driving home

.

Advertisements

mexico 1960

 

My great grandparents in TJ, Mexico 1960

tlaxcala, tepotzlan and puebla


a superb view of the famed explosive volcano popocatepetl while driving towards Puebla

color + doors


        
dried cochinilla (an insect which plagues the nopal cactus) dried and used to make brilliant shades of pink, which you can see examples of in the photo of her hand-woven ‘tapetes’, rugs. 

        soft light, blue walls


        

Guillermina at work on her wooden pedal loom

         
hand-spun woolen yarns hand-dyed using natural pigments from plants and insects

indigo pigment from the coast of Oaxaca

chile de arbol, seco

Tlaxcala, amongst other things,  is famous for their brave (and handsome!) bull fighters

Tesoros in a church in the center of Tlaxcala

politically charged graffiti 

Agua de limon con chia (remember Chia Pet?)the Pre-Hispanic Mexicas would swallow dried chia seeds on long journeys and the seeds would expand in their bellies providing protein rich, light weight meals. 
extra extravagance on the road through puebla
maiz, azul y amarillo in the Tepotz market
beautiful old church in tepotzlan

>Taxco and the Original Margarita

>We took a short weekend trip (for tomas’ b-day) to the mountainous Mexican silver-smithing-mining town of Taxco a few weeks ago and I have not been able to get it out of my daydreaming mind since. Had planned on doing a line of jewelry down the road, in the far future, but now that I’ve gone to this silver-smithing mecca, I can’t stop fantasizing of outrageous fantastical jewelry designs. Next week I’m going to start working with a friend who’s a jewelry making pro to get some samples down, and with those I’ll start a small limited production of hand made pieces. Hopefully within the next few months i’ll have them ready for sale! Here are some pics of Taxco and inspirations of what’s to come!

 Said to have invented the Margarita, Berta’s cantina around since the early 30’s, in the centro of Taxco is a sweet little bar with a beautiful view of the Paroquia. I actually fell so desperately in love with their Margarita, that I boldly asked for the recipe, of course they would not give it to me, but did let me in on the ingredients, and figuring it out was pretty easy:
mineral water, tequila, lime and honey
 If ever you find yourself in Taxco, do yourself a favor and please go to Sasha’s cafe!
Javier and Sasha (couple on right of pic) have been running the place for over 11 years and
make their own delicious cinnamon infused mezcal. You’ll meet everyone worth knowing in Taxco if you’re there on a weekend night.
 Eat at Sotavento, the only really great cafe/restaurant we found in Taxco.
Taxco’s not really a foodie place, being it’s all about silver, but the food here was fantastic,
the service perfect and setting beautiful (hard to find all three in Mexico!)

>renewed, revived, reset!

we moved our bodies, our dogs and mexchic studio a few months ago to the most magical house i’ve ever had the pleasure to live in and we’ve finally settled in. can’t wait to go on new adventures exploring new towns and meeting new artisans to work with!
  clearing the lawn
 back yard garden path
 room with a view
 palma in the house
fog rolls onto the porch in the early morning
 filthy and fabulous
 palapa magic
lux living out back

Malinalco’s Spell

Every week’s end we travel to nearby towns and a place we keep returning to is Malinalco. It is only a 45 min drive from where we live in Central Mexico and getting there is a magically beautiful ride.

She is majestically perched within a narrow valley, surrounded by ancient myths of witchcraft, pyramids where aztec warriors were celebrated, cave paintings of dancing devils, amazing little bars, wonderful Napoletano style pizza (a hard find in Mexico!) and a plethora of interesting people from all over the world.


Elite from Mexico City, French archeologists, anthropology students, Italian chefs, Argentine musicians, Belgian farmers, Colombian artists and surprisingly few American tourists (being an American myself I selfishly enjoy this aspect) all make their way there.

This cultural mash of interesting, mostly entrepreneurial with a creative bent, people have created a close knit, beautiful almost commune-like community where I totally want to live.

I’m starting to work with an excellent wood carver there, he makes the most divine little things out of heart of cedar. Such a cryin’ shame I’ll have to keep coming back to Malinalco on such a regular basis to see the town and buy his things, I might just have to move there and be done with it!

