The People's Guide To Mexico

Customs & Fiestas

Photos by Carl Franz
& Lorena Havens

The Beach

The bus from Vallarta dropped me on the highway and I walked into a town out of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Pines with long shiny droopy needles that hung in circles around upright candles were the most common tree. Mostly one story buildings with tile roofs, all banded in two colors, open doors, dark rooms, a pool hall-dark with three tables, men standing around.... (more) by Joan Parker

Quality of Life vs. Standard of Living,

I hope this e-mail finds you well! I have been reading the People's Guide books and web site for several years now and love it!....I always see the old "can I live in 'so and so' for X amount of money" questions. It always makes me laugh because I couldn't even answer a question like that about my little English village I've lived in for the last 3 years. People all over the world generally live on what they have?....

In the States 'standard of living' is a big deal and the standard of living is quite high for average Americans. In most other countries that I've lived in (especially the siesta culture), it is more about quality of life....How tolerant are the people to busking (street musicians)?... (more) emails from Bill J and responses from Carl Franz

•Mexican Time

Once I got up early to be first in line at a laundramat in Oaxaca. I hurried past the Juarez market as vendors set up their shops, sanitation workers swept, swept, swept, and bicycle messengers delivered magazines, ice, bundles of sisal. I ignored the glorious lush cool air and arrived two minutes before the scheduled opening of the laundramat. I was first in line! The only thing was, there was no sign of the owner at the opening time.... (more) by P.G. Meier

Mother's Day is a big deal in Mexico, and San Martin is no exception. The schools all get together and have a big day of fiesta in honor of the Moms, with dances, poetry, songs, a raffle and then a huge meal of birria - goat stew cooked in a brick horno (oven), soda and half size bottles of beer.... (more) by Dobi

Only In Mexico

Joan Parker-Burke shares our love of the offbeat side of Mexico, that 'other country' of the ironic, the weird and the just plain puzzling.

•Blessing the car

Sunday a Mexican family drove up in front of the Parroquia (in San Miguel De Allende) in a brand new big American car, got out leaving all doors open, opened the trunk and hood. A priest came out and shook a stick (for want of Catholic terminology) dipped in what must have been holy water --in every open door and in the trunk and under the hood. Then the family got in and drove off.... (more) by Joan Parker

Globo Races

The annual race of globos -- large, homemade balloons that are sent thousands of feet aloft by the hot air from flaming kerosene-soaked rags. Racing globos is a thoroughly Mexican pastime: ingenious, colorful, and highly flammable, with a strong likelihood of minor injury to bystanders.... (more) by Carl Franz

Houston, we have a problem


Up... up...


and away....





Día de los Muertos

he tremendous popularity of Mexico's 5 de Mayo fiesta in the U.S. is now spreading to the "Days of the Dead". Will the macabre "Los Muertos" of November 2 eventually give even Halloween a fright?

•Steve never DID want to be on the altar

When Churpa & I set up the altar on the porch this year for Day of the Dead, we put him on a stack of coolers, complete with spatula, rice paddle, kitchen knife, tomatillos, hot sauce and chiles. Also an extra set of bottom teeth I found in the desk drawer in the computer room. By Tina Rosa



"The Day of the Dead"

by Bobbi Salinas-Norman

The Day of the Dead is a unique Indo-Hispanic holiday that preserves and encourages folk art and folklore as no other holiday does. It is recreated annually in the community, by the community and for the community.

©1972-2007 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens