000-year-old petroglyph discovered in the province of Queretaro, Mexico in 1966. There are 4 figures with outstretched arms below a large oval object radiating what appear to be beams of light.  Looks like aliens to me!

Mayan artifacts dating back at least 1300 years show what appear to be flying disc shaped vehicles along with representations of aliens. Fancy that!

In 1883, astronomer Jose Bonilla reported more than 300 dark, unidentified objects crossing before the sun while observing sunspot activity at the Zacatecas Observatory. Unfortunately, these were later proved to be high flying geese, but at the time, they did qualify as unidentified flying objects.

In 1974, residents of the town Coyame reported a mid-air collision between a UFO and a small airplane followed by a military investigation and cover up. It appears that this was little more than the military recover of a Cessna aircraft used for drug trafficking. No live aliens nor alien bodies were recovered at the crash site.

Pyramid-Mexico-Aliens-486193

In 1984, an alien from the constellation Orian named Herulayka, visited Raymundo Corona and commanded him to build a temple in the form of a pyramid. Herulayka had honey-coloured eyes, long white hair and claimed to be from a plant called Nefilin. Sr. Corona built the 22 foot stone temple outside the town of Monclova in the state of Coahuila.

In 1991, residents of Mexico City looked to the skies to see the solar eclipse but instead saw a UFO. There were several independent videos taken of the sighting. Two months later, there was another sighting in the area during a military air show.

In 2004, the Mexican Air Force recorded 11 unidentified flying objects over southern Campeche while conducting a search for drug-smuggling aircraft. The Mexican Defense Department released a video that showed moving bright lights at 11,500 feet. Mexican UFOlogist Jamie Maussan believes the video as proof of alien visitation. However, other experts say that the lights were most likely burn off flares from oil platforms. (See Toxic cloud).

In 2016, strange lights were spotted above the Popocatepetl volcano. Some have speculated that aliens are monitoring the Earth’s geothermal activity, possibly in an attempt to cause eruptions. Others say that the lights are nothing more than plasma that glows at night and only appears to be metallic. This isn’t an isolated sighting. (See also Mysterious UFO captured passing over a volcano seconds before eruption, UFOs over volcanoes in Mexico, Strange footage captures mysterious object flying close to volcano in Mexico just days after it erupted.)

And how these?

Giant UFO moves over Mexico City

Aliens guard Pope as he enters Mexico

Mass sightings in Mexico

Daytime UFO sighting in Puebla Mexico

Flying saucer photographed over Mexico

UFO drop off and pick up point discovered in Mexico

UFOs during halo phenomenon

Ring-shaped UFO over Mexico City

Alien recorded watching family in Mexico

Looking at the evidence, is it so far a stretch to say that UFOs might visit again in the future, this time with less than friendly objectives in mind?

Stephen Hawkin has been quoted as saying ““If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

We all know how that turned out for the Native American. So what should you do in the event of a UFO invasion?

Do your normal prepper thing. Stockpile food, water, and medical supplies.

Become self-sufficient in case the grid goes down due to alien energy interference. (See EMP attack)

Avoid meteorite crash sites. There might be alien ships there!

Prepare for biological warfare. (See Pandemic) Of course, this could work both ways. In “War of the Worlds” the aggressive and man-eating alien beings were overcome when they were exposed to the common cold.

Have adequate shelter. If your house is blown up in the ongoing struggle, find another one.

Unless you are trained in tactical maneuvers and weapons, don’t try to take out the mothership on your own. It might be better to include people with those particular skills in your newly formed community, though.

Don’t trust anyone.  It could be an invasion of the body snatchers time!

So why is La Yacata the best place to be in the event of an alien invasion? For all of the same reasons that it is the perfect place to be in the event of any other catastrophic disaster. It’s low population, the abundance of foraging food, small hovel-like dwellings and talented community of multi-taskers in residence, of course!

