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Entries about tequila

From Tequila to the Caribbean

sunny 38 °C
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Again, it feels like I just can't keep up with my own adventures. I try so hard not to be a tourist, uploading a million photos onto facebook that just annoy everyone because they aren't on holiday too - and because I know how know one really cares about another persons travel stories. It's why I like this blog, because it is partly for the amazing people in my life who do care and want to know where I am and what trouble I am causing (love you guys so much), and also because essentially, it is purely for myself and for the day when I compile the entire thing into a printed book. But to keep both the people I love, and my future self, up to date with this whirlwind adventure is dam near impossible.
Right now however, I am slightly sunburned so I can not face yet another day in the unrelenting heat. I am in Tulum, sitting in my dark dorm room, all alone, with the fan blasting on me while I take the opportunity to write my stories and share some photos.

I guess I need to start with Tequila, the region I went to explore with Advier, Alain, and Dirce on the day after Dirce's birthday. We all had a slight hangover from drinking too much red wine and tequila the night before when we went out for dinner.
I was so pleased to see Dirce enjoying her day, especially when she got given her prized gift of a ukelele!
After dinner, we had cake and tequila back at Dirce's house. I didn't know about a particular Mexican tradition where everyone chanted 'mordida' after singing happy birthday, and then Dirce was face planted straight into the cake!
Next thing I knew, there was a full on cake fight! Luckily there were 8 dogs and of course, me and my Taquito, so we could be licked clean!

So the following day, with head aches and the odd piece of sugar or cream still in our hair, we left to see the round pyramids. On the way, we stopped in the Tequila region to drink cantaritos, which are the most delicious drink ever! They are made from various types of freshly squeezed juice, salt, and tequila. The entire process is done right before your eyes, straight into a clay drinking cup that you get to keep!
First you have to pick the size that you want, I chose medium. The grande has an entire bottle and a half of tequila poured into it!
Then they chop and squeeze all of the fruit into the cups
And then they use a hollowed out cows horn to add 5 horns of tequila into each mug! The traditional way to pour and measure tequila is through a horn, and it is only recently that many places have changed to using shot glasses or more western types of measures. So I was very happy I could drink the real deal.
Then it is time to sit back, relax, and drink a whole lot of tequila!
Where we were was certainly not for tourists, I was the only person there who was not Mexican, and the outdoor bar was full of live music and chatter. The bar looked out onto the beautiful, UNESCO protected Blue Agave landscape and mountains.
Blue Agave is the blue plant from which Tequila is made. And Tequila can ONLY be called Tequila if it is made in this particular part of the world. And I went there!
I saw some cactus's and realised I had promised Erie I would take a picture behind one pretending to be the shape of a cactus.
I didn't see the wasp nest while doing it though, and one of the little buggers got me on my arm. I wasn't sure if I was allergic but I had my bee injection on me so I knew I would be ok if so. Thankfully I am not allergic so it was definitely worth the sting for the picture for my darling esposa Erie!
After finally finishing our huge drinks we drove to the pyramids. But we were devastated to find that our time in Tequila land had meant we missed our opportunity to enter to see the pyramids. And no matter how hard we tried to convince security that I am the Princess of Nueva Sandalia (translates as New Sandal, where my friend Ariel had mistakenly thought I was from, starting a great joke and of course, an entire new country of which I am the Princess), there was no way we were going to be let in. We were very disappointed as we headed back to Guadalajara, but the sunset over the mountains was beautiful and I was very grateful to Alain, Advier, and Dirce that we had tried, and that I had made it to see the Tequila territory.
That night we all went out for my goodbye party, we went to Paul-O, Gabi, and Ariel's house before going to a karaoke bar until the early hours of the morning. We had street quesadillas, of which I will always remember as the best drunken 4am food of my life, before heading back to sing and dance around the apartment once more. At 6am, we decided it may be time to get some sleep, so Advier, Alain and I headed off for home. However, we were locked in by the giant fence around the apartment building. Every house or apartment building in Guadalajara has a fence around it, many are also protected with very high voltage electricity at the top. Thankfully this one was not, as we had to jump it in order to get out! The fence was at least 12 feet tall but after I saw Advier jump, I knew that Alain would make it too, and I was NOT going to be the girl who couldn't jump a fence! So before Alain had the chance to go ahead of me, I began to climb up. By this stage, the rest of our friends were watching, cheering, and laughing from upstairs. I got up with the help of a car, a few broken bricks, and some dodgy electrical poles only slightly freaked about going down, and then swung my way down a very scary looking spikey part and a wobbly telephone pole. It was great, Advier was so proud of me and everyone cheered "we love the princess of Nueva Sandalia!" to which, I explained that everyone at home can do these things, and now everyone thinks New Zealand breeds tough women... And I guess in many ways we do, because I have been laughed at many times for wearing barefeet, running over rocks, choosing to take the beaten path instead of the paved one, and now climbing massive security fences like a monkey!
The next day though, I realised my jeans didn't quite like the fence jumping...
A couple of days later I met up with Franco's cousin Carlos. We went to see the pyramids together, and this time I managed to make it inside. The hike up the hill in the heat was pretty intense, and I was regretting not wearing my jandals so I stripped into barefeet again much to Carlos's disgust. I didn't care because I was boosting it up the hill and he was straggling behind, constantly asking for me to help haul him up and stopping for rests. I had to laugh, and I was grateful too because that has been my position many times with ex-boyfriends, and of course my amazing brother Dom. I laughed, partly at his unfitness, and mostly with pride at my new found independence and ability to do anything I put my mind to.
The view on our way up was spectacular, so Carlos got to rest while I stopped to take some pictures.
I saw a short cut, that looked beautiful. Carlos was too scared to take it, but I explained to him that shortcuts are only created out of humanity's laziness and desire for an easy route - that appealed to him. I kept secret that shortcuts can also mean harder terrain leading to somewhere remote and idyllic, but thought I would keep that one to myself. I had to wonder though, how could anyone desire a paved road of concrete over one so beautiful
Once we got to the top, there they were - beautiful round pyramids of grass and rock. We walked around, exploring them all. Sadly, no one is allowed to climb up onto them but you can see how they need to be preserved instead.
Carlos dropped me home, and then I took Dirce and her family out for dinner to say thank you for letting me stay there for 2 weeks. The next morning as excited as I was to head back to the Caribbean, I was very sad to say goodbye to Dirce and to Taquito. I was especially sad when Dirce told me that Taquito came straight back inside, failed to climb up onto my bed without my help, and instead curled up right against it and waited there for me. I wish I could have taken Taquito. but I know the best thing for her is to find a forever family now while she is still a puppy.

