The Dancing Doctor

 Just about everywhere you go in Mexico you’ll find a Dr. Simi Pharmacy selling Generic Medicine. An in Most of them you’ll see the Dr. Simi character out front dancing away to draw attention to the business.

the Doctor

 Heres some facts about the dancing Dr. that came out in the newspaper the other day.

The Head is made of foam rubber and weighs ten pounds… the entire outfit weighs 22 pounds, it has a height of 6 feet…

theres a fan ran by a battery in the upper part of the headpiece.  Internal temperature can reach  30 degrees Celsius.

typical salary for dancers is about $50 dollars a week for a five day week at five hours a day , some places offer a commision on incresed sales. no social security.  The biggest part of the dancers are women.

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TLAXACLA — The Community and Its Children

Over the past three years, we have been living in Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mx, for 3 to 4 months.  During our stays, we have had the pleasure of watching the children of Tlaxcala at play and performing for the the general public.  In the following video, you will be introduced to the city of Tlaxcala, to the “casa” we occupy, and then to the children of the community.  Puppets and dolls were and still are  popular in Mexico and were historically used to teach children lessons.  One slide in the presentation shows a “prehispanic puppet” that is of a pregnant mother and the baby.  Other puppets from the colonial period follow.  The segment ends with a photo  an arena with puppets in a “cock”  fight.  You will also see a brief segment of paintings done by young people. Much more is in the video, especially several segments of youth dancing in the center of the city at the Zócalo.   So stay tune as the video brings you many photos and some “live” video.

Silversard, AKA, THE Genuine Tourist, reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA

People Watching in Tlaxcala

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Mexico Mystic And Claudia

 Although Bob Cox, AKA, Mexico Mystic, would not “put his family out there,” I would like to share with readers how Mexico has been enriched by Bob, a one time, long time, illegal alien, South of the Border gringo, who has finally decided to “go straight.”

While young but not too foolish, Bob married a young lady from Puebla who new “better English” than the girl he first dated in Mexico. I guess it was the right call because the young lady, named Raquel, went on to be an accomplished English teacher in the Mexico federal school system for over 30 yrs.

In between “leaping over tall buildings with a single bound,” Raquel also “pushed out” for him two children, named Michael and Claudia. Of course, Michael and Claudia both become fluent in Spanish and English, like their parents, and went on to give Bob and Raquel a total of 4 grandchildren who currently all live in Puebla.

You can see photos of both Bob and Raquel at –

http://mexicomystic.wordpress.com/about/ 

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Herbal Medicine by Mexico Mystic

Within three years after the Conquest of Mexico, the apothecary shops of Europe tripled in size, Why? Because the Aztecs knew a hell of a lot of things about the curative properties of different herbs and plants.

 Even today it’s very common to find herbalists selling plants, herbs and concoctions in the local markets.

For example you can find rosemary, a plant indigenous to Mexico but also can be found in Europe. A bitter herb used for stomach problems or dyspepsia.

Another wellknow herb is manzanillo, better known in the States as “Chamomile”. Sometimes found growing wild in abandoned lots. It was brought over from Europe & quickly adapted to Mexican soil. Usually made into a mild tea by steeping it in boiling water for 5 minutes, it is easily found in Super markets in the tea section but the really good stuff in Mexico can be found in the fresh food markets.

Recorded as being used as far back as 3000 B.C., in China, later in Babylon , Greece & Rome where it was used as an aid to digestion.

Herbalists say it has an antispasmodic effect. If used as a rinse after shampooing it gives a nice tint to blond hair.

chomomille or Manzanillo flowers

Robert Cox, reporting from Apizaco, Mx, in the tiny state of Tlaxcala

Cinco De Mayo and its Brave Defenders

Today is Cinco De Mayo, an unofficial Mexican holiday, which is heavily celebrated in Puebla, Mexico, and California and Texas, USA.  We were fortunate to be in Puebla for the Cinco de Mayo parade in 2008.  We also have toured the battle field and one of the two forts defended by the Mexicans against the French in 1862. You can read why Cinco de Mayo should celebrated by all Americans (Mexicans and USA) by either viewing or reading the following article.


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Walking While Stepping Backwards

Patricia Sardeson speaks . . . .

It occurred to me as we went walking in downtown Tlaxcala that much of what we see is like it was when I was a child and went downtown in our small Wisconsin city so many years ago. It was the thing to do on a Saturday morning, to go downtown, get a coke and French fries, see friends, and possibly a movie as well.

 

As were were walking we noticed the vast amounts of large shoe stores. Many were next door to each other creating much competition for each other. There were so many styles, sizes, colors and infinite varieties of shoes it was just mind boggling to think of which one to choose. We haven’t seen this on main street USA in many years. I remember the “Red Goose” and “Poll Parrot” shoe stores of my youth. As a young women, I would look in the window and think how cute they were and want the latest styles. Many times, they didn’t have them in my size. Here they have every size from infant to Large in the window. It is kind of fun to look ,see, and laugh at how impossible it must be to walk in some of those. The colors are also fun. Shoes for men in bright Blue, Pink, Red and whatever you have the nerve to wear. Women’s shoes that are so high that you are literally walking on your toes. I personally can’t see how the women walk on these cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks in them, but they do and don’t seem to trip as frequently as I do in my “sensible” shoes.

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Carnaval In Ocotelulco, A Delight

While our experience in Tlaxcala, Mx, may be a bit skewed by the fact we visit only between the months of late January and April or so, it seems to us that Tlaxcala’s “core cultural” can be found in its rich Carnaval tradition. Consequently, this “Genuine Tourist” has chosen to use the Carnaval theme as this year’s logo.  

It was difficult to capture the Carnaval theme because of so many fine “Camada’s” (dancing groups) have been performing in so many neighborhoods and villages throughout Tlaxcala. However, I have chosen a group very close “to home” by landing on this picture of dancers in OCOTELULCO, a community located just above our own neighborhood (of ACXOTLA DE RIO). The following photo is my T-Shirt Logo photo for this year. 

Carnaval Dancers In Action

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Our Casa Gets A Makeover

It is good to be living in Tlaxcala again in the same place we have lived for the past two winters. We were pleasantly surprised to find that our “casa” had been painted and cleaned “inside and out” during our absence. A photo follows of our Mexican home’s new look.

Our Puerta or Gate and Upstairs on Left

Walking up to our First Floor

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Totolac Carnaval — Tlaxcala

This is the second year we attended the Carnaval in Totolac, a “suburb” of Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala. We were guests in the home of a couple and their special child who was born last year during our visit. So . . . we had a great view of the parade from their balcony. While the parade had less floats than the elaborate floats seen in the “official” parade a few weeks ago, it was still one of the best around. Here are a few photos of some of the “characters” in the parade.Stephen, Genuine Tourist Reporting from Apizaco, MX

Food/Trade Show–San Jose Tetel

3 Amigos at the Food/Trade Show

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day in Apizaco, Mx, and today is no different. However, “we warmed our hearts” and “our bellys” by attending a “Food/Trade” fair in the nearby community of San Jose Telel. We made some new friends who wanted to see themselves on the internet, so their photo is above. You can see a “YouTube” Video of the Food/Trade Show —and, I posted a lot of photos with close ups on the food dishes on Facebook at —

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=149831&id=669922354&l=eac423069a

We are headed to Huatulco and 100 degree heat next Wednesday to inaugurate the creation of library for the children of San Felipe Lachillo high in the mountains above Huatulco. We won’t be in touch by internet much for about two weeks because we will following up the library event with a dental mission in northern Puebla. Eventually, we will return to Tlaxalca about March 10th or so and try to publish a little about our journey(s).

Hope you are all staying warm during these cold times, cold even in Mexico!

Stephen, Genuine Tourist reporting from Apizaco, Mx

Carnaval in Apizaco, Tlaxcala

“Fat Tuesday” is tomorrow, but at least one group (camada) of dancers was on the streets of Apizaco yesterday (Valentine’s Day).  Here is a photo followed by a video with more photos at the end of the video. 

Dancers Spinning in the Streets of Apizaco

It is hard to describe how much money and time and energy goes into such performances.  Patricia asked some of the young girls about their beautiful costumes and was told they were sewn by the girls themselves.  I wonder if the same could be said for the men and their costumes!  Also, I am just showing you a short video containing several short clips from two different street locations of the same group.  But, the dancers actually danced over an hour straight and then took about 10 minutes to move to another place where they danced again for at least a half hour.  No wonder so many of them look so skinny!  An exercise equipment salesperson would not make it in most villages due to the  hard work and hard play of the people :-). 

These performances will go on for WEEKS in many different locations all over the state.  Sometimes many “camadas” or “groups” will come together in one place and vendors will set up booths with delicious foods around their perimeter.  At other times, just one group will perform for a while in the streets and then move on to another location like the group feature in the video. 

Well, somehow, we will manage to see our share of them in the states of Tlaxcala and Puebla.  Wish you were here.  We hear it is sooo cold in the USA, even in the southern states. 

Stephen, THE Genuine Tourist, reporting from Apizaco, Tlaxcala, MX 

Tlaxcala — Coronation of 2010 Queens and King

On Friday, we traveled from Apizaco to Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, to watch the coronation of the Queens (adult and child) and King for Carnaval 2010.  Last year, I video taped the coronation and placed it on YouTube.  It has since received almost 2,000 views.  So here is the video of this year’s coronation . . .

Tomorrow, I may post some photos and video of the actual Carnaval parade.  Most of the photos, however, will be of the floats because the crowd in front of me prevented me from photographing much of the “ground action.”

Genuine Tourist, Stephen, reporting from Apizaco, Tlaxcala, Mx

Knitting in Tlaxcala with Juanita

Our gracious host, Juanita, is very talented.  One such talent is a style of knitting that does NOT use knitting needles, but only fingers and is very “rapido.”  At our “Welcome Party,” she presented MsSardo (Patricia) with a recent sample of her knitting.  See following . . .   

