Welcome to my Blog which I have named MEXICO AND BEYOND: LAURA’S PHOTO JOURNEY. I wanted my first posting to be a mini-introduction to the enchanted land of Mexico since Mexico is where my “journey” began and where my heart feels most at home. While making some notes for this introduction I realized that many of my favorite subjects in college have been evident in our lifestyle and consequently they are reflected in this blog. I have always had a fascination with cultures and considered majoring in cultural anthropology. I also have a great interest in maps, geography, and statistics. And finally, I have always had a love and appreciation for photographs since they were a large part of my mother’s legacy to me and my brother. MEXICO AND BEYOND will be a reflection of my varied interests and of my joy in sharing with others who have a love of travel and exploration. So let’s meet Mexico!
Mexico is a large, diverse, and enchanting country. Trying to introduce Mexico to a stranger is a daunting task. In this introduction, I will use photographs that I have compiled over the many years of living and traveling in Latin America as the main format of introducing you to Mexico. I am a firm believer that the magic of the camera lens is a great way to share what words might fail to convey. A few "welcome" photographs follow before I share some good basic information about Mexico.
PUERTO VALLARTA, JALISCO
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, GUANAJUATO
PICO DE ORIZABA, VERACRUZ
- Mexico is a federation comprising thirty-one states and a Federal District, the capital city of Mexico City (referred to as "DF" for District Federal)
- Mexico has the 23rd highest income from tourism in the world, and the highest in Latin America.] The vast majority of tourists come to Mexico from the United States of America and Canada followed by Europe and Asia.
OAXACA CITY, OAXACA
- Officially, Mexico is the UNITED MEXICAN STATES (Estados Unidos Mexicanos) and is a federal constitutional republic in North America. Mexico is considered part of North America along with the United States of America and Canada.
- Covering almost two million square kilometers (over 760,000 square miles). Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the thirteenth largest independent nation in the world.
- With an estimated population of over 113 million it is the eleventh most populous country in the world and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, and the second most populous country in Latin America.
- Mexico has one of the world's largest economies. Recently the President of Mexico declared that annual trade between Mexico and the United States totals US$500 billion.
- The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and tropical zones. Land north of the twenty-fourth parallel experiences cooler temperatures during the winter months. South of the twenty-fourth parallel, temperatures are fairly constant year round and vary solely as a function of elevation. This gives Mexico one of the world's most diverse weather systems.
- In 2012, Mexico passed a comprehensive climate change bill, a first in the developing world, that has set a goal for the country to generate 35% of its energy from clean energy sources by 2024.
- Mexico is one of the 18 mega-diverse countries of the world.
- With over 200,000 different species, Mexico is home of 10–12% of the world's biodiversity.
ISLA MUJERES, QUITANA ROO
- The discovery of the Americas brought to the rest of the world many widely used food crops and edible plants. Some of Mexico's native culinary products include: chocolate, avocado, tomato, maize, vanilla, guava, chayote, epazote, camote, jícama, nopal, zucchini, guava, papaya, pineapple, chili pepper, sweet potato, squash, peanut, turkey, many varieties of beans, and an even greater variety of chiles, such as the habanero and the jalapeño. Most of these names come from indigenous languages like Nahuatl from the Aztecs.
AGAVE (AKA TEQUILA AND MESCAL)
TOMATOES, AVOCADOS, AND TURKEY ARE NATIVE TO MEXICO
- Mexican cuisine is known for its intense and varied flavors, colorful decoration, and variety of spices. Most of today's Mexican food is based on pre-Colombian traditions, including the Aztecs and Maya, combined with culinary trends introduced by Spanish colonists.
JALAPENOS - MEXICAN NATIVES!
LAURA'S 2ND FAVORITE: CEVICHE
CLASSIC MEXICAN FOOD PREPARED DAILY AT THE MUNICIPAL MERCADOS
- Mexico is ethnically diverse; the various indigenous peoples and European immigrants are united under a single national identity. The core part of Mexican national identity is formed on the basis of a synthesis of European culture with Indigenous cultures in a process known as mestizaje, alluding to the mixed biological origins of the majority of Mexicans.
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, CHIAPAS
- Mexico is home to a large number of indigenous languages which are spoken by some 5.4% of the population.
- Approximately 1.2% of the population are monolingual speakers of an indigenous language.
- The indigenous languages with the most speakers are Nahuatl, spoken by approximately 1.45 million people, Yukatek Maya spoken by some 750,000 people, and the Mixtec and Zapotec languages each spoken by more than 400,000 people.
- The approximately 93,000,000 Catholics of Mexico constitute in absolute terms the second largest Catholic community in the world after Brazil's. Most Mexican cities, towns and villages hold a yearly feast day to commemorate their local patron saints. The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, is celebrated on December 12 and is regarded by many Mexicans as the most important religious holiday in their country.
THE VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE, PATRON SAINT OF MEXICO
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, CHIAPAS
SANTO DOMINGO, OAXACA CITY, OAXACA
- In 2004, the literacy rate was at 97% for youth under the age of 14 and 91% for people over the age of 15 which places Mexico at the 24th place in the world rank accordingly to UNESCO. BRAVO!
CELEBRATING THE VIRGIN'S BIRTHDAY ANNUALLY ON
THE FACE OF TOMORROW'S MEXICO