By Ruth Kenny onNovember 16th, 2017 Category: News
In the pantheon of San Francisco, the oldest in Acapulco, lies the tomb of Raul “Raulito” González, who was born on April 2, 1932, and died on February 2, 1933, at the age of 10 months. The tomb is the cleanest in the pantheon, the most visited, and it is always full of flowers, candles, and toys. These are all offerings for Raulito, who many believe performs miracles from beyond the grave.
Raulito’s tomb lay forgotten for many decades, slowly deteriorating, until June of 2007, when a woman from Sierra de Atoyac arrived at the cemetery with her young, dying daughter in her arms. Susana Curiel García, the administrator of the cemetery, recalls that the woman asked about a child’s grave that had been completely abandoned by his relatives and that had neither fresh flowers nor candles. García pointed towards Raulito’s tomb, where the woman then spent an hour and a half praying for her daughter, who doctors had said would not live to the end of the day.
The “Mr. Model Tabasco 2017” male beauty contest was supposed to bring together the most handsome men in the Mexican state of Tabasco, but the modeling agency behind the event recently announced its cancellation, after failing to find candidates that met their beauty requirements.
In order to be accepted as contestants for the Mr. Model Tabasco pageant, candidates needed to have a height of at least 1,78 m, be between 17 and 27 years old, have a “harmonious face and body”, have a college degree or an education equivalent to their age, speak English, have a valid passport, and not be a stripper. Apparently, these requirements proved to be a big problem, as just a few days before the contest, organizers had only selected 6 candidates. Those didn’t really meet the agency’s beauty standards either, so they ultimately decided to cancel the whole event.
Mexico has decried President Donald Trump’s intention of building a wall across the US-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants out, but one Mexican college recently used that exact same tactic at a graduation party, erecting a high wooden wall to separate students and relatives that had paid to attend, from those who hadn’t.
Photos of the bizarre wall separating an events hall into two areas have been doing the rounds on social media for a week, sparking quite the debate between people who see the measure as discriminatory, and those who see nothing wrong with keeping students and relatives who didn’t want to pay from eating and partying for free.
In what many are calling the lie of the century, a die-hard football fan from Puebla, Mexico, told his wife that he was stepping out to buy a pack of cigarettes, but ended up boarding a plane to Germany, and then driving to Russia, to see his national football team play in the Confederations Cup.
Antonio Garcia recently got his five minutes of fame on the internet, after news of his escapade to Mexico’s match against Russia, in Kazan, went viral on social media. The man had reportedly told his wife that he was going out to buy a pack of cigarettes, buy he actually travelled to Monterey, where he got on a plane to Wolfsburg, Germany, where some of his relatives live, and from there he drove to Kazan, Russia, where he joined hundreds of other Mexican fans in supporting the national football team.
When they hear the phrase “ice cream sandwich”, most people think about creamy ice-cream squeezed between two waffers or cookies, but in Mexico, it can mean a regular bun stuffed with scoops of ice-cream.
Street vendors in various parts of Mexico have been selling “tortas de nieve” for a few years now, but they’re once attracting attention on social media, after an older video of a man preparing the bizarre snack recently went viral. In it, you can see the ice-cream man slicing a bun usually filled with ingredients like meat,vegetables and sauces, and stuffing it with six scoops of ice cream.
People usually train for years and invest in professional running gear just to be able to complete an ultramarathon, but María Lorena Ramírez, a native Rarámuri woman from Mexico who had not have any professional training or even basic gear, not only managed to finish a 50 km race, but actually win it. And she did it wearing a traditional long skirt and sandals made of recycled tire rubber.
High quality running shoes, compression socks, Lycra suits, energy drinks, all these are considered essential by most runners participating in an ultramarathon, but they were of no importance to 22-year-old María Lorena Ramírez, a sheep herder from Chihuahua, Mexico, who showed up at the starting line of a women’s ultramarathon in Puebla in traditional clothing and equipped with just a bottle of water and a handkerchief. She stood out like a sore thumb among the 500 or so other runners from 12 countries around the world, but she didn’t seem to care.
Most artists take decades to master their tools, but at 23 years of age, Alfredo Chamal is already one of the world’s best ball-point pen artists in the world. He specializes in hyper-realistic drawings that look like artistic photographs from afar. It’s only when the viewer approaches the artwork to take a closer look that he realizes it is actually a hand-drawn large-scale drawing, and not a photograph.
Made famous by by Spanish illustrator Juan Casas, the ball-point pen is not the most popular art tool in the world, partly because of it’s permanent effect which makes covering up any mistakes very difficult. But that din’t stop Alfredo Chamal from using the tool to experiment contemporary realism. Based on photographs he takes himself, Alfredo’s large scale drawings take several days to complete, but the end result is always more than worth the effort that goes into them.
