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Hidalgo State

Upcoming Random Events in Mexico City & beyond!

As part of my continuing “Live Vicariously Through My Friends in Mexico” program, I wanted to alert y’all to some upcoming events in DF, Quintana Roo, and Hidalgo state that I thought may be worth checking out. Rest assured I continue to keep my finger on the pulse of kitschy activities despite my absence from Mexico, all in exchange for the small request of merely a few of your cheesy photos to make me feel like I was there. 😉

MORE LUCHA, MORE BETTER:

That’s right folks– the month of July once again brings us the annual Lucha Libre: La Experiencia!! The dates are July 23 & 24 at Centro Banamex. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder what it would be like if a bunch of luchadors and lucha libre super fans got together and hung out for two days at a tradeshow that also has a professional wrestling ring set up?” Now is your chance to find out!! For fond memories of LuchaFest 2009, check out my prior post.

Recall this photo of me with a veritable "Who's Who" of up-and-coming lucha libre stars.

Their Facebook site may merit a visit, as there seem to be some hot prizes & giveaways happening in the final feverish moments leading up to the extravaganza.

El Matador is on the right, accompanied by famous "mini" luchador Mascarita Dorada. (photo courtesy El Matador)

Since you folks let me down on live reporting from the Feria Nacional de Burros (which, btw, was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle online!!), I have already nailed down a correspondent for this event. Friend and luchador El Matador, who has also recently relocated back to the DC area, will be flying down to Mexico City for the craziness. Keep an eye out for the gentleman on the right– if you are lucky, perhaps you can get one of his action figures, which currently is gracing my cubicle at work. I have not yet inquired as to whether El Matador will be doing any wrestling here in DC, but I feel like come election time next year, there will surely be some enterprising politician looking for a popularity boost by taking on one of the rudos…!

MEXICAN MICROBREWS: Yes, Virginia, there is a beer besides Corona in Mexico

If you ask the average person about Mexican beer, you’ll probably get an answer restricted to either the Grupo Modelo brands (Corona, Victoria, Pacifico, Negro Modelo, ) or those of FEMSA (Dos Equis, Sol, Indio, Bohemia, Tecate). But a revolution has been brewing, my friends!! (pun intended)

Mexican craft beer festival? Sold!

A number of craft breweries have emerged around Mexico, and they will have their wares on display September 1-3 at the World Trade Center in Mexico City during the Congreso Cerveza México 2011: Por La Cerveza Libre festival. You will be able to sample more than 100 beers for a mere $150 pesos/day (with advance registration)! This event is part of the Gourmet Show that happens at the same time/place– check out last year’s pics here to see if it merits a visit.

WHALE SHARK SEASON IS NOW!! Come swim next to a fish with a 6-foot-wide mouth!

Swimming with the whale sharks off the coast of Isla Holbox in Quintana Roo state in Mexico is one of those wildlife-interaction experiences that I think you have to do at least once, just like a safari in Africa, seeing the giant tortoise in the Galapagos, and visiting prairie dogs in Nebraska. John and I made it down last June & stayed at the Holbox Dream hotel (thumbs up; great air conditioning, which quickly became my main criteria for a hotel on an island in the summer).

We were too cheap to pay for a guide that took photos of us underwater, but check out my friend Joy’s amazing photos or Kelly’s story & pics on their blogs. While the average whale shark is 25 feet long, they can be up to 40+ feet in length– they are the world’s largest living fish! Even the Washington Post is getting in on the whale shark action. They’re really an added bonus to what is already a lovely beach vacation.

The view from our hotel room on Isla Holbox, Mexico

México Desconocido has further tiburón ballena details, for those who read Spanish, and if you search for “whale shark” + “Isla Holbox” or “Isla Mujeres” (the other jumping-off point for tours), you’ll find reams of additional details. In fact, el Festival del Tiburón Ballena is happening July 15-17 on Isla Mujeres.

FERIA DE LA BARBACOA!!

