Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sobre El Jorullo

Close to La Huacana is México's second youngest volcano of named El Jorullo. Although only a half an hour drive away, Toño and his sister have never been there.

El Jorullo was born on September 29, 1759, and had been active for 15 years. It a cinder cone volcano, which lies in a remote yet beautiful landscape. The drive goes through groves of elegant palmas real, the local variant of sabal mexicana. The farmers only harvest the top to leaves to make hats and brooms.

The head of the local environment protection agency was so kind to give us a tour. It is a half an hour hike to the crater, but the view up there is worth every step.

Our guide refused to take any money for his services, he just asked us, to promote a trip to the volcano. Hence, by writing this, I'm paying of our debt.

Location:18°58′19″N 101°43′05″W

Monday, March 28, 2011

The place where I cut both my feet and still have to be grateful for

Under this romantic chute Toño learned to swim (Toño is the one embarking on a dive):

Sadly, littering is an issue all over the globe and so it happened that I cut both my feet with broken beer bottles in this water right below the same chute today.

However, if Toño had not been pushed into the water here by an uncle, who happens to be the closest in that picture, and thus learned to swim we might never had met at the the pool in Zürich.

Location:La Huacana, Mexico

Dealing with Cutlery or the Lack Thereof

I am not talking about the basic differences of dealing with cutlery by Americans and Europeans. Others wrote about that conclusively (read about). I am talking about my intercultural competence being constantly challenged by the lack of basic cutlery here in México. At home in cosily boring Switzerland my cutlery concerns are being restricted to occasionally having to eat with a knife, of which the handle is not hollow (and thus not well balanced). Here in México I'm hardly given the opportunity of a knife at all. If so, I'm not even expecting a sharpened one anymore. What one can expect is a spoon or a fork at best. If you address this subject with Mexicans they point out that the tortilla acts as spoon in their culture. Fair enough, but I still find it rather challenging to eat bone-rich meat with just a fragile plastic spoon and a floppy tortilla.

Location:Morelos Sur,La Huacana,Mexico

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Our children's birthdays in Switzerland are lacking some serious entertainment. Unlike in México, we do them without a piñata getting some serious beating.

The piñata is filled with candies, fruits and nuts. It's an entertaining way to make children work for their incentives.

Location:La Huacana,Mexico

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vida Rural

We had to get up early to see Toño's uncle Arturo milk his cows and to have a look at his maguey plantation.

It looks a bit like Japanese Kinbaku, but it keeps the cow calm and allows milking without a big installation on the field.

Sadly the prices for agave are rock bottom, and there is no point in harvesting them (to make tequila). In one or two years, the plants will blossom. This will be the grace period for the prices to recover, or a big investment will go down the drain.

It was hot out there in the country side, I continuously showered in my own sweat.

Location:Morelos Sur,La Huacana,Mexico

Friday, March 25, 2011

Agua Caliente

It is hot in La Huacana (above 40°C/100°F). However, there are three places to get water on your body:
* the river (more like a creek at this time of year)
* Las Albercas with tiny pools in the town
* Acua Caliente, the thermal springs outside the town

We went for the latter, because it's best option if you want to swim instead of just splashing around.

It's Mexican pesos, not gringo dollars.

Location: 18°51'7" N, 101°47'42" W

Pollo al Cuñete

We've reached La Huacana, where we can enjoy the fine cooking by Toño's sister Chilo. The first lunch she served us today was Pollo al Cuñete with pineapple, almonds and dried plums.

Start with a chopped pineapple, dried plums, a bit of water and a bit of white balsamic vinegar. Blend the mixture and pass through a sieve. Fry the chopped chicken in olive oil complemented with a bit of butter. Season every piece with salt and pepper while frying and add some pressed garlic after turning them over. Put the chicken pieces with the sauce in a casserole, add some plums, peeled almonds, a couple of chilli jalapeño, some sugar, peppercorns, marjoram and bay leafs. Put the casserole with a lid on into the oven for 1 hours and 20 minutes at 200C/390F. Remove the lid after 50 minutes.

Yes, I did ask for a second servings.

PS: If you have no peeled almonds, put the unpeeled ones in boiling water. The skin should go off in no time.

Location:Morelos Norte,La Huacana,Mexico

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Absent with Leave

We are embarking to Mexico for almost 3 weeks for visiting Toño's family. We in this case is with my sister Marlene and my niece Susanne. 3 family intense weeks this will be... ¡Hasta luego en México!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Buff Urs

I don't know if the strength workouts finally stared to show some effects, but this Monday while drying off my back at the gym, I tore apart my towel...

It was my favourite towel, because, as old towel do, it absorbed pretty well. I got it in 1983 for my confirmation. So it might had been a tiny bit threadbare...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

5 on the Fifth - Lines

This month's 5 on the fifth theme is Lines.

I spent this week on business in Bangalore, India. The days were long and on the premises, taking pictures is prohibited. Thus, the lines pictures here were taken in-between on travel and commute.

Toy planes are lining up for taking off in Swiss' Senator Lounge at Zürich last Sunday... and yes, this is another of my fingers :/

Even double centre line of roads show little effect on drivers in India. The only way to break their dynamic interpretation is going into the third dimension with bricks and mortar.

Many moons ago at university, I learned to dimension power lines.

Our hotel was built in the 80s of the last century. The Art Déco touch of its lobby is rather fake.

Loads of silver garnished sweets are lined up nicely for me to bring home to my loved ones.