Happy Taco Day (El Dia de Taco)

Today (like any

other) good day to

eat a taco

It’s national Taco Day, a good excuse to enjoy a dish symbolic of Mexican culture

Tacos al pastor: a religious experience.

Happy Taco Day! Yes, it’s Mexican Taco Day, El Día del Taco, an opportunity to celebrate a dish that is a key element of the Mexican identity, and one that comes in hundreds (thousands?) of variations.

Among the best known are tacos al pastor, a variation on the Arab shawarma or the Turkish doner, a taco whose big flavor and low cost are enough to bring on “a religious experience,” according to SDP Noticias today.

Not only is their consumption religious but nutritious as well: scientific studies (sources were not revealed) have shown that an order of five small tacos al pastor has far more nutritional value than a granola bar, and each taco contains just 93 calories.

However, as such an order can only be accompanied by a beer, the caloric information can be misleading.

Speaking of beer, SDP Noticias also recommends this taco dish not only as a great meal but as an antidote to intoxication as well as a cure for hangovers.

Taco Day is not a new event. It dates back almost 10 years when the television network Televisa came up with the idea. (Writing on chilango.com, Karen Villeda suggests it is the only laudable thing Televisa, which is better known for its soap operas, has ever done.)

The taco, of course, goes back much further than even Televisa itself. It dates back to pre-hispanic times when it was realized that a filling rolled up in a corn tortilla was easy to transport and simple to prepare.

As for fillings, there is no end to the ingredients that can make a fine taco and every region of Mexico has its specialties.

Carnitas, loganiza, carne asada, cochinita, árabes, barbacoa, cabeza, lengua, tripa, ojo, pollo, chicharrón, cansta, placero, de guisado, campechanos, pescado, camarones, con arroz, de chile relleno, cecina, queso fresco, aguacate, adobo, huevo, de gusanos de maguey, suadero, charales, chilorio, marlin — and that’s just a start.

Some of those fillings might meet with some resistance among the more squeamish — brains, eyes or worms, for example — but there’s plenty there and plenty more to satisfy the cravings for a taco.

A source of national pride and one that is symbolic of Mexican gastronomy, the taco is one of the few dishes in the world that combines flavor, originality, variety and presence, says El Universal in its tribute to Taco Day.

But why is the date not widely known and celebrated?

Perhaps because every day is Taco Day in Mexico.


Mexico News Daily


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

How Safe is Mexico?

Costa Maya Mahahual

I get this question all the time, and it is the number one search term on this blog. There is not a day that goes by, without someone asking this question, or someone searching on the internet for this. I have written numerous articles and shared other studies in the past, but I came across this today, and thought I would share.

I got this from http://www.howsafeismexico.com, a website which is a traveler’s guide to Mexico and deals with safety over sensationalism, and the USA media bias towards Mexico.

Mexico is safer than many cities in the U.S.

More than 150,000 Americans safely visit Mexico every day. And while the media sensationalize stories of violence in Mexico, Mexico is safer than many major U.S. cities. Travelers feel relatively safe visiting popular U.S. cities like Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington D.C, or Atlanta. Visitors from around the world enjoy these…

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Another Expat Thoughts on Mahahual

From time to time I like to share other people’s thoughts or opinions of Mahahual in this blog.  I know you readers like to have some different insights and thoughts on Mahahual besides just mine.

Here is an article from another USA expat who lives and owns a business here in Mahahual.  He also has a blog, and here is an article he just wrote, and I am going to share today.

These are his thoughts and opinions, and his take on Mahahual, and the situation here., not necessarily mine and this blog’s.

If It Stinks, Run It Through The

Old “Stink Test”

stink test

These days, its getting a little tough being a US ex-pat living in Mexico. To start with, you have an idiot presidential candidate going around the US telling people he will build a wall to keep out raping and murdering Mexicans, and even make them pay for it! You then have a stupid old fool of a sheriff in Arizona rounding up Mexicans for jaywalking and treating them like caged animals, while he parades around in front of the TV cameras, showing what tough guy he is. Seems using Mexicans to advance your career, while unfairly dragging an entire nation and it people through the mud in front of the world, works quite well. Throw in some drunk and thoughtless vacationers who forget their manners when they are in someone else’s country, and it is a miracle they don’t run me out of here tomorrow, just because I’m from the US! Not much I can do about it either. If the US Supreme Court can’t shut that stupid old fool Sheriff Joe up, and the voters can’t shut up Trump, I doubt I can either. Not much I can do to shut tequila chatter by drunken tourist either. Especially since I make a living selling margaritas and beer. There is one small group of gringos I might can do something about though, and those are the local ones here in my small town.

