Eduardo's Final Post
Annnnnndddddddd we're back. It feels off. Not right. I got used to waking up not quite remembering what city I was in. Eating out (in a good way) 2-3 times a day. Going to museums or other sight-seeing adventures. And doing all of this by foot, for the most part. Being back got me behind the wheel again in this cold ass weather. And as a result less walking lol.
I brought up the courage to finally put away my four pairs of shorts I would wear in Mexico. That was hard.
Although I didn't spend my entire vacation with family, I really miss my aunt's, cousin's and uncle's. I'm lucky to have such loving and caring family in various parts of Mexico.
Being back is good, but after two months exploring Mexico with Moni, life just isn't as exciting as it was in Mexico. I really had the trip of a lifetime, I'm excited to share my story with my future kids 😁
Final Post: And now we are home.
We’ve now been home for exactly 3 weeks. These three weeks have been difficult— for me at least (Moni). It took me this long to gather the courage to finish this journi, admitting and coming to terms with the fact that our trip is over. I think living out of a backpack, waking up in a new city every few days, watching downloaded episodes of our favorite shows on buses, and wondering what kind of adventure the day would hold became normal to me. This normal was thrilling, exciting, but also exhausting. My new normal includes living at our parents, working to finish grad school, but also seeing the people that really do fulfill our lives in ways that backpacking through Mexico couldn’t. This trip to Mexico is only the beginning of my adventures with Eduardo. We’re a travel dream team and are already planning our next trip! Until next time, journi.
31 October 2017
As I woke up from my nap on the airplane, I looked out at our bird’s eye view of Chicago. We were on our way home after being gone for two months. Eddie squeezed my hand as tears rolled down my face. Our trip had come to an end— in that moment I was so proud of us, happy that we had made this beautiful trip happen, and above all fueled by all of the incredible experiences that came along with traveling Mexico together.
The plane ride back home was bitter sweet. While I was happy to see my family and friends again, I was sad that our adventure had come to an end. On a side note, I want to make a correction on our ending in Mexico: we visited the Royalton Riviiera Cancun, NOT Cancun lol. While my first resort experience was fun, it's not the Mexico I came to know during my two month stay. Museums, dive bars, bomb ass regional dishes and 15000 step days were sorely missed!
After an all-inclusive extravaganza Eddie was the struggle bus as we prepared to board the plane.
28 October 2017
The end of our trip couldn't have been more special: our great friends Jon and Liz got married. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding on the beach. Truly one for the books!
We stayed at an all-inclusive hotel, it was wild, for lack of better words. From all the food to all the booze, we definitely got our money's worth with great company.
27 October 2017
Our stay at Villa Pescadores was absolutely breathtaking. We had our own cabaña in the sand , just steps away from the beach! So beautiful and relaxing!
26 October 2017
Right after our visit to Cobá we hopped on a small lancha to go snorkling. We saw amazing coral and beautiful fish! Later we learned that our tour guides were high AF.. So that was kinda messed up. But we all made it back to shore ok!
On our second day in Tulum we decided to take a convi about 40 minutes out to visit the Mayan city of Cobá. We were able to rent bikes and tour the beautifully kept ruins all over the city. We had an excellent tour guide who answered all our questions and told us that the Spanish never reached the city-- we thought that was really interesting. Of course, Moni's dad got nervous going up the tallest prymyd and had to make his way back down- phew! What a great experience!
25 October 2017
Special guests arrived to Tulum!!! Moni's parents and her sister Adri!!
24 October 2017
We didn't let the rain in Bacalar put a damper on our fun. On our last night we got a 6 pack, some of our favorite chips from México (y'all know how much Eddie and I love chips), and jammed out to our Mexican Bangers playlist. We enjoyed some time on the swings at the hotel and got some late night tacos and a marquesita to top it off!