Juanita Presents Patricia w New Knitted Dudes

 So, the ladies wanted to know how to make such nice clothing so quickly.  If you are interested, read on . . .
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Corona, Corona, Corona–Raquel’s Hero

“Corona, Corona, Corona,” which represents “three cheers” for the hero Jesús Garcia CORONA.  But who is this man and “where did he come from?”  García was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, on November 13, 1883, but moved with his family to Nacozari, Sonora, in 1898, where his father was a blacksmith.  (Now, I feel some affinity for this young lad because I come from a long line of blacksmiths myself, but Norwegian heritage, not Mexican . . . but no matter, the story is not about me! )  Now, García was also trained as a blacksmith but worked as a waterboy for the Moctezuma Copper Company until later promoted up through the ranks to machine engineer.  Well, here is the “rest of the story” as described in Wikipedia in an article about Jesús Garcia.

Jesús García was the railroad engineer for the train that covered the line between Nacozari, Sonora, and Douglas, Arizona. On 7 November 1907 the train was stopped in the town and, as he was resting, he saw that some hay on the roof of a car containing dynamite had caught fire. The cause of the fire was that the locomotive’s firebox was failing and sparks were going out from the smokestack. The wind blew them and got into the dynamite cars. García drove the train at full-steam six kilometers out of the town before the dynamite exploded, killing him and 12 other railwaymen and bystanders, but sparing the population of the mining town. Jesús told the fireman to jump off the train and the man survived.

Another article by Cristina from Xalapa in a paper entitled, “Lifesaver Hero:  Jesús Garcia” wrote:

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El Vegetariano–Apizaco

And what does one do in Apizaco, Tlaxcala, when one is “fresh” from a steam bath?  Well, this Genuine Tourist was “dragged” by Mexico Mystic, AKA, Bob Cox, and his spouse, to a nice vegetarian restaurant in Apizaco.  The menu for Wednesday, April 1st, 2009, was posted plainly.  

Wednesday Menu for El Vegetariano

But, the menu board doesn’t do the food justice, so here is a photo of the salad/fruit bar and another of “Mexico Mystic” bellying up to the main courses. 
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Hot Bath Anyone–Apizaco!

Roman Bathing In Apizaco

Bath Anyone? Roman Style!

 Some photos follow of the inside of the “Roman Bath” in Apizaco . . . 

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Sardeson 2009 Family Holiday Newsletter

We are both well and continuing to enjoy our retirement. We enjoy our morning coffee in leisure each day and take our time checking the INTERNET for news and e-mails etc. Life is good and very uncomplicated for us, and we consider it a great blessing.

As we contemplate our last year there is much to be thankful for and much ahead of us this year to ask for prayers for. We will be leaving Dec 21st to drive to Miami to depart for Haiti to do dental work and construction at the Cap Haitien Children’s Home. We will be joining the Christian workers  from Flint, Michigan. We are looking forward to our first time in Haiti. Our adopted daughter, Mary Nerlande Joseph, will join us and do some interpreting for us. It is her home town so we will be meeting her family for the first time.

Our time in Mexico this year was good again. We deepened our friendships and made new ones and enjoyed the wonderful weather. We went to ruins, visited cities, spent some time in Mexico City and learned some history. We also joined a Methodist group from Kansas and AZ who did a dental/medical mission in Tochimilzco. It was hard work but really great to be part of a team who have been doing this work for over 20 years.

We successfully avoided the H1N1 flu of Mexico as well. However, Pat came home sick with a bacterial infection, but after meds was fine. We, therefore, have decided this year to book Mexico after we return from Haiti to make sure we are well. In April of 2010, we will repeat at dental mission in MX.

Both of our children’s’ families are doing well and prospering, and the grandchildren continue to be a real delight for us. We enjoy seeing them in some of their school events and sports etc. Of course, they are still a few hours away (both families) so we have to arrange our busy schedule to get there. He he. We do carry day planners and keep electronic Yahoo calendars to keep up with ourselves.

Pat has done quite a bit of fill in work for dental hygiene, and Steve has embarked on a new career as a substitute teacher. He really likes special ed and has already “stepped in the gap” a few times in Middle and High School in Baraboo.

We celebrated our Christmas with our Children’s families at Thanksgiving due to leaving before Christmas for Haiti. We are told the Haiti experience will really change us, so we are trying to anticipate the worst and hopefully not see it. We are also planning on doing a library in the mountain village of San Felipe Lachillo, northwest of Huatulco in southern Oaxaca, MX this year. We have approval and support from expatriates in the capitol of Oaxaca, but now we have to get through some little obstacles with the village and the California book suppliers as well. Please keep this in your hearts and prayers for us as well, especially for our long over the mountains bus trips.

