Tag Archives: travel blog

As the day ends, at the land of the Coahuilteca.

Mobile photo I shot while hiking near the Rio Grande river banks.

The land of the Coahuilteca.

Under this vegetation knapped pieces and paleolithic tools lie since ancient times, once used by the native Coahuilteca people who used to live along the Mexico – Texas border.

A vast land which rivers are the only features and places for survival — the few streams one can find, at least. Not a grassland entirely, but also not quite a desert. Life does appear to survive at the land of bushes, cactus, reeds, and tall grass (like in the image).



For hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago, this area was already a border area. Back then it was the limit where the Comecrudo (Carrizo) people (east of modern-day Laredo and Nuevo Laredo) and the Coahuilteca lived (west of the two cities).

A land where rivers are the only feature you’ll find, if you find one.

Our ancestors once lived along the Rio Grande. After all, this is a land where rivers are the only feature you’ll find — assuming you can find a stream or a proper river. And the mighty Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo, as the Mexicans call it) is the most important river in the part of the world, and one of the most important in the Americas.

Perhaps that’s why they called it Guanapetnan — which means Big River in Coahuiltecan indigenous language. It is quite understandable to recognize it as “the” big river if you ever travel accross all Texas towards it, or from Central Mexico to the north.

A border — back then and now.

There is evidence of antiquity in this area. I have been informed of many findings at the west side of the two Laredos (both sides of the border, that is). And I have identified a large site southest of Nuevo Laredo or South of Laredo, where the ancient ones once inhabited.

Chronicles from post-contact travelers and expeditions refer to this area as a border zone between the Coahuilteca and the Comecrudo nations. Nowadays, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are still a border region, where the Guanapetnan or Rio Grande separate the United States (Texas) and Mexico (Tamaulipas).

Hiking where the Coahuilteca and the Comecrudo once hiked.

Although it is a rough terrain and the climate can be an issue in Summer or Winter, the experience can be as rich as hiking in a high mountain forest or a secluded beach — trust me, I’ve done it. To me, being as picky as I consider myself, the hiking trails of the border can be a handful. So you can’t be disappointed — unless you don’t like hiking or nature (or bugs, or the sun).

As with all thing in life, if done with caution hiking in the deep of South Texas or the Mexican side of border can be fun. One can see animal life, interesting plants, erosion formations along the creeks, and all kinds of pebbles.

Hiking in the actual Rio Grande river can be difficult if you’re a newbie, not because of its difficulty in terms of the terrain but because of the overwhelming vigilance of law enforcement. Hey, it’s a border, remember that. Don’t get me wrong… there are parks exactly at the Rio Grande — 2 parks, 1 resting stop and 1 golf course at Laredo, Texas, 4 parks and 1 zoo in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, and 1 park at Colombia, Nuevo León.

But hiking actual trails along the Rio Grande can be difficult, desolate, and expect to be stopped by authorities. I have been stopped by authorities on both sides of the border, and they just ask who you are and what are you’re intentions. Of course, if you’re up to no good, you’ll see it with them — in the US side you have the Border Patrol are omnipresent at those trails and parks, and in Mexico side you have the Mexican Army.

If you ask me, the most dangerous thing you’ll face when hiking in South Texas or Northern Mexico is the heat — hands down. And both Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are famous for their infamous hot weather. Winter is very cold, but nothing a good and sturdy clothing choice can help. But the sun of summer literally kills people every year. Again, if done with caution and at certain hours, you’ll be fine.



chavacomiendopizzaizcalli_by_photo_tlacuilopilo-dbwkujyCandid street photography I shot at Guadalupe Lake, Mexico.

This girl is eating pizza by a lake where people gather during the weekends for a stroll, horse-backriding, or enjoy nature’s scenery. During weekdays, people go there to jog or related activities. There are places to eat nearby, especially during the weekends, when people go and visit.

Mexico is the true land of contrasts.

It is ironic that people from all classes share together this huge place, but the lake itself is located in a very upscale residential area — where huge mansions have a view (or even a piece) of the lake. But families from all walks of life gather there to do some picnic, or just relax. Mexico is the true land of contrasts, and this place speaks for itself.

Guadalupe Lake (or Lago de Guadalupe) is located at Cuautitlan Izcalli, in northern Mexico City metro area. A great place to shot sunset photographs, nature pictures, and of course street and candid photos.

Chava mexicana con la boca abierta metiendosela por la boca.

Outside the Museum of Anthropology

Street photography I shot with my J7 mobile phone, outside the National Museum of Anthropology and History. 

The Museum is not only a great visit because of the treasures it houses — literal treasured pieces, monuments like the Aztec Calendar stone, unique statues, glyphs listing kings, and gold craftsmanship — but for its location.

