Madinat Al-Zahra

A medieval city built for the Caliph of Córdoba around 936. The city was surrounded by a wall and towers. Imagine this ostentatious palace with its beautiful pools and lush gardens! These are the ruins that are left of this magnificent city in the outskirts of Córdoba.IMG_2831









“X is for Mexico”/ México al extremo

Happy 2013! Can you believe we are half-way through the first month of the year?

All I have to say is that I started the new year just like I wanted, traveling!!!

I could’ve not been happier than celebrating the new year traveling in Mexico with my family. I had an amazing time both in Mexico City and Veracruz, and most importantly I enjoyed every second, bonding with my cousins.

I didn’t know how much I missed the city. I love the hustle and bustle, the architecture, that mix of the pre-hispanic past and modern-day Mexico…something you rarely see in a city like San Diego.

My family and I spent 10 days between Mexico City and Huatusco, a small city in central Mexico, known for its coffee. Needless to say it was exciting, yet very intense.

Did I mention we almost die twice during this trip?

So here are my top three most memorable moments of my adventure through the jungle that is Mexico City.

1. Foggy Bus Ride Back to el DF

Fog Ahead!

Fog Ahead!

So we rode the bus on our way back to Mexico City from Veracruz. But get this, Huatusco is at an elevation of about 3,800 feet above sea level. There’s a section of the highway where the road gets really curvy with some very dangerous s-shape curves. Add a whole lot of fog to that and you get a recipe for disaster.

Luckily, our driver (I’m assuming) has driven this road hundreds of times and can drive with his eyes closed. My sister woke me up from a nap to tell me the fog was so thick, It was nearly impossible the driver was able to see the road or anything ahead of him. Yikes.

2. Metro Adventures

We made it back to the bus station alive. Then it was time to decide whether we wanted to take a taxi, a pecero, or the metro. It occured to us that taking the metro would be a faster way to get to my aunt’s home. Only problem, there were five of us with 4 suitcases! It was rush hour, and the day before el Día de Los Reyes. All I can say is that the Virgin of Guadalupe was looking after us.

So we are trying to board the metro and the door closes. We start counting and making sure that everyone is in. There’s 4 of us, one is missing. I see my sister outside with a tear in her eye waving us goodbye. Luckily the metro hasn’t taken off, then the door opens again. I grab my sister by her sweatshirt, and pull her in while other fellow passengers hold the door open.

Phew. She’s in! Wait a minute…her bag is in between the doors. It brakes. The door opens again and we pull her stuff in. Now all of us are in the cabin with a hundred of our closest friends on top of each other like sardines. It’s like 80 degrees inside, and I need some air to breathe. We look around, we’re alive, then we realize there’s like 30 people in front of us, separating us from the exit door.

“Excuse me” that magic not going to work here. People push, elbow, and kick each other just to get out on their exits. They just don’t care. Everyone is trying to get home after a long day at work. Can’t really blame them. Luckily for us, the tall guy behind my cousin Ely is getting off on the same exit, and offers to help her with her luggage. So he pushes her to the front, and help us all out. It was definitely a thrill.

It was like the running of the bulls in Pamplona except we were running away from an stampede of people.

Mexico's City metro

Mexico City’s metro

3. City Tour on a Double-Decker Bus

So we did a tour of the city on a double-decker bus. I definitely recommend this if you ever go to el DF. You’ll get a unique perspective of Mexico, you won’t get anywhere else. There’s about six different tours, tickets are between 15 and 16 bucks, and you can hop-on and hop-off at several designated stops. We did the tour that makes a circuit from the historic center, down the Paseo de la Reforma to Chapultepec Park, and into trendy neighborhoods like Condesa, Roma and Polanco.

It took us about three hours to do it without getting off the bus.

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¡Feliz 2013! No puedo creer que Enero ya esta por terminar….Pero estoy feliz por que empecé el año como me gusta, ¡viajando!

Como siempre no la pasamos de lujo en en el DF y en Huatusco. ¡En total fueron 10 días al extremo!

Extraño la ciudad, y me encantaria regresar a vivir al DF.

Ya veremos que nos tiene el destino en puerta.

Home Is Where the Heart Is/Hogar Dulce Hogar

So I’m back “home” in sunny San Diego.

My job stint in Austin (or as someone pointed out, my internship, ha) only lasted about four months. And even if it wasn’t the dream job I was looking for, It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It was also the hardest.

I never thought being away from home was going to be so difficult. I literally cried every month. See, I didn’t get that going away college experience so this was the first time I was apart from my parents and my doggie.

Looking back, I just felt lonely. And that feeling completely freaked me out.

And Yes, I could’ve called home which I did, believe me, everyday. And I came to San Diego three times in four months. But having your family around regardless of whether you want to kill them sometimes…is priceless.