23 October 2017
Since we arrived to Bacalar it hasn't stopped raining. Yesterday we were supposed to take a boat tour para conocer la laguna but we decided to cancel because of the rain. Looking ahead at the weather forecast we knew that if we wanted to see the laguna, we'd have to do this tour rain or shine today... and rain is what we got! It was pouring for the majority of our boat ride but out captain was funny and took us to some of the most beautiful, blue, clear water we've ever seen. We stopped at this part of the lake where you can exfoliate your skin with the sand-- it felt like mud, but smelled like rotten eggs lmao. We ended the afternoon with some relaxing time on some kayaks. Funny that as I write this I'm realizing that it hasn't rained for the past 2 hours jaja
21 October 2017
Cochinito, where have you been all our lives? The pork of Valladolid, Yucatan was so tasty. We ate a ton of red meat in our 3.5 day stay at Valladolid, but we don't regret it one bit. Food in general across the different cities/states of México has been one of my favorite parts of this trip. Trying different regional dishes has had my stomach very happy.
Fun fact: Valladolid actually specializes in making their own kind of chorizo they call longaniza. We had it with huevos for breakfast (not pictured ) and it was 😋😋😋
20 October 2017
Casa de los Venados in Valladolid is a non traditional museum that was fun to visit. It's a massive home owned by White folks from Chicago filled with Mexican folk art. Like every room has so much beautiful, colorful art. The money collected from the tours actually goes to vharities in valladolid, so that was pretty cool. Our tour guide is also very knowledgeable, we learned a ton from him!
19 October 2017
What a day! We got a late start to our day-- we just couldn't shake off how tired we were and took a 2 hour nap AFTER BREAKFAST lol anyway, once we got on with our day we hopped into a taxi and made our way through the pouring rain to the Mayan city of Ek'Balam. We toured the beautiful remains of the Mayan city-- learned that the Mayas used stones of collapsed buildings to build new ones-- and climbed the tall palace to see an incredible view of the city. We then made our way to cenote X'Canche, in the same zona arqueológica, that's where things got interesting... We arrived to the beautiful waterhole and learned that we were about to jump into a pool of water that was 30 meters deep! Upon closer look, Mónica noticed there were pretty big black fish swimming around... they were cat fish! Between Moni's fear of swimming around with animals in close proximity and Eddie's fear of heights and inability to swim, we only spent about 10 minutes in the water 😂😂😂
18 October 2017
-Piloncillo was brought to México by the Spaniards
-The Mexican embroidered shirts were largely worn by Mestizas-- at the time they were wealthy and seen as "above" indigenous women/people.
-i have no idea who my ancestors are
-Mayas are alive and thriving. 👌🏼
A few (among the many) facts that stood out to us about the Mayas:
-The Mayan empire was vast and spread across the southern region of Mexico & Guatemala.
-Mayan architecture differed across regions.
-The reshaping of baby's heads at birth occurred, they were sometimes manipulated to look like cone heads.
-If you lost in a Mayan ball game, you were sacrificed & killed. War captives usually played.
-It took more than 150 years for the Spaniards to conquer the Mayan empire.
17 October 2017
Our Airbnb wasn't the best (it was sooo loud) and the weather didn't help either (rained the first night), but we made the most out of another short trip. The museums were fun, especially the Museo Regional de Anthropologia, which had an exhibit on the importance of flowers in Mexican culture throughout history.
La Flor exhibit. In Merida this museum featured an amazing exhibit on the significance of la flor in Mexican culture throughout history-- pre-hispanic, colonization, and today. It was beautiful and so well put together!
16 October 2017
Upon arriving to Mérida, we had a close encounter with a narcotics dog! I was getting off the bus, headed to claim our luggage. As I got off, I noticed a nice German Shepard with a cop. As I walked to the side of the bus, homie followed me. All I was carrying was our dirty clothes, which must have smelled some type of way for him to follow me. The cop peppered me with questions, and asked if I had mota! I told him nah bruh. Then Moni got off the bus and the dog followed her too (SN: the cop was staring at Moni and she thought he was checking her out)! That prompted the cop to take us to the side and question us and had the dog sniff all of our stuff. Everything turned out ok and he let us go, luckily we didn't have to open our luggage because it's a pain to close it since it's packed to the rims!
Me: We must smell like mota from somewhere we sat
Eddie: Nah, It's that our dirty clothes smell like nalgas.