Named in honor of the giant spider from the Harry Potter books, Aragog is an unusual cocktail made with a drop of tarantula venom, which numbs the tongue, tickles your lips and causes a sensation “between tingling and cramping” in the throat.
Aragog was created two years ago, by Romeo Palomares, chief mixologist at the Luciferina Bar, in Mexico City, after being challenged by his boss to come up with a cocktail that would impress patrons. The popular Day of the Dead was approaching, and the famous witchcraft market of Sonora was in full swing, so he decided that it was the best place to look for a special ingredient.
Summer is just around the corner and, as we all know, there’s no better way too cool off on a hot day than with a creamy ice cream. Apparently, the same goes for dogs, but feeding them regular ice-cream can cause serious health problems, so one ice-cream maker in Mexico City asked veterinarians for help creating frozen treats specifically for them.
Many dogs are lactose intolerant, so feeding them milk or products based on regular dairy can upset their stomachs and cause diarrhea. They also lack the enzymes needed to break down sugar, so eating too much of it can induce vomiting. Chocolate is also a big problem for canines, due to an alkaloid called theobromine, which they metabolize very slowly, and eating too much of it can literally kill them. After learning all this, Mauricio Montoya, owner of Don Paletto ice cream, in Mexico City, decided he needed to create a special kind of ice-cream for pooches.
Rubi Ibarra García, a 15-year-old girl from the small Mexican village of La Joya had arguably the highest attended quinceañera party in history, after thousands of people from all over Mexico, and even the U.S. turned up for the big event on December 26.
It all started earlier this month, when Rubi’s father, Crescencio, posted a video on Facebook inviting everyone to the girl’s birthday party. “We invite you on December 26 to our daughter Rubi Ibarra Garcia’s quinceañera in La Joya, everyone is cordially invited,” he wrote. Only he didn’t really mean “everyone”, just everyone in the village, but after setting the video to ‘public’ instead of ‘private’, people from all over Mexico started sharing it and Rubi eventually ended up with with over 1.2 million RSVPs from people she had never met before.
Crescencio later revealed that the invitation was meant for neighbors and friends only, but acknowledged his mistake, adding that he would not tun anyone away. In the weeks that followed, Rubi’s quinceañera became one of the most popular topic in Mexico, with the #XVdeRuby trending on social media and getting millions of shares, and TV stations scrambling to cover the story and get interviews with the García family. Actor Gael Garcia Bernal made a parody of the invitation video, while singer Luis Antonio Lopez “El Mimoso” composed a song especially for the birthday girl. Mexican airline Intejet even offered a 30% discount on flights to her home state for people wanting to attend.
After seeing many of their loved ones kidnapped by a ruthless drug cartel, the people of Totolapan, a small town in Mexico’s Guerrero state decided it was time to fight fire with fire, so they kidnapped the drug boss’ mother.
For years, Totolapan has been under the control of a gang known as “Los Tequillero”, led by Raybel Jacobo de Almonte, better known as “El Tequillero”. Things had gotten considerably worse for the locals in recent months, as the Tequilleros had become involved in a turf war with other gangs, and started abducting people whom they suspected were supporting their rivals. Sick of living under the constant terror of having their loved ones taken from them, the townsfolk decided to fight back.
On Monday, a few dozen masked men appeared in the streets of Totolapan waving rifles and shotguns, and calling for action against El Tequillero. They identified themselves as a “self-defense” force, as Mexican vigilantes usually call themselves, and demanded the release of kidnapping victims taken by the gang.
From the outside, the Jardines del Humaya Cemetery, in Culiacan, Mexico’s Sinaloa state, looks pretty ordinary, but the deeper you go, the more you get the impression that the place is actually a rich suburb full of over-the-top mansions. These are actually the world-famous mausoleums of some of the most ruthless “narcos” in Mexico.
They say you can’t take your money with you when you die, but that doesn’t mean some people don’t try, or at least take it all the way to the doorstep into the afterlife. Even in death, members of the dreaded Sinaloa cartel love nothing more than to flaunt their ostentatious lifestyle in the form of elaborate mausoleums that cost a lot more than an average family home in Mexico. Jardines del Humaya has become famous for its impressive villa or chapel-like tombs, with people from all over Mexico, and sometimes from abroad, traveling there just to see them in person.
Visiting a cemetery in one of the most dangerous places in Earth doesn’t sound much like a trip too many people would like to make, but there is no denying that the dozens of tombs in the cemetery’s “high-class” area are worth a look. Once you pass the average-looking graves of the poorer folk, near the entrance to Jardines del Humaya, you are treated to a plethora of architectural wonders all of which seem out of place in a cemetery. There are mansion-like mausoleums, two-story villas, small chapels, and even miniature castles, all built to show the greatness of the people resting in them.
