Tag Archives: travel

A Greek goddess in a French Avenue is one of Mexico’s most cherished image.

Photo I shot at Mexico City.

Reality can and will surpass fiction.

One would think of the Virgin of Guadalupe or the so-called Aztec Calendar, but reality can and will surpass fiction — a Greek goddess in a French Avenue is indeed one of the most cherished and easily identified symbol of the Mexican people. This statue ironically represents the surrealism of Mexico.

The statue was put at the top of a tall column to celebrate in 1910 the 100 aniversary of the Independence of Mexico. Built by then President Porfirio Diaz — considered to be one of the longest serving dictators not only in Mexican history but in all of Latin America. The column crowned with its golden statue is located at the most iconic streets of all of Mexico, Paseo de la Reforma.

Paseo de la Reforma was built by Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, which under the French Empire’s auspice and patronage he ruled the Second Mexican Empire. It is somewhat of a copy of Champs Elysee and it is said to be a gift the Emperor gave to his wife, Carlotta. The avenue had (and still has) wide streets, rotundas, small gardens, statues, trees — all of which you would find in modern-day cities but back in mid-19th century Mexico City.

The irony goes further, as the name of this avenue was forcibly put by left-winged liberal president Benito Juarez, who not only killed Emperor Maximilian but toppled the Second Mexican Empire and sieged the Catholic Church through his Laws of Reform. The word Reform became linked to his liberal anti-Catholic ideals. So, as a coup de grace, the famous avenue was named Paseo de la Reforma or Reform Avenue.

On top of that, the original statue was destroyed during the 1957 earthquake. Earthquakes are very common in Mexico City, and a new one was built and the tall column reinforced. So far, it has survived the 1985 and 2017 earthquakes.

Finally, the Greek goddess of Victory is known today as an angel, because of its wings. So we have a Greek goddess who became an angel, at a French avenue with an anti-French name, built by a dictator to honor independence — and this is the symbol of Mexico City and one of the most recognized in all of Mexico. I guess the irony of Mexican history speaks itself.


If you would like to read and know more about the intricate history of Mexico you may enjoy reading my novel, Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.


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.

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.


8 ancient ruins in Mexico City you should visit

Mexico is worldwide known for its ancient cities that once stood tall and magnificent. Built by masterful native architects and artists today lie in ruins – awaiting for our eyes to see their grandeur of times past.

Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world but Mexico City has wonders worth of sightseeing and marvel upon. Here’s a list I’ve compiled of ancient ruins if you’re ever at the Mexican capital and wish to delve into the experience of indigenous cities.

If you don’t mind walking, a bit of sun, and wandering amongst millenia-old buildings then this is for you!


Location: Northeastern Mexico City metro area.
Walking: *****
Native food: Yes
Touristy: Yes
Built not by Aztecs but by a multicultural population of Huuastec and Otomi people, it became the most powerful city of its time, much more than Mayan cities. Two major pyramid-temples and dozens of smaller ones await you. Plus, the exquisite palaces that still stand are a delight. It is a huge place, after all it is the actual downtown of one of the most massive cities in the world.

Location: Southern Mexico City’s Pedregal area.
Walking: **
Native food: No.
Touristy: Yes.
There is a spirited debate concerning its antiquity, some say 8000 years old but mainstream scholars have it at 3000 years old. Famous for its round pyramid, one of the oldest structure in the Americas. No texts survive so we don’t have any info on Cuicuilco’s history. Nowadays surrounded by shopping malls, expect traffic.


Location: northern Mexico City, in Tlalnepantla municipality.
Walking: **
Native food: No.
Touristy: Partly.
Founded by Xolotl the Great, it was once the capital of the Chichimec Domain. Part of it is enclosed by government, but the other part you can literally walk into it. Main structures are the towering pyramids and a palace complex. Mainly local tourists know of this place.


Santa Cecilia Acatitla
Location: Northern Mexico City, Tlalnepantla municipality.
Walking: *
Native food: No.
Touristy: No.
Firsthand, it is hard to reach it, located in a maze of streets but nothing Waze or Google Maps can’t handle (I’ve been to places that aren’t in the satellites yet!). Once you get there the reward is the ONLY native pyramid temple intact. Lots of photo-ops. A small museum houses the artifacts found there. Don’t go late, locals say it can be dangerous during the night.


Location: Near downtown area and Reforma Avenue.
Walking: ***
Native food: No
Touristy: Partly
The ancient ruins share its place with a colonial church and mid-20th century apartment buildings. Thus known as the Three Cultures Plaza. The place is well organized but there is literally no parking area or usual tourist-trap vendors. Local tourists and couples do hang in there. In Tlatelolco Hernan Cortes fought the definitive battle that meant the defeat of the Triple Alliance, aka wrongly-named Aztec Empire.

Pino Suarez subway station
Location: Downtown southern area.
Walking: *
Native food: No.
Touristy: No.
Inside this station of Mexico City’s subway is a drum-like temple built by the Mexica Aztecs in honor of the spirit of the wind, Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl. It is definitely not touristy, as this subway station is used by local commuters. The ancient city of Tenochtitlan is under modern Mexico City, this means most buildings remain down there, but not visible, except a few like this one.


Location: Downtown
Walking: *
Native food: No
Touristy: Yes
When the Spanish Centre was digging to build an underground parking garage of their own they stumbled with the Mexica Aztec university, known as Calmecac. This ancient school was where people studied priesthood, sciences, and military. Not only the ruins are down there but artwork that was found as well. Once done, you can check for contemporary art upstairs.


Location: Downtown
Walking: ***
Native food: Yes
Touristy: Yes
Last but not least the proper capital of the Mexica Azteca. Decimated by the Hispanics, they never imagined countless pyramids would survive under the main temple, since they were built like Russian dolls. One can walk around them seeing each period. The walk culminates with the museum. Outside there are restaurants, yes, but if you want authentic Aztec food try crickets with chilli.

If you’re interested in Ancient Mexico history check out my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Mexico City metro area — what is it?

Photo I shot at Cuautitlan, Mexico.

Mexico City metro area is gigantic. Not only it spans over a large area but it’s also over-populated. There is a Federal District, locally known as DF — Mexico City proper. Surrounding it is the other metropolitan area in the State of Mexico.

Outside the DF limits there are 22 municipalities, to explain each one is a hard task (perhaps for another post). Each has its goodies and its bad sides, as with any place.

The northern municipalities of Mexico City’s metro area is the more vast, it encompass Teotihuacan pyramids for instance. We could divide it in Northeastern and Northwestern, all beyonf the Guadalupe Sierra mountains. Tepotzotlan and Cuautitlan are here. Before the mountains there are other municipalities as well.

Then you have the western municipalities, more posh and upscale. They’re best attractions are the pine forests. Yes, in Mexico we have forests, sorry to dissappoint Hollywood.

On the East, behind the airport we have small towns that also have ancient ruins and yearly fairs.

Finally there’s the Chalco region and volcanoes, where the main attractions are obvious although there are also beautiful colonial towns and breathtaking landscapes.

If you’re interested in Mexico, check out my novel set in Ancient Mexico. Till Stars Shut Their Eyes, a romance and political thriller based on true events.


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.

Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico

Photo I shot at Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico.

A few minutes away from the bustling San Miguel de Allende town is Dolores, in the center of Guanajuato state and in the hearts of many Mexicans. It is after all the birthplace of modern Mexico.

Today is a calm town, but already heading to be a touristy place like its neighbors San Miguel, Leon, or Guanajuato city.

Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.