Moni: yea but those dogs are trained to smell mota not nalgas 😂😭😂😭
15 October 2017
We were only there for 1.5 days, but Campeche was a blast! Campeche is a port city that was built inside walls to protect against pirate attacks. The two walls still stand today, Puerta del Mar y Puerta de la Tierra. Walking along the walls gave us great views of the city, there were still canons in place too! For a history nerd like myself (Eddie), Campeche was spectacular.
13 October 2017
We hopped on the early bus out of Villahermosa (which was 45 min late), dropped our bags off at our hotel, quickly maxed on tacos from a nearby puesto and headed out to la zona arqueológica de Palenque to see the beautiful Mayan city of Palenque. It was incredible! We learned so much. One of the coolest parts of the ruins is that one of them is a palacio. It was huge! We walked around the palacio imagining all the wonders that took place within the walls-- the celebrations, the policy making, discussion of war, and the secrets.
The park is very big and has a path to more ruins located near waterfalls-- water source of the Maya's. We learned more about their bathhouses and hot stone baths. We arrived to a museum where we saw the various artifacts that were excavated from the ruins over the years, preserved and showcased for us to see. This is where we learned that we had only completed half the park! We were hot as hell and getting hungry, and decided the other half es pa la proxima!
12 October 2017
So where have we been since Villahermosa?!?!
Palenque for 21 hours, Campeche for 1.5 days, and Mérida for another 1.5 days. By the time we got to Mérida we had been in 4 cities in one week and were completely exhausted!!! We didn't have any time to post in our journey and very limited Wi-Fi. So many wonderful experiences to share though!
Villahermosa, Tabasco was a short trip (1.5 days) but we made the most of it. We visited a couple of museums that taught us a lot about Villahermosa and Tabasco's unique geographic profile. We also learned about the ancient indigenous civilizations of the region. Museo La Venta is an outdoor museum with a zoo. The animals in the zoo we visited were beautiful, the black panther welcomed us in an interesting way, he seemed to cough but it sounded like an odd roar. Moni went running away as the black panther greeted us 🤣🤣🤣 After la Venta, we hit up the museum of Anthropology, which happened to be founded by the same dude who created la Venta! We walked a lot and poor Eddie got tore up by mosquitos :(
11 October 2017
Some of us are more ready than others to begin our "4 cities in one week" marathon!!! (Eddie has a hangover from our anniversary shenanigans!)
10 October 2017
I'm not sure how we stumbled across this amazing view (Eddie said it was a surprise and then later admitted he couldn't find the original surprise location hahaha), but it was a great site and beautiful end to our wonderful anniversary celebration in San Cristobal. We (nearly drunkenly) climbed up hundreds of stairs to see the lights of San Cristobal under the night sky.
Best anniversary dinner ever! We enjoyed a 4 course meal at Tierra y Cielo. We began our dinner with a shot of Posh, a traditional maiz-based liquor of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. As a botana, we were served 3 different kinds of tostadas (from a local coop of indigenous mujeres) and delicious salsas. Then we got a tamal de pollo y chipilin (a yierba from here). After that, we ordered some sort of cheese, I can't remember the name, but it was so goooood!! We ate it with tortillas. Our main course was the most delicious mole we've ever had (better than my own y tambien de mi suegra!). For dessert the chef specially made us a chocolate tart with a special note on the plate. In addition to those courses, the chef sent us little taquitos (one savory, one sweet) in between courses as a "welcome" and "thank you" gift. We also enjoyed some amazing wine with this meal. The food and service was unforgettable!!!
Celebrating 9 years of love at Viña de Bacco 😍😘
After breakfast, Eddie and I walked across town and up the cerro to la Iglesia de Guadalupe. This beautiful church is dedicated to nuestra virgen morena. We walked around the church, admiring it's beauty and reflected on religion, colonization, and indigenous people who practice Catholicism. As we sat in the pews, soaking in the good energy and praying to la virgen we heard the prayers of indigenous people all around us, in their native dialect. It was really an interesting experience and made us think a lot about our own spirituality and the role of Catholicism and la Virgen in our lives.