And it’s not just the outside that’s impressive about these luxurious mausoleums. According to several reports, many of them come with modern amenities that many regular Mexicans can only dream of, like 24-hour air-conditioning, living rooms, bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, bulletproof glass, alarm systems and wi-fi. All so that visiting families and friends can enjoy their stay.
“It’s an expression of the power that they once had and a manifestation of their desire for eternity, which is natural in any human being,” Juan Carlos Ayala, a philosophy professor at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa, said about the uncanny narco mausoleums. “It’s also a demonstration for those who survive them that this man was important.”
Professor Ayala estimates that the cost of some of these lavish mausoleums reaches up to $390,000, but according to a Daily Mail article from last year, some of them actually cost much more than that. For example, the massive mausoleum complex built for Arturo Guzman Loera, the brother of the famous ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, reportedly cost $1,200,000 to build, and features several bedrooms, 24-hour surveillance and air-conditioning, among others.
The mausoleum of Arturo Beltran Lyva, ‘The Boss of All Bosses’, looks like a small castle-fort and features satellite television, wi-fi internet connection, kitchen, bedrooms and a burglar alarm. It is estimated to have cost around $600,000.
With these lavish tombs boldly flaunting the lavish lifestyle of their permanent inhabitants, it’s no wonder that Mexican authorities have been considering placing a ban on such structures, to deter young people from joining drug cartels.
Interestingly, outrageously luxurious tombs and mausoleums are not unique to Mexico’s narco culture. Earlier this year, we featured Manila’s ‘Beverly Hills of the Dead‘, a Chinese cemetery filled with mansion-like mausoleums that are also equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.
Five years ago, the people of Cherán, a small town in Mexico’s Michoacan state, made international headlines for taking up up arms against the powerful drug gangs threatening their livelihood, driving off local politicians and police in the process. Today, the self-governed settlement is a beacon of hope for many other Mexican communities.
The inspiring story of new Cherán began in 2011. For three years, the locals had watched helplessly how loggers supported by drug cartels like the Familia Michoacana ravaged their ancient forests, carrying away the big tree trunks and burning the rest, to prepare the land for avocado plantations. They had asked the Government for help with the situation, but received none, and the corrupt local politicians and police simply chose to look the other way. Left with no other options, and with the loggers nearing one of the town’s water springs, the people of Cherán decided it was up to them to fight for the forest and their livelihood.
“We were worried,” Margarita Elvira Romero, one of the conspirators of the historic uprising, recently told the BBC. “If you cut the trees, there’s less water. Our husbands have cattle – where would they drink if the spring was gone?” She and a few other women first went into the forest to try and reason with the loggers, but they were verbally abused and chased away by the armed men. So they came up with a plan to stop the trucks when they passed through Cherán, and hopefully receive the support of the whole community.
For the past 40 years, Ramon Archundia, has dedicated his life to the preservation of Mexico’s endangered iguanas. His magical ‘iguanario’, a reptile sanctuary in the center of Manzanillo city, is now home to 642 iguanas, as well as other wild animal species.
The story of Iguanario Archundia began over four decades ago. Sickened by the plight of iguanas at the hands of man, Ramon Medina Archundia rescued a pair of these majestic reptiles and set up a small enclosure for them in a marshy space in downtown Manzanillo, where two huamúchil trees offered the perfect place for sunbathing. But that was only the beginning, because Ramon and his father Juan, kept bringing in new rescued iguanas, and after word of their small ‘iguanario’ spread around the city and the whole Mexican state of Colima, other people started bringing in iguanas, knowing that they would be well taken care of. Today, Iguanario Archundia is home to over 640 iguanas, as well as other ‘donated’ animals like raccoons, badgers or turtles.
You may not of heard of it before, but Solid Rain has been helping Mexican farmers fights severe droughts for over a decade. The miracle powder is actually a super absorbent polymer that can soak up water up to 500 times its original size and keep it in the ground for up to a year.
The story of Solid Rain began in 1970, when the United States Department of Agriculture developed a super absorbent product made from a type of starch known as “super slurper”. In the U.S., it has mainly been used in disposable diapers, to help keep baby bottoms dry, but a Mexican chemical engineer saw this magic powder as an opportunity to effectively fight the drought plaguing his country.
Sergio Rico Velasco developed and patented a different version of potassium polyacrylate that could be mixed with soil and slowly feed water to plants over a long period of time. His company, Solid Rain, has been quietly selling the product to Mexican farmers for over 10 years now.