Monthly Archives: November 2008

Welcome to the Club, Alisa!

Spaniard + Indian = Mestizo

Spaniard + Indian = Mestizo Guy in background = my great-great-great-uncle Estanislau

-Yes ah, my mother and father are Mexican, but I’m from Spain.

-You’re from La Habra, Puto!

George Lopez (Right Now Right Now)

Author/blogger/screenwriter/funny lady Alisa Valdes, reported on her blog today that she recently found out she’s a Chicana, fur realz. If you’ve ever read any of her books ( The Dirty Girls’ Social Club, Make Him Work, and Playing With Boys) this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Alisa, who hails from New Mexico and has thus far considered herself to be Cuban-American because of her father, found out through researching her family tree that she can officially add another hyphen into the mix. According to family lore from her mother’s side, her great-grandmother had roots that could be traced back all the way to the Spanish royalty. Turns out, that’s not exactly the way it went down. She writes:

“I have indeed traced her family to Spain, to a wealthy young man who came to Santa Fe and married a woman from the San Ildefonso (San Yldefonso on the marriage license) pueblo. That means his wife was Native American. From that point forward, the family tree merges many times with families from Mexico City, Chiapas, and Zacatecas, as well as with “Spanish” families from Northern New Mexico. In other words, my mother’s father was Mexican, whether he liked it or not.”

Congratulations, Alisa. Your complimentary Frida Kahlo brow enhancer, George Lopez DVD collection, and “My family went to Atzlan and all I got was this pinche t-shirt” t-shirt will be arriving in the mail shortly.

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Rollin’ With Rolene

Rolene Walker

Rolene Walker

Since I moved to Mexico, I’ve learned the value of a good pair of walking shoes. Unlike in L.A. where the only action your UGG boots will ever get is pushing the gas pedal or traipsing through the sand at Zuma Beach, if you want your tootsies to survive the barrage of crusty metro floors, open sewage grates, and busted up sidewalks in this city you better learn how to make friends with the Flexi salesman and your neighborhood zapatero.

Anyway, I thought that I was a true ambulatory master after I walked all the way from Condesa to Roma Norte one night to find a decent cantina. Then, I met Rolene Walker. I know, right?  Game over with that last name.

Señora Walker – a Quaker who prefers to rock New Balance tennies – is currently on a personal pilgrimage from San Diego, California to Santiago, Chile, the birthplace of her father. Her mission is to visit as many schools as possible along the way and give lessons about protecting the environment. With the exception of a few necessary bus trips, she’s walking the entire way.

I got a chance to meet up with Rolene in September when she was staying Quaker-run Casa de los Amigos in la Colonia Tabacalera. We took the metro all the way to Tasqueña on the way to one of her walks in the south of the city. I asked her if she has gotten any negative reactions from people along her journey.

“One thing that’s really nice about Mexico is they understand about pilgrimage more than in the United States,” she said “In Mexico, they think you should follow your dreams – even if you’re nuts.”

Rolene is currently following her dream in Oaxaca, where she is learning about sustainability and environmental education from the local indigenous community. She’ll be in Southern Mexico until February when she is putting together an  environmental education conference.

So far, she’s accomplished some pretty amazing things:

  • 2,586 miles traveled
  • 150 class rooms and organizations visited
  • 140  companion walkers
  • 300 sustainable environment school kits donated                
  • 45 model solar ovens distributed and installed
  • 1 five-day conference for grassroots environmentalists

If you want more information about Rolene and her walk check out her site, http://www.walkwithearth.org

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O.G. Chilangabacha

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Ever wonder why the whole Chilangabacha things seems so darn natural? No? Well, too bad, I’ll tell you anyway. You see, I happen to be a third generation Chilangabacha. Gramma Chilangabacha used to come to the DF quite regularly during her youth to chill with her primas, and the impression has remained with her to this day.

When I told her I was moving here, she told me to be careful if I ever wear pants because back in her day, everyone used to stare at girls who didn’t wear skirts.

“My jeans were a scandal!” she told me.

She also recalls being gawked at because of her height. At 5 feet 10 inches tall, she towered over most of the Chilangos. (She’s the one hunching over all the way on the left.) Her constant companion on these journeys was her best friend, Margaret, aka La Habra’s most famous curandera. They’re both 80 years old now, and they still find time to sit around and chismear en espanglish.

I hope I can be as lucky.

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La Terminal

Suggested Apparel for Mr.Nohara

Suggested Apparel for Mr.Nohara

This Just In: A Japanese man has allegedly been living in Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport since September.

Hiroshi Nohara was en route to Brazil from San Francisco when he lost his passport. Don’t know if it was the delicious airport tacos, or the vigilant bathroom cleaners, but her decided to stay. Here’s what Prensa Latina had to say in their one-source story:

“Con su sonrisa inmutable, Nohara expresó que la embajada de su país en México le ayudó a regularizar su documentación y que decidió quedarse en la instalación aérea del Distrito Federal por considerarla “un lugar seguro”.

With his immutable smile, Nohara expressed that his county’s embassy here in Mexico helped him to fix his documentation and that he decided to stay inside of the Mexico City’s aerial installation because he considers it to be a “safe place.”

Just a quick interjection here to marvel at the Mexican media’s proclivity for creative noun substitution. In addition to calling the airport an “aerial installation,” the reporter refers to Nohara as all of the following: “un Japones,” “El Nipon,” “el visitante asiático,” and ” El pasajero japonés.”

Anyway, in the Tom Hanks flick, “The Terminal,” which immediately comes to mind upon reading this story, the main character couldn’t leave the airport because of diplomatic reasons. In this case, it seems like the poor fellow is just suffering from Chilangophobia, or the fear of Mexico City. Nohara has only left the airport twice; one time to stay at a cheap motel, and one time to go to Estadio Azteca. If he walked in there during the middle of a Pumas match, it’s no wonder he’s scared to leave the food court, and who knows what kind of classy hotels he ended up in.

For now, Nohara is spending his days eating hamburgers, smiling at passerby, and checking out the fabulous handicraft shops. Since the Japanese economy is currently in recession, it might not be a bad place for the “visitante Asiático” to hang out for a while.

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Gorilla Marketing

What’s with all of the circus animals trying to escape into Mexico City lately? On Monday night a tiger escaped from its unlocked cage and attacked its keeper, back in September a five-ton elephant escaped from the circus and got hit by a bus on the highway, and according to the AP, “three tigers escaped from a circus truck and took shelter in a house in western Mexico last week, but were quickly recaptured.” (Can you just picture that scene?) I’ve also heard rumors of toucans and smacky frogs heading for the hills.

What gives? I’m starting to think these circuses aren’t all fun and games. My guess is that there’s some kind of sick underground marketing scheme going on. Those ad men at Kellogs are trying to bring their evil corporate agenda to Mexico and these cats aren’t having it. Run Tony, RUN!

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I MOCK YOU PUBLIC TRANSIT RIDER!

I MOCK YOU!This man laughs at me every time I walk to the Juanacatlan Metro. Make of it what you will.

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Rayos! Rayas!

Rayos = Good Heavens

Rayas=Stripes

Rayos + Rayas = this lady:

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