August 15, 2008

The End

Our time in Morelia and Mexico is at an end. We mapped out route from Morelia to Laredo, Texas with yahoo maps and the drive took 12 hours. The toll highways (43, 45, 57) were great, particularly the 43 from Morelia to Salamanca. Thanks to everyone who visited our blog. Hope it was useful. Hasta luego! If you're looking for information regarding Morelia, check out the yahoo group Morelia Connect.

June 04, 2008


NaCo (definition: Mexican slang for tacky) is a great clothing company. Their graphics are humorous to me and play on Mexican stereotypes. Estar Guars, roof dogs, ice cream guy, guey etc. Their main store is in DF in the barrio Condesa on Yautepec, just east of the main drag.

May 30, 2008

Grutas Tziranda

The Grutas Tziranda are a really interesting site. We were at the Monarch butterfly sanctuary and decided to stop by the caves on the way back to Morelia. They are located just south of Ciudad Hidalgo off Highway 15. If you are heading south, you will have to make a right onto a dirt road and follow that for several minutes. The caves were formed from thousands of years of runoff water and are primarily limestone. The composition varies a lot within the cave: fossilized roots, smooth limestone pearls and other strange looking formations. A guided tour takes about 20 minutes. It's a nice natural picnic site as well.

May 29, 2008

Costco Outlets

Ever wonder what happens to Costco items that are: a) discontinued, b) opened packaging, or c) damaged packaging. It appears they sell off these items to various vendors. These Costco "outlets" carry everything from appliances, food, furniture, clothing and electronics. There are two outlets that I know of. One is on Abasolo near Muniz and the other is on 20 de Noviembre just west of the Tu Plaza. The Abasolo location carries more clothing than 20 de Noviembre, although I've seen complete skateboards and golf balls for super cheap at the latter. Just remember that the inventory changes from day to day. Once it's gone, it's pretty much gone for good so drop in often to get the deals!

May 28, 2008

Skateboard Park

Morelia is about the farthest thing away from a good city for skating. You'd be pretty hard pressed to find smooth ground let alone good spots anywhere in the city. Surprisingly, the city of Morelia or some other government branch has allocated space for a skate park in Bosque Cuauhtemoc. Unfortunately, it's far from good. Pretty much all the obstacles are made of slippery plastic (similar to hockey rink boards but thicker). There are holes in the majority of the ramps, ledges that look like they ran out of building material, cracks all over the cement ground, nails and screws sticking out of everything. Skating, in general, is a difficult activity to do but it's even tougher when you have these other hazards to worry about. I give this park a rating of 1/10.

May 27, 2008


This poor tree in DF near the Zocalo is covered in gum.

May 26, 2008

Body Shop/Car Repair

At the Auto Lavado car wash on Av Ventura Puente 1543 (ph: 324-6443) is a great body shop. Our car had scratches and dents on the back bumper, a bit of a crunch above the left rear wheel well and some jackasses keyed half the length of our car on both sides. Mach Paint fixed everything. Pacheco was our contact there and he was very fast and did great work. The prices was excellent... half of what the Ford dealership on Madero quoted me. I highly recommend.

May 23, 2008

House Skateboard Shop

This is a great little skate shop in Morelia. It stocks everything a skater could possibly need. It is located close to where Acueducto meets Madero.

May 21, 2008

Noise Pollution

Morelians seem to have a high tolerance for noise. Firecrackers and/or fireworks at any time during the night, gas trucks blasting their jingle, cars with megaphones driving around blasting ads or propaganda, shoe stores with giant speakers blasting music to get your attention, marching band celebrating a soccer win at 1AM.

May 20, 2008

066 Emergency

This is the 911 of Mexico. Have an emergency, call 066!

May 19, 2008

The Best Route: Morelia to Queretero

When we first arrived in Mexico, the driving was pretty smooth for the most part until we got to Celaya. The stretch from there to Acambaro to Morelia was absolutely brutal. Rural towns with giant speed bumps scraping the bottom of our car regardless how slow we went, single lane snail pace, windy roads, terrible signage. No longer! The construction on Highway 43D Cuota from Morelia to Salamanca was completed earlier this year and it was a breeze to navigate. Then it's just east toward Celaya and Queretero. Super fast, super convenient.

May 18, 2008


An abandoned house made primarily of mud bricks.

May 10, 2008

Barrio Chino

DF is one of the largest cities in the world. It also contains one of the smallest Chinatowns I've ever seen. One city block!

May 09, 2008

Monarch Butterflies

The monarch butterfly sanctuaries near Angangueo are a must see if you are in the area. It's roughly 2 hours east of Morelia via Highway 15D Cuota. There are two sanctuaries, both of which require a moderate hike to get to. You can drive right up to the entrance to the El Rosario sanctuary where as for Sierra Chincua, you have to either own a truck or pay to have one drive you there (MXN$400/trip). Lots of traditional food stalls and crafts at the entrance to the sanctuary. When the butterflies are on the branches sleeping, they resemble clumps of dead leaves. When hundreds of them are flying and their orange wings are in full view, it really is a great sight to see. I don't think I've ever seen more than 2 monarch butterflies at one time back in Canada. You gotta experience it to understand how amazing they are.

May 08, 2008

Starcase to Nowhere

The staircase to what appears to be nowhere. Patz.

May 07, 2008

Store Name

I was cruising through Polanco in DF and came across this store and at first glance, I couldn't help but do a double take. The actual name is this.

May 06, 2008

Mexican Street Dogs

Before we moved to Morelia, many people we knew back in Canada who had spent time in Mexico told us that there were lots of street dogs down there and knowing how much we loved dogs, said we would end up adopting a dog. As it turns out, the day we arrived last October, we met a momma perro with a litter of 5 puppies. We ended up adopting 2 of them. The other 3 were adopted by the vet at the Patzcuaro free spay and neuter clinic.

May 05, 2008

Cinepolis Las Americas

In an earlier post, we talked about the 3 Cinepolis theaters in Morelia. Now, there is a 4th at Plaza las Americas! The grand opening was on April 29th. This is the first phase of the expansion of Plaza las Americas. Almost all of the existing stores in the original shopping center have relocated to the new section.

May 04, 2008

What's that smell?

Several times a week when I wake up in the morning, the air smells like rotten eggs. Not sure what factory is producing this foul stench but I think it may be the one in the picture above that resides on the highway toward Patzcuaro.

May 02, 2008


To make a long story short...a dog in our 'hood was hit by a combi (bus). The vet says he has no broken bones but is quite swollen which is why he's having such difficulty walking. He also has a minor infection so he's on some antibiotics as well. He'll be released from the vet clinic on Wednesday the 14th of May. We've already adopted two street dogs (sisters from Patzcuaro) and cannot take this guy in. Later this summer we'll be returning to our condo unit in Canada and it only allows two pets so we've reached our canine limit unfortunately. The vet said he'd probably get put down since it's unlikely he'll be adopted once at the city pound. Anyway, we kept him at our house for 2 nights because the vet had been closed for the holiday (Cinco de Mayo) so we got to know him abit. He's very affectionate & playful. We call him Gus 'cause we found him lying in an Augustin Plaza. He walks extremely well on leash & did not piss or crap when in our house (even through the night)! He saved it for his walks outside. Please let us know if you have any ideas, connections, etc. to get this guy a family. I really don't know what we'll do otherwise.

April 17, 2008


Mattresses are not cheap in Morelia. If you like foam, it's not easy to find. Mexican standard sizes are individual (39"), matrimonial (52"), queen (60") and king (78"), all of which have a length of 75". If you are tall like me (6'), it can feel a tad short at times.

If you want standard USA size mattresses, Costco is the only place I've seen that stocks them. Colchones BEKY (Camelinas 1964) is a great mattress store. There are two English speaking brothers (Juan and Pedro) that work there and they were extremely helpful. We ended up getting a Mexican queen foam mattress (pretty darn firm!) and we bought a memory foam topper from Costco (American size so we can bring it back with us to Canada).

April 13, 2008

Monarca/Altozano Golf Course

I had mentioned a new golf course being built in Morelia in an earlier post. Supposedly, on May 31, 2008, the course at Bosque Monarca is opening 9 holes for play! Monthly membership for the first several months will be US$150. I'm not even sure exactly what the course is called. Originally, I had heard Bosque Monarca but more recently, I've heard it being referred to as Bosque Altozano.

