Friday, October 29, 2010

Tiyulon Movie Review: Together 和你在一起



The Bottom Line: ****

A child violinist comes with his father from a small village to Beijing in order to become a star. The movie is both heart-wrenching and touching. It highlights Chinese family values and cut-throat competition in a story that is intricate enough to be a fantastic movie.

The Tiyulon Take: So precisely highlights the disparities of modern China: the poor and rich; filthy and clean; bare-bones and luxurious, traditional and modern, and the econo-socio-moral forces pulling on its people from all directions.
Definitely a must-see!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting Sick and Staying Healthy

One of our most frequently emailed questions is if we didn't get sick on our trips*. And to this we have to respond- absolutely we got sick. It's almost inevitable that when you're away for a long time you will get something at some point (very much like you would eventually get a cold from someone in the office when you're home).

Our two most common afflictions were allergy induced coughing/runny nose/itchy eyes, due to pollution, and good ol' food poisoning.


The first is really unavoidable when you are traveling in cities that are very polluted. Really the best solution is going outside the city/ies for a while and it will go away by itself. Although we have been known to be knocked out by some Benadryl as well.

The second is avoidable, but only barely. We have to admit, most of the times we got sick were a result of eating street food/in an obviously unsanitary restaurant. We could usually pin-point the culprit after the fact. And yet, we really wouldn't like to have to give up those experiences. So if it means the occasional 24 hour bug, so be it.


Those traveling for a shorter time period (let say a couple weeks vs. a couple months) probably DO want to be More Careful. Because being sick on a short vacation is a bummer. So to avoid this, general common sense rules apply:

1- Eat in places that are busy- it indicates the place is probably ok, and the food is more likely to be fresh.

2- Avoid stands where the oil is just sitting there. This should be a flashing exclamation point telling you to stay away.

3- To be really safe, avoid fresh fruits and vegetables in developing countries. There is a high likelihood that they were watered with "dirty" water and your stomach is not used to the local bacteria.

4- Drink clean water! More on that next time...

What do you do to stay healthy when traveling abroad?

*We rarely blog about our ailments while on the road because we don't want people to worry back home, and generally by the time we're at a computer, said ailment is gone. Also, we don't think people read our travel blog to hear us complain about how we got sick.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cuastecomate

On a recent vacation day we decided we needed a little R&R and a change in scenery to relax our minds from our daily "city life". We thought back to our first trip up the coast and immediately decided to return to Cuastecomate, a little cove for a little day trip.



There we discovered that slightly unripe coconuts with lemon and salt are a lot like vegetarian oysters- slimy and juicy to boot.





We also, you know, enjoyed the beach. And ate well.









(frizzy hair= good day at the beach)

And bought some coconuts to take home for some fresh coconut curry, yum.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Teuchitlan (Guachimontones) Tips



Directions from Guadalajara:
Take Avenida Vallarta out of town (towards Vallarta). The road will split towards Tequila (cuota) and Ameca (libre)- bear left to go towards Tala/Ameca. Appx. 17 kilometers later you will pass Tala and then turn right into Teuchitlan (you will see blue signs for Guachimontones).

La Casa de Cultura Teuchitlán- a small musuem with a display of artifacts from Guachimontones and a half-hour video. Located at no. 10 Calle16 de Septiembre, one half block west of the main plaza in Teuchitlan. Open Tues-Sun 9:00-15:00, 10 pesos entrance.

Guachimontones- there are signs in town to get to the site. It is fairly rustic so hiking attire is advisable.

More in the Blog:
Teuchitlan

Monday, October 18, 2010

After the Trip: What to do with all those Photos- Part I

So you went on a big trip and now you're home with several SD cards full of thousands of photographs. Now what to do?

1- Back-up! and then back-up again. Once you get the pictures on the computer, make sure you save another copy somewhere. Our preferred method is on an external hard drive, but a CD-R will work just as well.