Before I rail on this small but select group though, I must point out that most of our local US ex-pats are great people, just wanting to get away from the cold and to have some fun and relax for a while. They typically own a vacation home here and come down for several weeks, to several months at a time. They are a positive thing for the community.
They don’t cause any real problems and they put money into the local economy. In fact, US ex-pats in my opinion, along with the Canadians, are far and away the most
respectful of all our foreign visitors. But like almost any group, you’ll have a few bad ones and no matter how good the others are, it is the bad ones all remember. When these
bad apples roll through town, I cringe, because I know they will once again act like the stupid, arrogant, disrespectful ugly Americans they are, and in the process, make it that
much harder for those of us who live here as year around residents and members of the community. They are typically so arrogant and thoughtless, few even know how much
their behavior crosses the lines of decent behavior, so I thought perhaps I might point it out to them since I know they read my blog. If you do not behave this way in
Mahahual, then this is not directed at you. At the same time, you’ll know who I’m talking about. For those people, I would like to introduce the old “reverse stink test”.

The biggest problem I have with this select group of part-time residents, is that they either are too stupid, or too arrogant, usually both, to recognize that they are guests in
someone else’s country and they need to behave that way. If your behavior does not pass the reverse stink test, then it is unacceptable. For example, don’t come down here and
start telling everyone what to do. Reverse stink test; if a Mexican came into your town and began to tell you how all you do is wrong and that you should do it the way they do
back in Mexico, how would you like it? Most would tell that Mexican, “Hey, if you don’t like it, go home.” Remember that is what the Mexican is thinking when you start
complaining about things you don’t like here. They seldom say that because it is not polite to say that to a foreign guest, but you can be sure they are thinking it. Nobody likes
being told what to do by an outsider who struts into town and thinks they know it all. How do you like it when you invite a guest into your home and they tell you how you
should have decorated. Remember, you are the guest, keep your opinions to yourself and your mouth shut. Mexicans don’t want to hear you criticize the way things are here!

Another problem few are those who come and hang out in the local bars every night, drinking until all hours and doing drugs they bought from the local drug dealers. I know
you are on vacation and wanting to have fun, but again, you should be able to do that and not offend the locals. Most actually do manage to do that without making a constant spectacle of themselves. For those few who just can’t seem to do that, try the reverse stink test. If a group of wealthy Mexicans came into your town, hung out for months in your bars at night, where they were the loudest person in the bar, and going into the bathroom every hour to snort cocaine they bought from the local drug dealers, how would you like that. That would stink and you know it, so therefore, it fails the stink test, and so does your behavior!

Here is what I really hate about these people. We do not have a cocaine problem in Mexico, except that we live next door to the largest coke snorters in the world. South
American poison, on its way to the US, gets smuggled through Mexico, and a small amount of it falls off along the way, and is sold mostly to the tourist who come here. That is not
a drug almost all Mexicans could afford to use, even if they wanted to. For the most part, that drug and the people who use it, are foreigners. So when these seasonal coke
heads come in and support that business, it continues to grow, adding an undesirable element to the community. When the foreign drug buyers all go back home, that undesirable element is still here and we get to live with them the rest of the year. When business is slow, they then have to go to other ways to make a living, and that usually includes breaking into houses and stealing from the local community. Stink test; how would you like it if Mexicans came into your community and started buying drugs and supporting the local drug trade?

And to those people in the bars that are drinking until all hours of the morning, acting loud and driving all over town drunk, I have to ask, why would you think it is okay to
turn someones else’s town into your own little hedonistic cantina. This is our town. We live here year round and raise families here. It is hard enough doing that, without
having to watch a bunch of drunk gringos stumbling around and treating our community like a cantina. I’m not even going to do the stink test on this, but only say, have a little
respect you dumb-ass. This is my town too, and like the Mexicans, I don’t appreciate it. Have fun, but remember, the town is not a cantina, it is our home.

There are two kinds of working gringos here. Those who work and have businesses that provide jobs for the locals, and those who steal jobs from those same locals. If you come
here for a few months to stay and want to work a little to have some fun or to make a few extra bucks, then remember, you are stealing a job from a Mexican. Mexicans can mix
drinks, they can dive, and they can certainly sell real estate. If you do these sort of things here, you are stealing a job from a Mexican that really needs it. Reverse stink test; how
do you like it when a Mexican steals a job from you in the US, and then goes home in a few months after he has had all the fun he can for one year, and in the interim, driving
local wages south with them?

