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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. 😉


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.


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!!

Mexico Driving Hazards

We’re staying in the Marriott Reforma for our last week here in DF, so please forgive the lack of communication– internet in our hotel room costs $250 pesos/day (gag). I’d been having luck standing against the window of our spot on the 14th floor & connecting to “Mexico Ciudad Digital”, the only unsecured network in the area. But after 20 minutes of holding my computer on one hand at shoulder-height and mashing the touchpad with the other hand, I gave in to Marriott’s “much worse of a deal”– $50 pesos for 1 hour– to see if anyone  had written back dying to purchase our couch. (No such luck.)

As I stay online at 12:41AM getting my money’s worth of the full hour, here’s my fav pic from today’s drive to Xochimilco (we went to visit the Museo Dolores Olmedo upon recommendation of our good friend Cynthia— totally worth the visit!). I question whether this taxi driver’s peripheral vision is up to recommended standards….

We passed this taxi quickly, trying to avoid conflict...

In other news today, the Festival Olímpico Bicentenario was as random as you might have expected. Favorite sights included:

Hot guys playing sand volleyball

Loads of little kiddos ready for a swim...

....all rapidly diving into the pool at once, which seemed to be functioning quite well after being set up in 24 hours!

There were an impressive number of handicap-accessible events, like this adaptation of soccer for the blind.

Similarly, they had an incredibly impressive dance troupe of young boys/girls, half of whom were in wheelchairs, dancing to traditional Mexican songs. They were precious.

The group festivities were followed by samba dancing in pairs, again equally impressive & not held back by their wheelchairs in the least!

Tomorrow AM we are off to a “Despedida con Arepas” courtesy our good friends from Venezuela, so off to bed to prepare for more cross-cultural farewells!! :)

1st Taco & Mariachi Festival in Plaza Garibaldi!

Alert to any Chilangos and/or Mexico City visitors during the week of September 3-12, 2010: two of my favorite things (tacos & mariachis) are being celebrated in yet another Mexican festival!!  (Lest anyone forget how successful the LAST festival was that I recommended, please feel free to revisit my Burro Festival recap.)

Another brilliant mascot!! A sombrero-wearing, guitar-playing taco who's just waiting to be dipped in the roja or verde salsas at his sides.

I am hoping this is the first in a series of awesome Mexican-themed events to occur in DF in the run-up to the Bicentennial excitement this September. To be fair, if I was planning this event (at which CANIRAC anticipates 100,000 attendees), I might have started inviting taco vendors prior to 10 days ago… But I did learn when I was coordinating events at TI that excessive advance notice just doesn’t sit well ’round these parts (or at least may not be as effective as you might think when trying to get people to attend something), so I’m counting this as “cultural differences”. :)  Perhaps the 2-weeks notice is right on track for the taco vendors!

Regardless, I know for sure that the mariachis will be amped up & ready to go, so any “artistic events, cultural events, Mexican snack sales & many more surprises” will just be frosting on the cake!! Mark it on your calendar, people. Not sure where Plaza Garibaldi is? Check the map here. And for anyone of the opinion that Plaza Garibaldi is a den of iniquity & thieves, I beg you to give it a chance– you might have as much fun as these folks did. :)

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