Friday, July 26, 2013

Mexico City

When I attended ASU I took a class on Mexican art history and since then I've wanted to visit the second biggest city in the world Mexico City and this summer I was blessed enough to be able to finally take this trip! Mexico is full of history, art and culture! I just want to learn everything about my culture and ancestors.  This trip just open a can of warms.  The six days I spent in Mexico City where not enough to see everything on my list, I know I will definitely go back and explore this great city and maybe run the Mexico City Marathon next year.

The trip to Mexico City almost didn't happen, a couple of days before my grandma got sick and was in the hospital, I felt bad leaving on the trip and leaving her in the hospital but I talked to her and she was like go ahead and take your trip you been planning this for many months and I will see you when you get back but make sure you visit La Basilica de Guadalupe.  I felt much better taking the trip with her blessing.  

My little Frida (my niece Leslie), cousin Ma Luisa and my aunt Ofelia took this trip with me. The bus ride took around 12 hours. As soon as I walked out from the bus station I felt a wired feeling like I been there before.  We took a taxi to our hotel that was down town close to El Palacio de Bellas Artes. You hear all this crazy stories about cab drivers ripping you off and getting mug so getting on that taxi was a little scary.

We checked in our hotel and decided to rest for a couple of hours before taking off to explore the city.  Our first stop was El Zocalo which was about 3 blocks from our hotel. El Zocalo is the main plaza in the heart of the historic center of Mexico City formal name is Plaza de la Constitucion.  El zocalo is the gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times, site of Mexican ceremonies, independence ceremonies, religious events and national celebration and national protest.

Our next stop was El Templo Mayor which is one block away from El Zocalo and next to Catedral Metropolitana de Ciudad de Mexico. Based on the legend the Aztecs lived in the north region of what is Mexico now.  Their God Mexitli, God of war order them to build a city  in the place where they find a eagle standing on a cactus and eating a snake.  July 26, 1325 the Aztecs found the eagle in what is in present day El Zocalo.  In that time the area did not have firm ground it in fact was a lagoon.  They had to build an artificial island.  They named that place Mexico- Tenochtitlan and they built temples dedicated to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc.  After the conquer of the Aztecs by the Spaniards in 1521.  Templo Mayor, like most of the rest of the city, was taken apart and then covered over by the new Spanish colonial city.  The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan lays under the present day Zocalo and Catedral Metropolitana.
Leslie and Me at Templo Mayor

In Templo Mayor, in the background you can see the cathedral
I'm just fascinated with all the history this great city has, I've always enjoyed reading about the Aztecs and their history.  It was a whole different thing to experience it in real life and no just reading about it and looking at pictures.  We wanted to visit El Palacio Nacional theirs a Diego Rivera mural in it but it was close due to a group of teachers protesting in El Zocalo maybe next time I visit Mexico City I will be able to visit El Palacio. 

Day number two I feel was our busiest day our first stop was El Museo Nacional de Arte which was about 3 blocks away from our hotel.  This museum had pieces of art of all the well know Mexican artist and also the not so well know.  I got to see pieces by Rufino Tamayo, Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, Ramon Cano Manilla, Guadalupe Posada, Ramulo Pozo, Guillermo Kahlo, Amado de la Cueva and many more Mexican artist.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Durango

Growing up my parents would send us to Durango every summer to spend it with my grandparents in San Juan and I'm glad they did because I developed a love for this state and not only that, It's where my family comes from I have two homes Phx and Durango.  For the past 30 years Ive been coming to this wonderful state of Mexico but never really took the time to explore the city.  This year with the company of my partner in crime my niece Leslie God daughter/almost my daughter  we decided to tour the city of Durango and visit it's many museums.  The city is full of history art and colonial architecture.

our tour guide

on the bus to our first stop
Our first stop was at a new museum dedicated to Jose Doroteo Arango Arabula or best know has Francisco "Pancho" Villa.  He was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary general and was the commander of the Division del Norte (Division of the North).  He fought alongside Emiliano Zapata during the Mexico revolution. He retired in 1920 but later on decided to re-involved him self in Mexican politics and as a result was assassinated, most likely on the orders of Obregon Mexico's then President.  This museum is in dedication to Pancho Villa and the states 450 year anniversary

A little history about Durango.  Durango is the fourth largest state in Mexico. The name Durango is Basque in origin and means "Fertile lowland bathed by rivers surrounded by elevations or mountains." The state of Durango was first colonized in 1562 by Francisco de Ibarra. Early European Settlers met strong resistance from the native population, but the wealth of mineral resources and grazing lands continue to attract colonist. The region which is made up of modern-day Durango and the state of Chihuahua was know as Nueva Viscaya, with the city of Durango acting as the capital for this colonial province."   

The museum used to be a government building and its cover with fresco murals, with images of the revolution ans the states riches. I enjoy learning about Mexico history and art and culture.  If I could get a masters degree in Mexican History I would. I just have a passion for Mexico and just want to experience and visit has many places as I can.

On our two day tour of the city we visited five different museums 
Museo de las Culturas Populares
Museo de Arqueologia
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo 
Museo de Arte Moderno
Casa de la Cultura Banamex

I didn't realize that Durango was so rich of history and art.  I feel I know my state a little better. We saw many pieces of art my favorite mediums are printmaking and painting.  This summer I was determined to start working on my art.  I haven't worked on my art for many months for the most part because I am always training for something.  I will make a very big effort to dedicate more time on my creativity.  The following are paintings that i most enjoyed.


Going from museum to museum is my thing, Art is not only my career but my passion. This past two days where awesome specially cause I got to spend them with one of my favorite little girls in the world my niece Leslie.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My days in Durango

My days in my beloved Durango passed by way too fast, but I enjoyed my days to the fullest! On our stay in San Juan we celebrated many June birthdays My grandmas, uncle and my nephew Oscar's 6th birthday.  My mom and I decided to give him a small birthday party, our town is very small and the kids don't get to go to many birthday parties, so we invited all the kids for a pinata, cake and candy bags.  You could see it in the kids faces they had a blast! 

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The birthday boy
Our towns name is San Juan Ojo de Agua (Saint John the Baptist) and every June 24th we celebrate his nativity. My mom says that in the old days the celebrations where very big and many people would come from other towns to celebrate.  It is tradition to walk from the church to el manantial (which is a spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground. Thus, a spring is a site where the aquifer surface meets the ground surface.) signing the mananitas (traditional birthday song) and praying.
After that we walk back to the church and sign some more and have matachines dance traditional ritual dances outside the church door to honor San Juan Bautista. During the day they have 3 masses and food for the whole town.  It is also tradition to get each other wet, the kids go around with buckets of water and chase each other and try to get others wet.

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I was enjoying my time so much that it started to get hard to train, but I did manage to go running and swimming almost every other day.  I would run to see my dad at the cemetery and that was about a 4.5 mile run and swimming at our spring but because it was vacation time we would get a lot of out of town people and it made it hard for me to go swimming.  I feel that my swims helped me with my fear of open water swims because I was swimming with out my safety blanket my wet suite.  I would cross the spring many times and the water was very clear I saw tones of fishes, turtles thank god I didn't see any water snakes cause that would of freak me out and I don't think I would of crossed it again.  I know theirs water snakes because we would see them all the time when we went swimming back in the day.  

This summer vacations where a little more special that other years not only I planned a trip to Mexico City but my mom and aunts planned a little family reunion. My grandma hadn't been to Durango in about two years but it had been over 10 years that all four brothers had been together. I can't imagine not seeing my sisters for that long! but things change one of my aunts is a nun and lives in Leon Guanajuato, my Tio Juan lives in San Juan my Tia Baselisa lives in Houston, Texas and my grandma in Phoenix. It was such a great experience to see them all together you could see and feel all the love they have for each other. I enjoy listening to their childhood stories and learn a little more about my great grandma Patro which I was one of the luck ones that she prepared me for my first holy communion.
Tia Margarita, Tio Juan, Abuelita Julianita and Tia Bacelisa
Spending my summers in Durango are super fun the weather is great! raining season starts around the second week in June and that means it usually rains in the evenings and the start of the state fair! I love going to the state fair this year I got to go twice and see two great female singers Julieta Venegas and Carla Morrison both of this ladies are awesome song writers and have a very unique voice.  Besides going to their concerts I got to spend time with my cousins and god daugthers spending time with family is always fun and exciting.
Oscar, Leslie, Running Frida and Luis Mi aka Luixton

Julieta Venegas Concert

Leslie and Nina
Valentina and Madrina Corazon
so far my vacations are going great... stay tune for more... next post My Durango Leslie and I decide to tour the city of Durango and its many museums!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today was Mole Day

Happy 85th Birthday to my abuelita Julianita! When we where kids my parents would send us in the summer to spend it with her.  We would come and spend weeks with her and not only me and my sisters would come but others cousins from Phoenix and Durango. She would cook, clean and wash clothes for all of us and let me tell you back in the day their was no TV to keep us entertain in the house we would go swimming 2 times a day! she had a lot of work with us spending the summer with her. To celebrate her birthday her choice of meal was mole! my favorite!

All my tias are great cooks they take it from my grandma, my Tia Chuya (the one with the red tshirt) made the mole.  Ive always wanted to learn how to make it, so here is the recipe of traditional Mexican Mole, Durango version cause theirs a lot of different styles of Mole
Chicken, Red Chilly (dry), Raisins, Peanuts, Chocolate Abuelita, Ajonjoli, Clavos, Garlic, Almonds, Sugar, Salt and whole cinnamon 

Step 1: Boil chicken with onion and garlic, after the chicken it boil deshebrar (to unpick) the chicken

Step 2: Clean the chilly by taking out all the seeds from the inside and save half of the seeds for later, then remojar (soak) red chilly in hot water for about 20 minutes
Step 3: blend chilly, raisins, peanuts (we didn’t have peanuts we substituted it with peanut butter) chocolate abuelita, anjojoli, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, almonds, sugar and salt

Their is a different option for this step.  My aunt said it tastes better but its a little bit more greasy.  you can fry the peanuts, almonds, anjojoli and raisins, then blend with the remaining ingredients.
Step 4: strain chilly and heat until it boils
Step 5 add chicken and let it sit and boil for about 5 minutes

for a side we usually make rice the combination is perfect. Sweet mole is one of my favorite dishes my mom always makes it for my birthday I will eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner for a couple of days and I don't get tired of it!!! this was my 3rd plate of mole and rice for dinner. Maybe before I go back home I will attempt in making some mole.

training is going great, I just been swimming and running. I haven't attempted using my mountain bike to go on a ride. I'm used to my rode bike that is light weight and this bike feels so heavy I'm afraid of taking it out, but i need to go on a couple of rides Mountain Man Olympic triathlon is August I need to be ready. 
the view on my walk home from my swim, some of you might not know but im a fanatic of astronomy I wanted to be an astronaut :) on June 23 theirs going to be a supermoon check it out!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hello from Durango!

Hola from Durango, Mexico!! Running Frida is on vacations! every fathers day I come to Durango to visit my dad’s resting place and my parents home town Ojo de agua San Juan its a small town about 40 minutes from the city.  When my dad passed away 3 years ago he wanted to be buried next to his parents and brother and we granted his wish.  I decided I would come every fathers day and visit him. I don’t have much time during the year to come to San Juan its a 24 hour bus ride from phoenix and with all the training and work its hard to take time during the school year but I have plenty of time during the summer so every fathers day I will come and visit my father and family. This town has a very special place in my life. I grew up coming to this small town every summer, the most happy moments of my childhood are from my summers I spent in San Juan with my sisters and cousins. I LOVE coming to Durango the weather is perfect, raining season starts the second week of June and the evenings are perfect for going on a runs, swims and bike rides.

 So far on my vacations Ive gone on three runs one with my awesome niece (she’s a runner too) we ran to my dad’s grave which is two towns away from San Juan its around 4.66 mile run. Our first run was on the morning of fathers day, It was a slow run, it was hilly and muddy. It rain the night before so their was a lot of puddles that we had to go around.

After our run we came home and got ready to go visit my dad a second time, but this time my mom, nephews and cousins came with us.  In the afternoon we celebrated fathers day and my Tio Juan 84th birthday (my grandma younger brother) Spending time with the family is very important to me I like catching up with everyone and talking about our childhood memories and other anecdotes.

My Abuelita Julianita and Tio Juan saying hi, after 2 years of not seeing each other.  We are planing a family reunion for this coming Sunday their two younger sisters are coming to San Juan my Tia Margarita from Leon Guanajuato and my Tia Bacelisa from Houston Texas that should be fun.

Frida Kahlo is my favorite artist and I take on the name running Frida after her. I decided if I plan on keeping this nickname I need to take on this name with seriously so I plan on doing something creative each day I'm here. It could be a entry on my blog, painting, collage on my smash book, drawing, cooking, story telling anything with a creative outlet.

Its only been 5 days Im here and it feels Ive done a lot, the days pass by really fast when you are having fun! hope everyone is having a great summer like me!!