>playa paraiso

Somewhere between Acapulco’s cliff divers, Ixtapa’s modern hotels and Zijuatanejo’s sleepy bays, lies Playa Paraiso, a stunning open-ocean, palapa filled paradise, run primarily by local fishermen and their families. After crossing the town of Lano Real, a 20 min drive down a dirt path lined with palm trees and the faint smell of lush mota plants growing far off in the distance, you’ll arrive and never want to leave. A tent and a toothbrush, thats about all you’ll need, there is fresh, just caught sea food available daily, which ranges from lighthearted dishes such as ‘Pulpo Enamorado’ (Octopus in Love) or the most delicate ‘Caldo de Camaron’ (Shrimp Broth) you’ve ever set lips to. Ice cold beer is on hand too, along with a fully stocked bar and the requisite ‘Coco Locos’. Everything is ridiculously affordable. Ask for Irma and Celso when you arrive and tell them Christina and Tomas sent you.

breakfast of champions
ps. If you’re lucky, you too will see what we saw, in regards to animal life. we enjoyed 2 entire days of whale watching from our hammocks beer in hand, schools of dolphins surfing the waves in sync at sunrise, giant turtles laying eggs at midnight with a full moon and and incredible amounts of teeny little crabs and birdlife.
lucky/talented fisherman caught a giant needle fish
pss. We travelled there with our two huge Golden Retrievers without a problem, so it’s a dog friendly place.
psss. Last thing, promise! There are massive, incredibly lush, fresh water lagoons very near by, we never made it to see them cause we just could not bare peeling out bodies off of the hammocks, but Celso, the palapa’s owner conveniently has a lagoon boat tour. He used to be a professional fisherman making his living off the lagoon before he opened the palapas. Caymans and all sorts of bird life are to be found there.
not so lucky fisherman trying to make it out to see, but could not manage getting past those waves

dia de los muertos

This past month of October has been so bustling with things to do, people to see, birthdays, weddings and parties to attend, not to mention work to get done that I’ve hardly had any time to post to mexchic. However, I did take my camera most everywhere so I will be sure to post pics of all that I experienced in the coming weeks ahead.

First off, and most importantly for October, Dia de Los Muertos needs to be addressed! Candied skulls, marzipan mini fruits and sugary coffins – artistic expression takes over our town’s center (and most every Mexican’s town markets and centers), specifically our ‘portales’ area which has just recently been beautifully restored.
No less than a hundred colorful stalls brimming with brightly painted candy skulls, chocolate shaped bones, turron, sweet breads, clay bowls filled with candied fruits, arts and crafts are set out to be sold to the public for the entire month.
The reason for this market’s existence is for the tradition of setting up ‘ofrendas’ (offerings/altars) in ones house, to honor the dead. The ofrenda typically contains things the deceased, loved in life.
A bottle of tequila, mezcal, cigarettes, tamales, candies bought from the market and fruits are set out to welcome the spirit back and to wish them well.

Ofrendas can also be set up on top of a grave site. A family will gather in the pantheon to honor the departed, draping their loved one’s grave in seasonal flowers such as the bright orange cempasuchil and the velvety wine colored terciopelo. Around the grave will sit the family, drinking tequila speaking of the deaprted, telling stories and remembering the past.

goodbye rain

>


October in central Mexico means the end of the rainy season which arrives with a vengeance in early May. The rain turns a once dramatic, dried and yellowed landscape into pastures of green with violent seas of purple and approaching armies of tall silky corn stalks bulging with their fruit. To say goodbye to all the bright color and warmth of summer we took a trip to the lake with our dogs, Zorba (the big guy) and his son Leopoldo. Luckily we have a lot of beautiful parks here. The city where we live is not so nice, but I always say that at least it is easy to escape! The beaches of Guerreo are only a 3 hour ride to the west, mountains lush with pine trees and pyramids are only but an hour and a beautiful old hacienda turned into a park, 10 minutes.

Good Old Mexico

My family it seems, has always come to mexico on vacations. I ran across these funny polaroids of my great grandparents Navy and Lorraine, exploring the wonders across the boarder in the 60’s. And I have stories from another grandmother of Acapulco and San Miguel de Allende in the 50’s. She used to tell me how inexpensive and beautiful it used to be in San Miguel. She said an artist friend of hers who, in the US was not very wealthy, could live like a queen in San Miguel with a house full of servants in a big old house with gardens. About Acapulco she’d say there would be exotic wild animals hanging around the pools of the hotels, crocodiles, tigers and monkeys while you sip your margarita.