North America

Yes! You Can Find Culture in the Yucatan!

EPISODE 112 – Raw Yucatan airs this weekend 2/22 & 2/23

Cancún images of wild spring breakers or throbbing nightlife may come to mind, but a “Raw Travel” destination? You bet.

 We began by foregoing the glitzy, glamorous Hotel Zone in Cancún and staying instead at one of the locally owned hotels in downtown (El Centro) where locals live and work. I prefer this as not only do we get to interact with the people of Mexico (as opposed to simply other tourists and those that are hired to serve them and keep them happy), but it insures our travel $s are benefiting the place where it is needed most… the locals, not some big corporation in Spain or the U.S.

Good intentions aside, the Yucatan Peninsula actually hosts one of the most diverse wondrous natural habitats in the world offering much more than the typical Cancún party experience.

Folkloric Dancing in Valladolid
Folkloric Dancing in Valladolid

Our 1st day was pretty civilized and began with a day trip to the Mayan temple of Chichén Itzá, an impressive site of Mayan pyramids and ruins that is squarely on the tourist’s trail.

But before arriving we stopped in Valladolid, a lovely little Mexican town full of beautiful colonial architecture, historic churches and friendly, laid back people. It was Sunday and though oppressively hot, the town square was full of tourists and local Mexicans in from surrounding haciendas and smaller villages.

After taking in a folkloric dance show we luckily met Israel who is somewhat of a local celebrity and man about town. Israel graciously volunteered to show us around.

He promptly guided us to the neighboring village of Uayma where the impressive Santo Domingo Ex- Convent & Church overlooks the town square like a protective mother. Having traveled extensively through Latin America, I’ve seen my share of historic churches but trust me when I say seeing this one in person is special. The church was built by the Franciscans in 1646 out of stones from nearby Mayan ruins, including Chichén Itzá . It has the distinction of 5 eagles featured into the design to help “protect” it.

Santo Domingo Church
Santo Domingo Church

While there we visited one of the town’s tortilla families which work out of an incredibly hot room where raw corn is soaked, turned into dough and fired over a furnace to crank out tortilla after tortilla. Despite the mechanization, tortilla making still requires 4 or 5 people providing plenty of manual labor in incredibly hot conditions.

Mari, is the owner and she and her family live on the premises. She said they work 7 days a week, cranking out thousands of tortillas for the townspeople who, like many Mexicans, eat tortillas at pretty much every meal.

Mari working the tortilla machine
Mari working the tortilla machine

She seemed happy to be there toiling over the hot furnace but I could only handle staying in that furnace of a room for a couple minutes at a time.Mari took us back to her cooking hut around back where she demonstrated the art of hand tortilla making over an open fire. For some reason, these tortillas from the open fire were even better.  You could feel the love that Mari puts into her craft.

Afterwards, Mari graciously cooked us a meal of chicken soup and tortillas. The crew and I were extremely hungry (aren’t we always?) and ate voraciously of course. Mari tried to reject the $200 pesos (about $17 U.S.)  I pressed into her hand afterwards but I wouldn’t hear of us 3 semi-fat, healthy and in their eyes, wealthy Americans, eating for free from the meager earnings she has to make do with for her family week after week.

Moe (camera) with the kids of Uayma
Moses (camera) with the kids of Uayma

However, I want to make it clear, I don’t pity Mari and her family. In many ways I envy them. There were happy photos of her now full grown children all around and grand-kids were running all about under foot and you could see the love in the home. I had the feeling that nothing was more important to Mari than family. Perhaps when you have less, family means even more. Regardless, Mari makes a mean tortilla and an even tastier chicken soup. Thank you Mari!  

Next we rushed over to Chichen Itza. To gain entry you have to pass through overpriced restaurants, vendors and gift shops with throngs of tourists sporting fanny packs and digital cameras who roll through with the chartered tour buses by the hundreds. But that doesn’t change the fact that the ruins themselves are amazing and anyone who appreciates ancient cultures I think will find the trip worthwhile and utterly fascinating. We arrived a bit late just after closing and were granted a special “late arrival” tour of the ruins. I’m always more at peace and reflective in the presence of ancient cultures but the massive place was almost empty which gave the whole experience an even deeper, more spiritual feeling.

Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza

DAY 3-6

Next it was up early to head to the beautiful and remote El Eden Eco Reserve. You can only get to El Eden after 3 or so hours of a jeep ride through terrain so rough and difficult my stomach muscles were aching from the strain of trying to stay in my seat. I only stepped out of the jeep once during the entire journey to help clear some brush and limbs out of the road so the jeep could pass.

Home Base @ The El Eden Eco Reserve
Home Base @ The El Eden Eco Reserve

I wasn’t out of the safety and security of the jeep less than 30 seconds when I was in trouble. I snapped a small sapling and was then gravely warned by our expert guide, biologist and host Marcos, that I should wash my hands ASAP as the sap in the tree was poisonous and could leave a painful rash that could take YEARS to go away. Needless to say I was concerned as we were yet miles away from soap and water. Luckily, I had packed some Clorox Handiwipes (no, they are not a sponsor.. yet ha, ha) and they must have worked because thankfully, days later, I’m rash free.

