How to Enjoy Mexico: understand its background first!

Dear Reader,

It’s been almost three since I moved to Mexico and I don’t feel I have fully explained this wonderful country. I wrote several posts on it and it will probably take several chapters to even slightly envision what Mexico is and it’s worth doing so. I want you to feel it as if you were here with me exploring this remarkable land.

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The beautiful and shining Guanajuato town.

It sounds so basic and futile when you think about it, as if by reading the title the imminent thought would be “oh come on, no need for guidelines”. But believe me, there is a science behind the enjoyment of a new city or even country, especially one you hope to survive without stress and melancholy. You might also think that all it takes is to join a tour or simply read about it on a travel guide.

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Learn how to make tacos. It’s fundamental in order to understand how delicious they can be…

Let’s take Mexico as an example. Mexico is a huge country full of colours, culture and above all contradictions. They say that here in Mexico you will find four stories: the one the Government wants you to believe, the one academic institutions want to teach, one that foreigners want to explain. And the last one, the one you have to discover yourself. And this is mine.

Mexcaltitan Restaurant
Cute little restaurant in Mexcaltitán, the Venice of Mexico

Certain beliefs and conceptions of reality characterise some populations more than others, and Mexico recalls images of ancient civilisations, plundering Spanish conquistadores and moustachioed revolucionarios. The many contradictions of this vibrant country lie in its unique history and are deeply reflected in the character and personality of the people. The expansive friendliness of norteños (Mexicans from the northern states) compared to the more defensive and rebellious southern Chiapanecos (people from Chiapas state). Mexicans can be intensely fatalistic, resigned even. And when the mood takes in, they are hedonistic and carefree. A reserved poker face will suddenly give way to astonishing warmth and familiarity.

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Indigenous children from the sort of forgotten state Chiapas

We know Mexico’s first hundred years were bloody while the last eighty-five years have been at peace; it shares a long land border with the United states and yet they couldn’t be more different.
When the Spanish brought Catholicism, the missionaries took a very pragmatic approach to it and incorporated many beliefs from earlier religions. That’s why there are so many religious festivals here like Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Muxis (gay/transgender divinity festival), the Guelaguetza and many others that blend Catholic celebrations with indigenous rituals.

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Mexico is dual.

It emerged from its bloody history and claimed its place in the modern world. And now globalisation and free trade is altering Mexican society once again.

 

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Fish auction: How to buy fish in Tunisia

Dear Reader,

Traveling can teach you even the most basic things. As our road trip around Tunisia taught Stanito valuable lessons on how to behave, how to drive, and other essentials, we also learnt very simple things like how to bargain, how to roll down sand dunes, how to pour tea, how to catch octopus and also how to actually buy fish in a real fish auction.

I know what you must be thinking. “Come on, how to buy fish? You just go, pick and pay!”
Well no dear Reader 🙂 in Tunisia buying fish is a lot more fun and different!

It all happened on a very hot afternoon in Djerba…

Continue reading “Fish auction: How to buy fish in Tunisia”

How to behave on a sailboat

Dear Reader,

Here is my first selfie while sailing on Trasimeno Lake. I’ve never done this before and I can guarantee it was a unique, fun amazing experience!

Stanito sailing

As thrilling and exciting as it was, it was actually the first time I’ve ever took charge of a sailing boat and I noticed the results of such thing as our boat almost flipped completely on one side. So I thought I could share in here the basic learning steps:

1- Never abandon the main wheel regardless of how strong a gust of wind can be;

2- Always listen to your partner, especially if he has experience;

3- Do not get desperate if at some point wind dies. It will get to you when you least expect it so enjoy the momentary calm by having a beer or sandwich;

4- If something bad happens—too much wind, man overboard, etc.—remember that you can bring the whole thing to a halt simply by pulling the rudder either left or right, or better, leave everything to your partner. The boat will (mostly) stop at some point.

5- Always get someone to join you so at least there will be somebody looking at the sails, the hardest part;

6- Beware of not running over sudden kite surfers;