Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pueblos Mágicos List Gets 28 New Additions

In May I wrote a post about Pueblos Magicos.

Sayulita, Nayarit: magic town. OLDVALLARTA.COM

Mexico News Daily reports, "One hundred and eighty Mexican towns were vying to be part of the magic at a tourism fair this week in Puebla, but only 28 made the grade.

"That’s how many towns were officially added to the list of Pueblos Mágicos, or “Magic Towns,” a designation reserved for cities, towns and villages with special symbolic features, legends and history, and opportunities in tourism."

The additions to "Magic Towns" are Atlixco and Huauchinango in Puebla; Huautla de Jiménez, Mazunte, San Pablo Villa Mitla and San Pedro y San Pablo in Oaxaca; Isla Mujeres and Tulum, Quintana Roo; San José de Casas, Aguascalientes; Candela and Guerrero, Coahuila; Aculco, Ixtapa de la Sal, Teotihuacán, San Martín de las Pirámides and Villa de Carbón in the State of México; Tecozahutla in Hidalgo; Mascota and Talpa de Allende, Jalisco; Sayulita, Nayarit; Linares, Nuevo León; San Joaquín, Querétaro; Mocorito, Sinaloa; Tlaxco, Tlaxcala; Palenque, Chiapas; and Coscomatepec, Orizaba and Zozocolco in Veracruz.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Avoid mosquito bites with nim tree seeds

Mexico News Daily reports Health authorities say the best way to avoid either dengue or chikungunya is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Now, just as both viruses are being widely reported in Mexico, along comes a new repellent.

Developed by researchers at the Academic Department of Zoology at the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS), the repellent’s formula is derived from the nim tree and can be prepared simply and cheaply at home.

Research leader Ramón Cepeda Palacios and his team carried out a double-blind test – giving six volunteers the real repellent or a placebo – in a mosquito-infested area. The test found that 80% of bites sustained by the volunteers were on those who had not used a lotion made from the tree.

Cepeda Palacios said the research was intended to devise a treatment to neutralize the disease-carrying bite of infected mosquitoes. Currently there exist around 100 supposed remedies, consisting of ingredients as diverse as cloves, garlic and tobacco.

Researchers at the university took advantage of a locally growing resource – the abundant nim tree – whose flowers and fruit they used to make a lotion.

Cepeda Palacios said the tree flowers in June when mosquitoes are at their most numerous. Its fruit matures in August and September, which coincides with the rainy season. Again this is ideal timing, as more mosquito bites and higher reproduction of female adult insects are recorded during this period.

But the principal ingredients of the repellent can also be obtained from the seeds alone.

“To prepare 250 milliliters of lotion all that is needed are 20 grams of nim tree seeds [about 100], 250 milliliters of 70% alcohol solution and a wide-mouthed bottle measuring 350 milliliters,” said Cepeda Palacios. “Grind or crush the seeds using a mortar and pestle or blender, then put them in the bottle along with the alcohol and shake the mixture every three hours for a day to macerate.

“Leave this to stand for another half-day before separating the seeds and liquid, pouring the latter into an atomizer [used for sprays such as perfume], or simply another clean bottle. This lotion can then be used from the next day onwards.”

Cepeda Palacios added that the lotion should be applied every three to four hours, particularly on the legs, arms and neck. “One 250-milliliter bottle should be enough to last a small family one week,” he said.

The lotion will last up to 10 months after preparation if kept in the bottle.

Products from the nim tree have been used for medicinal purposes in India for many centuries.

San Miguel de Allende's got charm

No beaches? No problem says Alice Diamond, in the San Diego Reader.

With no beach, no stoplights, and not even an airport, one might be surprised that San Miguel de Allende has been a magnet for Americans for decades. This strikingly beautiful and history-rich 16th- century town in the mountains of central Mexico got on the tourist and artist circuit soon after World War II as one of the few places outside of the U.S. where returning veterans could use their G.I. benefits to study art. No beaches? No problem says Alice Diamond, in the San Diego Reader.

Read more here

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Expats in Mexico: Full-Time Dream Vacation

Deborah Charnes writes about expats in Chron

Bill Clinton recently said: “Between 2010 and 2014, there was no net in-migration from Mexico.” In fact, in the five years prior, more people moved from the States to Mexico than the reverse.*

Given the way immigration is covered in the media, this may be a shocker. Not for me. My thrifty depression-era father talked about retiring in Guadalajara. I’ve long considered Mexico my segunda patria, and have considered making the land of Tenochtitlan my home.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Zapotec culture under threat in Oaxaca

Mexico News Daily has an article about the Zapotec culture near Oaxaca.

