MEXICO CITY: Glorious Escape

Since I left the airport last year, my soul has been aching to return. And finally I’m back and I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it is. Nothing has changed, if anything, Mexico is better. But I’m jumping ahead. I need to start at the very beginning. Hopefully — and I just learned in one of my university courses that that’s not an acceptable word but I don’t give a hoot — you’ve missed my lengthy reminisces of travel. As one of my long-dead heroines, Lady Lucie Duff-Gordon, an Englishwomen who gave herself completely to Egypt and died in Luxor, once said, “I long to bore you with traveler’s tales.” Let’s get started.

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MEXICO CITY: The Many Blessings of the Olive Garden

I rounded the corner and there she was before me, the green light of the Olive Garden sign washed over me and I felt as if I were a pilgrim arriving in the holiest spot in all the world. I was giddy with excitement reader, and I veritably rushed for the escalator that would lead up to the doors of the blessed restaurant. 

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In tiny, packed hallways, shoppers crowded around small vendors. Each vendor sold a variation on a similar theme: witchcraft. Santa Muerte glowered down from every surface, that wonderfully evocative patroness of the lost and downtrodden. Since I booked my flight to Mexico, I have been deeply intrigued by this heretical icon. She is revered by many people in Mexico, but the Catholic Church has condemned her worship. She’s skeletal and terrifying and considerably menacing to some. Legend says she will appear in your dreams, answer your prayers with the right gifts, and bring death to your enemies. She’s charming. Santa Muerte is not a truly Catholic image, obviously, instead she is the perpetuation of ancient Aztec religious belief.

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