Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

Award winning Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at School of Visual Arts.

Swine Flu? Drug War? What’s That???? A Guide To A Sophisticated Travel To Mexico

Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Church
21 years ago, I landed in Mexico for the first time, to a small town of Merida. I took long mini-bus rides, busses so old that you see the moving road beneath the holes on the floor, to various Mayan ruins around Yukatan Peninsula. It was a pure MAGIC. This is how I forever fell in love with Mexico.  You cross the border to the north and not much changes (Canadians, no offence. I love you). You cross to the south, and it is a whole another world of its’ own like nowhere else. Buses in Mexico now are comfortable and super clean, but the magic I felt 21 years ago is still there, everywhere in Mexico.Drug wars? Swine flu? Mexico has not had good reputation recently.

But please remember, media often make things seem a lot serious than it actually is. Flights to Mexico now can be as cheap as flying out to California (from NY, that is), and top-notch hotels have huge discounts. Food is so good that you never want to go back to that fake American-Mexican restaurant around the corner where everything taste like melted processed cheese. People are ridiculously nice and warm, they make sure you will bring back the best of the memories.

I mistook last weekend as Memorial Day weekend (duh!) and took a five day trip  to Puebla, Mexico.

I want to take you to a virtual tour of this magical town, one of UNESCO World Heritage sites, where you can see from 3000 year old Aztec pyramid to the history of Conquistadors to the latest coolest loft architectures where trendsetters gather. Vienvenidos!

Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Juquilitas
Everywhere is so colorful.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Cathedral
Old (working) car in front of the Cathedral.
This is just a random building on a random street. Everything is just so beautiful like this.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Sunday Dance Show
Sundays… people gather in a courtyard and have dance shows.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Juguetes
A toy store.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Church On Pyramid
3000 year old pyramid. Conquistadors built a church on top of it to show their power. History and war.., always crazy like that.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Pyramid Of Cholula
You can take a tour ‘inside’ the Pyramid of Cholula. It is a crazy maze in there.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Pig Noses
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Chickens
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Food Market
Don’t miss walking inside a market!!
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Santa Maria Church 1
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Santa Maria Church 2
Never pass in front of a church and not go in. Santa Maria Tonanzintla is worth a cab ride. Mind-blowing.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Mariachi
Drive-through Mariachi, literary. You can buy a song for about $10 US.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): La Purificadora
La Purificadora. The hippest, coolest hotel in town. I saw an article in GQ about 2 years ago, and had been obsessed about this place since. It was way more than what I expected. My travel-mate and comic artist June Kim with friends at Amarillo Centro de Diseno in Xalapa who came to see us.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Posole
The best Posole (soup) in town. Sit at a plastic table and chair, and have the best meal of your life.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Huevos Rancheros
Ladies and gentlemen, this is THE real huevos rancheros.
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Santa Maria Church 3
That’s right. You never pass in front of a church without entering…
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Jesus
Jesus in Mexico does not lie. Yes, it was painful..
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Sastreria Royal
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Houses
Everywhere is this beautiful in Puebla! A perfect shabby-chic!
Puebla, Mexico (June 2009): Emilia
Just in case.. My friend Emilia from Xalapa (left) made me a hand-knit swine-flu mask!! Now I am not afraid of anything!