If you are speaking to a Mexican in English, please try to remember, you are speaking to them in their second language, IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY! Too often, Americans
come here and get mad at a local because that person did not do what they were asked, without ever taking the time to consider that perhaps, that Mexican did not fully
understand what you were asking of them. I’ve had many, many Mexicans tell me that gringos were rude to them when all they were trying to do was help them. When I ask more about what happened, it is almost always because of a miscommunication. I understand that many do not speak Spanish, and nobody expects them to really. Mexicans are much more tolerant about foreigners who can’t speak Spanish, than US Americans are with Mexicans who come to their country and can’t speak English. But that is not the
point. The point is just don’t get mad at a Mexican who messes up because they do not speak YOUR language, in their country! Speak to them in a way they can understand
you, and there are usually no problems. If you have a problem, try to understand, it is your fault, not the Mexican.

Don’t let your desire to help come across as condescending. This is one I struggle with because there is a very fine line between trying to help people who really need it, and
creating a system of dependency that is abused by a few locals. Many Mexicans see the charity work done here as unwelcome, and gringos need to understand that. One reason is because they are very proud people, and to be offered this sort of charity is to some, an insult. Many would rather eat sand and wear rags, than take charity, especially from a foreigner. Second, many feel that the gringo charity is doing more harm than good. US Americans are fond of the old saying, “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for life” and because of this, they strongly oppose most social welfare. Creating a system of dependency is what they say really happens, and sometimes I suppose that might be true. Many of the locals take the charity and even begin to expect it, and almost all of those same people could work if they chose to. The fact is though that many working locals need help, and my suggestion is that foreigners try to do that if they can. Just do it quietly, allowing the recipient to take it with dignity, and do not make a spectacle of it just so all can see how benevolent you are. Every Christmas, I get people from the cruise ships wanting to help locals, and I carefully and quietly try to match that person with a local who really needs and appreciates that help. We arrange for families to quietly meet these gift givers in my restaurant. It is usually people wanting to bring toys for kids, so we tell the parents to tell the kids that Santa gave the toys to the gringos to deliver or that the parents arranged for the gifts to be brought to them, making the parents and Santa the hero in the eyes of the kids, not the quiet gift givers. Parents are always grateful, both that their kids got something that they would not be able to provide, and that it was done in a way that saves their dignity. If you do charity, please remember, Mexicans are proud people, so taking a handout is not easy for them. Carefully select who and how you help people here and do it quietly and personal. Trust me, that doesn’t stink.

In the end, just try to run your behavior through the reverse stink test before you do it here. If you reverse the situation, and it stinks for you, then you can be sure, it stinks for the Mexican here too. Try to remember, you are a guest in this country and behave that way please. Most US people who come here seasonally do behave themselves and are
welcome and valued friends. They come here and try their very best to both enjoy themselves and even help the community, and for that, I say welcome back every time! The rest of you though, behave yourselves. The Mexicans don’t care for your rude and disrespectful behavior, not to mention, you’re making it hard on us who live here year round. Mahahual is our home, not your private cantina, so again, please don’t treat it like one.


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina


Clemson Tiger Paws in Mahahual?

I was riding my bike home from the malecon last Friday, and as I turned the corner to the main road in New Mahahual (Casitas), I looked up, and as far as I could see there were orange Clemson Tiger paws painted on the street.  I thought to myself, WTF, and stopped to investigate.

As some of you may already know I am from South Carolina, and I graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1980.  So that means I am an “ABC” man, anybody but Clemson, and I pull for whoever Clemson is playing, regardless.  If Clemson is playing “Cecil’s Business College”, (which they do schedule a lot of cream puffs in football), I will root for Cecil’s.  So you could imagine my chagrin when I noticed my whole village painted with orange paws.  I thought someone was playing some cruel sick joke on me.

I asked the guys that were painting the street with orange paws, what was going on, and they told me they were painting orange paws all the way to the port on the main road.

They also told me they were jaguar paws, not tiger paws, and you could tell by the toes it was a jaguar paw.

As you guys can see, these are orange jaguar paws, not Clemson tiger paws painted in the road to Costa Maya Port. I asked, and these are painted to help tourists on bikes, golf carts, and walking to find their way back to the port. So these are not Clemson Tiger paws mocking me every day on my bike ride home.

New hat for my collection. Cruise ship tourists from Southern Mississippi brought this to me. The man and his wife are graduates and he works for the athletic department.


Me, with Joe and JoJo Bryant Southern Missipsippi graduates, Joe played football at Southern Miss, and now works on their football broadcasts.

Me, with Joe and JoJo Bryant Southern Mississippi graduates, Joe played football at Southern Miss, and now works on their football broadcasts.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Happy Easter from Mahahual and Costa Maya

The beaches are packed, the hotels are full here, and there are thousands of people in Mahahual enjoying Easter weekend. The stores are out of toilet paper, snacks, cokes, beer, and all the other party essentials.

I saw a lot of hammocks.

I saw a lot of hammocks.

Check out the table, they brought everything but the kitchen sink.

Check out the table, they brought everything but the kitchen sink.