I flew to Cancun (far longer than I had realised so I did some work on the plane). I got to my hostel, which was full of Aussie's and Kiwi's so we had a great evening. I met a guy from Venezuela and he gave me lots of advice about my upcoming trip there. We danced salsa and bachata too which was lots of fun. Again, I was the only non Latina who could speak Spanish, so I got extra tequila in my cocktail, free sunglasses given to me when I lost mine, and free beers all night. Sometimes, even still, I just high five myself!
The next day I took the bus down to Tulum where I have been for the past few days. I met a couple of friends in the hostel, one from Mexico City, one from Bogota, Colombia, and one from USA. We hired a car on one of the days and went to see Chichen Itza which was beautiful.
The only thing that faulted it, was the large numbers of vendors everywhere. They lined the sides of the grounds, and called out to you every single step of the way. It was very hard to enjoy the ruins, and appreciate the tranquility when there were so many people calling out for your attention. I said to my friend how I didn't like it and one of the vendors overheard only part of the conversation. He asked me, "don't you like it, don't you like the Mayan culture?" I turned to him and said, "I love the culture, but this is not culture this is cheap souvenirs sold by pushy vendors." He realised I was right, and let me go without any more hassle. I felt very sad though, to be on the grounds of such a significant place for Mayan people, to be hassled for a few pesos. I can't even imagine what the ancient Mayans would have done, considering the vendors lined the paths to their sacrificial steps where they would make the steps rain in human blood until the real rain would come.
One part that was very cool was how you could clap, and then hear the sound of the quetzal bird echoing through the pyramid. I was bouncing up and down with excitement, it took a while for me to learn how to make such a loud clap (the louder the better) but once I got it, I was away!
After walking around twice, clapping our hands a million times, being hassled for cash, and sweating more than I ever have at the gym, we left the pyramids and headed for a cenote. A cenote is an underground pool of water and there are said to be over 4000 of them in the Yucatan peninsula. We headed for one called Ik Kil and it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever swam. You could look down on the cenote from above, and of course in the nearly 40 degree head, that was super exciting!
You make your way through tunnels underground, carved into the limestone to get to the water DSC00188.jpg
and then all you have to do, is jump!
We stayed there for a couple of hours, enough for the water to cool us down so much that we stayed cool for the rest of the evening. It was so beautiful, floating on our backs and looking up at the opening with the vines making their way down. Their were also all sorts of rocks, cavern, and mini waterfalls around the edges. It was paradise!
As we had entered the carpark, someone had taken a group photo of us. When we left, we were handed a bottle of indigenous Mayan liquor with our photo on it! We didn't buy it, but I was allowed to take a picture! I never had my face on an alcohol bottle before so I needed a pic!
We spent the following day riding our bikes to the beach, at a place called Papaya Playa Project. It was such a neat place, all sorts of alcoves to enjoy a drink with a great view! There were also beds on the beach inside little cabañas so we took over one of them for the day. The waiter brought us beer and nachos with salsas and fresh guacamole - bliss!
That was where I picked up the sunburn, forgetting it had been 6 weeks since I was in the Caribbean sun I over did it. Not too much, but I am feeling a little bit sore. Today I rode my bike to the Mayan ruins that are in Tulum. They were once a port city for their trading, and it was much bigger and much more impressive than Chichen Itza. Also, no vendors were allowed inside so it made for a much more pleasant day. And because of its location on the coast, I was able to stop for a swim half way through!
Tomorrow I am heading off to la laguna de bacalar which is a lake of 7 colours. I am going to go sailing and kayaking for a few days, perhaps before heading into Belize. Then I will head to the island of Holbox for 10 days before meeting Brissa for one last weekend of partying in Cancun before I leave Mexico and head to Venezuela!

