Posts Tagged With: cooking

Why Mexico Rocks!

 

We all know that Mexico doesn’t exactly have the best P.R. reputation at the present. Homicides, kidnappings, drug cartels, etc. And then, of course, we have the situation with Trump. It seems like Mexico is the last place anyone wants to visit. Over the Christmas holidays, I traveled through this amazing country, and I’m here to share with you why Mexico rocks and why you should consider a trip there.
Most of my countrymen – and other foreign nationals – prefer to stay at resorts on the coast, such as the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. Prior to my trip, I had only gone to Tijuana on a day trip from San Diego. I didn’t have the best impression from, and many Mexicans that I had met over the years told me Tijuana is not exactly authentic Mexico. So over two weeks, I traveled through southern Mexico, starting in Mexico City and finishing in Playa del Carmen. I hit hotspots such as Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Campeche. It was fantastic! Even Mexico City etched a special place in my travel memories! I also felt as if I had experienced things that resort-goers rarely experience. Furthermore, I didn’t feel unsafe during my entire trip.

So, what makes Mexico so special?

1. A foodie’s paradise – tacos, tlayudas, mole, enchiladas, the freshest peppers and spices, the list goes on! Note: Mexican food here is not like those typical Tex-Mex restaurants; it’s a whole new ball game, and the food is much spicier. Still, you will not be disappointed with Mexican gastronomy. And if you are looking to up your cooking skills, this is the place to learn. When I was in Oaxaca, I came across a renowned chef, named Gerardo, and his cooking school La Cocina Oaxqueña. Not only did I learn some new skills, Gerardo was an amazing teacher and hospitable. He first takes you to a local market to buy the ingredients, and then brings you to his house to do all the cooking. Totally worth a day out of your time in Oaxaca!

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Typical tlayuda.

2. Civilizations past – you know them! The Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayans, etc. A visit to Mexico is a chance to step back and time and trace these Pre-Hispanic civilizations. When you’re in Mexico City, you will be in the old Tenochtitlan. This was what Mexico City was called prior to the Spaniards’ arrival. It was also the center of the Aztec Empire! It’s mind-blowing to know that you are in the land of some of the most interesting ancient civilizations!

3. Natural wonders – this is a piggyback to point number two. Chichen Itzá, Teotihuacan, Monte Albán, Palenque, etc. Some of these are considered to be the great wonders of the world. Another natural wonder is a cenote. Cenotes, which are scattered in the Yucatan Peninsula, are natural sinkholes in caves. They offer a natural dip in an underground lagoon, where the visitor is soon congregated by minnows and other small fish. I visited one near Merida, and it was definitely a trip highlight!

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Cenote

4. It won’t break your bank – Mexico is cheap compared to other places out there. You can easily have a plateful of tacos and a beer in a taqueria for six U.S. dollars. And Mexico is a great place to practice your bargaining skills when you visit the local markets. They are also optimal for authentic souvenirs. In short, a trip to Mexico will definitely be easy on your wallet!

5. Friendly locals – despite what you may have heard, Mexicans are really friendly, and they really want tourists to visit their country. They are fully aware of the negative narrative going around. I struck up interesting conversations with a few locals (it helped that I’m fluent in Spanish), and I found them to be helpful.

A few helpful tips to Mexican travel:
1. Brush up on your Spanish – this will make your trip more enjoyable, and it is a must if you visit Mexico City, or CDMX as it is colloquially referred to.
2. Include Mexico City – it’s not as bad as P.R. makes it look out to be. With great restaurants, and a chance to discover Aztec history, this city should not be excluded. It was my favorite place, and IMHO, no visit to the country would be complete without CDMX.

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Mexico City

3. Download Uber – taxi drivers have a negative reputation in CDMX, and Uber is a safer, more reliable way of getting around this colossal city. I used it to get to the city from the airport. Just know some basic Spanish, as most Uber drivers don’t speak English.
4. Invest in a money pouch/belt – do not carry your wallet in your back pocket for obvious reasons. It’s better to have your money and passport inconspicuously stored.
5. Buy a SIM card – don’t expect reliable WIFI here. A SIM card means you will always have reliable WIFI. They are inexpensive and the data included will last you your entire trip (just don’t stream videos).
6. Travel in an organized tour – not comfortable traveling alone? No problem. I advocate investing in an organized tour, such as G Adventures. This way, you will be traveling in numbers with someone who knows the country inside and out.

So, I hope you are now more convinced about Mexico. If you’re still not, that’s okay too. Happy traveling!

Categories: My Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Weekend Writing Warriors – A horrific sight in the chamber

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Welcome to another day of Weekend Writing Warriors .  The rules are simple: post 8 sentences from any work onto your blog before Sunday morning, and comment on other participants eight, so YOU will eventually receive comments.

I’m also participating in Snippet Sunday. I’m sharing more snippets from my short story, Barbecued. We continue from last week’s 8, where Melissa tries to think of a way out when she and her sister are greeted with a surprise. Many thanks to those who commented on my last snippet, and hope to see your comments this week.

Here’s the eight:

 Letting out a shriek from the burning sensation, I frantically rocked my eyes at the walls that confined us, hoping to find some way out of here. The constant hopping drained me, as I felt the bottoms of my feet melt. I heard a loud hissing sound coming from the ground, as Ashley slapped my arm and cried, “Melissa, look!!”

  I quickly turned to see her bulging eyes and pallid face, while pointing to an egg sizzling on the floor by her feet. We gaped in horror at the egg searing on the scorching grid, and I felt tremors in my hands at the sight of white smoke rising off the charred edges. Raising my head, I saw Emily rubbing her palms as she licked her lips. I gazed at the dazzling floor directly under me, and I knew our feet couldn’t take another minute of this blazing heat as I leapt faster. Glancing at the wall behind me, I gasped as I spotted something that could save us.  

 

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Blurb: Melissa and Ashley are watching TV while relaxing on a couch at a country house, rented by their parents. Suddenly it spins them around, dumping them into an empty chamber with steel walls. They are greeted by a sadistic woman and her two daughters, watching them through a skylight in the ceiling (I’ve edited the ages of the daughters; they’re in their early twenties). The woman proceeds to give Mel and Ashley a hot foot by flipping a power switch which super heats the floor in the room (the floor is metallic and has heating elements). Since the girls were inside the house, they are in their bare feet. The girls leap and jump as the heat mounts, as the woman watches them dance.

* I took the photo of the frying egg one morning. It’s not exactly like the one in the snippet, but you get the idea. Thought it would be a nice touch.

Next week we’ll see what Melissa has spotted and if it can actually save them. I won’t have as much time to comment on other snippets today, but I really appreciate your helpful comments. I’ll do my best to visit everyone’s eight. Click on the link above for the official list of participating authors. Have a wonderful weekend!

#8Sunday

Categories: Weekend Writing Warriors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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