When we finally arrived at base camp, it looked like a typical  camping site or perhaps a set from Jurassic Park with some really, really crude cabins and thatched huts scattered about the several acre property which is buried deep in the savannah and teems with wildlife like Jaguars, Crocodiles, and more.  

At The Lookout @ Sundown with Marcos
At The Lookout @ Sundown with Marcos

Solar powered electricity at the property was set to shut off at 7pm and there was no consistent cell phone signal.  At night, our sparse cabins were candlelit. Just before the lights went out, we shooed a Tarantula and a giant water bug (a variety that is so big it eats frogs for dinner!) out of my room with a broom. TIP: Don’t leave your bags open when in the middle of a Yucatan jungle or you may bring back a few unintended hitchhikers.   

We helped the team at the reserve outfit tree cameras to track and “photo capture” the elusive and dwindling endangered jaguar population in Mexico.  Marcos could not have been nicer and I think we had the biggest, best heartiest lunch of the entire trip.The view at sunset from the lookout overlooking the entire reserve was simply indescribable. If not for the humidity and throngs of mosquitoes, I’d swear I’d died already and made it to Paradise.  

Cameras set to "Photo Capture" & count Jaguars
Cameras set to “Photo Capture” & count Jaguars

However, the next day we were thrilled to get back to civilization and Playa del Carmen was like an oasis in the desert for us city slickers.

Playa del Carmen is lovely. It’s a very walkable town with plenty of luxury accommodations and spas for the pampered traveler (as well as a plethora of day trips to places like Cozumel or Isla Mujeres). Or if you prefer (and we do) a more “raw” & authentic experience, there are slightly more humble and affordable boutique hotels and hostels scattered about.

Playa del Carmen @ night
Playa del Carmen @ night

We made Playa our home base but we soon headed back to Cancún to visit the Anáhuac University  to cover their inspiring American football team, the Leones (Lions) and their equally inspiring coach Marco Martos. Marco is 100% Mexican but also a former NFL Europe and NFL USA receiver with an incredible story (he made the NFL directly from Mexico, not via college, something almost completely unheard of) and contagious energy.

BNs-P8qCYAAxjfr.jpg large
The Crew & Coach Martos @ Anáhuac University

In order to get to the full feeling of practice, we woke up at 5:30AM to get to the University by 6:30 AM to take part of the team meeting. We ended up hanging out with Coach Martos and the team until almost 1 PM that afternoon. Watching these kids practice for over 2 hours in the hot Mexican sun was exhausting. These kids are playing for scholarships, not a shot at the pros and their love for the game is as genuine and inspiring as I’ve ever witnessed. It’s not exaggeration to say that Coach Martos’ enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I felt inspired in my own life and my own challenges by witnessing the fine, dedicated young people he and the university are helping to build.  

Playing purely for the love of the game.
Playing purely for the love of the game.

 The next day we headed to the Kantun Chi Ecopark where the gang treated us to a full day of cave exploring and swimming in the cenotes (sinkholes) which are all over the Yucatan (think of the Yucatan as a big slice of Swiss Cheese) but are especially beautiful in Kantun Chi. 

I’m normally not much for dark, dank places full of bats but these caves were anything but and were absolutely incredible, with crystal clear water that you must swim in order to complete the 45 minute or so underground tour.  You’re not so much touring the caves as swimming them and it’s a little chilly but seriously not as uncomfortable as it might sound. In fact, it was one of the highlights of the trip. Thanks guys!

The underground Cenotes (Sinkholes) of Kantun Chi
The underground Cenotes (Sinkholes) of Kantun Chi

The Yucatan is pretty incredible and yes, it’s very possible to have a cultural experience beyond the obvious Cancun, Cozumel, Playa experience.  Tourists and locals are interdependent on each other creating an interesting dynamic that I still don’t quite have my head around just yet.

I’m still torn over the harsh conditions I witnessed that locals live with daily. While poverty is not unique to Mexico, in this area the dynamics of wealthy foreign tourists mixing with poor locals, I have to wonder if the locals truly consider their tourism industry a blessing that gives them a much needed living or a curse that reminds them of how little they have in comparison to their neighbors to the north. And if they like me, ponder the complicated question of “why?”.  I don’t know.

Next up… an “almost” unplanned adventure in Belize.



North America



Flyer_Mexico City 


  New Episodes Kick Off This Weekend by Going Underground in Mexico City –

 NEW YORK, NY: February 5th, 2014 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that their current production Raw Travel® is set to premiere brand new episodes beginning this weekend (Feb. 8-9) with an underground, raw look at fascinating Mexico City.