Scott (son), Jen, Tami (daughter), Bill, my father, Pat, Dani, David, Jeff, & Sean

We remember you often and thank God for all of you in our lives. We ask you to keep us in your prayers as we take on these challenges to do this mission work.

We wish you all a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.

The Sardesons

Wrapping Up-Tlaxcala-2009

Of course, it is always difficult to leave new “family” and friends behind, but, nevertheless, we had to say our “good byes” to our friends in Tlaxcala this past winter after spending over three months with many of them. So, I decided to do a “video wrap up” which featured our last activities, including two wonderful farewell dinners 🙂  If you haven’t experienced a “Mexican bus ride,”  stay tuned for the last half of the embedded video and “brace yourself” for the ride down the mountains into Mexico city.  We do hope to see all of our “amigos” again next winter around the end of January 2010.  Wow, another decade ending . . . . . . oh, here it is —

Stephen, a “Genuine Tourist,” reporting from Baraboo, WI

 

 

 

Illegal Immigration–another perspective

While I don’t usually get into “political” issues as a “Genuine Tourist,” I was “moved” to write this article because of a “internet forward” I received about “illegal immigrants” from a dear friend. It seemed to me that a different perspective was in order in view of what appeared to me to be inaccurate reporting. Here is the link to my news column which contains the article —

http://sardeson.newsvine.com/_news/2009/07/14/3026236-illegal-or-not-the-story-of-two

 Please feel free to offer another perspective but try to do so from your own personal experience.

Stephen, http://www.Genuine-Tourist.com reporting

Tlaxcala Zócalo Weekends

One is almost always pleasantly surprised when “haunting” the Zócalo in the pleasant city of Tlaxcala, MX. Here are a collection of videos and still photos primarily taken on weekend while visiting the Zócalo. 

Stephen, Genuine Tourist, posting from Baraboo, WI, USA

Tochimizolco–Community View

During our four day medical/dental/vision trip to Tochimizolco, Puebla, this past April, we were able to observe some aspects of the community itself.  At least one wedding and one baptism took place, for example, and they become community “events” as participants paraded down the local streets to a designated houses in order to continue to celebrate. 

It was our good fortune to be on the streets when the wedding procession took place with of a groom and bride that looked a bit older than one would have expected.  Regardless, the procession was accompanied by spirited music and platters of rice to throw at the bride and groom.  It has been suggested that rice was thrown in order for guests to have some participation in the ceremony.  I also noticed some of the boys and men carrying a single bottle of beer.  I don’t know if it was for them to drink at the reception or to be used as a gift to the newly weds.

I caught some of the wedding procession on video, so I thought I would give you a chance to also be in the streets of Tochimizolco and participate via the web.  But, first, here is a photo of the ladies cooking on open fires for the hundred or so people attending the wedding banquet.  

 

The Kitchen Producing All The Food

The Kitchen Producing All The Food

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Tochimizolco — Children At Play

During our recent trip to Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, I volunteered my spouse, Patricia, to do dental hygiene work at a medical mission in Tochimizolco, Puebla 🙂   We “joined up” with the team in Puebla and took a chartered bus to Tochimizolco where we spent about 3 days seeing about 600 patients.  Of course, many of the patients came from many miles and had to spend hours waiting in long lines.  However, the team assigned numbers to every patient during intake, and the patients worked with the system very well and were able to legitimately jump in and out of various lines based upon their assigned numbers.  In the meantime, many children were waiting upon their parents (or were themselves patients).   The children were delightful and well mannered.  Many of them received photos of themselves from staff who had served them the previous year. 

While waiting, the children were able to participate in various activities either arranged by staff or on their own.  Some of the activities were formally developed in order to rehearse for a performance for the medical team on the last day.  Here is a video of some of the children in some of their activities.

Stephen, a “Genuine-Tourist” reporting from his easy chair in Baraboo, WI, USA

 

Tochimizolco–Dental Mission

Just before we returned to the USA on April 30th,  we participated in a medical/dental mission with members of the Methodist churches from the states of Arizona and Kansas, USA.  It was the 20th year the clinic was visited by a team of doctors and dentists in Tochimizolco, a small community about two hours south of Puebla.  During the four days the team was in the village, they saw about 600 patients.  Some doctors were pleased to be able to diagnosis illnesses that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.  Dentists and Hygienists were pleasantly surprised to see young people with good dental health because of the years of education and service by dental teams. 

My spouse, Patricia, was one of the two hygientists, and I assisted in the distribution of reading glasses to elderly.  I hope to have a lot more videos and photos about this fine work on this blog and in the Yahoo Group of “Tlaxcala Tourism,” but for the moment, the following video will have to do —

We hope to return again next year. 

Dalmatian Puppies and Children´s Toys

OR
¨Genuine Tourist¨  Visits a Mexican Dairy Farm
New Puppies on Dairy Farm

New Puppies on Dairy Farm

We made a couple of trips to Texolco, MX, a small village a short distance from Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, to share in a families pre-Easter celebrations.  They celebrated largely by eating food, food, and more food!  They operate a dairy farm with just 5 milk cows which is constructed in the European style of having the animals close to them in an adjacent structure.  Of course, they also have a dog or two, and I thought I would take a closer look at the new Dalmatian puppies, BUT, the mother of the puppies had other ideas and guarded them from me.

