Staying clean in Mexico

One of the many things I love about Mexico is that there always seems to be a laundry within two or three blocks of where I live. Whenever I pick up clean clothes, I hand them a bag of dirty clothes. I always want something at the laundry. Just now, I picked up some clean laundry and made sure I dropped off the smelly stuff. Cost? Cheap. I dropped off two t-shirts, two pair of socks and two pair of underwear = 30 pesos or $1.50 USD.

Is there a more colorful city in the world?
Is there a more colorful city in the world?

See? I told you it was cheap. I always tip the girl as well. You never know when a tip will come back to help you later on. You should always tip people who do things for you. I give her 20 pesos each time – a buck. It’s not much, but she seems to like it 🙂

Openstreetmap

A hobby I’m passionate about is mapping. Over the last few years I’ve dedicated thousands of hours adding to the world map. There are basically two map formats in the world, Google and Openstreetmap. Google is a company and they make you pay for their maps one way or another. Openstreetmap is free to the world for use and editing. It’s addictive. I add quite a bit of detail to the map wherever I go. One technique I use is to photograph sections of streets and then refer to them later when I’m adding to the map. I delete most of the photos when I’m done with them, but sometimes I accidentally end up with photos I like.

Men delivering Tecate, XX and Bohemia beer, Plaza de la Paz, Guanajuato
Men delivering Tecate, XX and Bohemia beer, Plaza de la Paz, Guanajuato (click to enlarge)

Openstreetmap (OSM) assists in humanitarian efforts that Google isn’t interested in. For example, when an earthquake, hurricane or other disaster hits remote areas of the world, local governments often have no idea where their populations are or how to reach them with help. The U.N., the Red Cross and other international organizations need detailed maps quickly so that response teams know where to focus their efforts. For example, when the volcano exploded recently in Guatemala, a team I belong to rushed in and we used satellite imagery to map thousands of small houses, shacks, roads, rivers, etcetera and within hours teams on the ground were able to use OSM maps to help communities affected by the deadly effects of the active volcano.

Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala
Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala
One of the villages destroyed by Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala. Over 100 died and over 2,000 missing.
One of the villages destroyed by Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala. Over 100 died and over 2,000 missing.

 

 

Another fabulous day in Guanajuato, Mexico

Compare the high temperatures in these two cities. I think I’m in the right one.

Read the last sentence at the bottom of the pages
Read the last sentence at the bottom of the pages “the high will be __”

Today I had the most amazing meal. It was fabulous! Thank you for the recommendation, Tere Sandoval, manager of https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/21669851.

The restaurant is “Mestizo” in Guanajuato. https://web.facebook.com/MESTIZO-175719989168712/

The entrance to Mestizo Restaurant, Guanajuato, Mexico
The entrance to Mestizo Restaurant, Guanajuato, Mexico

The food was obviously created by a professional chef, not a cook. I had three courses, 1. a vegetable/fruit salad “Mezcla de lechugas con fresas, arándano, pera y nuez” ($5.00 USD), 2. a cream of black bean soup “Crema de frijol negro ” ($3.00 USD) and 3. a seared tuna dish for the main course with a pico de gallo sauce “Atún a la parilla con pico de gallo”($11.00 USD). It was the best meal I’ve ever had in Mexico in all my years traveling there.

Keep in mind, this is a fairly expensive meal for Mexico. In the U.S. a meal like that would have cost me 75-80 bucks. On a normal day in Guanajuato I spend five bucks at Starbucks, maybe 7-8 bucks for lunch and then maybe $2.00 on a yogurt at home in the evening. That’s about $15.00 USD for food a day. Other than that, I really have nothing to spend money on. Happy days.

While I was waiting for the restaurant to open for lunch, I popped into a nearby salon and got a haircut. It was only 70 pesos; $3.50. I gave the girl a 100 peso bill and called it good, but I wasn’t thinking correctly. 100 pesos is only five dollars. That means my tip was only $1.50. Damn it!!! I hate to give poor tips. I need to go back tomorrow and give her a proper tip 🙁

I hit the tunnels again today. That was fun. I gotta tell ya, getting 10,000 steps a day in Mexico is easy.

So far, no bats, no rats
So far, no bats, no rats
Photo bomb. Check your six.
Photo bomb. Check your six.
Except for occasional auto, the tunnels are empty
Except for the occasional auto, the tunnels are empty
What are these? Buttresses keeping the walls from falling in?
What are these? Buttresses?
Living a hard life, but keeping a stiff upper lip
Living a hard life, but keeping a stiff upper lip

Under Guanajuato

The tunnels under Guanajuato are awesome. I spent some time in them today. I need to do that more ’cause I still have trouble figuring out where the hell I am when I resurface. Navigation down there is tricky.

Old water shafts changed into streets, Guanajuato
Old water shafts changed into streets, Guanajuato

The city above is packed with people, but for some reason the tunnels are deserted. I wonder why the locals seem to use them so rarely.

The longer tunnel sections can get a bit stinky due to auto exhaust
The longer tunnel sections can get a bit stinky due to auto exhaust

Diverting most auto traffic to the underworld of Guanajuato makes the city above ground much nicer.