It is a huge and ancient forest designed by Nezahualcoyotl.

At the heart of an upscale area of Mexico City, the National Museum of Anthropology and History rises amongst a forest of trees. On one side of the museum, you have the Chapultepec Forest (or Bosque de Chapultepec). The equivalent of Mexico City’s Central Park, it is a huge and ancient forest — designed by King Nezahualcoyotl of Texcoco for his Aztec Mexica cousin King Motecuhzoma I — which recieves tourists and locals from all walks of life. You can find Mexican families flocking with their improvised picnic a la mexicana, or you can stumble upon elegant couples who march with haste towards some classical music concert. If you like being surrounded with people — and most of all seeing all kinds of them — this is a great spot.

Dotted with posh bars.

On the other side of the museum you have the Polanco district (or colonia Polanco), where you can find not only embassies, high-class hotels, or offices, but also a lot of cafe places, and international cuisine restaurants from around the world. Nightlife may be even more interesting in Polanco, since it is dotted with posh bars and exclusive restaurants.

Our version of the White House but more sumptuous (unfortunately).

The location of the museum is quite interesting not only because of its peaceful trees in the heart of Mexico City’s chaos, but because of its proximity to power. You see, quite near, just blocks away, you have the official Presidential house — sort of our version of the White House but more sumptuous (unfortunately for the Mexican people). We call it Los Pinos, or The Pinetrees (for real). And between Los Pinos complex and the Museum we have the National Auditorium, which is like our Madison Square Garden — all things concerts happen there (as well as quinceañera limos hanging cruising around Reforma Avenue).

Tortas are like burgers, but bigger and with way more ingredients.

Curiously enough, at the immediate surroundings of the museum we can find a lot of snack vendors, selling esquites (corn in a cup), tortas (like burgers but bigger and with way more ingredients), raspas (sno-balls), chicharrones (pork skin), and more. If you’re lucky you may see native dancers — you can’t miss them with all their feathery display.


Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico

Photo I shot at Dolores Hidalgo, in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.

One of the many churches that stand since colonial times — many made with cantera stone, which create the delicate soft color. Also, tiles and other artistic expressions were used to decorate the facade of Mexican churches.

A town populated by talavera ceramic artisans.

While visiting Dolores, I always love to stroll at the local market, where fresh produce and prepared food is available. The outskirts of the town are populated with artisans who work 24/7 on the creation of pottery and home decor based on talavera ceramic. Although tourism is what nowadays is making Dolores stand, talavera ceramic is still by far the main reason Dolores thrive.

Located in Central Mexico, in Guanajuato state. 10 hour drive from the US-Mexico border — give or take.


Wildlife at the Mexican deserts

Photo I shot of a Mexican prairie dog.

What one can find at the apparent desolate and barren deserts can be surprising. Is it because no one expects anything and suddenly you stumble upon life? Or is it because there is indeed a wealth of thriving life?

It has always surprised me to find beautiful flowers, bunch of critters, colorful birds and of course the occasional furry friend like this one.

Contrary to worldwide popular belief Mexico is not all desert. Central Mexico has pine forests, and South Mexico has jungles and swamps. I’ve visited all of them! The place that never fails to surprise me when finding little animals, or just life, is the Mexican desert.

Of course I won’t like to cross roads with a bear or a jaguar — probably won’t since they’re in near extinction. Sad. And still the lonely desert is a cradle of life.

These furry pals are could also face extinction. Prairie dogs along with other desert animals are in danger due to human activity (hunting or poaching). Until recent years the Mexican government has enforced protecting these animals, and hunt down illegal hunting. Especially in San Luis Potosi state I have seen it, people getting arrested for killing endangered coyotes or selling baby deer to passing tourists.

Still much has to be done. And I for one support hunting animals with a camera. It’s actually more fun, and like pretty gals say when we men foolishly drool at their beauty “take a picture, it lasts longer.” Indeed it does!

If you’re interested in Mexico and its riches, check out my ebook novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.


When the past lives around us.

Photo I shot at San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

There are places, especially here in Mexico, where the past live side by side with today. It is after all a place filled with millenia-long history.

Sometimes museums are more valuable for what they are than for what they contain. Streets are wortht to walk to follow the steps of past people than to where you are actually going. It is surreal to smell the same kind of flowers the ancient indigenous poets smelled than the sight of it. With it’s huge problems Mexico has many wonderful things that not even we Mexicans could cope with its magnificence.

If you’re interested in Mexican history and the lives of who inhabited it, check out my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes, based on a true story in ancient Mexico.

San Miguel de Allende. Copyright 2010 Miguel Omaña.
San Miguel de Allende. Copyright 2010 Miguel Omaña.