Folk Art Car

                  Two Huichol families—the Bautistas from Jalisco and the Ortiz from Nayarit—spent 9,000 hours adhering more than two million beads to the exterior of a 1990 Volkswagen Beetle. The car is called the Vochol. Yes, that’s a combination of “Vocho” a and “Huichol.” Though I’m pretty sure the guy in the Smithsonian video is wrong when he says that “vocho” is a Huichol word! note: images courtesy of Museo de Arte Popular

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Wotta ride this will be…

A bridge spans an amazingly deep canyon.

(if we can afford the cuotas)   The Baluarte Bridge, which crosses a canyon deep enough to fit the Chrysler building. As the Associated Press reports, the long-awaited Durango-Mazatlan Highway is slated to be complete this August.  

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Chiles of Mexico: Pasilla de Oaxaca

A pile of dried chiles from Oaxaca.

One of the twenty-four varieties of dried chiles more or less exclusive to Oaxaca (though found in parts of Puebla), the chile pasilla de Oaxaca grows in small pockets high in the forbidding Sierra Mixe. Also known as the chile mije, the pasilla de Oaxaca is ripened on the vine and then smoked in small batches. This chile is not produced or exported on any kind of large scale. Although pasilla de Oaxaca is often described as “fruity,” the batch […]

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Historical Image of the Week: The Occupation of Mexico City

A battle in the war between Mexico and the US.

First published in 1850, this lithograph depicts the US Army occupying the zocalo in Mexico City’s Centro Historico. The image was originally published in The Mexican War and its warriors : comprising a complete history of all the operations of the American armies in the Mexico . . . illustrated with numerous engravings. Image courtesy of NYPL digital collections.

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El Codo's Tips for "Luxing Up" a Camping Van or Crappy Hotel Room

editor’s note: These are not paid product endorsements, but rather el Codo’s rigorously tested honest (and typically detailed) recommendations, born from trial-and-error and many uncomfortable nights and agonizing battles with sub par equipment. Know that if el Codo (aka “the cheakpskate”) says something is “worth the money,” it’s worth the freaking money. Exploring Mexico is no less fun today than it was almost fifty years ago, but somehow my income has not kept pace with inflation. Squeezing all the miles […]

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    After a hard day on the trail, I’m back at the Sierra Madre Lodge, relaxing in front of a roaring fire. There’s a steaming mug of Darjeeling tea on the table beside me, while outside the last blush of a million-dollar sunset is splashed across the horizon. I was feeling restless this morning, so after seeing off our guests at 9:30 a.m., I decided to take a ‘bus driver’s holiday’ and explore the mesas and canyons to the _____ […]

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Flashback: Memories from the First Reviewer of The People's Guide to Mexico

Dane Pikkola: Hello Carl and Lorena…I was just listening to your interview with Rick Steves, and really wanted to connect on the air. But, alas, I couldn’t get the number. In fact, the program was probably pre-recorded anyway. Just the same, here’s my story. I was sitting at the bar in the Fairhaven Tavern in Bellingham, Wa. when you two came in with a stack of fresh off-the-press editions of your brand new travel guide. I happen to be on […]

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Rick Steves Interview with Carl and Lorena

Rick Steves with mic and headphones.

Listen to the Rick Steves interview with Carl and Lorena. A couple months ago, Carl and I spent the afternoon visiting with an old friend, Rick Steves.  Schedules didn’t permit us to be sitting in a beach-side restaurant, eating Camerones al mojo de ajo, but we did get to talk about Mexico. We were in Rick’s recording studio at his Travel Headquarters in Edmonds, Washington, reminiscing about how we first met and discussing traveling in Mexico today.  Rick is a master […]

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Excellent Images of San Judas de Tadeo

A boy with a bare chest and San Judas tatooo.

Ever since I discovered San Judas de Tadeo, I’ve become obsessed. Turns out he’s everywhere. On closer inspection, half the Jesuses (sp?) in Mexico are actually San Judas de Tadeo. In fact, I got home to Oregon and discovered that I had a San Judas candle in my house that I’d never even noticed…So, imagine my delight in this amazing cache of photographs  of San Judas devotees in Mexico City. (The photographer is Keith Dannemiller and his other stuff is […]

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Road Notes: Puerto Angel to Melaque

An '87 Dodge Van in Mexico with palm trees.

If you happen to stop in at Playa Banco de Oro, stop in at Restaurante Hermanos Galinda. The proprieter, Carmen, is super nice and makes a mean fried huachinango. Plus you can camp at her restaurant. Miss Lousiane hangs out at Restaurante Hermanos Galinda Fish for breakfast!                                                     photo by Gina Dilello Restaurante Hermanos Galinda                                               photo by Gina Dilello A massive renovation of Highway 200 seems to be underway. Entire sections are being created, and some are already drivable. We were […]

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