The past 23 years Mahahual has had guys on bikes collecting trash to keep the beaches clean during big holidays.  They do a good job, and come around every couple of hours to collect all the trash.

The past 3 years Mahahual has had guys on bikes collecting trash to keep the beaches clean during big holidays. They do a good job, and come around every couple of hours to collect all the trash.

Beach full.

Beach full.

semana santa week 045

There are also a lot of Belizeans in town again this year for Easter.  Every year I have noticed more and more Belizeans crossing the border and coming to Mahahual’s beaches.  There are also a lot of Mexicans from Mexico City, and other large cities in Mexico, here for Semana Santa.

There is also a cruise ship in town today, which will just add to the crowds on the beaches today.  We have never had a cruise ship on Easter Sunday since I have been here.  Me, today I am stocked up and have everything I need, I am not even going to go close to the beaches today.  Like most locals, I am avoiding all the tourists and chaos today.  I am going to spend my Easter at home in the air conditioning watching old movies and catching up on some of my TV shows.

The weekend started off with the "Passion of Christ" march down the malecon on Good Friday.  I have seeen these in Corozal and Caldaritas, usually the whole town participates, but here everyone was working.

The weekend started off with the “Passion of Christ” march down the malecon on Good Friday. I have seen these in Corozal and Caldaritas, usually the whole town participates, but here everyone was working.

And of course every Mexican holiday has pretty women working the malecon, this is a Fresca girl.

And of course every Mexican holiday has pretty women working the malecon, this is a Fresca girl.

So Happy Easter to everyone out there, and I hope you have a nice holiday, I will be having a holiday from tourists today, and will watch some NCAA March Madness later.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Holy Week and Easter in Mexico

Semana Santa Traditions

Updated March 23, 2016.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is the week leading up to Easter. This is a very important holiday in Mexico. Religious celebrations are at the forefront, but it’s also a time when Mexican families head to the beaches and tourist attractions.Most schools have two weeks vacation at this time, both Semana Santa and the following week, which is referred to as Semana de Pascua.

Dates of Semana Santa:

Semana Santa runs from Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) to Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua), but since students (and some workers) enjoy a two-week break at this time, the full week preceding Easter as well as the following week comprise the Semana Santa holiday. Find out the dates of Semana Santa, which vary from year to year.

Travel During Holy Week:

Since schools in Mexico have a two-week vacation period at this time, this is effectively spring break for Mexicans. This tends to be the hottest and driest time of year through most of the country, making the beach a magnet for those wanting to escape hot city streets.


Mexican Easter Celebration - © Suzanne Barbezat

So if you’re planning to travel to Mexico during this time, be prepared for crowds on beaches and at tourist attractions, and make hotel and travel reservations well in advance.

Religious Celebrations:

The religious observances of Semana Santa do not take a back seat to beach fun, however. Processions and passion plays take place all through the country, though different areas celebrate in different ways and certain communities have more effusive celebrations. Among those places where Holy Week is celebrated en grande are Taxco, Pátzcuaro, Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas.

Jesus’ final days are evoked in the rituals that take place during the week.

Palm Sunday – Domingo de Ramos
On the Sunday prior to Easter, known as Palm Sunday, the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem is commemorated. According to the Bible Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people in the streets laid down palm branches in his path. In many towns and villages in Mexico on this day there are processions reenacting Jesus’ triumphal entry, and woven palms are sold outside churches.

Maundy Thursday – Jueves Santo
The Thursday of Holy Week is known as Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. This day commemorates the washing of the feet of the apostles, the Last Supper and Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane. Some Mexican traditions for Maundy Thursday include visiting seven churches to recall the vigil the apostles kept in the garden while Jesus prayed before his arrest, foot-washing ceremonies and of course Mass with Holy Communion.

Good Friday – Viernes Santo
Good Friday recalls the crucifixion of Christ. On this day there are solemn religious processions in which statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried through town. Often the participants of these processions dress in costumes to evoke the time of Jesus. Passion plays, dramatic recreations of the crucifixion of Christ, are presented in many communities. The largest takes place in Iztapalapa, south of Mexico City, where over a million people gather every year for the Via Crucis.

See photos of a Good Friday procession.
See photos of a Passion Play.

Holy Saturday – Sabado de Gloria
In some places there is a custom of burning Judas in effigy because of his betrayal of Jesus, now this has become a festive occasion. Cardboard or paper mache figures are constructed, sometimes with firecrackers attached, and then burned. Often the Judas figures are made to look like Satan, but sometimes they are made to resemble political figures.

Easter Sunday – Domingo de Pascua
You won’t come across any mention of the Easter Bunny or chocolate eggson Easter Sunday in Mexico. This is generally a day when people go to Mass and celebrate quietly with their families, though in some places there are festivities with fireworks, and jubilant processions with music and dancing.


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina