Saturday, 30 January 2010

Miss Mexico

Miss Mexico 2006 at the Miss Universe Pageant:
"Miss Mexico will tone down the dress she wears to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant ... The floor length dress shows Catholic rebels hanging from posts. There’s a man facing a firing squad. The gown is adorned with a bullet studded belt. The scene is based on a bloody religious war between Catholic rebels and the Mexican government in the 1920s. The designers who selected the dress say it represents the nation’s culture and history".

Friday, 29 January 2010

Beards Megastore

I'll have a Kevin Costner, a David Brent, a 1984 - no wait, a 1989 - Freddy Mercury and a couple of Yorkshire Rippers please.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Running the Gaunlet

If you enjoy complicated, frequently baffling lunches I can heartily recommend a trip to the 20th November market in Oaxaca:

The system is pretty simple: as you walk down the hallway you are heckled first by a selection of butchers and then by a crowd of people waving trays of spring onions and peppers at you. They will encourage you to sit down at a table already occupied by some other diners: take them up on this offer if only to enjoy their ensuing bafflement. Having exhausted your Spanish and your host's english relax and enjoy a few minutes of contempory mime. Popular themes include: i) vegetable gesticulation ii) meat pointing iii) basket shaking iv) table waving v) generic shrugging. When you feel you've had enough of this, resolve to book more spanish lessons, take a basket of vegetables and wander off in the direction of the meat.

Well that got the butchers pretty excited didn't it? Who knew that they could shout like that? I like to pick the first butcher I come to because I'm easily intimidated, but choose whichever one takes your fancy. Take meat. Pay butcher. Give meat to old woman next to butcher. Stand around self-conciously while meat grills. Become agitated - why is everyone else sitting down? Do they bring it over? Buy tortillas from old lady. Wander off with cooked meat.

Sit down. Stand up. Give meat tray to vegetable man. Retrieve meat tray and grilled vegetables. Buy some cactus salad, salsa and guacamole. Commence eating.

Search for cutlery. Tear meat with hands. Enjoy the atonal bellowings of a mentally ill busker. Boy those chillis are hot! Buy a coke from the soda boy. Become confused. Bolt food. Disuade mentally ill busker from taking your tortillas. Take blurry photo of basket.

Finish eating. Attempt to pay vegetable man for the coke and the soda boy for the vegetables. Pay vegetable man for vegetables and soda boy for a coke. Leave. Admire menudo.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Do you remember when...

...this was a popular and fashionable haircut?Long time ago, wasn't it? I think reading this has made me feel a bit old.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Don't panic

Updates coming soon.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Interactive shopping opportunity

Ever wanted to celebrate the 4th most likeable member of The Ramones through the medium of a slip on shoe? Or wanted to make the top of your feet resemble a loyalist mural?

If the answer to either of these questions is "yes" then please contact me via the email address at the top of the page and I will be happy to negotiate their purchase and shipping on your behalf. Also available in "Skull Paisley" and "Spooky Piper".
Disclaimer: these slip-on shoes have been wrapped in PLASTIC: actual shoes may be significantly less shiny. I think they cost about £30, but I'm not sure because the man was speaking quite quickly. I can check though.

On a steel horse I ride

Look at me: I'm a cowboy! Yeah!Only the toughest cowboys go on the guided tour of the Entho-botanical gardens in Oaxaca: Carol the guide was VERY informative and Kate even managed to get some photos of the plants in between me posing for her.I got first dibs on the rental hats so I got the one with the pink rim. YEEEEEE-HAW!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Make a little time for yourself

We all feel a little blue from time to time. Next time you're down in the dumps do what I do: listen to the biggest selling single of 1965 while staring into the eyes of this sad, sad cow:Blow him up to fill the whole screen and just be glad that, no matter how bad things get, no-one is going to try and eat your menudo.


I saw a copy of this in the market yesterday, but didn't buy it:That's the hardest cartoon owl I've ever seen, bar none. I wonder if any of his raps are about how he can swivel his head through 180 degrees and echo locate insects?

Friday, 22 January 2010


Can't believe I missed Repugnant Snell Shit again.

