Category Archives: MX Culture/News

Ensenada Riviera Remodel


A historic investment will come to what is now the Riviera Cultural Center with the approximate amount of one million dollars, which will be allocated in remodeling work, in addition to the construction of the Parque Lineal to one side of one of the most representative buildings in Ensenada.

With this investment, an important part of the city would be regenerated, which, as an effect, will improve the image of the city center of Ensenada in one of the places preferred by the tourists that visit the city, besides being a location where the best events of the Port are held, such as Beer Fest or wine tasting, events that mark the beginning of the Celebrations of the Harvest.

According to data, the Riviera had not received an investment of such amount for improvement works since 1990.

It is noteworthy that the creation of the Parque Lineal, as well as the Culinary and Artisanal Plaza, which will be on the side of the Ensenada stream, will offer more space for visitors, where they can buy a good souvenir or a nice food plate.

In the same way it will reinforce the lighting and illumination, which will stand out thanks to the improvement of the gardens with new fountains.

Gas Station Strike March 30


Gasoline companies from Baja California and Sonora will suspend work at gas stations of both entities for a few hours next March 30, in protest of the charges that they consider excessive for the certification of the quality of the fuels.

Pablo González Córdova, president of the Mexican Association of Petrol Employers, reported that it has already been confirmed that this protest could be carried out in more than 500 stations of the two states.

The strike would be from eight in the morning to two in the afternoon of March 30, and one of the causes, said González Córdova, is the claim of the federal government to charge 400,000 pesos a year to each service station For the certification of the quality of the fuels that are sold.

Likewise, there is a rejection of the schedule established by the Energy Regulatory Commission to continue the process of price release, when the right conditions do not yet exist.

He explained that, according to the new regulations, each station has to carry out four tests per year of certification of the quality of the fuels it expends, and each one of these analyzes has a cost of one hundred thousand pesos.

For each year they would be paying 400 thousand pesos for each season, which will affect mainly the small and medium businessmen of the sector, who will not be able to make those payments, assured the president of the Mexican Association of Gasoline Employers.

In addition, only certain laboratories authorized by the Agency for Safety, Energy and Environment, Asea, are the only ones that can make such revisions, which is a “cochupo” round, said González Cordoba.

Tex Mex or Real Mex?

Eat Bugs in Mexico

Grasshoppers, left, go well with guacamole and cheese.


Bugs are ubiquitous in Mexico. You see them driving down the cobblestone streets in the historic center of town or along the highway, packed with family members.

I’ve seen eight people in a Volkswagen bug, five kids in the back seat, the driver behind the wheel, and his wife with a baby on her lap next to him. These bugs have been around a long time. Some are shiny with aluminum wheels. Others are rusted out and spitting smoke, and you wonder whether they have enough oomph left to get moving when the light turns green.

But these are not the bugs I’m talking about here. I want to focus on the edible kind: ants, grasshoppers, worms, beetles, larvae and grubs. Now, I hear you. You’re saying eeewww or ugh. If you are a visitor or expat who does not venture beyond the ken, your utterance might be particularly vocal.

 More often than not these delicacies come disguised, flavored, ground, seasoned, chopped and otherwise undetectable to the naked eye if they are served as garnish at an upscale restaurant.

Those of us who live here or visit often are used to seeing strange creatures floating around in a bottle of mezcal or tequila, often settling to the bottom like a sleeping denizen waiting to be revived. Heaven forbid it should escape and get poured into someone’s glass.

We roam the weekly markets and see strings of worms tied neatly together like Christmas popcorn garlands, ready to eat, suspended between two poles. The chapulines are mounded in pyramids atop hand-woven reed baskets. Women with bandannas dish out 10 pesos’ worth with a tiny clay dish, grasped by weathered hands.

Mexicans have developed a taste for these things. Eating bugs is part of their pre-Hispanic, indigenous heritage. Their food source developed long before the time that sheep, cows, goats and other four-legged animals were introduced from Spain.

In Mesoamerica, eating closer to the food chain became an essential part of survival and protein consumption. The tradition continues today and I think of it as part Mexico’s cultural heritage. No one here is squeamish when a bug arrives at table.

Which is why I thought it was about time I tasted escamoles, chicatanas and gusanos. I became a fan of chapulines a few years ago. Ah, you may be saying, what IS she eating? On the menus of upscale restaurants, the dishes are translated from Spanish to English, though most have a Nahuatl origin.

If you venture out to more local venues, no translation will be provided. You might be surprised at what you are eating when it is presented to you or you may not even recognize it.

Let me offer a quick summary of bug food:

Avocado, cilantro, radish and jalapeño pepper slices with escamole mayonnaise adorn a gusano and chapuline tostada.