2- Display. No offense or anything, but when your friends come over, they don't want to sit down in front of your laptop to look through your bazillion pictures. The only people that like to do that either were on the same trip with you, or have already been there.


This is where you have a couple really good options:


Photobooks- back in the day these were photo albums, but that's a little ol' school. Although scrap-booking is also a really nice option, albeit time-consuming. But whatever floats your boat.

Wall Art- we'll be talking about this in Part II...

[BTW D went to a lecture by an executive of a very well known photography company (kough, kough) she's not allowed to name, on this very subject. Turns out that in this very digital age, most people still print their pictures in some way, shape, or form! ]

How do you like to display your travel photos? Any awesome tips or ideas? Do Share!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Teuchitlan

Our latest day trip took us an hour outside the city, on a pretty disheveled road to the small town of Teuchitlan. A short stop in the visitors' center and a trying-really-hard-to-be-professional video later, we were off to explore.


What's a Mexican town without a plaza?


But the real reason we went, was to see Guachimontones- circular stepped pyramids from around year 0 A.D. One day, they will have a nice museum there. But for the time being, we just explored the pyramids...

This 13-step pyramid isn't the biggest, but it's the only one you can see fully exposed; not covered in trees, that is.



And around the pyramids are these raised platforms all around where huts used to stand:


Of course we also enjoyed the views...



They sure do know how to pick nice spots!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Steriotypically, Europe

Sometimes you want to look at things differently:


More HERE.

What do you think, is this totally off, just about right, or something else?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Zapopan Tips: Walking Tour

So let's say you want to visit Zapopan, a (less than) half day trip when you're in Guadalajara. Here's a little route:




View Tiyulon in a larger map

1- The Basilica
2- The Government Palace (go inside for murals, and enjoy gardens on either side).
Then cross the big plaza in front of you to get to the main tourist street.
3- Walk down to see the arches (many restaurants on this pedestrian street)
4- On the way there or back, you may or may not want to stop at the Art Museum (not super recommended).
5- Enjoy the plaza in front of the Basilica before heading out of town.

The main parking lot is located underground, underneath the main plaza area, therefore we started and ended our tour there.
Enjoy!

More in the Blog:
Zapopan

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sad news regarding our favorite local beach

Tenacatita

courtesy of The Guadalajara Reporter:
One of the most idyllic beaches and tourist destinations on the Pacific Coast of Mexico was wiped out recently. In a matter of hours. Not by any obvious force of nature such as a hurricane, earthquake or tsunami. This devastation was the result of big-bucks human greed swathed in a miasma of assumed political malfeasance.
Before daybreak on August 4, a reported 200 armed Jalisco state police officers began evicting 800 residents, visitors, and business owners in Tenacatita. (That’s one gun against every four persons, quite a show of force in a small, remote fishing village when most troops are fighting a major drug war.) Riot police restricted access to citizens trying to get back in to retrieve belongings.
[...]
This land grab didn’t stop with the displacement of hundreds of Mexicans from their property along the bay side of Tenacatita’s beach. Dozens of titled properties on the open-ocean side of the Tenacatita peninsula also were seized, properties held by a number of Americans, as well as Canadians and Europeans.
Read the rest here:La Manzanilla Memo - 08/14/10: Paradise Lost? | Guadalajara Reporter

As of today (over 2 months later), the beach is still closed to the public.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rethinking Eat, Pray, Love




Why have Americans fallen in love with this story? and why are we on another DaVinci Code style tourism trip?

I first heard about this phenomenon on Oprah and thought who are these stupid ladies flying all the way to Bali to meet some medicine man?! I truly think the appeal of the story is that it is easily written for us to empathize with the author in her self-discovery and mildly amusing adventures. But then... Then I started looking into reviews of the recently released movie, mentioning the latest Western neo-colonialist fad: traveling abroad to find ourselves- and began to think about why we travel.

