Teotihuacan Pyramid of the Moon
Photography

Teotihuacan pyramids in Mexico

I’ve lived in Mexico almost all of my life (except for one year) and I had never seen any of the pyramids we have. I felt like I was a “bad” mexican or “incomplete” mexican by not knowing these amazing historical landscapes that everyone around the world talk about when visiting Mexico, besides the tequila, the beaches and the food.

So I finally planned a trip to Teotihuacan and take a few photos there.

The entrance was free, but I was not allowed to take my tripod with me. A security guard stopped me and told me that I needed a special permit to be allowed to use a tripod inside. I’ve heard about this rule for some churches in certain places but it’s the first time I get stopped for it myself. And of course as most security guards behave, I didn’t get informed on how or where I should ask for that special permission.

GST_0005

GST_0006

GST_0070

GST_0001

GST_0017

GST_0019

GST_0022

Since it was a weekend, the place was crowded with people. Ada and my uncle, who grew up in Mexico city and had visited the place several times told me that it usually is not as crowded. But when they visited, most of the times were school trips during the weekdays and they say those days the place is almost desert. So if you plan to visit to take some photos (with your tripod special permit), plan your trip for a week day if you want photos without people.

GST_0023

GST_0031

GST_0035

GST_0041

GST_0046

GST_0048

GST_0054

GST_0056

Ada and I met with my uncle, who’s a year younger than me and whom I hadn’t seen in several years. Little did I know, my uncle had just partied the night before and got home 1 hour before I picked him up. But he was a fighter and got up to the top of the pyramid of the Sun while hangover.

GST_0057

GST_0066

When we got to the top of the pyramid of the sun, there was a large crowd looking at something at the very center of the area. I asked what was going on, they told me that people were “recharging energy” by touching a little hole in the center of the pyramid. I got close enough to try to see this hole, and it was a little dent between rocks that was like a stone had been removed because it didn’t go deep at all, and people were putting their index fingers in it. It is always hilarious to me when people believe these kind of things.

GST_0061

So it was a very nice experience, lots of sun, we had to carry our water because it is a long walk between pyramids and in general we just had a nice time.

GST_0060

Standard
9569060837_a30407848d_z
Photography

San Francisco and the Bay Area through a mirrorless camera

San Francisco skyline and the Bay Bridge

I had the chance to try out the Fujifilm X-M1 mirrorless camera. All the images in this post were taken with it, no post processsing, and I think the results are of great quality.

Back in the Bay Area once again thanks to my job, I mainly visited Oakland, Fremont, Berkeley, Pleasanton and of course, San Francisco. Since my friend Basilio moved to California a couple months ago, I had the chance to stay during the weekend for some sightseeing and shopping.

I tried ramen for the first time at Japan Town, visited my favorite restaurant in Chinatown and at night we stopped at Treasure Island to take some city skyline shots. I love visiting San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Gabriel Saldana testing the Fujifilm X-M1 camera

Soldier at the Japanese fountain

Japanese ramen restaurant

The Tesla is closer than it appears

Light at the end of the tunnel

Alcatraz and sails

San Francisco Chinatown entrance

San Francisco steep street

Chinatown's dragon lamps

Chinatown trade mark

Chinese tamales

San Francisco Van Ness cable car

Old lady playing rock in the street

SF subway station

DSCF0141

Standard
8946235463_c89a71a23e_z
Photography

A visit to the Guadalajara Zoo part 4: The Aquarium

Finally after my long break from posting on this blog, here’s the last part of the Guadalajara Zoo visit, for the previous posts check part1 – Big animals, Part 2 – Birds and Part 3 – Reptiles. The last section visited was the aquarium. I have a special feeling towards fish in the water, I don’t know exactly what it is. Maybe it’s the calm sounds of water, maybe it’s the freedom fish express by swimming anywhere. I really never thought about it before, but I enjoy watching the fish.

Ever since I left my parents’ home and live my myself, I’ve always had fish tanks at my place. Nowadays a home without a fish tanks doesn’t feel like home for me.

Smiling ray

Blue cichlid

GST_DSC_9145

Big cichlid tank

Pejelagarto

Piraña

Seahorse and little red lobsters

The lion fish

Clown fish and a blue mask

Shark in the tank

GST_DSC_9198

GST_DSC_9202

GST_DSC_9209

GST_DSC_9210

Standard
8946110515_617997e044_z
Photography

A visit to the Guadalajara Zoo part 3: Reptiles

Smiling croc

In this third post I’ll show some of the reptiles at the Guadalajara Zoo. See part 1 for the big animals and part 2 for the birds.

A big old turtle

This sign was a bit of false advertising to me, or the croc went into the iguana area

False advertising

Crocodile

I finally found the iguana

Iguana

I think it was the mating season for snakes because there was a lot of love at those exhibits

Snake porn

Rattle snakes in love

Boas

Green snake

Angry rattle snake

Yellow python

Standard
Photography

A visit to the Guadalajara Zoo part 2: Birds

Green and red macaw

I hope you liked my first post about my visit to the Guadalajara Zoo. This second post is about the birds. I love their bright colors and soft feathers.

Taking pictures of them is not easy but I think I got lucky and have some good shots to share.

White swan

The swan lake: black and white swans

The ostrich

A bird with a funny "hair" style

A handsome parrot

Majestic peacock

I was very impressed by the peacock. I’ve seen quite a few in some places in Mexico but I rarely see them showing off their feathers. This guy was trying to impress a female and I think it even posed for my camera. Their personalities might be as cocky as they look.