• Escamoles are the edible larvae and pupae of ants harvested from the roots of the agave cactus that produces either tequila or mezcal. Chefs say they taste buttery and nutty, with the consistency of cottage cheese.

• Chicatanas are flying ants that come with the first spring rains in Mexico. First you roast them to get rid of wings and head. Then, you pulverize them with a mortar and pestle, adding salt, pepper, garlic, maybe garlic and tomatoes, to make a spicy salsa, good to spread on a house-made tortilla.

• Gusanos are moth larvae that populate the agave plant, so you could call it a caterpillar or worm, and it is.

Grasshoppers flavored with chile, lemon, pickled onion and parsley.

• Chapulines are commonplace, found in every indigenous Mexican market, red, roasted, salted and spiced with chile pepper, drizzled with lime juice and dried. Yes, these are grasshoppers. Better we eat them than they eat our bougainvillea.

Recently, I ran an experiment with friends at two Oaxaca restaurants, Los Danzantes and Casa Oaxaca. Here, as well as all over Mexico, innovative chefs experiment with ways to present edible bugs.

Sometimes the bugs are disguised with sauces, seasonings, hidden among the lettuce or avocado curls. Sometimes, they are artfully displayed on a crunchy tostada adorned with radish slices and cilantro as a distraction.

At Los Danzantes, I ordered memelas de escamoles con mole amarillo, larva de hormiga salteada con cebolla y epazote, or ant larvae with yellow mole sauce, sautéed with onion and epazote (a native perennial herb that is like oregano). The English translation here was limited, purposefully, I presume. I know a memela is a fist-sized corn pancake with a rim to hold things.

I offered to share the dish with any takers. Secretly, I hoped the four women sitting around the table at Los Danzantes would all join me, thus making my portion smaller. Only one agreed. A medical doctor, she was used to seeing the underbelly of things. The vegetarian turned the other cheek in polite declination.

A week later at Casa Oaxaca I ordered a tostada de gusanos de maguey, chapulines, mayonesa de chicatana, aguacate, cebolla, rábanos. That is: fried corn tortilla served open face with agave worms, grasshoppers, chicatana ants, guacamole, onion and radishes.

This time there were 12 sitting around the table and a few were more adventuresome than at the previous sitting. My friend the doctor was sitting across from me. Her eyes opened wide and she went for a bigger wedge than the others, who only wanted “a little taste.”

The camouflage on this dish made it more acceptable and about half took a morsel, marveling at the deep red color of the chapulines, their appendages imperceptible.

I’ve been known to sit around the kitchen table with my indigenous Zapotec friends who live in the Oaxaca valley, picking a seasoned whole grasshopper from the bowl, pulling off its long legs, discarding them on the flower-adorned oilcloth table covering, and popping it into my mouth. This can go on for a while, picking, pulling, popping, chewing each one. It’s taken me 12 years of living here to try the ant larvae.

Wikipedia says that eating bugs is called entomophagy. You can look it up. Bug eating is prevalent around the world. Cave dwellers did it. Nourishment comes in different packages and presentations.

Today, in the developed world, we may prefer a hunk of cow or pig, but think about what it means to eat a small crustacean we call shrimp or crawfish.

Environmentalists are turning to bugs as an alternative to meat, looking at lower-cost ways to capture protein that has minimal environmental impact. Experiments are going on in Mexico to make roasted grasshopper flour, too.

I haven’t yet tasted chahuis, the edible beetle that feeds on the mesquite tree. I hear it must be well toasted in order to enjoy it, otherwise it can be bitter. Something to look forward to!

Norma Schafer is a writer and photographer based in Oaxaca, and contributor to the guidebook, Textile Fiestas of Mexico. She travels the country to explore its art and culture and offers study tours and workshops that investigate the textile traditions of weaving, natural dyeing and related handwork. Her bio, blog and website is at

Weekly Scenic Road Crack Report

Bajadock: Baja news cycle is stuck on potholes, border tunnels, highway landslides, murders and political corruption.  Whatever happened to the Corona beach commercials and hot babes in bikinis promoting Tecate?

Flag dude reminds me of the Lifelock ads: “I’m just a highway landslide monitor, not a highway landslide fixer. Lunch?”


ENSENADA BC, MARCH 16, 2017 (AFN) .- Researchers at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (Cicese), established a comparative basis with data taken every 15 days, to know the speed of fractures located in The scenic highway Tijuana-Ensenada and found five new cracks in kilometers 92 and 95, which does not mean that there is a risk, said Luis Mendoza Garcilazo, a researcher in the department of seismology.