Gutiérrez and loom: preserving the culture.

A weaver in Oaxaca has been selected by a Smithsonian Institution program for an award he hopes will support efforts to preserve Zapotec culture.

Porfirio Gutiérrez of Teotitlán del Valle, a village famous for the artisanal production of textiles, was one of the winning candidates for the 2016 Artist Leadership Program administered by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).

Gutiérrez and his family are descendants of generations of Zapotec weavers who have made the village synonymous with fine weaving. As many as 70% of the residents of the town, whose population is about 5,000, are engaged in some facet of textile art.

But a multi-year decline in tourism — Teotitlán is just 30 kilometers from the city of Oaxaca, which has been slowly regaining its reputation as a safe place to visit — has been hard on the weavers, who have suffered a severe reduction in income.

Other changes, too, threaten not only the tradition of weaving but the Zapotec culture. “In our town,” says Gutiérrez, “other components of our Zapotec legacy are about to vanish forever.

“My parents speak Zapoteco, my siblings and I speak Zapoteco and Spanish, but our children speak mostly Spanish.” And the same goes for their art.

Gutiérrez’ parents spin, dye and weave, and while he and his siblings have those skills to some degree, most have had to find outside work in other fields in order to survive.

It was his concern over the potential loss of the art form that Gutiérrez approached the National Museum of the American Indian with a project in mind.

“The youth in our village may never know the arts of their ancestors unless they are shown by the remaining masters who are still practicing our ancient techniques,” he says.

So he proposed bringing together experts and interested individuals in the village for a workshop on traditional dyes, whose use has been declining as more weavers opt for the speed and simplicity of the chemical variety.

The NMAI agreed and will fund a four-day training program in which students will learn about the plants from which the dyes come and how to make them.

The museum will also produce a video to follow the dye-making process as well as offer a glimpse of life in Oaxaca.

Gutiérrez sees the program as an important step in sustaining Zapotec culture and a traditional art form. We hope to visit Teotitlán when we visit the area around Christmas time.

If you love unspoiled Mexico, meet Nayarit

"Almost everyone has heard of Puerto Vallarta," IRENE MIDDLEMAN THOMAS said, "the long-popular Mexican vacation destination in Jalisco that draws droves of vacationers from the United States and Canada each year (along with many who have moved there permanently.) But there is much more to explore and enjoy outside of the beautiful city in the heart of the sparkling Bay of Banderas."

This region is full of dense jungle foliage — where towering ferns, palms and vines join together in jumbles of tumbling bougainvillea and hibiscus surrounding azure Pacific waters. The dense mountains loom behind at various angles, making for landscapes Gauguin would have loved to paint.

We’ve visited numerous times, and we never run out of new places to see.

From the Puerto Vallarta Los Muertos beach pier to Yelapa, an itsy-bitsy pedestrian-only village hugging the rocky coast at the southern tip of the bay.

Somewhat reminiscent of an Italian fishing village, Yelapa has a rather weird melange of bohemian Yanks, Canadians and Europeans, some living in lavish villas, others residing in humble abodes alongside the friendly locals.

Just 10 minutes north of the international airport, we entered the state of Nayarit.

Never heard of it? Mexico’s 10th smallest state (out of 31), is a diverse destination that attracts birdwatchers, wildlife enthusiasts and those seeking a taste of the authentic, unsullied-by-tourism Mexico.

On our weeklong visit, we traveled through a scenic green countryside with rolling hills, enjoying endless views of sugar cane fields with fronds blowing in the breeze; mango, banana, and papaya orchards; and tobacco farms.

Read more of  Thomas's travel near Puerto Vallarta here.

Monday, September 14, 2015


An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck the Gulf of California early Sunday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The temblor struck at 1:14 a.m. and had a depth of 6 miles. The epicenter was 37 miles south-southwest of Topolobampo, Mexico, and it was preceded by two other earthquakes of magnitude 4.9 and 5.3. Mexico's national coordinator of civil protection, Luis Felipe Puente, sent a tweet saying that there were no immediate reports of damage in Sinaloa state, where Los Mochis lies, or in Baja California Sur on the other side of the gulf.

Mexico, which lies on three tectonic plates, is one of the world's most seismically active regions.