Thursday, 21 January 2010


Fair play to 'em: Vladimir Ilyich is difficult to hispanicise.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Translating brand names

Zucaratis = "Sugarettes"

Squeezitos = "Ex-squeeze-its".

Sunday, 17 January 2010


In 1994 Zapatista Army of National Liberation under Subcomandante Marcos (below, riding stag beetle) seized control of San Cristóbal de las Casas.Their reign of terror was brief but that mountain city still bears the scars: cosy wine bars, a thriving arthouse cinema scene and, most cruelly of all, mountains of unexploded cuddly Zapatistas:

Weapons grade Zapatista pencil. With googly eyes:

"Marcos, the quintessential anti-leader, insists that his black mask is a mirror, so that ‘Marcos is gay in San Francisco, black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel, a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal, a Jew in Germany, a Gypsy in Poland, a Mohawk in Quebec, a pacifist in Bosnia, a single woman on the Metro at 10 p.m., a peasant without land, a gang member in the slums, an unemployed worker, an unhappy student and, of course, a Zapatista in the mountains’. In other words, he is simply us: we are the leader we’ve been looking for." Naomi Klein, Founder, American Apparel.
He is also a man in a balaclava smoking a pipe and as such pretty recognisable. Show a hundred people a photo of a man wearing a balaclava smoking a pipe and most would say "Subcomandante Marcos". The others would probably be unable to decide between "single woman on the metro" or "Quebeqois Mohawk". Which is understandable, in the current climate.

Sadly, I suspect that Marcos' use of the pipe to subvert the anonymity of the balaclava and his subsequent celebrity may have irked some of his comrades. Or it might just be because they got jealous when he came up with a second (even cooler) nickname for himself: "Delegado Zero". It really isn't very hard to tell when someone chooses their own nickname is it?

Anyway as a final note, heed the voice of experience: "Subcomandante Marcos: worst fancy dress costume ever. Really, really hot and no-one wants to talk to someone wearing a balaclava indoors".

Saturday, 16 January 2010

There's a club if you'd like to go

You could meet an explorer who really loves you:
But you go on the boat on your own:
And you leave on your own:And you go home and you cry and you want to die:

NHS specs fixed with a plaster, "Alas" brand cigarettes and an antique typewriter: why not stick a hearing aid and bunch of gladioli on it and have done with it eh, explorers?

Kate's objects of desire

Giraffe key-fob, "El Jefe":
Airgun targets:Handheld crossbow:


UPDATE: Renault now for sale for M$4,000 (£200) on street outside hostel (can see it from bed). On closer inspection it looks like a funky deathtrap. It's got Max Power seats though and it would go well with Kate's spiffy new crossbow.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Local firewater #1: Pox

Pronounced: Posh
Made from: Sugarcane
Tastes like: Alcohol
Best served: Mixed with murky fruit juice in a plastic glass to a chattery room full of confused, sniffing men dressed like Dave Lister. Add deafening reggaeton music to taste.

I've been greatly inspired by this list of regional alcoholic drinks. I'm treating it as something of a to-do list for the next few months.

Upcoming highlights could include:
chorreado: in Mexico State, Morelos and Guerrero, a mixture of whiskey, milk, chocolate, sugar, and, sometimes, egg

huazamoteco: in Durango, alcohol diluted with water, with tequila

torito: dozens of recipes; in Mexico State, it is often tequila or rum mixed with orange juice, vinegar, onion and chili pepper; in Guerrero, mescal cured with vinegar, green chili pepper, onion, tomato, and cheese; in Veracruz, rum with fruits, such as guava, mamey, limon and peanuts, mixed with condensed milk, regular milk, and ice.

Readers connected to the sponsorship departments at Rennies, Tums, Alka-selzter or Pepto-bismol should note that my email address remains at the top of the page. Lets talk.

The list is from the Mexican Mercados website, an idiosyncratic guide to the markets of Mexico. I particularly like their taxonomy of fruit: small, roundish, yellow fruits; baseball-sized fruits and Misc. large fruits which has so far proven very useful.


The most popular Oasis cover band in Chiapas.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010



Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Pug Count 21

Pug #21: Alert silver "caballero" ready for action in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Appealing "coaldust" face and tight tail curl.

Where's Jesus?

Down the front, by the speakers.Energy saving cherub: