Mexico

Calaveras de Azucar: Sugar Skulls and the Day of the Dead — By Lydian Shipp
MexicoNorth AmericaTips

Calaveras de Azucar: Sugar Skulls and the Day of the Dead — By Lydian Shipp

Sugar skulls (Calaveras de Azucar) are used to entice the dead to visit the living during Dia de los Muertos in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Sugar is molded into the shape of a skull and then decorated into creative designs. Many of the designs have symbolic meaning. For example, candles within the hollowed out eyes mean remembrance. Cobwebs symbolize death while flowers within the sugar skull ...
Cempasuchil: Marigolds and the Day of the Dead — By Lydian Shipp
MexicoNorth AmericaTips

Cempasuchil: Marigolds and the Day of the Dead — By Lydian Shipp

According to a variety of different pagan and occult belief systems, flowers contain etheric energies that beings on other planes can use for energy. Aztecs used marigolds for this purpose in their July and August ceremonies that celebrated dead loved ones. Westerners send flowers (usually without thinking about why) when someone passes and the flowers are typically stacked around the loved one during ...
Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Guanajuato, Mexico: Part II — By Jennifer Shipp
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTrips

Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Guanajuato, Mexico: Part II — By Jennifer Shipp

Writing about traditions that are deeply ingrained in a culture is difficult in part because none of the participants in the tradition really knows or remembers where it originally really came from or why they do what they do to celebrate it. The meaning of the holiday, the holiness, in a sense, becomes lost underneath all the ritual and requirements of the festivities.But still, there's comfort in ...
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Guanajuato, Mexico: Part I — By Jennifer Shipp
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTrips

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Guanajuato, Mexico: Part I — By Jennifer Shipp

Since we arrived here a week ago, there have been booths and tiendas set up with sugar skulls. Mexico is where Dia de los Muertos originated and so the festivities and traditions surrounding the event still supercede the goings-on of El Cervantino (a festival celebrating Miguel Cervantes and art in general) and the arrival of the Carrera Panamericana cars.Dia de Muertos takes place over the course of ...
Carrera Panamericana 2013 — By Jennifer Shipp
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTipsTripsUncategorized

Carrera Panamericana 2013 — By Jennifer Shipp

This is one of the most famous and craziest road racing events in the world. For seven days every year, people drive their cars at break-neck speeds on public roads in Mexico.The Carrera Panamericana is a road rally that passed through Guanajuato in late October when we were there in 2013. It was originally a road race began in 1950 to celebrate the completion of the Pan American Highway in Mexico. It ...
Estoy Perdida: Lost in Guanajuato — By Jennifer Shipp
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTrips

Estoy Perdida: Lost in Guanajuato — By Jennifer Shipp

“The streets are serpentine.” Hugh, our taxi driver told us as we stood outside the hotel on our way to the bus station. I’d heard that the city was rather like a labyrinth, but I doubted it could be worse than the medina in Fez. I’d looked at a few maps, but I just didn’t think that we’d struggle finding our way around.And I tend to enjoy being lost anyway. I find the coolest thing when I have no idea ...
Spending Time with Jesus or the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato? You Decide… — By Jennifer Shipp
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTrips

Spending Time with Jesus or the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato? You Decide… — By Jennifer Shipp

Guanajuato, (also known by locals as GTO)  was overflowing with people when we arrived here on October 23rd. I had read in numerous places that it would be nearly impossible to find a hotel room during El Cervantino in Guanajuato, but luckily, we hadn’t booked a hotel. We were in a vacation rental, up a meandering staircase just a short distance from the city center.Today is the last day of the Festival ...
Loitering Dogs, Criminals, and Lovers Deter Earnest Jogger from Exercise Routine — By Jennifer Shipp
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTrips

Loitering Dogs, Criminals, and Lovers Deter Earnest Jogger from Exercise Routine — By Jennifer Shipp

Although the stairs leading up to the front door of our vacation rental are a little obnoxious (there are 100-150 of them), I was pleased that I wouldn't have trouble finding a place to work-out while we were in Guanajuato. At home, I normally jog at least 5 days of week and do a few supplementary activities to keep myself fit, but when we travel, I never know what kind of space or work-out facilities will ...
The Laundry Lady vs. My Mexican Washing Machine — By Jennifer Shipp
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTrips

The Laundry Lady vs. My Mexican Washing Machine — By Jennifer Shipp

I was so pleased when I realized there was a washing machine at our Guanajuato vacation rental. In many parts of the world, the only way to do your laundry is to send it away or wash it in the sink. Having a washing machine would make the task of laundry into a no-brainer. I’d just stick our clothes in the wash when we got there and Voila! They would be clean.

But washing machines in ...
Guanajuato, Mexico: Thoreau-Style Walk on Day One
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTrips

Guanajuato, Mexico: Thoreau-Style Walk on Day One

At Denver International Airport, before boarding the plane from Denver to Los Angeles, I downloaded a Henry David Thoreau book called Walking. I figured a philosophical slant on things would help keep me balanced. Also, I thought that perhaps reading about walking would help me cope more effectively with being folded up into tight spaces for the ensuing two days (or it would have the opposite effect on me…I ...
Getting to Guanajuato, Mexico — By Jennifer Shipp
GuanajuatoMexicoNorth AmericaTrips

Getting to Guanajuato, Mexico — By Jennifer Shipp

Normally, I really enjoy the public transportation when we travel. Public transportation is, in my opinion, the perfect mix of people and sights. But, there's a limit to my cheery outlook on being in close quarters and completely out of control of my destiny. By the end of three 12 hour days straight of planes, buses, and taxis, I was definitely ready to find a place to call home and stop lugging our ...
My Birthday Inundation and Subsequent Salvation — By Jennifer Shipp
HotelMexicoNorth AmericaYucatan

My Birthday Inundation and Subsequent Salvation — By Jennifer Shipp

My birthday was roughly three days after our computers, passports, credit cards, and luggage were stolen. I don’t cling to high birthday expectations, but birthdays can add insult to injury when injuries are in the forecast. This January 14th though, I felt confident that we had lived through the worst of it having survived a robbery, a highway encounter with Mexico’s police, and losing the brakes on our ...
MexicoNorth AmericaYucatan

The San Francisco Supermarket Incident — By Jennifer Shipp

After having been despoiled of our computers, passports, credit cards, and some of our luggage last week, I’ve been forced to sit in a tiny hotel room to contemplate the situation in greater depth. I have limited access to the Internet, a few books, and my thoughts to keep me company. Once again, on this trip, I’ve been cast into Technology Time-Out. In the silent moments, I’ve spent some time thinking ...
Hairy Beans: Today’s One Ingredient Meal — By Jennifer Shipp
MexicoNorth AmericaTripsYucatan

Hairy Beans: Today’s One Ingredient Meal — By Jennifer Shipp

John is allergic to beef, so we were vegetarians for two or three years before John came down with a sinus infection that wouldn’t go away and our acupuncturist recommended that we at least include chicken broth in our diet. After years of not eating flesh, the idea of it was repulsive, but over time, we became vegetarian-chicken-eaters instead of just vegetarians. Vegetarianism is  like a religion. If I ...
Our Highway Robbery and Near Death Experience — By Jennifer Shipp
MexicoNorth AmericaTripsYucatan

Our Highway Robbery and Near Death Experience — By Jennifer Shipp

Several times on our way traveling south out of Merida, we had passed the police, stationed under an overpass stopping cars traveling back and forth. Often, we too, had been stopped, questioned briefly and then told to pasa or continua.In the Yucatan, the police do practically nothing. They drive around with their lights on all the time instead of turning them on when they’re chasing someone.  Four or ...
Spit Soup and Poop Crackers in the Yucatan — By Jennifer Shipp
MexicoNorth AmericaTripsYucatan

Spit Soup and Poop Crackers in the Yucatan — By Jennifer Shipp

On Wednesday we were robbed. We had to rent a car to cart around our things while we were getting new passports and of course the car we ended up with was the same P.O.S. Chevy that we had stuffed ourselves into over the weekend to go visit the family that had lost everything in a fire in Yaxachen. As we sat in a traffic jam in downtown Merida, stuffed into that tiny car again while trying in vain to find ...
Robbed and Violated by Chu Chi Loco and the Have Nots — By Jennifer Shipp
MexicoNorth AmericaTripsYucatan

Robbed and Violated by Chu Chi Loco and the Have Nots — By Jennifer Shipp

I learned a lot of new Spanish words out of necessity over the past three days while talking with the Mexican police, neighbors, and the people at the U.S. consulate. I haven’t told very many people  at home about the robbery yet because, once again I am without an Internet connection, or rather, this time, a computer. Thus, my thoughts about the whole ordeal have been suspended. They are in purgatory. ...
Ruined Part II: In Search of a Family in Yaxachen — By Jennifer Shipp
MexicoNorth AmericaTripsYucatan

Ruined Part II: In Search of a Family in Yaxachen — By Jennifer Shipp

We had driven for three hours to try to find the Cauich family whose house had burned down while they were out on a posada in Yaxachen, Yucatan. We had decided to give them some money, roughly the amount we would spend on a fun weekend “out” in the United States since our trip to the destination was both entertaining as well as educational. The newspaper article that inspired the trip didn’t show “before” ...
Ruined Part I: In Search of a Family in Yaxachen — By Jennifer Shipp
MexicoNorth AmericaTripsYucatan

Ruined Part I: In Search of a Family in Yaxachen — By Jennifer Shipp



We’ve seen Chichen Itza and Uxmal. We’ve even been to Palenque. We saw so many ruins in the Yucatan last year that it’s hard to remember which one was which.  Every morning we go jogging along the beach in Progreso. We’ve had plenty of sun and sand. We were going to go get SCUBA certified until Lydian caught an awful cold on this trip. So last weekend we had to be creative to come up ...
First World Bodies: Third World Furnishings in the Yucatan — By Jennifer Shipp
HotelMexicoNorth AmericaYucatan

First World Bodies: Third World Furnishings in the Yucatan — By Jennifer Shipp

I bought an air mattress before we left on this trip to Mexico, thinking that we were actually going to Guatemala. With the memory of Costa Rica’s various discomforts still fresh in my mind, I decided to scour the Denver REI for air furniture, hoping to find something that would cushion our delicate first-world bodies for the upcoming month in yet another third world country.I ended up in the camping ...
Bruised Banana