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Who’s on first? in Spanglish

traffic-policeman-whistling-holding-hand-out-to-stopSo last night, my husband gets home around 10:30, a bit worse for wear and unlocks the door. Before he can even pull the motorcycle in, a police vehicle arrives and he is accosted. He wobbles in the bedroom,wakes me up and says the police are here. WTF? So I stumble around looking for my glasses and drift to the front door, pink fluffy PJs and all. There seems to be some doubt as to whether or not my husband lives here. I’m a bit confused, groggy from sleep and ask what this is all about.

The short chubby police officer has his light right in my eyes. I’m sure it’s a technique they teach at asshole school. He says “Recibimos un reporte de que una casa fue robada aquí” (We received a report that a house was stolen here) or at least that’s what my foggy brain heard. I think what he meant was “Recibimos un reporte que se meterian a una casa para robar aquí” (We received a report that someone had broken into a house in order to steal things). But since he said what he said my question was “¿Cómo robaron una casa?” (How could someone steal a house?). I had visions of a house being jacked up and carted away. No lie! But my brain dismissed that as preposterous because the houses in La Yacata are made of stone, cement, and brick–much too heavy to haul away in the back of a pickup much less my husband’s motorcycle.

The light bearing policeman amended his comment. “Se metieron a robar algunas herramientas.” (They broke in to steal some tools) Again, my imagination went into cartoon mode and I saw the big bad wolf breaking into a house to steal a hammer. He may have meant the rebar and other construction materials that many of the half-finished dwellings in La Yacata have. But that’s not what I understood.

There was still some doubt as to whether my husband lived here. As I was obviously in my pajamas, I guess they decided I was a legit resident. Who wears pajamas to steal tools at some random abandoned house? My husband whips out his driver’s license. I have no idea why he did that as his license does not have La Yacata as his residence since we have no street names. (See Getting Legal–a driver’s license) Officer Chubs took it and asked him his name. I guess he was convinced because he did no more than instruct my husband to pull his motorcycle inside.

My husband could not leave well enough alone. He wanted to know who had called in the report that there was a robbery in progress in La Yacata. Officer Chubby mumbled something about it being anonymous and hopped back in his vehicle.

Remember, my husband was still tipsy, so the moment he gets the motorcycle inside, he accuses me of having called the police. I just want to get back into bed, but he follows me. He wants to know why I called the police. I said I hadn’t, but he wasn’t convinced. I tried to use logic and asked if he had been breaking and entering, but logic doesn’t work on a drunk (in case you ever feel compelled to try it).

He says to me “¿Hablaste con la policía?” (Did you speak to the police?) and I answered yes. “¿Por qué?” (Why?) “Because you told me to come to the door and I talked to them” was my response. I think what he meant was “¿Llamaste a la policía?” (Did you call the police?) but that’s not what my oh so tired brain understood.

He is determined to get to the bottom of this, so he called 060 which is like the dispatcher number. Or at least that’s what he thinks he called. Remember, he’s a bit impaired at the moment. Some woman answers the phone and he asks who called in the report that there was a robbery in progress in La Yacata because there was a patrol car outside. He asks a couple of times and I think the woman just hung up since it wasn’t an emergency. Like she was going to give out that information anyway.

So this morning, now that I’ve gotten my beauty sleep, I think this whole incident is hilarious, especially since nothing bad happened. I believe that the patrol truck followed my husband from the main road, determining that he was drunk and hence susceptible to extortion. He put a knot in their plan by going into the house before they could do whatever it was they were planning, maybe stop him for his tail light being out or something. So the story of there being a report on a B&E was pulled out of thin air to give their presence some legitimacy. When I came to the door, they realized there would be a witness, and a gringa witness at that, so the plan to collect a little Xmas bonus had to be scrapped.

My son, who had stayed snuggly in his bed during this altercation, said he couldn’t believe what happened, especially my obvious misunderstanding of the spoken Mexican Spanish. Well, so sue me. There are just some things that I don’t get, even after 10 years, especially being awoken from a pleasant sleep to talk to police who were obviously up to no good. (See Christmas in Mexico–Aguinaldo)

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