Are you there, God? I want bagels.

Mexico is amazing for many reasons, but my favorite reason is food. There are lots of different types of food. Also, many USA food products are manufactured here, so there are lots of familiar-to-me brands. I ate Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds for bfast today =)

However, there is one surprising lacking food item: bagels. I’m not super picky about bagels; I just want non-sweet, thick bread in a circle with a hole in the middle. I looked in supermarkets and standalone bakeries: no bagels. What follows is an actual conversation that took place in the supermarket four blocks away from my AirBnB.

Setting: At the pandería section of the supermarket, where there are 184 different types of chocolate and chocolate-frosted donuts, along with lots of other sweet and savory breads, but no bagels. (Protocol: with tongs, serve yourself all the bread on pizza platters – yes – and then bring to the counter for the employee to tally and bag and place price sticker.)
ME: (in Spanish) Soooo just to confirm, you all don’t make or sell bagels, right?
EMPLOYEE: (in Spanish) Oh, sure. [Looks behind customer; gestures vaguely.] We’re just out.
ME: [Turns to look. Is not convinced.] (in Spanish) Okaaaaay but this is my fourth time here in three weeks and I’ve never seen bagels, so …
CUSTOMER IN LINE: (calling out in English) NO. They don’t ever make bagels, but she won’t tell you ‘no’.
ME: [Walks away with bag of bolillos]
CUSTOMER: [Smiling] (in English) Sorry, but you’ll never find bagels in Mexico.

I did finally find some, with Google’s help. They are far away in the “expat” and super-rich people neighborhood. They are priced in USA dollars, and cost many of them. I will wait until July – when I’ll be in the USA – to eat bagels.

Visit Campeche; Poo where I have Poo’d

Yes, dearies, Campeche is a beautiful place to become ill with the amoebas that will invariably catch up with you. It is a well-cared-for, colorful, sunshiney colonial fort town on the Gulf-side of the Yucatan Peninsula. It has a rich history of pirating and Catholicism, including a marker for the very first mass ever delivered in the Americas. Wowza.

Don’t let unseasoned travelers make your reservations, or you will find yourself in an overpriced, windowless, echo-y tomb. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Yes, of course you did!

Newly Clean and Pure

Last night a lovely woman I met while traveling in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas regaled me with horror stories of “Mayan Purification Ceremonies” that seem much more like coerced sexual trauma – rocks in your undies, humming mouths in your crotch, hands all over your body, and that’s just the beginning. Naturally, when Sarah and I today went to the famed church San Juan Bautista in Chamula, we signed right up for a purifying cleanse with a curandero called Domingo.

I was the most skeptical and least comfortable of the three of us – Peggy from Ireland, Sarah from England, and me – and, honestly, if Peggy hadn’t wanted to have one, I’d still be the dirty little girl you’ve become accustomed to.

But let’s start from the beginning …