Posted by chasingsummer 13:50 Archived in Mexico Tagged beach caribbean pyramids tulum mayan tequila cenotes Comments (2)

Viva Mexico

Guadalajara, Mazamitla, a dying puppy, and a fake wedding

After the amazing thunder and lightning show, I was expecting great things from Mexico. My first taste of my new country was when the immigration officer gave me his phone number and face book details so that he could show me around his country personally! I had to laugh at how easy it was to enter a country for a year; especially after all of the dramas I always have entering the United States. I came through the gates to find my good friend Adrian waiting for me, as promised. He took me straight out for dinner, where we had quesadillas and sopes, pozole and agua de orchata. I really love Agua de orchata, it is like rice water but it tastes like some kind of spicy milk. He then took me to my friend Dirce’s house, who I have been staying with since my arrival in Mexico. Dirce has been one of my very favourite people since I first met her 18 months ago on her first day in New Zealand. When I arrived, it was in the middle of her sister’s birthday party, so I was immediately given tequila and cake – making me realise, I was going to be eating like a King during my time in this country!

Over the next couple of days we went to Zapopan, a border city to Guadalajara. It used to be an individual city, but now they have merged together – like Auckland and Manukau. Again, we ate delicious food, wandered around the church and the beautiful little buildings, and had a couple of beers. I went to a party at her Aunties, for which we had previously helped make the most delicious cakes for. The party served all traditional food – more sopes (like arepas/ corn cakes topped with delicious ingredients), quesadillas, pozole (a type of corn and usually meat soup), taquitos (mini tacos), and home grown elotes (corn on the cob, but not as I have ever known it, served with fresh lime and lots of chilli rubbed all over it or sour cream if you are that way inclined). There were even mini pavlovas, which of course everyone then learned are a New Zealand dessert! I fell in love with Cari, the tiny Chihuahua of Dirce’s Aunt.
Over the weekend of Mexican Independence Day, I went with a group of 10 of Dirce’s friends to a small town called Mazamitla. They are the loveliest group of people, the entire time I felt so loved and included. They were so patient with my Spanish, and helped me to understand when I couldn't. I really enjoyed their company, and felt like I had know all of them for forever.IMG_20313391163654.jpegIMG_28857230693962.jpeg
On the way, we stopped at a small town, where there was a huge line of people queuing in the rain for something. I didn’t understand what they were waiting for, but quickly realised we too were going to be waiting in this same long wet line. My friends explained we were going to be buying Vampiros, an amazing drink that this town is famous for. Apparently people drive from Guadalajara just to buy them and then return home. They are made in front of you and are a mixture of tomato juice, lemonade, orange juice, salt, chilli (I think) and of course – a lot of Tequila! They are made, and served, in a plastic bag with a straw. You can even choose which type of tequila you would like! You then pile back into your car and drive on with your vampiro in hand – Vampiro means vampire, and the drink is called this because it is bright red like blood. And omg is it delicious!
We got to Mazamitla, which is a beautiful town, absolutely magical, sitting up on top of some mountains. The entire town is painted white with a burnt red around the bottom fifth of the buildings. The cobbled streets, the magnificent church in the centre, and the surrounding woods make it feel like paradise.
We went out for breakfast, we cooked the most amazing food at home, we stayed up all night dancing salsa and bachata, and there was a guitar just for me to play until the wee hours of the morning. The funniest part was when everyone loved the song Dom and I had written for a very disliked boy I used to see. When I had first said I would play the song, Paulo was worried I would cry. When he heard the lyrics, everyone laughed and laughed. I must have played this same song 30 times, each time the others learning more and more of the words!
On the night of el grito de Mexico – the cry of indepence, we went into the town and looked around the markets, we met some dancers called the viejos, who do the dance of the old people.
Everyone laughed when I told them I wanted to find my Mexican husband, and then when we found a giant tequila bottle - well, it was love at first sight and there he was - MY HUSBAND!
We tried all sorts of different candy and sweets in the village, and then came back for a nap/ rest to prepare for the Independence Day party that evening. Brissa and I dressed up for the party, her as a beautiful Frida Kahlo, and me in traditional Mexican attire. Sandy helped do my hair, and we were set to go!
In the town there were fire cracker towers, music, dancing, and lots of tequila! At one point I remember some random guy just pouring tequila from a bottle straight into my mouth, and the mouths of everyone around him. Everyone was having a great time – maybe not so much the guy who was in the ‘bullring.’ Completely different to those of Spain, this involved a bull made from fire crackers and the man having to run away from it – much to the delighted screams of everyone who watched!
