Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tecate, Pueblo Magico

I promise this post is not about a hike or nature. There will be however some pictures of flowers and I should warn you, this post is picture heavy. 
I digress. 

Last weekend my sister, mom and some of my dads family took a 3 day trip to Tecate, Baja California. My dad was not born in Tecate but his grand parents and parents moved there when he was a baby and they raised  him there until his early 20s. If anyone ever asked where he was from, he would always say "Tecate!" My grandmother kept the home her parents built when they first arrived in Tecate, and till this day this house is still part of our family. It's our family vacation home. My dad and grandmother would love to spend any time they had in Tecate. 

The last time I was in Tecate, was about 10 years ago. I clearly remember the trip because it was so cold, I was willing to ditch my family and take a taxi back to LA. This was obviously before Uber. After 10 years, I finally returned! I wish my return was with my dad and grandma and this will always be one of the many regrets I live with. 

Anyways, we planned this trip probably two months ago and I've been excited ever since. The week leading up to this trip I started to realize this would be the first time I would go without my dad and how excited he would be about this trip if he was still alive. 

Okay, enough of the sad sappy stuff. Our trip started on Friday morning, after nearly three hours of driving we were almost there.  We exited the highway and entered a winding path into Tecate, in which you drive through small towns known as Jamul and Dulzura. 

Before we knew it we were 2 miles away from Tecate. 

Once we crossed the border and dropped off our bags at my grandma's house, we went straight for the tacos. 

Three to start. 

One more for good measure.

After we devoured the tacos, we went to the market to stock up on some goodies for the weekend. 
I bought a can of this sauce because of the packaging, but now that I read it, I think I should have bought more than one. I'll let you guys know how it is once I try it.

Did I mention my grandma's house is literally right in front of the border? That's the border patrol jeep at the top.

A puppy contemplating life. 

Once the sun was starting to slowly set, we walked down to the town. To our surprise, there was some sort of function happening. We are not exactly sure what the reason of the event was but we did conclude that it was some how related to Beauty and the Beast, there were Belles everywhere. As we walked the park, we came across a few musicians ready to play for us. 

Once night had fallen, we made our way back home. To our surprise, a street vendor was there to greet us. When we first laid eyes on him we weren't sure what he was selling nor what he was pushing. But judging by the fire coming out of his cart, we were very much interested! Once he stopped he opened up a drawer in his cart and showed us the goods. Sweet potato, pumpkin and bananas smoked and cooked. He gave us our pick of a combination of all or a bowl of just one type. Once decided he served it in a bowl and drizzled it with syrup and condensed milk. Oh my this was so delicious! I went with pumpkin and banana. 

I forgot to mention his cart made noise like a train, it was the coolest thing ever!

Okay, the next morning we got ready and went out for breakfast. I wish I would have taken photos of the breakfast because it was delicious. After breakfast we went to look for flower pots. The prices on the pots are so cheap we all went a little crazy. I spent $14 and bought 5. We filled up two cars of pots and headed back to the house. 

Grapes from my grandmothers house. 

Afternoon snack? Yes please. Raspados this time. 

On Sunday morning, we woke up at 5:30 a.m. and crossed the border with our cars. We parked in a nearby parking lot and walked back into Tecate. We did this to save time. You see, if you try to cross the border later in the day you will spend at least 2 hours waiting in line. Because my grandmothers house is so near, we were able to just walk back. The morning walk felt so refreshing.  The sun was slowly rising and there was a cool breeze in the air. The streets were empty and it felt like the entire town was asleep except for us. 

Before our departure we went back down to the town and ate fish tacos. These are my mothers tacos. We walked the town again in search of Mexican style dress my mom wanted which lead us near the park once again. 

With our bellies full of tacos and ice cream, and our bags filled with chips and tortillas we walked back once again to grandmas house. We packed up everything that was not initially packed in the cars and walked back to the border. We crossed the border with ease and made our way back home.  

It was a super hot weekend that revolved around family and food. We stayed up talking till midnight on the porch escaping the heat of the house. We ate an ice cream every day that we were there. We ate tacos everyday that we were there. We remembered our lost ones. We laughed about memories. I'm excited for more trips like this and keeping the memory of our loved ones alive. 

I honestly can't complain of this perfect mini getaway... Wait a minute I forgot one tiny fact! Mosquitoes!! OMG if you ever find yourself in Tecate take a heavy duty bug repellent. My legs were mauled by mosquitoes. Okay maybe that's an exaggeration but I had so many bites, I'm just  now slowly recovering. I may not be able to wear shorts for the remainder of the summer. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Memory

It's funny how you can be minding your business living life and something small can trigger a memory. A memory that can bring joy yet sadness at the same time. It's not that you ever stop thinking of a loved one that is no longer here but you learn to live without them. You learn to cope and live life with a giant hole in your heart. So when something reminds you of the loved one and the loss you feel, its hard to hold it together. You slowly speak with a ball of emotions at your throat while holding back the tears. You learn to do this, but will it ever end? I doubt it. I mean, as long as you are walking around with a giant hole in your heart that will never be complete the memories will always be bitter sweet. 

My dad use to like orange marmalade. He would tell us that his grandmother would heat up a flour tortilla and add a thin layer of mayonnaise and orange marmalade. We would all say yuck, and he would say we had to try it. I never did. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Best Summer Feeling

My favorite season of the year hands down is summer!! I love that during the summer you have the opportunity to chill outside without having to worry of the rain, cold or wind ruining a day.  I love spending an entire day in sandals, shorts and a tank top. One of the best feelings in the world is being in water, ideally with only my head above water to catch some air. Summer brings this opportunity. Whether its at the beach, pool or simply getting wet with the water hose, you can only really enjoy this feeling during summer. 

  If it was possible to be an actual mermaid and spend endless hours underwater I would be the first to do it! Nothing says summer like a hot day covered in water. I absolutely love that feeling. I find that being in a pool of water is so liberating. You can do things you wouldn't normally be able to do.  Water allows me to do back flips, handstands and cannon balls, something I would never be able to do in dry land. Swimming in a pool of water makes me feel young and reminds me of those long summer days when we would swim in a relatives pool or have a water balloon fight with the neighbors.   Can you tell I don't want summer to end? Here's to an endless summer and mermaid dreams!