Toluca Gringa

8,700 feet does more than simply turn you into a cheap date

Friday, March 30, 2007

I recently went to Teotihuacan with a group of students. One of the women brought her children, who were delighted to see this tractor. Like Homer Simpson cooing over a brownie, they got all excited about this thing, pulling at their mom’s shirt. Living in a big city, where old guys trim the tiny green patches with scissors, I suppose a riding mower is, well, pretty cool. I thought about all the times my sister and I rode ours. Kim’s effort to write her name in the yard with the rider is now family lore. (Picture Roy on the sidelines, beer in hand, mumbling his goddamns, deciding right then and there to remove the blades before ever letting her butt ever touch that seat again.)

Back in Mexico, it has been ages since I’ve given an update.

In February, I went to Baja for the whale migration. Here’s my scorecard on Baja:


Amazing to look at, but the water was too cold and rough for swimming. The best thing about the beach was that the sand had some sort of crystals in it, so it literally sparkled and at times looked like a sheet of gold. Very nice touch, beach. Well-noted.

Lunar landscape (just as the guidebook promised)

Sorry lunar landscape, but you get a minus for having way too many unfinished construction sites. The boat ride to the famous Arch was fantastic, though. I looked through the hole in the rock to see from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Cortez. Genius.

Gringo factor

I went to Baja with a friend who doesn’t speak English and he literally had no one to talk to other than me and the wait staff. During the entire trip, I saw 4 Mexican tourists amid thousands of gringos. What that means is that you pay five bucks for a coffee and have the option to shop at the Harley Davidson store.


Listen up, airport, the only saving grace to keep you from failing is that you had a bar waiting for us the second we stepped off the plane. But what’s with the time-share hawkers? My blood pressure jumped to the point of angioplasty within the first 15 minutes of my vacation. They’re dirty liars, these people. They came on like gangbusters in English, then when my friend started to speak to them in Spanish they literally fled. So, that means one of two things, both bad. Either (a.) they just assume that a Mexican wouldn’t have the money to buy one of their goofy timeshares, or (b.) they assume that a Mexican will see right through their bullshit and they’d rather prey on silly whitefolk. Sheesh. Now that I think of it, airport, I’m changing my mind. F


If it weren’t for the whales, Baja would have been one giant sprawling resort filled with scorched chubby people. The whales get the extra plus because the babies are really curious and come right up to the boats. Mexico gets extra points for not allowing large boats in Magdalena Bay, where the females have their babies every spring. The whale trip was amazing and I cried. You can see a few whale pictures on my photo site ( If you’ve ever tried to take a photo of a moving whale from a tiny boat, you can appreciate the mediocrity of these shots.