Showers in México have been quite an experience. I'll never take good water pressure and pleasant water temperature for granted ever again. My showers in Mexico, however, remind me of how wasteful we are with water back home. I've gotten used to quick showers that get right to the point. Except the shower I took at our air bnb in San Cristobal-- that hot water and massaging shower head were too good pass up. Even decided to shave my legs 😂
9 October 2017
CACAO!!!! While in San Cristobal de Las Casas we've learned so much about Cacao. We did a tasting/gustacion and visited el museo de Cacao. We got to taste semillas de Cacao, pastas de Cacao, and lots of yummy drinks! So delicious!
8 October 2017
On our first night in San Cristobal de las Casas Moni and I stumbled upon a small mezcaleria with some craft beer as well. The bartender was very knowledgeable and provided great insight on the different mezcales we were tasting. We learned how to properly drink mezcal, and he hooked it up with some free drinks. The mezcal we drank was super artesanal-- like not even labeled for sale! One of Moni's favorite mezcales was uno de aguamiel 😋😋😋 We also two good craft beers 🍻
7 October 2017
Chiapa de Corzo was a nice, quiet town. Our binge shopping of artesanias started there. The town had great food and we stayed at a nice hotel. The plaza at night was unique, kids were speeding on their little cars and there was a clown telling jokes. There wasn't an ounce of liquor in sight. The paleteria was playing some dope reggaeton, we thought it was a bar!
The highlight of Chiapa de Corzo was el Cañón del Sumidero. Pictures don't so it any justice, at all. Such a mesmerizing, therapeutic experience. We got to see wildlife like crocodiles, monkeys, and beautiful birds while on a fun boat ride! We also got to buy micheladas from these two men on a boat who called their business "el Oxxo Aquatico"-- they sold beer/miches, sabritas, water, etc. This 2 hour trip along the river was unforgettable!
6 October 2017
Before leaving Sayulita we had to get an empanada de mole for the road! These empanadas were the shiznit! We loved them so much we bought some every day we were there-- carne con papas, pollo con mole, and cajeta! 😋
4 October 2017
Went to dinner and Moni ordered enchiladas while Eddie ordered tostadas. Guess what Mexicanos in Sayulita put on their tostadas?! You guessed it, the same thing Mexicanos all over the country and Chicanos in the US do-- FRIJOLES!! Now, guess who didn't get to enjoy her enchiladas? 😲😭😆
3 October 2017
Talk about condiments! We had some delicious tacos de camarón and mahi mahi to compliment these salsas and other toppings at El Itacate. 😋
Sayulita, Nayarit is a very small beach town that has been a joy so far. It doesn't boast a ton of anthros and bars, but more than makes up for it with a great laid back feel, good vibes and a beautiful beach.
Day 1 in this small beach town in Nayarit. Everything is chill and there are surfers everywhere. Some White folks but not overwhelming. Feels like everyone is here to enjoy the beach (except for those who still gotta hustle on the beach).
We decided to take the one hour public bus to Sayulita. 😂😰😷😩
2 October 2017
Moni and I took advantage of an amazing tour offering that took us snorkeling, kayaking and to a secluded beach for only 1400 pesos. The tour also included open bar and lunch. It was so much fun! The views were amazing, and it was nice to pretty much have a small beach to ourselves.
Something I never want to forget: Watching Eddie try to maneuver a kayak 😂😂😂
1 October 2017
The sunsets in Puerto Vallarta are breathtaking. Even walking to a taqueria (that ended up being closed) while hangry doesn't seem that bad when you're walking down the malecón, next to this.
A beautiful evening in Puerto Vallarta.
Eddie and I danced the night away in the jardín. It was so beautiful to see so many mexicanos enjoying the the night, dancing to cumbia and tamborazos. In addition to a DJ there were puestos of food surrounding the edges of the kiosko! We ate declious tacos al pastor, un tamal oaxaqueño, and churros con chocolate y cajeta. It was such a fun, memorable night.
Eddie- ima let Moni finish, but an unidentified animal took a shit on her 🤣🤣🤣💩💩💩
30 September 2017
Someone is mad that we decided to take the cheaper bus to Puerto Vallarta 😂 I'd have to agree this old school Primera Plus bus is pretty tight compared to the luxury ETN buses we've gotten to travel on.
28 September 2017
Tejuino is a Maíz based drink that I've only ever had in GDL. I love it and I think Eddie did too!
Our day en el centro historico de GDL began with a long ass walk. We estimated the walk from our airbnb to the cathedral to be about 30 min... it took us an hour. Once we got there Squiddy was hangry, so we had to eat as soon as we got there. We ate at La Chata-- I give it a 7/10. After that we toured el Palacio del Gobierno which included a new museum of the colonial history of GDL. I snuck into an off limits room and Eddie got nervous we'd get kicked out. After that we walked to mercado San Juan de Dios. It was packed and overwhelming so we decided to check out the galeria de jollas instead. We finally made our way to el Museo Cabañas, where we learned more about the sociopolitical art of Jose Clemente Orozco.
27 September 2017
7 years ago, GDL was my home. In my time here, Marisol (director of the children's shelter I volunteered at) was like a tía to me. She fed me, gave me rides, genuinely took care of me. She made me feel like I was part of her family. Today she met Eddie, mi esposo, and was so thrilled to have us in her home! And Lucia, her daughter was just 7 years old the last time I saw her! Now she's a tall, beautiful young woman. Time flies!
Tortas Ahogadas Las Famosas. We tried these for the first time today and they were so 🔥🔥🔥. We found out later that this is a chain, but we weren't mad lol we had already decided that we were gonna do a comparative study of tortas ahogadas de GDL. Así que, on to the next 🤷👌🏼😋
26 September 2017
Treated ourselves to a Chivas game in GDL! Mexican game snacks are the shit. Chivas lost, but the other team made a bad ass goal, una Chilena! We had to give props where it was due. Eddie was so excited he spilled his michelada all over himself 😂
25 September 2017
Mi querida GDL, I've missed you.
22 September 2017
Chintillo saved the day
After nearly five hours, two bus rides and getting dropped off at the wrong hotel, we finally arrived to Tolantongo (aka paradise on earth). The problem was, the hotel only accepted cash! We had enough for one night, but not for two like we wanted. I was gonna have to take the 730 am bus from Tolantongo to Ixmiquilpan, a little over an hour, find an atm, then take back a bus that would arrive at noon back to Tolantongo. But because of the earthquake, my cousin Jacinto didn't have to work until Saturday night. I told his ass to make the three hour drive to join us, and to also bring me cash. He came through, and we had an amazing time together. Chintillo saved the day, he's the real MVP.
Things that Eddie left out: I had a meltdown upon arrival to Tolantongo. I blame the susto of the earthquake and the disappointment of possibly only being able to stay less than 24 hours at the hotel. On another note, Chintillo brought his GF... this caused mad drama back home.
21 September 2017
Tolantongo was a romantic paradise and a place perfect for reflection, especially in the days just after the earthquake in México city. Nothing made me (Moni) more happy than seeing Eddie's eyes light up as he peered out at the beautiful view of the cerro. I'm so thankful he is my partner in life and that I get to experience this adventure with him.
15 September 2017
Eddie: Ciudad de México y Estado de México, you were filled with highs and lows. My madrina and cousins welcomed Moni and I with open arms and went above and beyond while hosting us. We're so grateful! They took us sight seeing to the pyramids, a dope event for el grito and constantly fed us delicious food. Unfortunately, tragedy struck the day before we were supposed to leave. A dangerous earthquake wreaked havoc upon central Mexico. Moni, my cousin and I were at el museo Soumaya when the earthquake hit, we felt the massive building shake. It was a surreal, out-of-body experience I never wish upon anybody. We thankfully made it out safe, but we were definitely shook by the experience. So many folks have passed away, it's truly a tragedy. We're so lucky my family and I went unharmed. Nonetheless, it was nice to visit fam, albeit during a horrific time.
14 September 2017
Moni: San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful city, but our taxi driver was right! Way too many White folks. I've never seen U.S. white gentrification take place internationally-- it's just as horrific as what we've seen in Pilsen. Our experience in SMA inspired many conversations about our sociopolitical commitments, being conscious travelers, and being reflective about expectations for an "authentic" Mexico. It also inspired a lot of poetry and free write entries.