He acknowledged that the infrastructure works that are carried out in the area as a preventive measure, are run by a nationally recognized companies and, certainly, are well thought out and well designed, he said.

“They are within the plan to improve safety, they are retaining walls, filtering galleries, I hope the nature does not win the work,” he said.

Fortunately, he said, gliding is a slow phenomenon. The kilometer 93 was already several years down.

Mendoza Garcilazo mentioned that the fault zone is well instrumented with piezometers, inclinometers, among other constant measuring instruments.

The researcher pointed out that the tasks of observation and measurement performed in the area and keeping an eye on the movements of that artery are “in case we can help or give some warning, especially the companies that are working.”

Corrective works in process

It should be mentioned that it was recently reported that corrective and preventive works carried out at different points on the Tijuana-Ensenada Scenic Highway, at the Salsipuedes Bay, will cost over one billion pesos.

The works will conclude in 2018 and are performed in the detected faults along 13 kilometers where, since 2014, constant studies and monitoring are carried out.

There are 125 control points, 33 piezometers and 16 observation tubes to measure the water and the pressure of the same.

Rats Infest City Hall

In the Municipal Palace building there is an infestation of rats whose waste has become a source of infection for workers.

Mayor Marco Novelo Osuna, confirmed to, that employees of central offices complained because there are traces of rodents in booksellers, desks and corners of the public good.  Supposedly from the council room they took out two rats, assured the annoying workers.

Distressed, the munícipe, mentioned that they will have fumigated from the parking lot, in the basement, to the fourth floor.

The building of the town hall is going through the worst moment of neglect because in recent years there was no investment for maintenance which caused the appearance of these animals.

The municipal president warned that they will clean up the pipes but that this work will be accompanied by a hygiene campaign by workers who usually store food at desks or leave trash cans overflowing.

“We are cleaning everything, I started with the bathrooms, the records were a cochinero, there we have about 15 thousand dollars invested barely,” he estimated during a tour of the rooms on the first floor.

It still does not have a quote of how much the restoration of the municipal palace will cost but anticipated that only repairing the ceiling will leave in about 700 thousand pesos, and from there it will start with office structures as well as painting.

Yesterday Monday none of the two elevators worked so he requested the presence of technicians from a private company to carry out the repair of the rails.


Ensenada 1926, 1967, 1998

foto por Edgar Lima

Scenic Road Faults

Bajadock: My Thursday 9 March tour of the Scenic Road observed the odd plastic rumble strips at k95 both southbound and northbound.  Why? There are plenty of workers and construction equipment throughout the Salsipuedes area.  Reduction to one lane is from k91 – k87.

One other surprise is the rumble pavement strip on hwy1, northbound, at the new and under construction toll booth at Popotla/Blvd2000.  The road has been moved so that the rumbles, formerly a border warning for the right lane, now wake you up as they pass through the middle of the road.

And watch the potholes, as you exit the Ensenada toll booth southbound.  Crunch.  Ouch.

The corrective and preventive works that are executed in different points of the Highway Tijuana-Ensenada, at the height of the Bay of Salsipuedes, will have a cost in excess of one billion pesos.

The work, some with advances of more than 45 percent, will conclude in 2018, according to data provided by the delegate of Roads and Federal Bridges (Capufe), Rosa María Castañeda Guadiana.

The federal official recalled that eight faults were located along 13 kilometers where, since 2014, constant studies and monitoring are done, especially after the landslide in 2013, at kilometer 93.

He explained that the studies that are carried out are geophysics, geology, and topography, mainly, as well as special tests of monitoring.

Likewise, he said, alternative solutions are executed based on the studies carried out.
Castañeda Guadiana reported that the monitoring is done on a monthly basis, or according to the needs that are presented by conditions.

The delegate of Capufe explained that there is knowledge of the vertical and horizontal movements that come to register.

For this, there are 125 control points, 33 piezometers and 16 observation tubes to measure the water and the pressure of the same.

He detailed that in areas of fault, such as kilometers 88-89, works were determined as berms, pedraplén and drainage gallery.

The works, which will conclude in August of this year, will cost 180 million pesos.

Regarding kilometer 95-96, he mentioned that there are works of stacks, stabilizing trenches, berms, and drainage gallery.

The works, whose investment will amount to 280 million pesos, show an increase of 10 percent, and will conclude in September 2018.

The works in kilometer 90 will be berms and pedraplén; The advance is 26 percent; Will conclude in October 2017 and will require resources for 180 million pesos.

At kilometer 94, work was considered piles, stabilizing trenches, berms, drainage gallery.
250 million pesos will be invested, and will conclude in March 2018; The advance is 10 percent.

