Holy Week in Mexico: Time for Jesus Accidents Nationwide

Photo credit: Pulso DF

You may not know this but Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a very important religious holiday in Mexico, and among the many events that take place during the course of the week, the so-called passion play is one of the most popular — and well-attended. It consists of a representation of the via crucis, and involves everyone, from workers, students and housewives who become actors for one day to play the roles of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Nazarenes, the apostles — and other characters (not all of them strictly Biblical) including a spy, a dog, and a wandering Jew.

In the play, when Christ gets captured, we see him carrying a cross a long way and until he reaches a location that represents Mount Calvary. In the most famous of these representations (the one that takes place in Iztapalapa) we see Christ carrying his cross from the town’s main square to the nearby Cerro de la Estrella in the heart of Mexico City.

Unfortunately, not all Mexican towns and cities have a mountain or even a hill around, so they resort to crucifix their Jesus on pretty much whatever location, including an electricity pole, which — as you may imagine — doesn’t always go smoothly.

JUST WATCH. ¡Pobre Jesús!

Thirteen Years without my Mami: The Funniest Mexican I’ve Ever Known ❤️

Cuquita & yours truly in “Little Italy,” the two words I couldn’t pronounce without my mother cracking up at my “sophisticated, unintelligible gringo accent.”

Thirteen years ago today, my mother, my best friend –and the funniest Mexican I’ve ever met– quietly passed away in a small hospital room in Mexico City.

While her (sudden and premature) death was the worst thing me and my siblings have had to endure, she left us the one thing no one will ever take away from us: A sense of humor that –she assured us– was the only way to go through life, no matter how tough the shit got going.

Cuquita told the dorkiest jokes and made the funniest remarks about being divorced, poor, underemployed, uneducated, hungover, drunk, uninsured, etc. etc. (“I have saved enough money to last me until the day I die … as long as I die tomorrow,” she used to say often –while cracking up….or  “If I didn’t know this was a hangover… I’d rush to the nearest emergency room.” har har har.)

And then there’s my personal favorite. Once, during a heated discussion with us (her kids) giving her a hard time over something, she stops and yells at us: “DO YOU GUYS EVEN KNOW WHY I NEVER WENT TO HARVARD?” … Silence ensued, I mean, fuuuuuuck, we don’t know about that thing…  Why? my sister asks almost embarrassed for not knowing.

“Because I didn’t finish elementary school! JA JA JA,” goes my mother….

Ok, you get the picture. I don’t exaggerate when I say Cuquita contributed to at least half all the Spanish slang and idiomatic expressions I used in Think Dirty Spanish. She would often call in the middle of the night with the great news that she had found –yet– another expression she’d love to see in the book. “¡Mosquita muerta!.. a ver ¿cómo dicen eso los gringos?”

She hated Walt Disney, but she wore the sweatshirt all the same, because… America!

We traveled the world together.

We went to shady tango joints in Buenos Aires; gigantic farmer markets in Los Angeles and colorful tavernas in Valparaíso, Chile. Once, on a trip between Santiago and Buenos Aires, right in the middle of the Andes, our plane had an engine failure and for a few, terrifying moments, we thought we would die right there. But then, as I hyperventilated and yelled in panic for a Valium or something, my mother started laughing out loud at our poor Argentine pilot, who was so distressed, he couldn’t even speak properly. Favor de no formor, he asked us, instead of Favor de no fumar.

BUAHAHAHAHAHA, my mom and I had a fit of hysterical, uncontrollable laughter.

Damn you, Cuquita! ¡Qué divertido era viajar juntas!

My favorite were her months-long visits to New York, when we’d roam the city in search of “real genuine stuff” to cook authentic Mexican things, but more often than not ended up in some fancy steakhouse drinking wine, cubas libres and eating meat like there was no tomorrow. (Oh, and did I mention the marathonic poker sessions?)

Cuquita spoke NO ENGLISH whatsoever, but none of that mattered, because in Nueva York, everyone knew her and spoke Spanish to her. My friends, my colleagues, my neighbors, the super, the bodega guy… todos.

To this day, no matter if I’m in CDMX or not, I know Cuquita will always have an altar in her home for Día de Muertos featuring some of her favorites: chocolates, pan de muerto, cigarettes and cubas libres (with flat Coke, which she seemed to favor –for some reason.) ¡Gracias, Catus!

I’m not sure where she is right now. But if there’s anything going on UP THERE, in the so-called afterlife, I’m sure she’s serving the cubas libres, setting up the poker table, telling the jokes –and having a blast.

Te quiero, mami. ❤❤

The Lazy Susan Topping Bar Is Here –and I Can’t Even

Got extra $40 and no shame? I got the perfect thing for you!