Starbucks confession

I hate to admit it, but every morning I go to Starbucks. I’m not a big fan of them normally, but here in Mexico, they really are the only game in town.

Joaquín is my alternate identity
Joaquín is my alternate identity

I get a high-quality white chocolate mocha. I get more power sockets than I could ever use. I get a large comfy chair. I get free wifi – truly free; I don’t have to hand over my email. Plus, nobody bats an eye if I stay for hours and hours. Sorry Mexico, you need to up your game if you’re gonna pull me outta there.

Do you see the roofdog here?

You should let sleeping roofdogs sleep
You should let sleeping roofdogs sleep (click on image to enlarge)

Montezuma’s Revenge

In case you’ve never heard of Montezuma’s Revenge, I’ll explain it for ya. Montezuma was king of the Aztec Empire when Hernán Cortéz showed up, murdered him and destroyed the empire. Montezuma gets his revenge by giving modern-day invaders stomach cramps and diarrhea. I really struggled with it today for about six hours; sharp stomach pains, sitting on the toilet for long periods and in order to combat it, lots of fluids and naps.

After recovering, I went for a walk.
After recovering, I went for a walk.

A half-day bout is not at all bad. Normally, it takes a few days to get over it. All in all, I’m lucky it was a mild case.

To set the record straight, his name was Motecuzoma, not Montezuma. He ruled the Mexica Empire (meh-shee-ka), there never were any people named the Aztecs and Motecuzoma wasn’t the last emperor; Cuautémoc was. I’m pedantic that way.

The next time you hear someone mention the “Aztecs”, tell ’em the Aztecs never existed. Truth.

Afterward, while on my walk, a bird did an excellent job of targeting my left pant leg. Great! What else is going to happen!?? I went into a shop, bought some paper napkins and a bottle of water and got to work cleaning up the green and yellow mess. That’ll be part of my laundry list for tomorrow.

Cock Fighting?

I found this painted on a store-front wall. Yep, this is the place to fill all your avian razor blade leg attachment needs.

This is still legal in Mexico? Wow.
Louisiana finally outlawed this in 2008. That’s progress 😉

Sticking with our animal theme, this guy was standing right outside my front door yesterday. Do those look like vintage aluminum milk cans? I spoke to him (her?), but he was very shy. Poor thing 🙁

Hard life
Hard life

On a happier note, the weather is so freaking amazing here! It’s sunny with fluffy clouds, and about 75F (24C) every day.

A relaxing lunch at the Hotel Real de Minas, Guanajuato
A relaxing lunch at the Hotel Real de Minas, Guanajuato

Yesterday I moved into my casa rental. I love having more privacy and a roof-top terrace all to myself. Below are some pics…

 

Mild – Hot – Scalding – Touched by the Devil

Today I had lunch and was offered some enchiladas that were so hot, they were named, “enchiladas endiabladas”. Yes, please, I’ll have the food that’s been touched by the devil. Honestly, they weren’t that hot.

Food fit for demon-spawn
Food fit for demon-spawn

I wear bottle openers across my chest; just because.

I think this part of Guanajuato is named, "Pastitos" (little pastures)
I think this part of Guanajuato is named, “Pastitos” (little pastures)

I almost never use taxis because I prefer to walk. Today I needed to be somewhere fast, so I signaled a taxi to stop, but then noticed he already had two passengers. He stopped anyway, “A dónde vas?” (where are you going?)

I replied, “Tepetapas noventa y siete, frente la vieja estación de ferrocarril.” (Tepetapas 97, in front of the old train station).

Basilica Colegiata Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato and a gringo
Basilica Colegiata Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato and a gringo

“Sube!” (get in!)

I’m not used to getting into taxis that already have passengers, but what the hell. Like I said, I was in a hurry. Turns out the passengers were his wife and teenage daughter. Funny.

Plan C

Something that surprises me is the high-quality internet speed here in Mexico. So far, every restaurant and coffee shop has free wifi. So sweet.

One of the many beautiful places in Mexico's prettiest city
One of the many beautiful places in Mexico’s prettiest city

Today I did a lot of walking; over 16,000 steps according to my iPhone. By chance I came across a neighborhood I want to live in for a while. So, I canceled my reservation where I’m staying now. I canceled my reservation where I was going to move to next week, and I rented a four-storey house. It even has a terrace on the roof with an amazing view of the city. I move in tomorrow 🙂

Frogs, frogs, frogs
Frogs, frogs, frogs

Mala onda

My next residence is about a block away from the city’s baseball stadium (estadio de béisbol). A taquilla is a ticket office, box office or a ticket window. Here you can line up to buy tickets for seats in the sun or seats in the shade. One is pricier than the other 😉

Estadio Aguilar y Maya, Guanajuato
Estadio Aguilar y Maya, Guanajuato

“Mala onda” is pure street slang. Technically, an “onda” is a wave, like an ocean wave or an electromagnetic wave. In street slang you might say to a buddy, “what’s up”? or, “Qué onda?”

Street graffiti and a gringo, Guanajuato
Street graffiti and a gringo, Guanajuato

An “onda” can be good or bad – buena onda/mala onda. Here, the author was probably trying to say, “this is messed up”, “this is totally uncool”, or “I’m getting some bad vibes because there are too many old gringos in my neighborhood”.