Don´t Tread On Me says the Mother

Don´t Tread On Me says the Mother

Actually, this was my SECOND encounter with the mother of the puppies.  On the first visit, I decided to take a closer look and walked toward their ¨safehaven¨ among the straw bales.  However, the mother was behind me and saw me move in the direction of HER puppies.  So, out of nowhere I felt a bite on my right hand, which didn´t puncture the skin, but did tell me in no uncertain terms to go no closer. 
If you are interested in a closer look at our activities ¨down on the farm¨ in Texolco, MX, go to this YouTube video.

Texoloc–Two Videos

We were fortunate and invited by neighbors to visit the community of Texoloc where their family members operated a 5 cow dairy.  It was carnaval time in the small closed knit community, and we felt fortunate to be invited.  I made a couple of videos for the family members to see themselves, so I thought I would post them on Youtube so you could see them, too. 

Before you view them, please note  you will see that all types of characters in costume are dancing together.  This is NOT typical in other carnavals in Tlaxcala.  Also, note that the ¨bear¨ costume is very popular for some reason.  Finally, the music is also unique to the area but difficult to discern unless you travel to several other carnavals in the area.

We had a good time and were invited back to the community and the family home a few days later.  My wife said all they think about is food, food, and more food, because we were always eating. 

In places OTHER than Tlaxcala, Mexico, it seems that Carnavals are fairly short lived, like until ¨Fat Tuesday¨,  and then Lent starts.  In Tlaxcala, they go on and on right up to Easter in various communities around the state.  We have been told by other foreign visitors to Carnaval (and such visitors are very few) that Tlaxcala has one of the best Carnaval experiences in the country of Mexico, and we believe it is true!

Stephen Sardeson, THE ¨Genuine-Tourist,¨ reporting LIVE from Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, MX

Laundry Day by Patricia

Doing laundry in Mexico is another challenge. Of course many Americans would choose the option of having a maid do it, but for us, with our challenging economy, I decided to do it myself.

In the past, we have taken it to the “lavendaria” but that is a few blocks away here, and it is heavy. We were fortunate to have our neighbors offer us the use of theirs, and then our landlord gave us an apartment size machine to use.

Laundry Machine On Our Tub Platform

Laundry Machine On Our Tub Platform

  A washing machine in Mexico is not the equivalent of a washing machine in the USA. Here the machine agitates the clothes and nothing else. You can choose between heavy soiled clothes and normal. You can chose between washing and emptying the machine and that is about all the options you have on the machine except for a timer. I am sure that there are other machines that do more but most homes don’t have plumbing for machines like we do in the USA. Continue reading

Carnaval—Business and Pleasure

 Carnaval began in Tlaxcala on 02-21-09 with the formal coronation of royalty.  See the following video for Queen’s speech http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lZXdiEghz0    

Carnaval has continued for several weeks because of similar festivals in neighborhoods and outlying communities. Of course, such festivals are not all play.  Surely many local people rely upon such festivals for income as they turn even wheelbarrows into mobile stores. 

 

Get Your Candy Before Parade Begins

Get Your Candy Before Parade Begins


Such entrepreneurship is actually an everyday occurrence in Mexico.  Entire businesses are run out of five gallon plastic buckets, wheel barrows, three wheel bicycles, and mobile carts with propane cooking grills and propane lighting.   Every location is a possible business site, from unused doorways to almost any street corner. In addition, specific streets are regularly turned into one day markets for food, clothing, and/or supplies on specific days of every week, encouraged by the local city officials as evidenced by bathroom access, electrical supply, and re-routing of traffic.  The young man in the preceding photo had a wide variety of candy to sell to the crowd waiting for the parade to begin. See following photo. 


Candy or INDIVIDUAL Cigarettes Anyone

Candy or INDIVIDUAL Cigarettes Anyone

 

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International Day of Women

Nice Evening/Fine Young Adults

Nice Evening/Fine Young Adults

All one hears in the news today about Mexico is about violence and unrest.  While such may be the case to some degree near the USA/Mexican border, it is certainly not the case in southern Mexico.  This ¨Genuine Tourist¨ has been living in Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, about two hours east of Mexico City, for the past two months or so.  My spouse and I are probably the only USA couple living in the entire state of Tlaxcala.  This is our second winter in Tlaxcala.   We have enjoyed very much the kindness and honesty of the people, the mild weather, and the culture of this tiny state. 
 
If you would like to see how we spend PEACEFUL evenings in Tlaxcala, please read on . . . and, oh, we do not have a car, so we walk everywhere day or night.  A couple of videos follow.

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FOLKLORE DANCE IN TLAXCALA

You  know . . . the best is not always “on the schedule.”  One day we were walking around “Saint Joseph’s” church just off the Zócalo in Tlaxcala and we “happened upon” a performance of dancers. It is likely they had participated in a “short course” on folklore dance and were in the “Plaza of Fountains” to “show off” what they had learned.