April 07, 2008

A little random I know but...

...doesn't he look like Burt Reynolds?

April 03, 2008

Mexico Driving Aid

I came across this amazing website application that allows you to map a driving route in Mexico. You select two cities and it outputs a map, the distance, the time and the total cost of tolls on the route. It gives the shortest route, which may not always be the fastest. You can select intermediate cities to keep you on toll roads, which are faster and better (even if they are slightly out of the way). The website is here.

March 28, 2008


Telmex is the primary provider of telephone service in Mexico. They also provide internet. The initial cost was pretty hefty. We paid MXN$2000 for installation. Telmex's Infinitum 1000 is the internet service we decided to go with. They gave us a free modem which also doubles as a wireless router. No complaints so far. It's fast and reliable. The monthly cost for our land line and internet are MXN$156 and MXN$260, respectively.

March 24, 2008

Surfing Perro

It's not often you see a dog surfing on the roof of a pick-up truck. He kept getting up there by himself & was just completely loving it!

P.S. We did follow him and he made it safe to his final destination.

March 23, 2008

Pick-up Truck

Could you squeeze one more hombre into that truck por favor?

March 22, 2008


A cop on a horse in a sombrero. I luuuuuuv it!

March 14, 2008

Free Spay and Neuter Clinic

The province of Michoacan provides FREE spaying/neutering and rabies vaccines for cats & dogs. This is a mobile clinic that can be found at Plaza del Carmen (Benito Juarez & Eduardo Ruiz, north of the Cathedral) Mon-Fri, 8am-7pm. An appointment is necessary so you might have to make 2 visits. Patzcuaro also has a "gratis" spay and neuter clinic but with restricted hours (due to funding complications we hear). Best to contact them directly to confirm the ever changing hours of operation.

March 08, 2008

Pirates of the Morelian - Curse of the Black Mercado

Pirated DVD's are abundant in Morelia. Most often they can be found at various mercados, "Tu Plazas" & weekend flea markets. Many are digital copies that are available BEFORE before the official (aka: legal) DVD is released. Where do they get these? I have no idea.

March 07, 2008

Temperature Rising

The weather in Morelia during the winter months is definitely better than anything frigid Canada can offer. The one quirk that I have noticed is the temperature swing from night to day. During the day, it's bloody hot! 25-30 Celsius is the norm. When the sun sets, it's a whole different story. Wake up in the morning and you're freezing your ass off. 6-8 Celsius. I wake up and throw on a hoodie first thing. A hot tea is always nice as well.

March 04, 2008


I love churros! Soft and doughy goodness on the inside, sugar and cinnamon coated crispiness on the outside! You can buy them easily from vendors down by the Cathedral, weekend street markets or sometimes even during a red light at major traffic intersections. These ones are good but they're deep fried so you usually have to take a "I-ate-too-much-grease" nap later on in the day.

N.B. There's one place we have seen them baked. Not traditional but much better for the ol' heart. So, they are at... please don't hate us... Costco! They use their big pizza ovens to cook these babies up.

February 29, 2008

Neck Braces

I've seen more people wearing neck braces in 5 months down here in Mexico than I have in my entire life. I'm talking like almost daily here. The question is...more accidents therefore greater need for neck braces OR more DIY medical care. Bit of both I'm guessing.

N.B. So we don't look like total assholes -In no way were we harassing this poor guy. My wife was originally in the picture (off to the right) but when we saw this great neck brace in the shot we zoomed in on him & cropped her out.

February 25, 2008

Sex sells but who's buying?

When we first arrived in Morelia, we were stuck behind this bus with an ad on the back that included a bikini-clad girl in a hyper sexy pose. The first thing that crossed my mind was "Wow. That's a big ass ad for an escort service. Where do they get that kind of dough?" Turns out it was an ad for a sign making store. So, new condo development in need of a good ad campaign? No problem! Here's a billboard with a girl in a bikini to help sell ya! Convenience store? What about three lovely ladies who just happen to be half naked. Need shoes? How about we reel you in with this bikini clad girl in heels?