I will caveat this alert with the fact that I know nothing about this festival in honor of grilled meats except for the announcement on the México Desconocido calendar that is backed up by the announcement on the town of Actopan’s homepage.  THIS weekend, folks, in scenic Actopan in the state of Hidalgo, a meat festival (probably lamb) is awaiting your arrival. The website indicates the primary attraction at this festival is the competition to win the title of Best Barbacoyero of the Year. The word barbacoyero is not one I’ve come across before, but I will translate it loosely as “one who makes barbacoa“. :)

This photo seems to confirm the event actually exists, though according to this blog we still seem to be awaiting further details…but last year’s agenda was quite thorough!  So don’t let the silly logistical details keep you away! Commit wholeheartedly & with low expectations- this is my travel motto & it never fails. If you show up in Actopan on Saturday with the goals of eating barbacoa & meeting a talented barbacoeryo, I can almost promise your expectations will be exceeded. 😉

The 2009 logo for the Feria de la Barbacoa was the best I could find, but I felt it lends a certain air of authenticity. Also, please note the ambitious "463rd anniversary". Just think what might be in store for the 465th year!!

In summary, have a fantastic time wearing a mask to wrestle a whale shark while drinking a Mexican craft beer and eating barbacoa. What a summer Mexico has to offer!!

Two different approaches to Mexican tourism: Queretaro vs. Hidalgo

I constantly rave about Queretaro State’s Secretaria de Turismo (tourism board). They really have their stuff together, with amazing maps, good websites, great brochures, all of which serve to seduce people to a Mexican state that (to be honest) I initially thought didn’t really have that much going for it. (I have since reconsidered this stance– marketing helps me decide.)

Just a smattering of Queretaro's trendy tourism brochures taken off their Flicker site! (look at you, Queretaro, hip to the photo sharing services; bien hecho)

To be fair, I think they might still be over-hyping a few things. For example, check out page 7 of this brochure (courtesy Burro Hall), which outlines a 5 day, action-packed itinerary around Queretaro… except most of the days’ schedules seem to end after lunch. But their main travel website http://queretaro.travel/english (available also in Spanish & French!) is solid, highlighting Queretaro’s wineries and cheeseries (a.k.a. “dairies” to you lesser fans of cheese) and the illustrious Ruta de Vino y Queso near Tequisquiapan. They’re also quite proud of their Franciscan Missions located in the middle of nowhere in the beautiful Sierra Gorda.

The well-executed map of Queretaro's Wine & Cheese Route (note to self: stick with the sparkling wines & cheese...other wines=a bit iffy)

Anyway, my point being: Queretaro’s tourism board is on it, promoting Queretaran tourism in a classy, effective manner.

Now, contrast this with Hidalgo. We drove through a large portion of Hidalgo on our way back from Las Pozas, and stopped randomly in Ixmiquilpan because we were starving. (This town is also known as Iximikkimikkipan…because that’s easier to remember.) We were excited when we spotted the tourism office, and quickly crossed the main plaza to see what wondrous information lay in store for us.

What we discovered was that Hidalgo is going for more of a “Sex Sells” tourism campaign. They had several small brochures, at least half of which were adorned with this chicky:

Come to Hidalgo and find me prancing through the woods!

Or frolicking among waterfalls!

Or using my chameleon skin to blend in with mosaic floors!

Hidalgo has a website too, but it seems a bit more heavy on downloadable photos than insightful tourism suggestions. Also, their tourism slogan “Hidalgo en la piel” seems to best translate as “Hidalgo on the skin”. And while I can understand some kind of figurative translation about feeling Hidalgo on your skin, I don’t know if that’s really what I want in a Mexican state.   That said, it’s not all bad– the one thing that might get me back to Hidalgo is this huge map of all the spas across the state:

Holy crap! That's a lot of spas!!

Outside of that, though, Hidalgo may want to take some tips from their Queretaran neighbors on how to truly sex up an oft-forgotten state. Because I just don’t know if this woman’s blue air-brushed breast is going to do it for me:

Just because hot girls in body paint like Hidalgo, doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to.

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