A Reason to Visit Us Now: Noche Buena Cerveza (y Flores)

Noche Buena cerveza

Many, many good things are from Mexico. Like the poinsettia. Around these parts here in Mexico, the poinsettia is known as the noche buena. In the right climate — this one, of course — the poinsettia is not a mere flower symbolizing Christmas, it’s a big tree. See what I mean? Gorgeous, huh?

It’s also the name of a damn, damn good dark beer. It’s made by FEMSA — the same people who make Tecate and Dos Equis. As they say on their web site:

“The only Christmas beer in Mexico, Noche Buena is a dark beer, with a strong flavor and characteristic. True connoisseurs of beer await its release each year between October and December, when its rich qualities provide the perfect complement to the spirit of the holiday. With its emblem of the flower festival poinsettia (or Good Night), this beer inspires those who enjoy it to give the best during the holidays by delivering the best quality and flavor available in dark beer.”

The hitch? It’s only available this time of year. Come and get it now!

(Noche Buena Originally uploaded by toltequita)

Random Recipe: Joy’s Just Peachy Margarita

Just Peachy Margarita

It’s been a long week, even though it’s Tuesday. The solution: Joy’s Just Peachy Margarita.

Ingredients:

  • One shot of tequila (less is better here – tequila doesn’t really mix well with peaches (esta sabor loco!) but with enough peach nectar, you won’t notice, nor care. Yes, work with me, folks – I’m culling from ingredients already in my fridge to invent a new drink.)
  • 8-10 oz of peach nectar
  • Splash of agua mineral con gas

Add ice, drink up.

It’s a lovely color, no? I wish I had a blender, cuz I totally want to try it all slushy.

What Do They Think of My Squeaky Nun?

As both a testament to how old I am, and how old I think I am, I now have to write about the Squeaky Nun.

Approximately six years ago — six! already! — I flew from Corpus Crappy to Boston to visit my friend, Sarah. While there, at a toy shop, I stumbled upon her:

Squeaky Nun

I picked her up, and she squeaked. Loudly. I was delighted: It was THE perfect gag souvenir for my then-boyfriend, now-husband.

Since purchasing her, she has mostly just sat on shelves, watching us, guarding over our Jesus pencil toppers.

But, in the process of moving from NYC to Mexico – a very Catholic nation, I might add – the nun has been squeaked quite a bit.

When the movers were here, one of them lifted her out of the box, and accidentally squeaked her. At first, I think he was scared. Then, he couldn’t get enough. Squeak. Giggle. Squeak. Giggle. I think it was therapeutic for him, to make her squeak, over and over. I’m glad I could help.

And, just now, it happened again. The maid is here, cleaning. And she picked up Squeaky Nun to dust beneath her holiness, thinking it was a harmless miniature nun, but, no, she squeaked! I heard a little gasp. I hope she didn’t make a secret sign of the cross, asking for protection from me. If I spoke better Spanish, I’d ask her if she thought it was funny, or offensive. I constantly worry about these things. I really do.

Now, because we have the extra room, I have created a special place for our toys, above the toilet in our second bathroom. Squeaky Nun gets a prominent place, far from the jaws of the dog. Although, for the purpose of this post, I did let him have a little fun with her today:

dog and nun

Views from the Patio

So, I’ve been so tired this week, photos took a real backseat to life. Seriously, I took a four-hour nap today, and well, why? Full disclosure, I had a touch of turista all week, which is great for rapid weight loss but bad for energy levels. Especially when you have just moved into a new apartment full of boxes and empty on basics like toilet paper.

But I’m better now, especially since I downloaded some Van Morrison onto iTunes.

Here’s some views from the patio. And one shot of our personal elevator entry in the slideshow, too.

Patio View

More:

Views from the Patio

Ex-Pat Syndrome: I Keep Forgetting It’s Thanksgiving

One of the more bizarre ex-pat experiences is remembering and forgetting holidays.

Thanksgiving is soooo not celebrated here — and I don’t really miss it. Yes, I miss the excuse of having a few days off and either seeing my family back home in Texas or Minnesota, or spending a quiet day with my husband, in New York, eating Tofurkey.

But I don’t miss the gluttony, the football (wow — how I so do not miss that) or the stress of traveling during the holidays.

It’s just another day here, and that’s fine with me.