February 22, 2008

Motorcycle Madness

I have no idea what Mexico's helmet laws are (or if there are even any at all) but rarely does one see any motorcycle/scooter rider wearing one. Some of the more memorable moments we have witnessed include three full sized people squished on a teeny-tiny Vespa-like bike, couples with children of various ages sandwiched in between them, couples with dogs of various sizes sandwiched in between them and the supreme moment (so far) has been a couple on a bike with...wait for it...the back passenger holding a big plastic gerbil ball with a gerbil in it!
Especially when traffic gets thick don't be surprised to see bikes weaving in & out of oncoming traffic, zooming the wrong way down a one way or even zipping along on the sidewalk.

Got a good bike story to share? Comment away!

February 20, 2008

Perros del Techos

It appears some buildings keep dogs on their roofs as security. I guess the broken beer bottles aren't enough. Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of these pooches never get to leave.

February 18, 2008

Band for Hire

Within Morelia there are specific street corners where mariachi bands-for-hire gather. Our favourite spot has to be on Corregidora (just in front of the Casa Natal de Morelos). We have yet to hire a band but do find ourselves smiling each time we navigate these overcrowded sidewalks. Check out the big smiles & slick duds!

February 06, 2008

Speed bumps... everywhere!

If you've ever heard/been the car passenger screaming "Bump. Bump! Buuuuuuump!" Then you know what we're talking about! The destroyer of shocks. The scraper of floor pans. The warper of rims. Everywhere you'll find speed bumps of all shapes & sizes. Half of them are unmarked & often in the middle of a "highway". We've learned the hard way what it's like to be driving along 90+ km/h and then slam on the breaks because of an unmarked speed bump. Plus, I swear when we've driven thorough small towns I've seen ppl. line chairs up along the side of the road to watch cars bottom out! Free entertainment for rural folks I guess!

February 05, 2008

The Magno Bull

For me, always a treat to spot one of these billboard beauties when out on the open road.

January 23, 2008


Most Mexican homes are outfitted with the same home security system: broken bottles that have been cemented onto the tops of exterior walls. Ghetto yes but they seem to work!

January 22, 2008

Say Cheese

In Mexico, I didn't expect to find so many great new cheeses! The three I enjoy most (so far) are Manchego, Oaxaca & Fresco.

Manchego is a mellow buttery cheese with a similar texture to a Gouda or Jack. Great with crackers!

Oaxaca is stringy & similar to a mozzarella ball. However, it is waaaaay more stringy & has a taste more like cheese curds. Salty & slightly tangy. The best quality I've found is at my local mercado. I've bought vacuum sealed balls at Comercial Mexicana (CM) but its texture & flavour were totally off. If you do buy at CM try to buy the one that has already been pulled into pieces & is sold in a plastic wrapped styrofoam plate. Oaxaca is great in quesadillas!

Queso Fresco is feta-like but not as salty & not as firm. My wife makes these great Portabello mushroom soft tacos with fresh epazote & crumbled queso fresco (recipe coming soon). It is the perfect cheese to complement them!

January 21, 2008

Cheap & Cheerful

"Boca del Rio" is a great little seafood restaurant we've discovered (kitty corner from Cinepolis Centro). Menu includes shrimp cocktail, ceviche, shrimp brochettes, seafood soup, a fishburger with greasy fries, stuffed crabs, coconut shrimp w. mango puree, and various fish fillets. Cheap prices, great service with super friendly staff & a clean, open kitchen. They accept credit cards & close nightly at 7pm.

January 19, 2008


Zappateria, Lecheria, Gaspacheria, Tequileria, Tortilleria, Muebleria, Mariscoseria, Pasteleria, Panaderia, Dulceria, Ferreteria. Before Mexico, I was only familiar with cafeteria.

January 18, 2008

Uno y Uno

The majority of intersections in Centro don't have traffic lights. Instead, you'll see "Uno y Uno" signs at which cars are expected to go back & forth traffic one car at a time. Surprisingly, they make the flow of traffic pretty smooth. In our experience, most Morelian drivers are quite good about obeying these signs.

