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.

January 10, 2008


When we first arrived, we had to set up all our services. Electricity, telephone, gas, internet and cable, etc. The cable provider we went with was Telecable. We're not huge TV watchers so the hundreds of dollars we'd have to spend to set up a satellite dish didn't seem worth it. If you like to watch a sitcom every once in while Telecable is more than ok. We get close to 100 channels, 20 of which air English programs and movies. We get shows like Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, MTV & VH1, John Stewart's Daily Show, etc. What we DO miss however are stations like A&E or TLC. The only all English stations are CNN and BBC. So, they have several offices around town. One is a booth near the cashiers inside of Walmart (on Calzada La Huerta) and the other is at the Manuel Nuñiz (@ Nicholas Bravo) entrance to Comercial Mexicana. We had to pay MXN$250 for installation and our cable package costs MXN$225/month. Cheap! You can also get your internet bundled with the cable through them, which ranges in price from MXN$329-654/month, depending on your desired speed.

January 08, 2008

A Mistake We'll Only Make Once

47 Leon Guzman. See comments for all the gory details.

January 07, 2008

Hit the Links

Morelia is not what I would consider a golfer’s haven. I know of 2 courses that are open to the public: Campestre Morelia and Tres Marias. Both courses require a caddy, who will charge MXN$70-240 for 18 holes, depending on their experience. Caddy fees are paid each and every time you play. Both courses are closed on Monday's.

Since my arrival, I have been a member at Campestre. It’s a tree-lined 9 hole course that's been around since the 60's. It's well manicured, fairly flat & plays at a lightning fast pace. I play 18 alone and usually finish in just over 3 hours. Oh, and did I mention there are trees on it? Hundreds of trees to keep a round interesting. A monthly membership will run you MXN$1410 & entitles you the use of all club facilities. This includes a gym, pool, tennis & squash courts & soccer field. The club also has a hair dresser and a restaurant. If you wish to pay by the round, the cost of 9 or 18 holes will range from MXN$340-560. The course is located south of Plaza Las Americas on Del Campestre.

Tres Marias, located in the eastern hills of Morelia , is a Jack Nicklaus designed championship 27 hole facility that hosts the LPGA’s Corona Championship and the Nationwide Tour's 2008 Mexico Open. This course is quite a bit more expensive than Campestre and is of a very different style. There’s basically no trees, lots of forced carries over gorges and water & is extremely hilly. I feel so bad for the caddies who have to walk that course! Monthly membership is roughly MXN$4700 (which includes cart), while the cost of an individual round will range from MXN$1500-2000 depending on the day of the week.

There are two other courses that are under construction. Montana Monarca is a new facility and currently has 3 holes finished while Erandeni has been under construction for 15 years.

January 06, 2008

It's Show Time! - Cinepolis

When I first arrived it was surprising to me how nice yet cheap movie theaters were. Release dates usually lag behind Canada & the US by a couple of weeks but really - who cares. There are 3 Cinepolis locations in Morelia. "Centro" is located on Santiago Tapia (which runs parallel about 2-3 blocks up from Madero (on the north side), "La Huerta" is beside the Walmart on Calzada La Huerta & "Plaza Morelia" is located on Paseo de la República No. 5030 just east of Plaza Las Americas. Prices vary between each theater but is minimal. At "Centro" an adult ticket costs MXN$43.00 (Wednesday is cheap night at MXN$26.00), matinées are MXN$26.00 & kids under 12 & those over 60 are MXN$33.00. The snacks are well movie theater snacks so still kinda gross but allot cheaper. A Spanish or dubbed into Spanish movie will have the letters "ESP" or "Doblada" after its title. Sometimes they'll show the same movie on 2 different screens with one dubbed and the other with only Spanish subtitles. For obvious reasons all kid-y type movies are dubbed. The rating system is different here - AA is suited for kids under 7, A is suited for kids under 12, B kids must be over 12, B-15 kids must be over 15, C is for adults over 18 & D is naughty adult only.

January 05, 2008


These pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white or yellow flowers are most everywhere in Morelia. You'll see them hanging down from highway overpasses, climbing the wall of a private garden or as a manicured shrub in a public space. Originally from Brazil, bougainvilleas flourish thanks to Morelia's warm climate and drier conditions.

January 04, 2008


That's right. We have a Costco membership. Never did when living in Canada. Didn't need 5L vats of olive oil I guess. Still don't but Costco is one of the few places you can get good olive oil along with nice cheeses, frozen berries, ok quality dog food, cheap "agua con gas", etc, etc. You can also get hard-to-find items like pine nuts or vegetarian veggie stock (no English books or mags though). Plus it is the ONLY place I've found "fresh" tofu (aka: not in a Tetra pak tofu). I've never utilized these services myself but I've been told the photo print shop & ophthalmologist are pretty good too. The one year membership was approx. MXN$400.00 for 2 cards. Any additional card cost an extra MXN$100.00 I believe. The application process only took about 10 min. and was relatively painless. However, you must have some "officially" looking ID with you when you apply. The drive is about 15 min. from Centro & there is always lots of free parking. To get there head south down Juarez (away from the cathedral). When you get to the roundabout t-intersection thing-y at the end take a right onto Camalinas. Somewhere along the way Camalinas changes its name to Periferico Independencia so don't panic. Costco will be on your left about 5-10 min. later (depending on traffic). Click here for the Costco Morelia web page. Happy box store shopping!