Photo: Yep, That’s My Mattress Dangling Near Power Lines

So we moved into our new Mexico City apartment yesterday. Everything went perfectly, which seems like the 100% opposite of what you’d expect. Moving is supposed to be hellish and exhausting.

Well, actually, I am pretty exhausted but I can’t say the move was hellish. Probably because I didn’t have to do this:

Mattress1

Since you may be disoriented from this bizarre angle, let me explain — this is our king-size mattress being hauled up 5 flights via ropes and hard labor. Our elevator and stairwell are too small to fit a mattress, so they use the sliding glass doors on our patio instead.

mattress2

Our patio is already turning out to be a great place to snap photos on the fly. Earlier today, I thought to myself “is that a xylophone I’m hearing?”

xylophone

(mattress photos by Brendan).

And if you’re antsy and can’t wait for me to get out and take some photos of La Condesa, fellow blogger Isabel Archer took some great travel shots of my hood when she toured the city.

Xoloitzcuintli – Spotting Mexican Hairless Dogs in Mexico City

Xolo dogs - Xoloitzcuintli

Xoloitzcuintli, another one of those seemingly unpronounceable Aztec words, is otherwise known as a Mexican hairless dog.

Before I first visited Mexico’s interior, I had heard of these dogs, but thought of them only as some long-lost breed. I better knew “Mexican hairless” as a type of drink popular at bars that cater to college students. It’s one of those phrases that raises the eyebrows, which is how it became a drink, of course.

But these creatures are no myth. I saw my first “Xolo” (pronounced Cholo), when I was walking around a tiny fishing town in the Yucatan. A woman was getting out of her car and her dog ran up to her. He (or she) was unmistakably a hairless, and surprisingly elegant and mythical looking. I couldn’t help but stare, analyzing this dog’s every movement. I’m still not sure why they appeal to me so much, but I am not alone.

Hairless cats? Hilarious. Hairless rodents? Scary. But hairless Mexican dogs? Gorgeous.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, while walking through the artist’s market in San Angel, a couple came by, holding several Xolo puppies. My friends and I stopped to talk to the people, who were selling them for the equivalent of about $300 U.S. dollars. Who knows how legitimate these people were, and where or how they obtained these dogs. But the puppies are pretty, too, albeit more wrinkly and less stately.

Tons more photos of Xolos at the Flickr Xolo photo pool.

(Photo courtesy of Creative Commons. Source: “Group of three xoloitzcuintles (“Mexican hairless“). Museo Dolores Olmedo, Xochimilco, México, D.F. 640×444 px. Photo taken by Hajor, December 2001. Released under cc.by.sa and/or GFD” Found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mexico.Xoloitzcuintle.01.jpg)

Say Cuauhtémoc Three Times Fast, Then Cry Out of Frustration

When you move from the U.S. to Mexico City, along with learning Spanish, you must also learn some basic pronunciation tools for Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. It’s still spoken by about 1.5 million people in central Mexico (according to Wikipedia) and it’s presence is everywhere here in the capital city.

After the Spanish first arrived, they found Nahuatl pronunciation perplexing and, for example, quickly renamed the ruling Aztec king from Motecuhzoma to Montezuma. Poco a poco, espanol became the most widely spoken language in Mexico. Still, though Nahuatl slyly made its way into Spanish, English, and other languages, helped in part by the fact that no Spanish words existed for the many new things the conquistadors encountered in Mexico, such as chocolate, tomato, coyote, avocado, chili and mesquite. And, of course, Mexico itself — mexihco. (In fact, the Aztecs called themselves the Mexica.)

Those are the easy words, though, and are of course not written in their true dialect. Most are long, winding tongue twisters. For example, the city is divided into delegaciones, similar to counties. Many of these have long Nahuatl names:

Our particular neighborhood, La Condesa, is located in Cuauhtemoc. Until last night, I had no frackin’ clue how to say that word. It took about 15 minutes of repeated pronunciation drills with my Spanish tutor to get it down.

Finally, she and I both wrote it down, in our own phonetic styles, to help me learn:

Me: coo-ow-tay-moc (moc like the moc in mocha)

Her: kuauh-te-moc

So I wouldn’t forget it, I’ve said it about 1,000 times more today, and at some point, I’m worried all this chanting might actually summon the spirit of Cuauhtémoc, who was the last and final Aztec ruler, and who unlike one of his predecessors, Motecuhzoma, he bravely fought back, and is beloved by Mexicans still today.

If he did materialize in my living room, the scene would look something like this.