 

Seven Fine Dancers

Seven Fine Dancers

 02-14-09-tlaxcala-folklore-dance-girl-in-red-w-boy-reaching-blog

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Queen of Carnival–2009

Watching Children Dance

Watching Children Dance

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Valentine´s Day Eve

I Did It My Way

I Did It My Way

Valentine´s Day appears to be big in Mexico.  We celebrated it a bit early by dropping into Los Portales Restaurant (inside) on the ¨eve¨ of it and enjoyed the musicians shown above.  The music was smooth and romantic.  They took requests which we participated in.  Also, the lead singer sang the song ¨I Did It My Way¨ made famous by Frank Sinatra, but in Spanish, of course.  Hear them sing at —

Stephen, a Genuine Tourist in Tlaxcala,  Tlaxcala

Dancing In The Zócalo

Tlaxcala is a peaceful place and it shows. On Friday (and Saturday and Sunday—every weekend) people from communities all over the state come to Tlaxcala to dance in the zócalo. The bands change from weekend to weekend, but we suspect a lot of the same people show up every weekend. Here is a photo of a recent band.

Dance Band In The Zócalo

Dance Band In The Zócalo

 And sometimes, they even dance under the full moon. 

 

 

The Brightly Shining Moon of Tlaxcala

The Brightly Shining Moon of Tlaxcala

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Pole Dancing by Patricia

We arrived tired in Mexico City as usual being that travel takes its toll on you.  We left Chicago at 6:00 am and arrived in Mexico City around 1:00 pm.  We had just a little glitch in finding our guides at the airport but it was solved when we found the right door to be standing in front of.  All went smoothly as we departed the airport and got to our hotel as well.  We stayed very close to Alameda Park in Mexico and that was a terrific sight.  We were able to walk or take the Metro to almost every place.  

Speaking of the Metro, that is an experience.   Our guide Bob Cox with his wife Raquel told us to be ready to push, put your back pack in front of you, and watch people closely.   They should have warned me more about the speed of the metro.  The people were no problem at all.   When we got on, of course there were no seats, so you grab a pole or overhead rail.   I chose the pole.   I now have a new understanding of “pole dancers”   When the train takes off, it REALLY takes off.   It is super fast.  Now if all you have is a pole, you must grab it and wrapping a leg around it is also a very good idea. You are knocked off balance when it takes off and the momentum seems to keep you feeling off balance so you grab it tighter.   Now another problem comes in.   At that speed they make very SUDDEN stops.   Now the challenge is with your leg wrapped around the pole and hanging on tight you have to do a little dance so as not to slam you face into the pole.   It takes technique.   The next trips I did my best to sit.

Poles Dancing Anyone

Poles Dancing Anyone

 

We really saw the sights in 3 days but could see thousands more. I think I was expecting to see it being more declined and more poverty. Truly I think I see more of that in Oaxaca. We left via bus to Tlaxcala and that was a very nice ride and scenery. The bus was very large, clean, and comfortable.

 

Patricia (AKA, MsSardo), a Genuine Tourist type reporting from Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mx

SUFFERING SUNDAY

 

Catus Juice Anyone
Catus Juice Anyone

The above photo is from the buffet serving table(s) of Grandpa’s Delight restaurant on the outskirts of Tlaxcala. Please note the green picture about the center of the table. It contained cactus juice was very delicious. Also, the wait staff was very attentive to the “rhythm” of indulgence and promptly removed our plates each time we consumed a platter of the excellent food . . . all for a price of about $8.00 a person. However, the fine breakfast was only the beginning of our “suffering Sunday.” 

Our Breakfast Club

Our Breakfast Club

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Castillo de Chapultepec

It is likely that the USA has a long tradition of unfounded invasions of foreign countries.  A perhaps even unnecessary battle between the Mexican army and the USA army (led by General Scott) on 09-13-1847 at the castle of Chapultepec on the edge of Mexico City (FD) is such an example.  Interestingly, “Americans” fought on BOTH sides in large numbers during the invasion by northern invaders.  If this subplot interests you, rent or buy the movie entitled, “One Man’s Hero,” and learn about a group of Irish artillery men who fought with the Mexicans to defend Mexico in many battles but NOT the castle of Chapultepec.  Another more famous subplot pertains to the Mexican teenagers (military cadets) who were the last defenders of the castle after everyone, including Santa Anna, retreated.  In Mexico, they will be forever known as the “Niños Héroes” (Children Heroes) who were the sole final defenders of the castle.  

A replica of the assault of the castle is portrayed by a model in the following photo.  Please pay special attention to the Mexican flag on the top of the model in order to connect with a final remark later in this article.