Peacock colors

Black and white peacock

A red bird

Ducks in the pond

I remember when I used to hunt pheasants for dinner back when I was living in Hungary. It’s been a while since the last time I saw one. They males have beautiful feather colors, the females are just brown. I remember they taste great served in soups.

Male Pheasant

The predator birds are the most fascinating to me. The look in their faces, the way they stand. They are great looking birds.

Grey hawk

Oh the mexican eagle. A sad metaphor of our country these days to see this photo of this great eagle, symbol of our nation, behind a fence.

Mexican eagle

Pink flamingos are fun. They remind me of ballet dancers with the way the move and their leg extensions.

Flamingo leg extension

Their balance impresses me, how can they stand in one leg for so long and never fall down? I think I even saw one sleeping in that position.

Pink flamingos

There were many other birds that I couldn’t get the chance to take a good shot at, in a photographic way of course. Next post about the Guadalajara Zoo will be about the reptiles.

Standard
Photography

A visit to the Guadalajara Zoo part 1: Big animals

Guadalajara Zoo entrance

A few weeks ago I went with some friends to visit the Guadalajara zoo. I hadn’t gone to a zoo in many years. I remember not being too impressed by the animals as this time as an adult. It’s fascinating to see them up close and at the same time thinking they must be sad for being in captivity.

In a way they are no different than humans in modern day society: With the privacy scandals and freedom vs security debates lately, we’re not very different than these animals in limited areas that emulate freedom but safer than being in the wild while all our moves are being watched.

I took a lot of photos that I’d like to show here, so I decided to split the blog post into several posts, each with a group or type of animals. In this first post I’ll show the mammals, marsupials and one large bird that got in the mix.

White Lion

Tiger at the zoo

The hippo area was at ground level and this happy guy was eating very very close to the fence, so I had a great opportunity for nice shots.

The fabulous hippo

Happy hungry hippo

Bathing elephant

Handsome titi monkey

The titi monkey area was the most fun part of the trip. These little guys are very curious and will jump over you without notice. They also like to steal things from tourists like earrings, pens, lighters and anything removable from your person.

Gabriel Saldana and the friendly monkey

This titi monkey jumped on my back while I was photographing another monkey, then got very curious about my camera and tried to grab it from me.

Titi monkey wants my camera

Next we took a “safari” tour, where we saw many of the big herbivores from the African areas.

Goats, Oxen, Zebras and more

The ostrich and friends

Black and white zebras

Bad temper

We also got the opportunity to feed the giraffes.

Feeding a giraffe

Giraffe closeup

Rhino in motion

The last of the big animals we saw were the kangaroos. I thought they were not going to have them but there they were. I like the expression in this kangaroo’s face.

Thinking kangaroo

Before moving to other types of animals, we rested by the edge of the gully to take a landscape photo of this beautiful view. This place is called Barranca de Huentitan.

La Barranca

Standard
8614401010_f12439ae44_z
Photography

A town in Mexico called Tequila

As I’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of nice places to visit around Guadalajara city. One of those places is a town called Tequila. It is the place where almost all of the world’s Tequila production is made and where the drink got its name.

Catedral de Tequila, Jalisco

There are two ways to get to Tequila. The first and most recommended one is by train. It’s a touristic train that includes mariachi music and lots of tequila sampling along the way. I think they also include a tour into the major tequila producer’s factories. The other one, the one I took, was by driving there. Next time I’ll take the train and let you know how that went.

Stone Angel and the Chapel Streets of Tequila

Tequila is a very small town but there’s plenty to visit. Downtown is very traditional with its cathedral and its rocky streets. There is a Tequila museum where you can learn about the town’s history as well as the drink’s origins and production process.

Tequila bottles at the museum Museo del tequila Tequila barrels

But the best way to learn about tequila production is to take a tour into any of the many tequila factories around the town.

I went with my friend Luis Perez and we took a tour into La Cofradia. They have a very traditional way to make tequila and they bottle it in handcrafted bottles.

Agave plant

First the agave plant is cut and the heart of the plant is collected. They gather them and put them in large ovens.

Hornos

Once it’s ‘cooked’ it’s smashed and all the juice and sugars are extracted, similar to the sugar cane process. At this point our guide let us try a piece of a cooked agave heart and it tasted very sweet, delicious.

Cooked agave

The extracted juices are let to ferment in large containers and are then distilled several times until we have the commercial tequila ready for bottling.

Tequila en fermentacion

I say several times because the first two times, the tequila has about 55% alcohol and it is forbidden for commercial use. But you get to try a large shot of it right there at the factory floor! Yes, you are expected to drink tequila like crazy during the whole tour.

Tequila destilation Handcrafted tequila bottles

Later we found out that guitar player Carlos Santana has a brand of tequila made right there at that factory called Casa Noble. I’ve never seen it before and got to try the three types of it.

Carlos Santana Tequila brand Casa Noble Sunset at Tequila

At the end of the night we finished it enjoying some fresh tequila based drinks.

Enjoying some fresh drinks

We walked around town and of course, we couldn’t miss stopping for some local tacos in the street.

Taquero de Tequila

And finished the night at a local bar enjoying some live music.

Nice live music at Calle 33 in Tequila

It was a very fun trip, with lots of new information to learn, a lot of drinking and good times.

As always you can checkout more photos of this trip at my Flickr photo set.

Standard