Eddie: SMA was way too similar to Pislen. Our taxi driver at SMA broke it down for us, and it was pretty sobering to hear. He said the locals can't afford to eat in the centro historico, they eat at the outskirts of town. White folks are buying property left and right, displacing the locals. Street vendors aren't allowed to sell in the jardines because it affects the touristy restaurants. The one pro was that our taxi driver has been offered $$$ for his home by white folks, but he ain't going ✊💯🤙🇲🇽
The only museum we went too at San Miguel de Allende was el Museo del Juguete. It was a lot of fun to see hand crafted toys on display, the pictures don't do the art enough justice. This was definitely my favorite part of SMA.
13 September 2017
Our taxi driver in Guanajuato said we might not like San Miguel de Allende because "hay muchos gringos por allá" 😂 He must have sensed are distaste for Whipipo
12 September 2017
After several days of eating out and in excess while also drinking, Moni's body said 🙅. She got a slight fever and stomach pain. Luckily for us, Moni packed an awesome first aid kit filled medicine. After some rest, she's ready to fully explore San Miguel de Allende.
Yesterday and today we made sure to hit as many of the museums and tourist sites as we could before heading out to San Miguel de Allende. This included the University of GTO, el callejón del beso, the Diego Rivera museum, el museo del pueblo (which had an awesome loteria exhibit!), and el museo de las momiasa!
11 September 2017
Our first full day in Guanajuato! We explored the city and took the funicalr up to el pipila! Eddie, despite his fear of heights, loved the view!
10 September 2017
Today marked the beginning of our voyage where it's just Moni and I, and it was bitter sweet. To me, México is synonymous with family. I've never been to any part of México without my parents or siblings or cousins. Exploring Guanajuato without family feels strange, but I'm very excited to share the stories of my travel with all my family when I see them again.
Fell for a gringo tourism trap. The food at Los Campos is delicious and we got to try craft beer from the area, but we were quickly reminded of the ways in which colonialism functions-- especially through cultural appropriation and exploitative tourism. This is, however a good time to reflect, and think about the business we choose to support while in México and how to travel consciously. I think we will do away with Google searches and reviews for "best restaurants", etc.
We made it to GTO! I (Moni) came to visit Guanajuato 7 years ago. I fell in love with every bit of it. Eddie and I had already been dating for a while and I knew I wanted to come back and experience the city with him! Truly a dream come true. This is a view from the terrace of our airbnb!
9 September 2017
In SLP we stumbled across a free mezcal fest and Moni tried Pulque (fermented aguamiel) for the first time! She ended up ordering a pulqueada con agua de tuna (another México favorite fruit of hers, 2nd to guayabas!). Eddie tried a delicious IPA from a local brewery in SLP, sparking his search for todas las "microcervezerias" de México.
Fresh bolios, one of Moni's México highlights!
Nuestra visita a SLP era muy rapida-- todavía hay mucho más que ver! One of our favorite things about this city is the breathtaking architecture en el centro historico.
6 September 2017
Wednesday was a chill day after a long night of partying. Moni and I got away just the two of us and got some 🔥 tacos and street botanas. Later we spent time with fam at a cultural event. My cousin was an MC! We stayed for the comedy show and capped off the night with some delicious burgers. The burgers had al pastor, ham, aguacate, lettuce and tomatoes. It's a great combination, the owners of the restaurant are from Monterrey and brought their burger recipe to Charcas!
Moni: Every day in Charcas has been filled with celebration and family. I feel so thankful to be a part of Eduardo's family. We have talked about future trips to Charcas, and looking forward to our children being able to spend time here. 🤗🙌👨👩👧👧🧀
5 September 2017
Exploring la mezcaleria, Laguna Seca.
En el baile con los primos. Danced the night away, drank the night away and had the best tacos ever at 3am. The tacos were so good that Eddie went back at 4am for more, but they were closed. 👌🏼💃🕺
3 September 2017
Spent most of the day en route to charcas. Upon arrival we were treated by Eddie's parents, tios, y abuela. We are so loved. And, Mexican road trip snacks are the shit :P