January 17, 2008

Fresh Corn Tortillas

When eating Mexican food back in Canada, it's pretty much all flour tortillas. The few times I had corn tortillas - they totally sucked. Dry & tasteless. Enter the tortilleria: a place that make fresh corn tortillas. They come out of this noisy contraption with conveyor belts & gears a crankin'. All I can say is "wow"! They taste great, the texture is soft & the price is dirt cheap. For 3 people, it costs about MXN$1 and by the time we eat them at dinner they're still warm! I never would have thought that corn tortillas could taste so good! Our favourite is Tortilleria Tere, which has been around since 1960. It's always busy busy busy. It's located on the southwest corner of Manuel Nuñiz and Nicholas Bravo.

January 16, 2008

XM Radio

Living in a land of Spanish speakers when you speak very little yourself is not easy & sometimes even lonely. Hearing English every once in awhile has become essential to our sanity! However, (in Morelia at least) you can't just turn on the radio and listen to your favourite music, sports score, news cast, etc. This is where satellite radio enters the picture. XM and Sirius satellite radio subscriptions are both available in Canada and USA for approx. C$15/month. Their coverage is technically supposed to be for just those two countries. If you call customer service at either provider neither will give you a definitive answer about receiving a signal in MX. They say something along the lines of "at this moment we do not offer service in Mexico". Granted, this IS true. You can't buy XM receivers in MX or even sign up for monthly service without a NA mailing address BUT you can sign up when in Canada or the US and then bring it down with you. This is because it's all about the satellite footprint (see pic). It is sooooooooo big that it covers half of MX & XM has no way of stopping you from receiving their signal once over the border. We have found that XM easily works in MX as far down as Morelia. While at home, the antenna must be pointed toward the south to get reception. In the car, we get reception in most situations. Urban areas with lots of tall buildings or areas with lots of tall trees or mountains will 'cause the signal to sometimes drop off. In any case, there has been no regret prepaying for a year's worth of feed.

January 15, 2008


Finding free parking in Morelia isn't too bad. Just be aware of afew things! Firstly, there are rarely any official "No Parking" signs. Instead the curbs are painted yellow. Unfortunately, the paint is usually all faded & chipped so really all you're left looking for is afew yellow specks. Also, watch out for resident posted "No Parking" (No Estasionarse) signs (like in the pic above). Especially within Centro, some people park their cars in little one car garages in the fronts of their houses. These are often closed in by big wooden doors or metal gates & most often there is a dip in the sidewalk's concrete. If you park in front of one of these entrances/exits the resident can call "the city" & you'll get a ticket & be towed. Towed to where I can not even begin to guess. Lastly, be prepared for afew scratches on you bumpers. Most of the parking is parallel parking. I am quite impressed with the average driver's ability to squeeze into the teeniest space free from any bumper taps but inevitably there are casualties.

Note: We found we were getting too many dings and scratches on our bumpers so we did eventually bite the bullet. We pay for monthly parking at a lot down the street from our house. It costs MNX$45o.00/month.

January 12, 2008

Skype you

Have lots of family and friends to stay in touch with via long distance? Well, if you have access to a computer with a microphone (if not, you can buy one at Office Depot for like MXN$50.00) you're in luck! Skype is something I've known about for a while but never utilized it until we moved. I have no idea how it works but it lets you use your computer as a telephone. If you have a vdo camera on your comp. you can even vdo conference instead! This is fun because I can hold up to the camera something I bought or they can see my new haircut, or sunglasses, etc. If your friend has also signed up for Skype you can talk for free. Seriously! FREE! If your friend is not hooked up with Skype though it's no problem. You can call their regular ol' landline telephone from your computer for a great rate. To Canada, we call for C$0.02/min. (& a C$0.06 connection fee). I think the US is the same pricing. You don't need to buy any software, it is free to sign up, you can pay for your calls with either a credit card or pay pal acct. & we have received little if any promotional emails from them. You can even have Skype forward your incoming calls to your landline phone! Once you go Skype you don`t go back.

January 11, 2008

Bug Infestation

Volkswagon's lone North American production unit is based in Puebla. In 2007 the plant pumped out 411,129 cars, trucks and buses. Two-thirds of those were for export to Europe, the U.S. and Canada. The rest stayed in Latin America.