The Nostalgia Taco Tuesday Heated Lazy Susan Topping Bar is a fun way to get together on Taco Tuesday and share hideous, non-taco tacos with your friends. The set costs “only” $39.99 (plus shipping) and promises to hold as much plasticky, fake Mexican food you can imagine!

According to its creators, this thing’s Lazy Susan Design “makes it easy to share across the table” and features a “removable warming pot and topping trays.”

Heck, there’s even a video showing how a “timeless tradition has been made more convenient.”

Watch at your own peril; I’m done with Thursday.

Photo via: Amazon.com / Sombrero tip: @lechancle

St. Patrick’s Day: The Other Binge Drinking Mexican Holiday

st_patricks_mexico_2

Go ahead; wear green and go out get drunk or whatever it is you do this weekend. But don’t forget Saint Patrick’s Day is a celebration of the Batallón de San Patricio, which according to Wikipedia my extensive readings of history books, was a unit of hundreds of immigrants and expats who fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States.

Of course for Americans of the generation that fought the Mexican-American War, the San Patricios were considered traitors, while for Mexicans of that generation (and pretty much to this day) the San Patricios were heroes.

Now you know.

Now go get some green tequila and Irish tacos.

Zara Home Attempts to Gentrify Luffa Sponges; Hilarity Ensues

Multinational fashion chain Zara has done it again. The home products division of the Spanish giant has put some luffa sponges (known in Mexico as zacates) for sale at 299 pesos (about 9.60 U.S. dollars).

As any Mexican knows, these kinds of sponges can be found in any market around Mexico from less than a dollar a pack. The over 2,000% price difference was not lost on Mexican Twitter, which quickly activated the Zara Home Meme machine. The results are… hilarious.

Eco Shower

Eco Lunch

Make Cubetas Chic Again

Eco Friendly Dog House

Eco friendly Dog House

To think I was brought up in a Zara Home

The Best Mexican Memes of the Biden Inauguration

Luis Valle on Twitter

It’s January 20, 2021 y’all, which means two very important things: Trump will no longer be president and Mexican Twitter is on fire. I will be posting here my favorite meme-moments of the day and updating throughout the morning so be sure to come back!

Guess Where He’s Going?

Don’t Forget Him!

In Some Form

Bernie Knows What’s Up

Awww, Bernie

Make Red Hats Great Again

Bernie, Always Bernie

This Was Inevitable

Cleaning up the Mess

Swearing on El Baldor, Of Course!

Coco & Bernie

Last, but not Least….

From the one and only El Alteño on Twitter

The 2021 Guac-Bowl Is Here and I Can’t Even

It’s already that time of the year when –not content with punishing this blogger with a pandemic, a white supremacist attempted coup, frigid temperatures *and* plenty avocado-hipster nonsense– the people behind Avocados From Mexico are once again reminding me of the upcoming, pandemic Super Bowl –and all I need to know about gringo guacamole.

Enter the 2021 Avocados From Mexico’s Guac Bowl, a “digital experience” where people obsessed with avocados can learn all sorts of things, including how to keep their avocados fresh longer for game day, and get rewards from buying avocados and other weird stuff.

Hosted by Troy Aikman and sportscaster Erin Andrews, the Guac Bowl digital experience also offers participants the chance to win “limited-time only avocado gear and weekly prizes of $1,000, as well as the opportunity to enter to win the grand prize of $1 million.”

Avocado gear? Yes, you read that right: Avocado gear is a thing and it’s just as ridiculous as you can imagine.

And no, I’m not making any of this up. Go ahead, read all about it right here. Now if y’all excuse me, I’ll go get drunk.

The Pro-Trump Mob Assault on the Capitol in One Word

The day after a pro-Trump mob assaulted the nation’s Capitol, Metro, a Mexico City tabloid, printed what this blogger declares the best headline ever on the whole messy situation.

Please also note the wonderful use of the word zafarrancho, a wonderful choice to describe Wednesday’s brawl.

Filing under “Why I love Mexico” and “Mexicans: How Can Anyone Not Like Us?”

Mexico’s COVID-19 Czar Goes to the Beach; Hilarity Ensues

Mexico’s coronavirus czar Hugo López Gatell urged Mexicans to stay home… but then he went on a beach vacation, sparking anger … and tons of memes.

After urging people to stay home, wear a mask, keep a safe distance from others and avoid going on vacation, Mexico’s coronavirus czar, Hugo López-Gatell, decided to take a maskless beach vacation in Oaxaca, prompting a wave of criticisms among Mexicans and later becoming the nation’s butt of the joke.

A series of photos published this weekend show Dr. López-Gatell seated at an outdoor bar with a female companion in the tourist-friendly beach of Zipolite, Oaxaca. Neither is wearing a mask. Another photo, taken a few days earlier on a crowded flight from Mexico City to the beach resort, López-Gatell is seen talking on a cellphone — again not wearing a mask. The photos quickly went viral on social media.