Fault zone
95 to 96
93 + 500

Amazon Prime Mexico

Bajadock: 2 day delivery throughout Mexico?  I gotta see this.  If you thought Uber was a disrupter in Mexico, Amazon could be gigantesco.  Thx to reporter Juan for this alert.

MEXICO CITY– Inc. on Tuesday launched Amazon Prime in Mexico, raising its profile in a country where at least a half-dozen companies are competing for market share.

Mexico is the 13th country where Amazon is offering the premium membership service. For an annual fee of 449 pesos, or about $23, Mexican Prime members will have access to free, one-day delivery in four of Mexico’s largest cities — Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla and Querétaro — and free, two-day shipping in the rest of the country.

The move also makes millions of products from Amazon’s U.S. distribution centers available to Mexican shoppers with free shipping that will take about a week to reach them, with no minimum order price. Amazon Prime also includes free, streaming video service in Mexico similar to the one Amazon offers to Prime members in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Luis Correa, Amazon’s Mexico country head, said logistics have been a key focus since it set up here 20 months ago. Amazon operates two large fulfillment centers north of Mexico City and is planning to open a third in the country this year.

Amazon entered Mexico when online retailers are competing for market share. This week, Argentine e-retailer MercadoLibre Inc., Amazon’s biggest competitor in Mexico and often described as Latin America’s, said it would invest more than $100 million in Mexico to expand free shipping, payment processing, purchase protection and a points-based rewards program.

Ignacio Caride, MercardoLibre’s Mexico country head, said his company has responded to Amazon’s expansion by offering free shipping options on roughly 80% of items listed starting this year. MercadoLibre ships about half a million items a month, and charges about $2.50 to the seller to cover about half of the cost to ship small items.

“We’re willing to lose money in Mexico in order to win the battle with Amazon,” Mr. Caride said.

While still the largest player in Mexico, MercadoLibre has been losing market share over the last six years. In 2011, the company accounted for 21.2% of all online sales in the country, according to Euromonitor, but that share had fallen to 9.5% by 2016.

Linio, the online retailer launched by German startup investor Rocket Internet SE, was the second-largest Mexican e-commerce site in 2016, with 5.8% market share, followed by Amazon and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., each with 5.5%, according to Euromonitor.

Some Mexican e-commerce sites are trying to find a toehold by offering alternative payment options. Amazon allows Mexican customers to make purchases using only debit or credit cards — a small but growing segment — or gift cards available at convenience stores. MercadoLibre in 2012 launched MercadoPago, a service that allows customers to pay for purchases in cash at Oxxo convenience stores.

Linio, which offers free shipping on all items to subscribers to a Prime-like service called Linio Plus, has focused on payment options.

“Our strategy is to spend as little as possible on logistics. The key is, where we see growth, is in payment methods for the Mexican consumer,” said Nicolás Ariza, director of operations for Linio in Mexico.

Free shipping is “a big convincing factor for shoppers,” said David Bernardo, a professor who studies e-commerce at the Tecnológico de Monterrey university. “Once it becomes the market standard, everyone is going to start doing it.”

Greg Greeley, Amazon’s vice president for Prime, said free shipping will likely result in losses for Amazon in Mexico for some time, and that the company is trying to minimize costs by fulfilling orders for the site’s most popular items, which include videogames and DVDs, from Mexican distribution centers.

Amazon’s overtures are directed at consumers like Elke Vaughan, a 34-year-old bank associate from Mexico City who says she sometimes spends $500 a month to buy cosmetics and clothes from, but has her purchases shipped to her grandmother in San Antonio and retrieves them on family visits.

“There’s a lot of stuff that they just don’t ship to Mexico,” Ms. Vaughan said. “Or if I have some luck and I find something they do ship, it’s usually too expensive to ship it here.”

Write to Robbie Whelan at

Pemex Fair Pump Map

Bajadock: seems like one of these Pemex evaluations/apps is published every few months.  Problem is that so few Pemex gasoline stations are evaluated.  But, I’m a fan of the power of social networking bringing sunshine to business and government issues.   Public Service Announcement:

Want to know whether your favorite PEMEX station is delivering the amount of gasoline or LP you are paying for? …  Check out this map …. e.g.  zoom in ~keeping Merida in the center of the page ~ to see the status of your favorite PEMEX franchise.

Specifically Check the color of dot for your favorite stations:  Passed (Green), Refused to participate (Yellow), Failed (Red) , or Not Participated (purple) … in simple testing to check whether the Litros of Gasoline (or kg of propane) displayed by the station pumps match the actual amounts delivered.
AMARILLO: se negaron
MORADO: no los han verificado
ROJO: los sancionaron
VERDE: pasaron
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