Why do we spend a lot of hard earned cash to uncomfortably sit squished, get knocked into and smell our odorous neighbors in a process to get to some place where we have no familial connection? why do we have this urge to see new places? what is the reward?

Obviously, for anyone that has met a Checklist Traveler (the ones that carry around a checklist of places to see, preferably recommended by Rick Steves- no offense Rick, and spend appx. 24 hours per city), bragging rights would probably top the list. I was there, therefore I am... insert adjective (educated/enlightened/worldly/cool/down to earth etc). This is implied of course, but it does make me wonder if going to see the Duomo for half an hour in one's life is a necessary step for some people, like going to the Superbowl is for others?

Then there is the Lost Tribe. You know you've met them: they live six months in one place, 5 in another, and go back "home" for a month to appease their family. They are the ones that made some money and don't need or want to work; or the ones that didn't and prefer to live simply and cheaply; or they haven't set roots anywhere so they can work at odd jobs along the way to continue their journey. In some ways these folks are awesome, for others I feel some pity. I always wonder- what has made them stay in their twenties (arguably the peak of self-exploration for most people) for decades on end?

And then there are the rest of us...somewhere in the middle: a combination of escapist curiosity. People that "vacation" generally prefer to "get-away" in some way, shape or form. Arguably, leaving your hometown/area/country is the easiest way to forget your daily worries. Out of sight, out of mind.
For those that have a healthy curiosity- travel provides the ultimate options for exploration: culture, history, natural beauty etc.

So what about these ladies? I say it's a mid-life crisis. An excuse to get away, a way to live the life of a character in a book even if just for a few days. Perhaps they would be better served going to the movie theater. To see Eat Pray Love.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love



In case you've been living under a rock for the past four years, and in honor of the new movie release, lets recap: A woman fresh out of a divorce goes on a journey to "find herself" by eating and learning Italian in Italy, practicing yoga at an Ashram in India, and exploring Bali where she unexpectedly finds love.

Eat, Pray, Love is not a work of refined literature, but it is a simple, touching book of self-exploration, oriented very much to women.  So if you've made it to Rishikesh with a case of Delhi Belly and you need to rest up, it's the perfect lighthearted read.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Zapopan

Zapopan is a city essentially adjacent to Guadalajara and home to many of the area's wealthy residents. We had already explored some of its fabulous shopping malls, but decided it was time for some true touristing (i.e. acting like a tourist; pretty sure I just made this word up, but you get it, right?). So we decided to hit up the top three "to-do"s.




The main attraction in Zapopan is the Basilica, so that's where we started. It has a small icon of Mary, credited with several miracles and hosts a large yearly pilgrimage every October. The devotion here is probably more interesting than the church itself, but this book has a pretty thorough explanation.


The municipal (government) palace, above, has an impressive mural “La Revolución Universal” by Guillermo Chavez Vega-



although, this is what M thought of it ;) :



Nevertheless, the building itself, and surrounding little gardens are nice for a break:



Finally, we headed down Los Arcos street to The Zapopan Art Museum. Honestly and truly, housing not so impressive contemporary art, it was a bust; I believe we were in and out in less than half an hour.


At the end of Los Arcos street, when coming from the Cathedral, are the entrance gates to the old city...



which coincidentally will bring you into the modern, business and shopping oriented Zapopan, the one we know and like.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tiyulon Movie Review: Kekexili 可可西里



The Bottom Line: ***1/2 (out of 4)


The movie tells the story of Tibetan patrol men out to prevent the poaching of Tibetan Antelope. A thought provoking film, based on a true story. There's a good chance you'll be questioning the heroes, are they as pure as they seem? The movie is stunning in its vistas, graphic in its reality and rivetingly realistic.

The Tiyulon Take: This movie is the first we have seen that puts our future plans for Tibet in question mark. The height, the vastness, the cold, the loss of innocence, not as pure as they might seem.
Go See It!