 I’ll definitely miss Austin, and all the great people I met there (you know who you are) but being back in San Diego just feels right.

This was definitely an experience that made me stronger, and made me appreciate the little things in life that are worthwhile.


¡Estoy de vuelta en San Diego!

A pesar de que solo estuve en Austin por cuatro meses, estoy feliz de estar de regreso.

Extrañe mucho a mi familia, a mi novio y a mi perrita. A pesar de que no dure mucho en Austin, me encanto la oportunidad de haber vivido en esa ciudad. Austin es un lugar que tiene mucho que ofrecer, pero el clima de San Diego no se compara con ninguna otra ciudad, es único.

Fue una experiencia de aprendizaje. Definitivamente me di cuenta que estar cerca de la familia no tiene precio. Aunque a veces nos queremos ahorcar, ese apoyo incondional es indescriptible.

Si llore mucho por estar lejos y por primera vez sentir la soledad tal cual, pero fue una experiencia que me hizo mas fuerte y me alegró haberla vivido.

Austin’s Outdoor Art Gallery/Galería de Arte al Aire Libre

Yesterday was my one week anniversary since I moved to Austin! I celebrated with a walk around the Clarksville’s Castle and Lady Bird Lake areas. Near the castle there’s a vacant lot with several walls, remnants of several buildings or homes. What’s unique about this place is that local artists are constantly taking over these walls and creating outdoor canvases for everyone to enjoy!

Take a look!

¡Ayer cumplí una semana de que llegue a Austin!  Y aunque no había tenido la oportunidad de salir por que no conozco el área todavía, convencí a mi roommate para que me llevara al castillo (en realidad es una casa en forma de castillo) en el área de Clarksville. Precisamente vi un reportaje en las noticias locales sobre este lugar y no resistí ir a buscarlo. Y vaya sorpresa que me lleve, ¡Es una galería de arte al aire libre!


1,300 Miles Away from Home

I’m moving to Texas! And it isn’t an April fools’ joke. Actually, I have been in Austin for three nights and two days.

The crazy part is that I moved here without ever visiting the city, let alone the state of Texas. The only other time I can think I did something as spontaneous was when my family and I decided to move to San Diego from Mexico City. One day we packed our bags, jumped on a plane and moved.

I spent 14 years in sunny San Diego. It is hard to say goodbye to great weather, beautiful beaches, and above all my family, my boyfriend & my dog, but sometimes you just have to take a risk and follow your dreams, or in this case a dream job?…well I can update you on that one once I start working.

Will I become an Austinite, or will I forever be a San Diegan?

On my way to Austin

Standing Alone on a Mountain Peak

I’m exhausted, dusted in dirt, possibly dehydrated, and my wobbly knees gave in. This after my three-hour hike to the top of Iron Mountain in the city of Poway. Lately, I’m trying to rediscover what makes San Diego County great.

Even though I don’t like running or hiking, I found out that the trail system in the city of Poway is one of the finest in Southern California.

Multi-use trails allow bicyclists, hikers, walkers, and horseback riders to mingle along the 6.5 mile trip to the Iron Mountain Peak Trail. The 2,696 -foot peak allows hikers to touch the sky, and I feel like I’m on top of the world! 

Once at the summit, breathtaking panoramic views of San Diego County make the trip worth it!

Mexican Folk Art on Wheels



He has a mind of his own and is capable of driving himself. Who can forget the red, white and blue stripes, and the number 53 on its front trunk.

This iconic racing beetle became famous in the 1968 film “Love Bug.” Now Herbie’s long lost cousin, Vochol is catching up to him!

Vochol is a 1990 Volkswagen Beetle covered in 2,277,000 colorful plastic beads. And it has made his first international stop right here in San Diego!

You can catch a glimpse of Vochol at the San Diego Museum of Art until March 11. That’s before he takes off to other highly respected art institutions such as the Smithsonian Museum of American Indian in Washington, D.C., and the Musée de Quai Branly in Paris.

Vochol comes from the popular term for Beetles in Mexico, “Volcho” and “Huichol” the common name for the Wixáritari indigenous group of Western Central Mexico.

It was no easy task for the eight Huichol artisans that worked on this project. They clocked in 4,760 hours and took about seven months to finish it. The project was sponsored by the Asociación de Amigos del Museo de Arte Popular (AAMAP) along with different public and private agencies.

Besides beadwork, the Huichol crafts include embroidery, weaving, hats, and pray arrows.

The Huichol are very spiritual people and their work is often an extension of their faith. For example, images of two snakes above the clouds can be seen on the hood representing rain, the sides show the gods of the sun and fire. The roof has a big sun and four eagles representing the union of man and the gods.

But wait…here’s the best part! Vochol can be yours if you are interested in buying it as it will be auctioned off in Mexico City. Time to break off the piggy bank!

I know I would love driving this bug around town!