class bus with air conditioning, movies and adjustable
seats make for a comfortable ride.
isthmus of Tehuantepec is
the shortest distance
between the Gulf of Mexico
and the Pacific Ocean, and prior to the opening of the
Panama Canal, was a major shipping
route known simply as the Tehuantepec Route.
its name from
language tecuani-tepec meaning 'jaguar hill.'
isthmus itself at its narrowest point is about a 125
mile stretch that includes four states of Mexico:
Veracruz, Oaxaca, Tabasco and Chiapas.
North American tectonic plate lies across this isthmus,
and geographically divides North America from Central
transport in Tehuantepec.
noisy town is full of crowded streets and tiny walkways.
Even the insides of the buildings are tight and crowded
with 'stuff.' People, however are friendly.
were going to try out this local means of taxi transport
- the first of its kind that we have seen in Mexico -
but prices were not cheap. Some taxis offered canvas covering
from the sun, others didn't. Standing in the back, you
hold onto the rails of this 3-wheeled vehicle, with your
purchased items on the floor. Prices ranged from 70 -
100 Pesos for 1/2 an hour.
The tropical Toucan
lives in Southern Mexico, both Central and South
America, and the Caribbean region.
The colorful, giant
which in some large species measure more than half the
length of the body, is the distinctive characteristic of
Taking a break from the sun in the Central Plaza.
Native population is mostly comprised of the indigenous
Zapotecs. The women in this tribe are the traders
in town and are known for
their colorful dresses, assertive personalities, and
relatively equal relations with men. Tehuanas are
known all over Mexico to be strong, stately and
colorful murals are all over Mexico usually depicting
phases of their colorful and, oftentimes, violent
history. Favorite symbols are suns, phases of the moon
and the magical, mystical talents of women.
usual, we head to the market that evening for some local
cuisine. These aluminum tubs are filled with tamales and
other food offerings. In the center of the photo you can
see the tamales wrapped in corn husks tied at both ends.
How the tamale is wrapped reflects the customs of each
Unwrapped, the tamale is presented on a plate with a
special red salsa. They are remarkably delicious, and
can be filled with pork, chicken, beef or even a sweet
fruit. But note: these are not a diet choice!
is an entirely different tamale style all together.
Wrapped and either cooked or smoked in banana leaves,
this tamale uses the leaves of the legume, chipilin,
The leaves are high in
calcium, and beta carotene. They can be boiled and
served green, dried and used as an herb, or added to
these tamale doughs for color and
are seen all over Mexico, but surprisingly, they could
be of Chinese origin. Marco Polo discovered the Chinese
making images of cows, oxen or buffaloes, covered with
colored paper and decorated. These hollowed figures were
knocked hard with sticks and when they broke open, seeds
spilled forth. The remains of these figures were burned,
and the Chinese people gathered the ashes for good luck
throughout the year.
the 14th century, this custom passed through Europe and
on into Spain. And while Spanish missionaries brought
this practice to North America in the 16th century,
Aztecs already had a similar tradition. They celebrated
the birthday of the Aztec god of war in a corresponding
manner, hitting a decorated clay pot filled with
treasures, and when broken, the treasures landed at the
foot of the god's image as an offering.
Today, pinatas are used at birthday parties, any sort of
fiesta and during Christmas time.
individual vendor can transport her goods just about
anywhere and set up shop. Vendors such as these are
independent, but often their carts are filled up with
similar items. Selling mostly sweets, she also offers
trinkets and cigarettes.
Marcos Church, painted all white and lit up at evening
time, makes a captivating photo. Plaza Civica is in
front of this church but was lacking the traditional
gazebo and gardens.
On our way home
from our evening out, there was a clown doing his
schtick in front of a large gathering. Curious, we try
to find an opening in the crowd to see what he’s up to.
Immediately recognized as foreigners, the clown calls
out to us in Spanish: Hey you new Gringos in town!
and approaches Billy.
I think to
myself : Do either of them know what they are getting
Back and forth they go, joke after joke, and at one
point the clown dramatically pulls out a whip. Before he
can think twice, Billy just turns around and points to
his behind, giving him a better shot. The people roar
with good cheer!
Not yet finished
with the stage drama, the clown asks Billy
in Spanish if he likes Mexican food. “Si” says
Billy. Do you like Mexican Tequilla? “Si,”
says Billy. Then loudly and looking around at the crowd:
Do you like the Mexican Women? “Si,” says
Billy, but then he goes “SSSHHHH!! My wife is over
which point I oblige by waving and smiling to everyone…
another evening we attended a free concert featuring the
famous Latin Jazz pianist, Raul di Blasio.
An undeniable showman, di Blasio put on the best
performance we have seen in Latin America to date. Both
his music and manner were passionate, and he had an
obvious rapport with his audience who gave him gifts
which he displayed proudly.
There were songs from Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico,
spectacular Tango dancers, a tenor opera singer and a
dozen or more mariachis who were dazzling. Dancing and
cajoling his audience, he told both jokes and stories,
and graciously came out for more than 3 encores.
Our seats were
near the stage which is behind the white video board in
the left of this photo. You can see San Marcos Church in
the right of this photo.
If you have
never heard di Blasio on his piano, treat yourself by
it get any better than this?
next stop is San Cristobal de las Casas, an ethereal
city positioned in the highlands of Chiapas.