While the politician’s beach escapade sparked anger, naturally, it also gave rise to some hilarious memes and images that continued to light the Internet well into the new year, because when it comes to quick, witty Internet humor, Mexico sigue siendo el rey.

Here are some of my favorite reactions to López-Gatell’s beach escapade.

AMLO got a Special T-shirt

Back from Zipolite

Coronavirus Ready to Pounce

The thing Is… Nobody Reads the small Print

Move Over, Baby Jesus! Baby Yoda Wants a Piece of your Rosca de Reyes

‘Los Magos Reyes’ are almost here, says baby Yoda.

Three Kings Day (better known as Día de Reyes in Spanish-speaking countries) is celebrated on January 6 to honor the Three Wise Men (Los tres reyes magos) who went through great lenghts to visit baby Jesus and bring tons of presents to celebrate his birth.

In Mexico –and a few other countries– the festivity includes the cutting of a special, oval-shaped cake known as the rosca de reyes, which comes filled with tiny plastic dolls symbolizing the hiding of the infant Jesus from King Herod’s troops. But because we live in 2020 and Star Wars has become part of our daily lives, some very creative Mexicans are making Baby Yodas for you to stuff your 2021 rosca with instead.

Move over, Reyes Magos, here come los Magos Reyes!

I don’t know about you, I just think it’s adorbs!

ayñ

The Not-so-Sucky Things that Happened in this Annus Horribilis

January 7, 2020: Capturas antes de la pandemia…

I was going through my photo album of 2020 and found the above pic among the first ones I took in 2020. It was taken on January 7 from my hotel room in Las Vegas during a business trip. It was an intense week of work, but also filled with good memories and fun times with my colleagues, including a spectacular party to wrap up yet another CES. One could say the New Year was looking… peachy.

Barely nine months later, though, in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, I found myself unemployed; unable to visit my family in Mexico or my partner’s family in France and pretty much uncertain about what the future might bring.

In 2020 I attended not one, but two Zoom funerals of friends who lost their fight to Covid-19. I wasn’t able to be with a friend when she lost a close relative to a non-Covid related illness.

Oh, and I wasn’t even able to say good-bye to my colleagues of 7 years. My office stuff was boxed and shipped to my home via FedEx, but the one thing I needed to recover in one piece –a beautiful Made in Toluca Darth Vader statue– arrived in a million pieces. (I really loved him. Look how great he was!)

To put it bluntly, this year sucked. BIG TIME.

At the same time, while writing this I feel ashamed for even complaining. After all, I have my health and my family in Mexico is fine (a miracle, considering the mess the government has made in dealing with the pandemic.) I got a couple new gigs with people I truly admire and who –for some reason– really really want me to work with them. Yay!

So….in the spirit of the moment, and in an effort to not feel so depressed, I decided to write a sort of TOP TEN list of the “Not-So-Sucky” things that happen this year.

So, here goes.

Jan. 31: Friends’ Reunion in New York City

Miami, Cuba, México, DC meet in the heart of NYC

Feb. 15: A Beautiful Hike Upstate

Feb. 28: Family Reunion in Temixco

March 19: Made a Meme that Went Viral

April 2: Wine & Liquor Were Always at Hand

May 25: Finally Learned to Finger Pick

June 2: Left the City and Did Pierre’s Hair (oops!)

Yes, I fucked up the side burns but it was my first time!

July 7: Found the Perfect Place to Spend Summer

Aug. 10: Outdoor “Happy Houring” with Pierre

Sept. 15: Mexican Independence Day in NYC

Oct. 1: Bought a Car, Moved Upstate

Nov 3: Need I Say More?

Nov. 5: Perfected the Art of Baguette Making

Yes, I make those. All the time…

December…?

I decided to leave this month open for now. There are still a few days left in 2020 and we can only wish for the best. Or something not so bad.

In the meantime…

What were the most wonderful things that happened to you in this Annus horribilis?

Merry Christmas from a CDMX Grinch Organ Grinder

Nothing says Christmas in Mexico City like a Grinch organillero.

If you’ve ever visited Mexico, I’m sure you have noticed the ubiquitous organ grinders (known as organilleros,) that tend to gather around main plazas or outside churches to provide entertainment –and one of the most characteristic sounds of my country.

Nowadays, most of Mexico’s organilleros belong to a union (formed in the late 1970s) and wear their characteristic brown uniform and hats. But there are exceptions, of course, as this dude found by a friend in CDMX, who roams about the streets of the capital city dressed up as none other but The Grinch.

And this, my friends, is the most charming thing I’ve seen lately in this annus horribilis.

WATCH HIM IN ACTION: