It’s a new June and we’ve got some new stuff we wanted everyone to know about.
We’ve just published a review of La Mansion de Los Suenos, a unique, historic and luxurious place to stay in a great Mexican Pueblo Magico (magic town) called Patzcuaro. There aren’t too many towns that meet the Mexican government’s criteria to be a Pueblo Magico and Patzcuaro is one of the most beautiful and varied. If you like ice cream, start planning a visit NOW.
And Jeff Blumenfeld, editor and creator of Expedition News, wrote a book called “You Want to Go Where? How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams” and it comes out today. Apart from the fact that Jeff is a good friend and we’re sure the book is a great read, he was kind enough to include our Trans-Americas Journey in his book, discussing how we’ve attracted such awesome product partners. We’re still in Mexico and it may be weeks before we get to eyeball our copy of the book, so do us a favor and go get it and tell us how it is.
Last but not least we’ve recently learned of a fun, random new game to play to mark the first day of every month. It’s called White Rabbits and it involves saying “white rabbit” to your friends and family before they have a chance to say it to you. Hey, we said it was random.
We’ve been in Mexico for about five months now and we have yet to find a single person who needs more than the vaguest excuse to throw a party. First, second, third or fourth Wednesday of the month? Good enough. Got to the gas station before the morning rush? Let’s celebrate. Cat had kittens? Party at my house!
The only thing that seems closer to a Mexican’s heart than a good party is his or her hometown. Between the family ties and fond memories, Home has an almost cosmic pull on most Mexicans. So when your hometown throws a week long fiesta you clear your schedule.
We were lucky enough to get invited for the first weekend of the 188th Anniversary celebration of a puebla called Union de Tula which is where our friend Iliana’s father, Cosme, was born and where his heard still lives. Cosme has built up the virtues of Tula quite a bit and our expectations are pretty high, but Tula does not disappoint with a gorgeous and extremely well-kept plaza lazy, sunny streets and an ever-growing crowd of revelers–many of whom have returned home from other places in Mexico or from the US just for the party.
No one in the plaza in Union de Tula can resist the driving rhythm of a Banda band, even at 1 am.
The party does not disappoint either. A general air of fun (and the 90+ degree pre-rainy season weather) inspire us to grab a refreshing michelada (a mix of beer, spice, salt and lime juice over ice–like a Mexican bloody mary) at El Torreo, a bar and restaurant right on the square. Properly hydrated we head for the La Loma neighborhood where a central street has been blocked off and filled with folding tables and chairs, a stage and shade canopies.
Late night Banda music in the plaza of Union de Tula.
Everybody knows Cosme and his beautiful wife Cristina but Eric and I are strangers. However, we soon have a heaping plate of birria (a sort of slow cooked delicious stew) and rice and beans in front of us–not to mention an entire case of Sol beer. It’s delicious and loud and friendly and hot and all the best things about Mexico rolled into one mega street party. If only we could do it like this in New York City!
During each day of the week long anniversary celebration a different neighborhood hosts a street party complete with free music (Banda, of course), food and beer for all.
Just when things seem as festive and colorful as they can get, a group of women dressed in layers of colorful skirts and shockingly white blouses arrives. They are escaramusas, or cowgirls, who are expert in Mexican rodeo events which they perform riding side-saddle. They are Karen’s new heroes, by the way–pretty, talented, proud.
A small portion of the formidable horn section of Banda Nueva Union.
Cowgirls, or escaramusas, come in all sizes.
We all talk and laugh as the band, Banda Nuevo Union, plays loudly (even without using amplifiers). Banda music is an offshoot of military bands and retains a relentless marching rhythm that, love it or hate it, gets the feet moving-. One tiny cowboy plants himself in front of the band and dances is little heart out. And he’s GOOD.
This kid’s got moves!
It wouldn’t be a Mexican fiesta without a daily rodeo or chareada.
Full and happy and Banda’d out we leave La Loma and head for the rodeo, or chareada, where entrance is free for the whole week of the fiesta. Our hosts from La Loma are not far behind and the chareada kicks off with them taking to the ring and hurling candy and oranges into the stands. Dangerous, but fun. By the end of the weekend we are exhausted but happy.
Church bells gone wild in the plaza in Union de Tula.
If we ever forget what we love so much about Mexico, we’ll book a return trip to Tula during a fiesta so that we can be reminded that no one in the world (that we’ve met, anyway), knows how to throw a fun, friendly fiesta like Mexicans.
Abraham (left) and Edgar (right) have lived in the United States for much of their lives (long enough to have picked favorite teams in the NBA playoffs) but their real roots lie in Union de Tula, where they return for fiestas and family.
Last Sunday the travel section of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune newspaper ran a story we did that’s full of tips about how to save money at the pump.
And speaking of money, don’t forget that we need your help to land a Really Goode Job as Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondents for Murphy-Goode Winery! We’d not only rock at this six month gig (get the details here), but we’d have a lot of fun and (most importantly) it would replenish our Trans-Americas Journey budget and keep us on the road.
Our application video has been posted so go take a look and vote, please. We think its pretty funny, and we bet you will too. It’s already been predicted that our video is so strong that “A mother would even secretly vote against her own child in favor of Eric and Karen.”
You can also learn more about us and why we should be Murphy-Goode’s pick on our special A Really Goode Hire page.
Most importantly–GO VOTE! And don’t worry–the site requires that you submit your email address in order to vote and then you must confirm your vote by clicking a link in a follow up email, but we promise there’s no spamming involved.
Last week we posted a sneak peek at the making of our video to be Murphy-Goode’s Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent. The video has been posted so go take a look and vote, please. We think its pretty funny, and we bet you will too. You can also learn more about us and why we should be Murphy-Goode’s pick on our A Really Goode Hire page.