The Ugliest Building in Mexico

Avenida de Chapultepec bldg 2

This spectacularly-ugly building on Avenida de Chapultepec, near the Zona Rosa section of Mexico City, looks (from the above angle) like a solitary brick wall that the city forgot to demolish. The Steren store on the bottom floor only makes the rest of the façade look worse in comparison.

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Sense and Sensibility

I love Mexico City more with each passing day. This afternoon I had an errand to run that happened to take me to my favorite neighborhood, Coyoacán. It was a glorious, sunny day and, with my errand done and my stomach growling, I popped into a small bistro for a bite to eat. A common lunchtime option is “el Menú del Día,” which essentially includes an appetizer, soup, entrée, dessert, and water for a fixed price. A gringo with simple tastes, I opted for the “Chicken Menu” and was pleasantly surprised when I was served bruschetta, lentil soup, chicken croquettes with rice, carrots, and cucumbers in yogurt sauce, steamed zucchini, flavored water, and a very interesting postre of figs adorned with chopped nuts and dipped in chocolate sauce. Not bad for 100 pesos (about USD $8.50).

After lunch, I felt especially sated, and took a leisurely stroll back to the metro, noticing for the first time several charming restaurants and coffee shops that I had probably walked past a dozen times before. The other day I observed, in my own neighborhood, a shrub that was trimmed in the shape of an osito (bear cub). Why had I never noticed this before? I am starting, finally, to notice the little things, things I was oblivious to. I am starting, at long last, to actually understand Spanish when spoken to me. Not always – not even half the time – but often enough that when I ask the speaker to repeat what he or she just said, it is muy claro the second time. Living here has agreed with me so much that my senses have, I think, become refined with time.  

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Top Ten Mexico – The Country

Greetings, Loyal Reader! If you’ve gotten to this point, you either like top ten lists, as I do, or you’re just trying to appease me. Hoping it’s the former and not the latter, it’s time for another list! (My previous top ten list – Top Ten Mexico City – can be found here.)

There is so much more to Mexico than just its capital. Of course, Mexico DF is the biggest and best city in the country – and you’d better believe it’ll make my country-wide top ten list – but you’ll also find beaches, ruins, and smaller cities and towns of note. Any Americans reading this blog, take note: many U.S. cities offer direct flights to numerous destinations in Mexico. Los Angeles, Houston, and Dallas seem especially well connected. Start packing!

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Top Ten Mexico City

I love top ten lists. Call me a geek if you want, it’s okay. Whatever the list, if it’s a top ten something, there’s a good chance I’ll read it. I probably have read it. Top ten Presidential quotes. Top ten “Seinfeld” episodes. Top ten ballparks. Top ten Chicago hot dog shacks. Top ten one-hit wonders (yes, 80’s emo band A-ha is in there). Top ten movies of the year. Top ten movies by genre.

And don’t even get me started on travel top ten lists. Lonely Planet has dozens of them. Travel + Leisure has dozens more. From “Top Ten Places to Ring in the New Year” to “Top Ten Multi-Day Hikes” to “Top Ten Places for Wildlife Watching,” you really can pick your poison. (Note: If I named any of those without crediting the actual publication in which they appeared, please accept my apologies. I really just pulled ‘em out of thin air.)

For my blogging (and your reading) pleasure, here’s my own top ten list – city-specific, to keep the list manageable.

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Oscar Nominations 2012-13 – reactions

“The Help” star Emma Stone and 2013 Oscar host Seth MacFarlane woke up bright and early today to read off this year’s Academy Award nominations. They were not the only ones at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, as hundreds of reporters were on the scene for the big scoop, hoping to make the evening papers. I was with them in spirit, of course, watching the live broadcast from my apartment. And although it was 7:30 out here and not 5:30, that was still damn early – for me at least.

As expected, there were a few surprises, but the actual list of nominees closely mirrored my own predictions from yesterday, with most categories predicted to 80% or 100% accuracy. (Best Director notwithstanding. Yikes!) “Lincoln” leads the race, with 12 nominations including Best Picture.  “Life of Pi” is a close second, garnering 11 nods.

For now, I’ll try and hold off from commenting on who I think will actually win, though I make no promises. Here we go….

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Oscar Nominations 2012-13 – predictions

My blog entry for today is not about Mexico. Nor is it about the series of events that led to my moving to Mexico. Before I fell in love with travel, I fell in love with movies – since I was a child, actually – and although I don’t obsess about them to the degree that I once did, they still provide much enjoyment in my life – especially when I’m not traveling.

Oscar season is a particularly fun time of year for me. I always enjoy predicting the nominees before they are announced, reacting to them once they are announced (well, not at 5:30 a.m. when they’re read off, but later that same day), and watching the big show, typically the only night of television that – at least in the U.S. – rivals the Super Bowl as the year’s most-watched broadcast.

In years past, my conversations about the predicted nominees were limited to a few seconds of office water cooler chit-chat, and a couple hours’ worth of internet movie message board postings. I always made it a point to see as many of the nominated movies as possible, so most of my moving-going friends simply couldn’t keep up. Alas, I’m a bit behind this year, as some movies released in the last months of 2012 still haven’t opened here (“Les Misérables,” for example, doesn’t open until February 15th). Still, I’ve seen two-thirds of the contenders, and the amateur critic in me has come up with my own “wish list” of nominees.

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Looking Forward and Back – Part Two

Yesterday, I blogged about the 12 crazy months that had just passed. A roller coaster year of good SoCal hiking, great travels to Europe and Latin America, misleading job prospects, a relationship began and a friendship ended. You can read about it here. Today, I’m taking a moment to look forward.

2013 slate

The world is your oyster, Shakespeare once wrote (or something like that), and I couldn’t agree more. I have basically begun the year in a new city, in good health and in a steady relationship for 12 months and counting. I don’t always make New Year’s resolutions, but I did so this year, and thought I’d share them with you.

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Looking Forward and Back – Part One

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmakwanzaakuh was special, and I likewise hope you spent New Year’s Eve with someone special. As you may know, Loyal Reader, I spent my Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays with family in Tennessee, and only just returned home to Mexico City yesterday evening.

The days between Christmas and New Year’s should be spent relaxing, of course, but should also include some reflection on the past 365 days, and on what you hope the next 365 will bring. Between hearty servings of zesty goulash, thin spaghetti, tender turkey, and light-as-a-feather mashed potatoes, (the turkey baked to perfection by my sister, who, as it turns out, is one helluva good cook) I did just that. I do just that every year, in fact, but I don’t always learn much. It’s time to pay closer attention.

2012 highlights and lowlights

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