The Trip in Full

'87 Dodge van parked in palm grove.

So we made it. 6,500 miles in an ’87 Dodge van. We camped off-road in Chihuahua. We got lost at night on the back roads of Oaxaca. We drove through states, such as Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, that are known as hot spots in the narco wars. According to one study, we drove through three of the top twenty most violent cities in the world (by murder rate):  Acapulco, Torreon, and Culiacan.                                                                                                                            photo by Gina Dilello We rode the subways […]

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Chiles of Mexico: Chiltepín

Pickled and dried chiltepín at roadside restaurant.

“Rich, what’s a burro?” “I don’t know. Maybe a large burrito?” We decide to test our powers of deduction and stop at a comedor by the side of the winding road between Hermosillo and Agua Prieta. This will be our “last supper” in Mexico, and I want something special. I have a good feeling about this place: bright cardboard signs tacked to the hut-like exterior advertise burros, queso fresco, jerky, and salsa chiltepín . I don’t know what salsa chiltepín  is, […]

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Road Notes–Nayarit/Sinaloa

Rich stares longingly at painted bottle of Pacifico.

The libre from Tepic to Mazatlan is unusually good. Driving through Culiacan was as awful as I remembered. Next time we will bite the bullet and take the cuota bypass. For some reason the “libre” from Culiacan to Los Mochis charges occasional 20 peso tolls. After our night at the Bel Mar in Mazatlan, we hit the road, hoping to make it to Alamos in time to camp for the night. However, the sun started to drop over Los Mochis. […]

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Best of Mexico in Pictures: Mazatlan

Rich in parking lot of Hotel Bel Mar.

       Rich in parking lot of Hotel Belmar                                                    Mazatlan, Mexico I wrote a long post about my poetic and undying love for the Hotel Belmar, located at Paseo Olas Altas 166 Sur, in the old part of Mazatlan. Unfortunately, I somehow lost it. So pictures will  have to suffice for the moment. Let me just say that if you like quirky, creepy, old, cheap hotels, this is your place. Supposedly Mazatlan’s oldest hotel, the place weeps fading grandeur. Our room […]

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Fantastico, Part II

Mexican girl with surfboard on coast of Guerrero, Mexico.

        Read Part I of this story here. Jazmin is a complete bad ass. She takes no prisoners and never pussy-foots around issues. For that reason, I felt like she’d be the perfect teacher for me. Condescension is one of the things I hate about trying to learn new physical skills. I tend to be a slow learner, and I don’t pick up new movements quickly. As a kid I was always the worst player on every team and that […]

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Fantastico, Part I

Girls with surfboards in Mexico.

In this era of confessional living, when  ineptitude supposedly makes you loveable and full disclosure proves you’ve got cojones,  it’s easy enough for me to admit that I’m an incompetent athlete, a slow learner, a forgetful reader, a messy cook, and a lazy runner. I can make jokes about the things I’m not very good at. I can admit that I’m a sweaty, broke, disorganized, cellulite-spackled plebeian, who is prone to crippling anxiety and is no better equipped to deal […]

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Road Food Round-Up: Barbacoa and the Search for Taco Greatness

A man cuts meat at a Mexico City taqueria.

                                                  “Barbacoa Don Cuco” The white rabbit blinks pink eyes and settles deeper into its nest of foil-wrapped lollipops. No, this isn’t a department store Easter display–it’s just another day at a roadside barbacoa restaurant on the highway between San Miguel de Allende and Queretero. Barbacoa Don Cuco is an airy room furnished with Mexico’s ubiquitous white plastic chairs and tables, a large horno, a sturdy wooden slab where a teenage boy dices meat with a cleaver and an old […]

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Roasted Hearts and Winding Roads: Adventures in Oaxaca's Mezcal Country

A cask of mezcal marked with agave picture.

The wooden cask reads “Reserva de los Dioses”, or “Reserve of the Gods”. Indeed. At a mezcal distillery in the highlands of Oaxaca, an erudite, well-dressed man is pouring generous shots of liquor into real glasses. He looks to be in his mid thirties and says he has been in the mezcal business for 12 years. He learned from his father, who has been in the business for 40 years. The father sits in the shade of their roadside shack. […]

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Best of Mexico in Pictures: Hierve el Agua

Mineral formations at hierve el agua, warm pools in Oaxaca.

editor’s note: Gina’s pictures are from our expedition to Hierve el Agua, part of an action packed day wherein we visited the ruins of Mitla and the mineral springs pictured below, as well as several mezcal distilleries. Hierve el Agua is located about 70 k east of Oaxaca, past Mitla. You will pay a nominal “road upkeep fee” to the local ejido, as well as a 20 peso entry fee (per person) to the actual site. Once there, you can […]

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