Sunday, October 31, 2010

Every Sunday we take Guita and our Corgi neighbor Jo-Jo to agility school. So far we've done the tunnel, the shoot, the ramp, the bridges (high and low), the suspended tire, and jumps. Ian brought the camera today, so here's a short look at Guita in action!

Guita is a very good jumper!

Another jump shot.

Climbing onto the tall bridge. Guita had no problem with the bridge about four feet off the ground, but she was terrified by the bridge six inches from the ground.
There's no explaining the minds of dogs.

She LOVES this ramp. We showed her how to do it (with lots of cookies, of course), and now she bolts for it every chance she gets. We also have to insist that she give other dogs their turn and not just go back and forth over it. What a goofy girl!

Bounding up the ramp!

The tunnel was the first obstacle we learned, and now she does it pretty well!


Every year the Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City sponsors the development of alebrijes (ah-lay-BREE-heys). They are paraded down the main avenue and installed for public viewing for about a month (late October through late November). This year the show had the theme of everything this year in Mexico: the bicentennial/ centennial celebrations. We found the monsters less spontaneous and wonderful than last year, but they are still amazing! We took Guita downtown on Saturday afternoon and discovered, to our shock, that we weren't the only people in a city of 23 million out enjoying life on a beautiful Saturday afternoon!

Guita was enthusiastic about getting to see the monsters! She also liked the smells, the cars, and all the little kids who saw her and wanted to be friends.

Lots of the monsters were carrying these tablets. I would put money on it being related to bilking the oppressors in one or other of the major wars remembered this year, but I don't know the history.

I love this dragon - look at its boots! And check out the detailed paint on its wings....

Cotton candy for the kiddies! Imagine how he smells by the end of the day!

Hecho en Mexico! Check out the mustaches on this guy! The first half of the monsters we looked at seemed more loosely tied to the Revolution and independence than the second side.

We both loved this one!

This is "La Guera Rodriguez," an independence-era heroine. Recently there have been billboards all over our commute plastered with a goofy-looking historical docu-drama about her.

Guita had a great time exploring this aspect of her culture!

The winner of the People's Choice award!

Details on the People's Choice installation.

Some had beautiful faces!

There were loads of trains - some more stylized (and harder to identify) than others! The railroads were hugely important in the 1910 Revolution.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Xochimilco October 2010

On Saturday we went to Xochimilco (so-chi-MIL-co) in southeastern Mexico City. It's a canal zone and a flower-producing zone. We had a blast, and next time we go, Guita will get to come along!

All the boats are tied up and waiting for clients!

The canals get pretty crowded on an idyllic Saturday afternoon!

Some big groups hire two punts together AND get mariachis to come on board for them! We saw people dancing across the sloped fronts of the boats to some music. We all agreed that there were enough mariachis and other kinds of music to get ambient benefits without having to a) pay our own music and b) have it right up next to us and at a volume that prohibited conversation!

Mexicans love a drink called the "michelada." The ingredients change with the region. At Xochimilco they are chili powder, lime, Worcestershire sauce, beef seasoning, and beer. We were lucky enough to get an emo michelada man right towards the end of our cruise. Here he has taken the giant cup and covered the lip with chili powder. He's adding the Worcestershire sauce....

Opening the half liter beer with an 18 inch machete....

Pouring the beer....

And making Ian happy with the results! He had two of these monsters on our three-hour tour!

Xochimilco is a flower-raising center for Mexico City. The canals are lined with nurseries like this one.

Right now the big flower market is marigolds for the Day of the Dead celebrations. Mexico is going gently orange in anticipation of November 2.

Marigolds on their way to market!

Smaller punts drift along selling food: candy and snacks, quesadillas and tortas, and roasted corn on the cob with chili and cheese!

Vendors sell just about anything kitsch you could hope for in Xochimilco. Silver vendors hops from boat to boat, but this guy has his own floating kiosk!

Monet bridges


Miscellaneous October

Ian's family birthday party. He got a bag of beef jerky (imported from my trip to Miami), three new bowties (see below), a fancy bottle of tequila, and some nice new shirts (though none with sting rays and turtles).

Ian got his first non-hand-me-down bowtie! In fact, he got three, but one photo should suffice!

A snuggly blanket and pixie hat for a friend's new baby!!

Ian's 35th Birthday - Isla Mujeres!

Ian and I went to Isla Mujeres (off Cancun) to celebrate his 35th birthday. It's a small island about 7 kilometers long by 1 kilometer wide at its widest. It is surrounded by turquoise waters that are filled with fish and coral and other sea beasties. We saw all the fishies below plus squid (little ones) and lots of other bright colored random fish. Because the island is so small, most tourists rent golf carts or mopeds to get around. It was lots of fun!!

Ian driving our buggy!

Cruisin' in the cart!

Self-portrait with spouse

Every place has its own hazards and challenges!

Turquoise waters: looking north from our hotel.

Turquoise waters: looking east at the Caribbean.

Turquoise waters: looking west at Cancun.

Barracuda!! Ian saw it just hanging out near where we had gone it. We didn't get much closer, but the whole area was lousy with them!

Ian called this "artificial reef" and suggested it was put here to make reef-like conditions for the fish. That's as may be. I call it garbage in the ocean, and I regretted using our $10 per square inch biodegradable organic sunblock for this trip! I have a bad attitude.

Very pretty swarms of fishies!

These fish had very little sense of appropriate distance!! Ian thinks the hotel fed them to increase the value of the snorkel....


This blue meanie fish doesn't know where it wants to hide!! Check out the conflicting colors all over it!

Ian went back in the water, and I stayed on the beach reading and basking in the shade of an umbrella. He saw this super cool reef without me.

Note the reflection on the top of the water!

Super cool coral

Yellow fish, yellow coral


A skate that kept Ian company for quite a while....

A super ugly fish....

Big ol' parrot fish that swam with Ian for a while!

Walls o' fishies

Which fish doesn't belong?

Swarms of minnows!

Isla Mujeres has a turtle hatchery. These are all the little baby turtles in a great big tank. About 2/3 of the surface of the tank was clear, but all the turtles were piling on top of each other on the ocean side of the tank. They're all about three inches long.

Close-up of baby turtles

Barracuda! We were about 30 feet above it - the water really is that clear.


Proof that we were actually there together....

This photo has two foci: the blight that is the Punta Sur Modern Sculpture Garden, and the thunderheads coming up from the south. Two days after we left, those pretty clouds turned into Hurricane Paula (Category 2)!

The bar at Fayne's restaurant, Calle Hidalgo in Isla Mujeres. Note the library-style ladder on the bar! We really liked the food too!

Drinkies after a long day in the sun, sitting in white sand on thick cushioned wicker furniture. I could get to like this!

Here's the birthday boy! What a difference a year makes!

The obligatory sunset with margaritas over Cancun. Note that our little camera has a "sunset function" that makes everything more intense! We love our little camera.

And the sun finally goes all the way down over Cancun.