I was into it, screaming Viva Mexico along with everyone else, but it did feel really strange to be celebrating Mexico after celebrating Colombia so whole heartedly during the world cup. I almost felt like I was betraying my own country – even though Colombia isn’t my own! I must admit though, from what I have seen so far of Latinoamerica, the people are so patriotic and they love their countries. They know how to throw an amazing party, and they all pull together to celebrate their love for their land. I wish New Zealand knew how to party like this in celebration of our land.
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The following day we had to leave our little home in the woods, and as we headed back to Guadalajara, I had a pretty serious hangover. But thankfully, by the time we made it back to the town with the massive line – this time in the sunshine, I was ready for another vampiro to see me home! I learned to ask for one without salt, and found it was much easier to drink. It certainly took the edge off the headache! When we got home, it was straight to bed for about 18 hours!
I guess I need to mention about my baby… As Dad says, in true Katy style, I went to Mexico to find a rich husband, and instead found myself a poor, street dog. But in my defence, Taquito is the most adorable little puppy I have ever seen!
Dirce and I found him when we had gone to buy fruit. He was sitting in a cage, without any food or water and was the skinniest, sickliest looking dog I had ever seen. I told Dirce how we had to save it, to take it home and look after it. She agreed but was worried as she already had 7 un-homed dogs she had rescued. We worked out a plot to steal the dog from the cage, and then I suggested,
‘Well, why don’t we just ask it’s owner?’
She looked at me as if I was crazy, but decided to give it a try. She located the owner, who said how this was the runt and no one wanted him, that he was skinny because his brothers and sisters had eaten all it’s food etc. We knew he was lying, but we went along with him. She told the man how I was from NZ and that I really wanted to have a Mexican dog, and he basically threw the dog at us, grateful to be rid of it. I have never held such a tiny, bony, smelly, sickly puppy in all my life. We took him straight home and fed him some water. He must have drunk nearly a litre of water, in huge gulps, and to the point where he would throw up and then keep drinking. The dog was hugely dehydrated, and it was heart breaking to see.
Thankfully now, after nearly a week and a half with us, Taquito is no longer flajito (skinny), rather a real tubster! He walks around like the boss, comes for walks with the rest of the 7 dogs, and sleeps like a little angel. Oh, and Taquito is a she not a he, but I think Dirce and I have forever given her gender issues because we refuse to change her name! We are trying to find her a new home, hopefully one will come up that will love her forever and treat her like a little princess.
My days in Guadalajara have been pretty lazy, involving a bit of sightseeing with Dirce, some salsa and bachata dancing, and a couple of parties with Adrian.
One of the things I really loved, was how they had a massive square which was surrounded by sculptures who helped within the revolution of Mexico. I loved how amongst the sculputres stood artists and poets, alongside the fighters and the war heroes. It made me realise how Mexico values the importance that the arts have in society, or at least it did at one point..
I finally tried tortas ahogadas, the food that every single person from Guadalajara had told me about. It was pretty delcious, amazing bread, avocado and prawns drowned in delicious sauce. It was virtually impossible to eat without being a giant mess, but somehow I made it through!
I tried to sort out my visa to live here but the immigration centre tried to rip me off and recharge me the money I had already paid in Wellington. To get my visa approved will mean spending a further 2 months here in the city, and I already have my plane to the Yutucan peninsula booked for next week. I fell in love with a pair of python cowboy boots, that unfortunately were the only pair over $100 in the shop (of course, they were the only $300 pair there).
I sadly had to leave them behind me, as I knew $300 is the price of the sailing trip (San Blas adventures) from Colombia to Panama that I want to do before flying to the Dominican Republic. I was only able to completely cheer up at leaving my boots behind when we decided to enter a bridal shop and dress up in thousands of dollars worth of lace and tulle! I had always wanted to do this, but never had the courage or the opportunity. I think I make a pretty sexy bride, now I just need to find the rich husband!

Only prolem is, if I don't stop eating all of this delicious food that Mexico has to offer, I will never find the rich man!

Posted by chasingsummer 15:02 Archived in Mexico Tagged food guadalajara tequila delicious mexican_food comida mazamitla cowboy_boots Comments (0)

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