11 years in Mexico

It's been exactly 11 years since my arrival in Mexico.  Don't the years fly by?  I had no idea then that I would end up staying here for so long.

Before coming here I had decided to write a blog - a kind of mixture of travelogue and food journal.  Discovering the local food - dishes I'd never heard of or tasted before - was one of the most exciting things for me when I first came here!  The blog was called "Menu del Día" and subtitled "Things to do in Mexico when you're hungry" and I kept it up - a little sporadically- for about two years, although I think the only people who read it were my parents.

The blog doesn't exist anymore - the host stopped running a free service - but I made a back-up copy and I thought I would share a selection of my first few entries from 2004 as a sort of conmemoration of my 11th anniversary in Mexico!

Feb 6 2004 
tacos con picadillo from a van on the plaza 

I'm in San Luis Potosi, in the northeast/centre of Mexico, soaking up the warm sun. How did I get here? 
All the way from New York on the bus. Am I completely mad? Quite likely. Memorable highlights of that unrepeatable journey include eating the most disgusting hamburger ever in Alabama, a strange guy trying to convince me that both George Bushs are really German and secretly trying to destroy America, feeling the sun in New Orleans, crossing lots of water and miles of marshes in Louisiana, dawn near the Texan border (looked just like it should), arriving in Mexico and holding a rational conversation. Views of Mexico between dozes: cactus trees, mountains, a Beetle full of men in white cowboy hats, donkeys and horses, people living in shacks by the road selling animal skins. Long stretches with no sign of civilisation but the road. 
I was so happy to finally reach a bed. 

Feb 7 2004 
gorditas (little stuffed tortillas), papaya with chilli, salt and lime 

Yesterday was hot, today is cold.  Last night on the Plaza de Armas I came across several old couples dancing to merengue and rock n roll in the middle of a big circle of spectators.  They looked very serious about it. 
This afternoon I discovered a covered market packed with stalls selling vegetables (including flat, prickly cactus leaves), fruit, baskets, pottery, lots of intriguing sweets - I tried a few and was tempted into buying a piece of a sweet made from pumpkin. There were bins of herbs and spices, a box of saffron roots and endless piles of dried chillies in different sizes and shades of dark red.  Around the market, the streets lined with brightly painted shop fronts bustled with Saturday shoppers.  Little carts were selling fried tortillas with chilli sauce, or corn cobs, more stalls sold clothes and pirate cds.  Sounds of music were everywhere, and, every so often, the sizzle of tacos or gorditas cooking.  In one place, about 20 men were sitting with ancient sewing machines mending soles. 

Feb 11 2004 
tortilla soup 

Entertainment on the buses: a man with a guitar and a powerful voice singing ballads;  2 clowns, one at the front, one at the back of the bus performed a routine of jokes which i half understood.  They have to ask permission from the driver before they can climb on, they do their routine or sing a few songs, collect coins from the passengers then jump off and move on to the next bus. 
I moved into a casa de asistencia yesterday.  On Monday I went to see 2 that were advertised in the newspaper.  Its basically like renting a room in a family house, except where I am its completely separate from the family and has more of a halls of residence feel about it.  Theres a communal kitchen and bathroom, and several other girls living there.  Its cheap, clean and in a great area, about halfway between the city centre and the school, in walking distance of both.  The barrio is called Tequisquiapam (try saying that quickly), and only a couple of blocks away theres a garden with fountains, palm trees and benches (and pigeons, of course). 

Feb 16 2004 
sope (a flat tortilla with dripping with frijoles, cheese and cream)  

I kept seeing women carrying huge bouquets of flowers on Friday.  They really celebrate San Valentin here.  The full works involves being serenaded by a mariachi band, apparently. 
It rained for the first time since I've been here, and lots of students didn't come to class.  I cant see that working as an excuse back in England! 

Feb 17 2004 
gorditas de nopalitos 

On Sunday I took a trip to a little pueblo called Santa Maria del Rio, a short bus ride away through an impressive arid landscape of nopales, cactus and little mesquite trees, surrounded by the mountains of the Sierra Madre.  The village is famous for its rebozos - traditional colourful shawls - which are supposedly the best in the country. 
There was a busy market with piles of dried beans and chillis along the ground, men in their cowboy hats, women sitting around a pot of nopales, a type of cactus, scraping the spines off the leaves.  There were gorditas stands, with different fillings in blue pots lined up along the tables.  I tried a gordita de nopalitos; chopped up small they look a bit like green beans and taste similar, and one of a cooked cows blood mixture, very picante. 

Feb 19 2004 
tacos rojos, cafe de olla 

People notice that I speak Spanish with a European accent, rather than a Mexican one, but Ive already started adapting to the way they talk here.  Ive begun to drop the Spanish lisp (they find that funny), and use Mexican words.  Sometimes I get a blank look and realize that Im using Spanish words that dont exist here.  Or mean something different.
I like the phrase "que padre" - cool, great ( literally translated: how father!).  But "madre" is negative: if you're a persona de muy buena onda (a great person), you are "de poquissima madre" (of very little mother!). 
¿Como ves? 

I'm thinking of posting the rest of the blog, as well as the "glossary gastronomica" to explain a bit more about the different foods, so if you're interested in reading more, it'll be here shortly...

Seychelles Mama
Expat Life with a Double Buggy


  1. Congratulations on 11 years in Mexico! I love that you still have your early blog entries. Mine are all still on LiveJournal I think - but nowhere near as interesting as yours!
    Thanks for linking up with the #WeekendBlogHop!

  2. Wow 11 years that's so cool!!!
    Loved reading the bits from your first blog, you should definitely post more :)
    Thanks for sharing with #myexpatfamily x

    1. Thanks for the comment - I'm going to post some more extracts from the old blog, they're mostly very short posts, but it's funny to look back on them and see how much my point of view has changed. Everything was such a novelty back then!

  3. Wow 11 years! Its my 4th year going on 5 here in the UK. Thanks for sharing this post =) #myexpatfamily

    1. Thanks for commenting! After 4 years where do you feel is home? I'm still not sure how to answer this question!

  4. It's amazing how time flies! I love this idea of going back to your early blog and revisiting those first impressions. Writing a blog 11 years ago was pretty trail blazing stuff and without all the linkies and support that exists nowadays no wonder you say it was ony your parents reading! Well now you can have a whole new audience!

    1. Thinking about it now I don't know why I didn't continue the first blog. I suppose I just ran out of impetus and lost enthusiasm. I had no idea how to get readers - the days before twitter and facebook! (sounds prehistoric!) And I'm usually a late adopter of new technology. I suppose I've always been a diary writer and liked the idea of a diary in the public domain - essentially I have the same motivations now.

  5. Congratulations! Doesn't time fly when you are having fun! In September it will have been 15 years since I moved to the Netherlands. No question about whether it is my home now!

    Thanks for linking up #ExpatLifeLinky

    1. Wow, 15 years is pretty impressive, no wonder you feel at home! Even after all this time, there are still things I miss about the UK, but it's like a home that's become unfamiliar.

  6. I haven’t any word to appreciate this post.....Really i am impressed from this post....the person who create this post it was a great human..thanks for shared this with us.

    Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport in Los Cabos & Snorkeling Tour Mexico

  7. Hello, this weekend is good for me, since this time i am reading this enormous informative article here at my home. 안전공원