Model of Castillo de Chapultepec

Model of Castillo de Chapultepec


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CANALS OF XOCHIMILCO

We had heard about the “floating gardens” of Mexico City (hence forth called “FD”) and how it was like being in “Venice, Italy,” but we never expected to visit them. It was quite a long bus trip to southern portion of “FD” to the community of Xochimilco. Our guides did their best to get us a good price for a boat trip on the canals, but they didn’t seem real happy with the vendors holding to a $30.00 price for all of us. If we had brought a dozen people with us, however, the price for the boat would have still been the same. No matter, here is a photo of Patricia and me about to board the “gondola” for a “one and one half hour tour.”

We Start Our Tour

We Start Our Tour

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Tlaxcala in early 1500s

04-16-08-tlaxcala-approach-upward-to-first-church-building-webIt is hard to imagine what Tlaxala, Tlaxcala, looked like when the Spanish, i.e, Cortez and his conquistadors, made it their home base in order to conquer the Azetecs in nearby Mexico city.  However, we do have some idea what the priests that accompanied him were doing by the architecture they left behind.  They built the first open or outdoor chapel, the first church building, and the first bell tower in what is now the downtown centro of Tlaxcala.  The approach to the church building and bell tower is just off the main plaza (from the secondary plaza’s corner), and it looks like this. Continue reading

Murals — The Ancient Market of Tlaxcala

The Government Place on the Zócalo of Tlaxcala has some very important murals that are probably missed by many casual tourists, BUT this “Genuine Tourist” found them (thanks to guide Robert Cox), and this is my story . . .

The ancient market of Tlaxcala was NOT in the downtown centro of Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, but rather on the hillside above the present day city.  The ancient market was a meeting place for all peoples, kings and subjects. (click on photos to enlarge them) 

The Steps Of The Original Market

The Steps Of The Original Market

A Model of The Original Market

A Model of The Original Market

Artifacts From The Ancient Market

Artifacts From The Ancient Market

 

 

RELIABLE and ACCURATE “photo” of the four regional Kings in the market (below)

Rulers In The Market Among The People
Rulers In The Market Among The People
The second king on the left was “King of Commerce” (the market).  The young king on the far right was later killed by Cortez for refusing to kill more Aztecs when the Tlaxcalans were helping Cortez conquer “Mexico city.”  
 
 
  
Dentist Practicing In Market (upper center)

Dentist Practicing In Market (upper center)

Here are some more ACCURATE “photos” of ancient market people engaged with one another (reproduced from original pictures not destroyed by the invaders).

Families Warmly Greeting Each Other
Families Warmly Greeting Each Other

 

 
Bargaining For Food (artist's wife center)

Bargaining For Food (artist's wife center)

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Harry Potter Library — IN Mexcico

One day our esteemed guide, Robert Cox, told us he was going to take us to Harry Potter’s library IN Mexico in Puebla. We were a bit skeptical but followed him around the main cathedral on the Zócalo to a building immediately behind it. Once inside, we went up a stairway and found ourselves in front of a very ornate doorway. When we looked inside, this is what we saw . . .

Harry Potter Would Have Liked This

Harry Potter Would Have Liked This


Stephen, a Genuine Tourist, reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA

“StairMaster” — IN Tlaxcala

A few years ago a popular weight loss piece of equipment was called, “StairMaster.”  In fact, such equipment is still available for prices ranging UP to $5,499 (for a “StepMill SM916).  However, if you can get your “buns” to Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, you will find that you have many “stairs” to choose from for free.  Here is a photo of one such “stairmaster” that we didn’t even have the heart to try while in Tlaxcala —

StairMaster "101"

StairMaster "101"

Now, you might think that this was a very special stairway and the only one, but we found several all around the edges of the historic center of Tlaxcala.  This one looked like the “granddaddy” of them all, however.  You are seeing less than HALF of the stairway in the photo.  Amazingly, we saw people using it all the time. 

The “other” amazing “stairmaster” in Tlaxcala was actually in the form of a monument.  One day we spotted it from a long way off and “strong armed” a taxi driver to take us to the top of it.  It was so “eye catching” because it included a waterfall and was “organically” connected to a boulevard below it with beautiful trees that were in bloom the whole time we were in the city.  Here is a video of the “flowing stairmaster of Tlaxcala” which is a monument to “Heroes of Mexico” —

 

We look forward to our return to Tlaxaca this January, and we WILL walk up those stairs this time!

Stephen, a “Genuine-Tourist, reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA

 

 

Monuments — Part 1– Puebla


They say that humans are not too good at remembering.  It seems we are especially good at forgetting unpleasant events and do so quickly.  Perhaps, monuments, then, are of value, especially when they commemorate the lose of many lives or similar tragedies.  However, it seems we are especially good at building monuments to acknowledge great people or victories.  For example, monuments of great generals are everywhere in Mexico and of great battles.

Perhaps, the most elaborate monument to a battle we have seen so far in Mexico was in Puebla in commemoration of the heroes who defended Puebla and “Liberty” on May 5th, 1862.  Of course, today the people of PUEBLA celebrate the day as “Cinco de Mayo” and other states in Mexico have “piggy backed” upon their holiday.  Here is a photo of the monument. 

Defenders of Puebla and Liberty -- 05-05-1862

Defenders of Puebla and Liberty -- 05-05-1862

If you are interested, you can see a few more photos of the monument, a video of the monument and its numerous fountains, a peek inside the fort, and some modern day “defenders” of the fort.  

More photos and video are just a click away — click here

Update–Open Water Swim

Luis Alfredo Estavillo Chavez swam all “Nine Bays of Huatulco” on November 15th and set a “new standard” of 5 hours and 24 minutes during the “open water swim.”  You can see him during an earlier attempt on 05-25-08 in the following video.

The distance covered in such a short time was 14.6 miles or 23.5 km.  The swim really had a second mission and you can read all about it by clicking on the following link.

http://huatulcoparadise.wordpress.com/category/san-felipe/

Stephen, a “Genuine-Tourist,” reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA

DANCE — IN MEXICO

We have enjoyed a great deal watching people dance while being “Genuine Tourists” in Mexico.  One day we “wandered” down to the zocála in Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, and discovered a dance contest in progress between young people from various states in Mexico. 

FIRST place Dancers in Tlaxcala

FIRST place Dancers in Tlaxcala

 

YOU can watch the above dancers by going to —

You can see additional videos of others dancers we say on the same stage at —

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=V-ERBg_Zjec

Stephen — http://www.Genuine-Tourist.com— reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA

 

 

Update — Oaxaca — Music

Good Morning fellow “tourist and traveler types,”

If all went well, a new article was published on the blog “Oaxaca–Genuine Tourist” early this morning.  It is about the “sights and sounds” of the Zocálo in Oaxaca when we arrived on 03-18-08 this past winter.  It includes a video with some nice music.  Here is the man with the saxophone.

A Man and His Sax

A Man and His Sax

 

And if you click on the following link, you can hear him play —

http://oaxacacity.wordpress.com/

Stephen, a co-Genuine-Tourist reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA

Kissing Couples — cont.

In our previous article we tried to explain the phenomena of “public kissing couples” in Mexico.  Of course, it may be the case that Mexico is not unique in this regard, although I don’t recall it being prevalent in Greece or Italy during our brief visit  two years ago. In any event, as previously stated, we decided to photograph some of the couples and “let you be the judge.”  Here are a few more photos.

Couple in Zocálo of Xalapa
Couple in Zocálo of Xalapa

The couple in the above picture was a “working kissing couple” in that they were soliciting people for donations to the Red Cross, but simply “pausing”  from time to time to “rejuvenate” their relationship 😉 On the girls cheek is the Red Cross sticker one received upon giving a donation.



More photos of public kissing are just a click away — click here

Oaxaca — Superman, the Paper Man

We often walk through the neighborhoods in Oaxaca, Oaxaca, and see all sorts of things.  We decided to find the “Fountain of the Seven Regions” one day (north of the first class bus station) and did.  While walking back to our “B&B” we passed by a sidewalk vendor of newspapers.  At first his stand seemed no different than the hundreds of other vendors one finds on the sidewalks of Oaxaca until we notice his “portrait” hanging proudly in his stand. He had proudly proclaimed himself as the “Superman” of paper delivery in Oaxaca. 


Super PaperMan of Oaxaca

Super PaperMan of Oaxaca



 Stephen, a “Genuine-Tourist,” reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA

Statutes, Murals, and Paintings — cont.

Future Me -- Am I Dreaming?

Future Me -- Am I Dreaming?

*********************

In my past profession of social work, we use to talk of “old me” and “new me” or sometimes “future me” when we were working with serious offenders.  I am sure many people with age and some “miles” on them would like to have have back the body of their youth, although perhaps not with the baggage of youthful choices, etc.  Well, while in Xalapa, Veracruz, I found my “future me” in the form of a statute at the sports arena.  Take a look to the right at my “future me” IF, of course, I could turn back the “hands of time.”  Well, since it isn’t going to happen, let us continue our journey of statutes, murals, and paintings in Mexico . . .

*************************************************************************************************

We were taking a look at the Governor’s palace in the zocálo of Xalapa and discovered this statute of a conquistador, fully armored —
More photos if you click here

Alert to Posting — Xalapa

If you are interested in musical groups and one based in Xalapa, you might want to check out my recent post at — 

http://visitxalapa.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/sones-de-veracruz-part-1/

The group is called, “Sones de Veracruz” and the “leader of the band” is David Rubio Galvan.  On his business card, he states their music is “Folklore Veracruzano.”

“Stay tuned” for more postings regarding this wonderful group.

A Dancer Featured with the Group

A Dancer Featured with the Group

 

Stephen, Genuine-Tourist, reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA, the first day of snow flurries in southern Wisconsin.

Shtyle.fm – Stephen’s birthday on October 16!

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In Memory of Steve

I haven’t been here for awhile. Just wanted to say We miss Steve…He’s gone but not forgotten.

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

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A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

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