Sue & Bob Barthelow

Barthelows Head South

Sue & Bob Barthelow

Travel is all about experiencing the world and its peoples. Visits to foreign countries change who you are and how you think. They open your mind to the realities of the world. To soak up the secret sauce of a place, you need to travel independantly. Leave group travel to those who either can't travel on their own or who aren't really all that interested in letting the world enter their lives.

Bob and I travel the world. Our focus these days is the Americas. Mexico now, points south later. We hope you enjoy sharing our experiences.

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca November 29th 2010

- bob - A Day Trip to Mitla I thought I would give you an idea of one of our activities. The last time we were here we didn't get to the ruins at Mitla. Yesterday we went to see them. We took an hour journey on the second class bus to get there followed by a short tricycle cab ride. Browsed a minimal museum and wandered through the reconstructed ruins. This was not a Monte Alban, Palenque or Teotihuacan. Just some piles of stones, rocks, modern recreations and a few very old atifacts. Turns out most of the construction material was taken by the spaniards to build a church in the 16h century. We found this to be true in Europe on our travels also. It was much easier to tear down the Roman constructions ... read more

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca November 7th 2010

- Sue - I couldn't find the buttons that let me put photos in a gallery. I think it may be this Netbook computer. It seems to lose and to overlay things. Anyway, I guess I'll just put them in this blog entry.... read more
Day of the Dead Sand Painting
Day of the Dead Sand Painting
Day of the Dead Sand Painting

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca November 6th 2010

- Sue - Oaxaca is a great city in which to experience El Dia de los Muertos (the day of the dead). This celebration actually spans several days with highlights (at least this year) on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The idea behind the festival is that the dead return overnight to commune with their living relatives and loved ones. It is generally party time. People decorate the graves with flowers (mostly marigolds), food, drink and candles. Then they sit around the graves all night and either party or contemplate. What a concept! The city seems to go all out with processions for the children and their parents, sand sculptures in the Zocalo, an artist competition of sorts for painting/decorating huge skulls maybe made of paper mache, and cemetery decorations. The sand sculptures and skulls seem ... read more
Yet Another Skeleton
Sand Image
Sand Image

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca November 4th 2010

- Sue - For you cooks out there: Finding food here is a chore that must be done every couple of days. It's been hard finding even the simplest of spices and herbs. I'm sure that when you live here for a while, you find the right shops and just keep going back for more. But finding the right shops isn't easy. On the up side, every day brings a new challenge. In addition to salt and pepper, I now have a head of garlic as well as a small jar of dried chicken broth and a small bottle of mustard I can use for flavoring. I also bought a small quantity of dried oregano from a produce market. I found it to be mostly stems with a few leaves attached. Oh well, better than nothing. ... read more

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca October 29th 2010

- Sue - Bob and I arrived in Oaxaca early Monday evening after a four and a half hour bus ride. We don't particularly like the bus company ADO, but it's the only good one that services the area east and south of Mexico City. Unlike the other first class bus lines we're familiar with, Primera Plus and ETN, ADO does not give out free water/soft drinks or a sandwich and snack. Once the passengers have boarded, ADO sends someone onto the bus to sell drinks and snacks. On ADO's service, passengers provide their own food and drinks no matter how long the trip is. After being spoiled on the other bus lines, we felt cheated. Anyway, we arrived safe and sound. A taxi brought us from the first class bus station to our apartment to ... read more

North America » Mexico » Puebla » Puebla City October 25th 2010

- Sue - Ah, Mexican taxis, an experience to live through. Taxis in big cities go everywhere at race car pace. And talk about weaving in and out, just missing other vehicles, people, walls, and anything else in their way. The operative word here is "miss", which they do. I've found that the best way to live through it is to look at everything else and block the driving from my mind. Works pretty well most of the time. There is a special kind of taxi called a collectivo. For very little money per person, a collectivo takes its passengers from point A to point B. And when I say passengers, I mean as many people as can fit. It's like my luggage - let's see if I can get just one more thing squeezed in. ... read more
Colorful Street
Pottery for Sale
Tiled Window

North America » Mexico » Guanajuato » San Miguel de Allende October 21st 2010

- Sue - We were lucky and tickets to the Ballet Folklorico were still available. We bought tickets for ourselves and for Alejandra and her 2 year old, Amanda, so they could join us. It's a good thing we got tickets since the free section was packed and overflowing. The show was a wonder to see. And once again, Amanda was a sweetheart. She had the best time and couldn't take her eyes off of either the dancing or the crowd. I think she'll grow up to be an excellent dancer herself. The show started with the Aztecs and some of their dances and progressed through history with European style dancing of the early Spanish and French settlers. After an intermission, it continued with many of the typical Mexican dances that we see performed at Ballet ... read more
And the Skirts Will Fly
Is She in There?
Parroquia (church) of San Miguel

North America » Mexico » Guanajuato » Guanajuato October 18th 2010

- Sue - Bob found a new girlfriend the other night. He just celebrated his 65th birthday and is now into older women. The straight-ahead jazz group - Dave Young Quartet - concert was pretty good. It took a while for them to get in a grove, but by the end of the concert they were great. This and the previous jazz concert were held at a small venue in the 3-sided courtyard of an old hacienda that is now a museum. A wonderful place for a small concert except for the pillars holding the roof up. At best, we could see all but one musician at each concert. The really great thing was that the midday concerts were held in the shade. The bad thing was that they didn't allow cameras, so I can't show ... read more

North America » Mexico » Guanajuato » Guanajuato October 16th 2010

--Sue-- I'm sitting on the rooftop patio at Casa Berta overlooking Guanajuato. We're here in part to attend the Festival International Cervantino. The other part is because we love it here. Getting to our hotel on Thursday was a struggle, although one we expected since we stayed here last trip. Guanajuato doesn't have many streets that are open to vehicles. Our taxi dropped us off at the bottom of the bowl that holds the old city. Our hotel sits half way up the bowl's edge, maybe a couple hundred feet up - at least it sure feels like that much. We had to carry our bags up a long flight of stairs followed by a slope and into a plaza. Then, we wound through a narrow alleyway up and up until we reached our hotel. Pant, ... read more
Evening from Rooftop
Taxi Left Us Here
Donkeys Help

--Sue-- My feet hurt, so it must be time to take a break and tell you what's been happening. Yes, we arrived safely after a long day of preparation and a red-eye flight into Mexico City. And no, we did not get enough sleep on the plane. Sunday was a slow and uneventful day. We checked into Hotel Rioja on calle 5 de Mayo just one block off of the Zocalo (that's the main square). We stayed here last trip and found it to be just right for our needs when it comes to price and location. It's listed in the Lonely Planet Mexico guide. The staff is friendly and helpful, but Spanish is the only language spoken here. They put up with our broken Spanish pretty well. We hit the bed as soon as we ... read more
Aztec Rituals
Aztec Rituals
Aztec Rituals

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