 The adventure travel series delves deep into the culture of Mexico City uncovering the rarely before seen underground “rock-n-roll” flea market, El Chopo Market before heading out to take in a Lucha Libre wrestling match, sampling some chapulines (fried grasshoppers) and pulquerias (throwback fermented juice bars) then of course giving back by volunteering time to a group of special needs students; all while enduring an earthquake and a severe case of food poisoning along the way.

This weekend’s Mexico City episode kicks off a series of eight brand new, original episodes that were filmed over the summer of 2013. The Raw Travel crew began their journey in Mexico City and taped their land, water and air journey through Mexico and most of Central America before finally ending their eight week odyssey in Panama City, taping every step of the way.

“I’m proud of these new episodes. I think they represent an authentic look at how real people are traveling these days. In a sea of inauthentic “reality” content “Raw Travel” stands out as unique and audience reaction from our soft launch so far reflects that,” states Robert Rose, Host & Executive Producer of the series. “Travel expands the mind and the heart and this eight week trip forever changed us. My hope is that viewers will shake off the media stereotypes and be inspired to embark on their own adventure and get out and meet our neighbors, who are unspeakably hospitable & welcoming” Rose continues.

Future episodes will include never before seen looks into the burgeoning budget travel destination of Nicaragua, an alternative take on the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula, the magical, Mayan Guatemala, Tribal Honduras, the eco-adventure paradise of Costa Rica and an adventurous look at Panama.

The new episodes will also debut soundtracks from a variety of independent musical artists from around the world, many of whom were discovered while traveling. The page showcases the artists who contributed their music. 

The adventure travel series can be seen in over 73 cities representing over 70% of U.S. Homes including New York (WWOR-My9 Saturday @ 12 Midnight), Los Angeles (KCAL – 9, Saturday @ 6PM), Chicago (WFLD-Fox 32- Saturday @ 11PM & Sun @ 12 Mid), Boston (WCVB-ABC 5, Saturday @ 12 Noon), Atlanta (WUPA-CW 69, Saturday @ 5:30PM), San Francisco (KICU -36 Sat @ 5PM & KTVU-Fox 2, Sunday @ 12 Mid), Dallas (KXAS NBC 5, Sun @ 12 Noon) and many more. Viewers can visit for a complete listing of affiliates and time slots.

Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism, volun-tourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to U.S. television.  More information at ,, twitter @rawtraveltv



AIM TV is an independent content, production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit and for more information.

North America

Finally It’s Here.. Episode 110 Mexico City

Here is a little preview and a web segment from our Mexico City Episode. You can read about our experiences while filming on location here.

North America

Moctezuma Kicks My Butt.. And We’re Not Talking Lucha Libre



Renzo & Moses in El Zocolo
Renzo & Moses in El Zocolo

Two days without any solid food. Only liquids and even they don’t go down without a fight. Was it the fried grasshoppers? The questionable tacos at the local food market? No, we’ve narrowed it down to some Italian food in a very touristy restaurant in the Zocolo. Figures. It’s not the authentic food that gets you, it’s the very bad idea to have Italian food in Mexico. The culprit was the sauce.

But the cause is irrelevant. The result is a full day in bed. No shooting for me. Except for that one shot of me giving a standup (more like a “laydown”) from my sick bed. My crew is relentless and insistent that we keep things real. I acquiesced, reminded myself that I had long ago given up vanity when it comes to this project and somehow croaked out a few words about feeling bad and I can’t even remember what else honestly.

Yesterday was a blur. I rallied for the evening because we had a big, Lucha Libre match to attend where we were set to see one of the most popular and historic sports in Mexico. The taxi ride there took forever because of traffic (I know, I said traffic was  not as bad as I expected but when you are in danger of throwing up every other stoplight, any traffic is bad).

Lucha Libre moves are intense.
Lucha Libre moves are intense.

After what seemed like hours to garner permission to shoot, we were finally admitted entrance where the match itself was a spectacle. Lucha Libre has gone international and has a big following in the U.S. (very understandable given the immigration there) and in places like Japan (where there is virtually no immigration to speak of). In fact one of the wrestlers was from Japan and our guide and luchadore himself, El Kiss, told us of an  instance of 2 Japanese sisters who actually moved to Mexico City to follow their favorite sport. Now that is dedication.

The acrobatics of the wrestlers were phenomenal. Despite the testosterone atmosphere there are many female fans and there have been female luchadoras for decades, including one legendary luchadora who is still wrestling in her 80s! Now that too is dedication.


I momentarily forgot my extreme discomfort and got into the match. It was so tremendously fun and addictive that I’ll probably go again, sans camera (and hopefully sans food poisoning).

Today, I was allowed to sleep in and I tried a little breakfast, mainly fruit and yogurt. No good. It’s bizarre not being hungry for so long.  As diets go, the Moctezuma’s Revenge Diet is painful but damned effective. I’m pretty sure I’m down 5-7 lbs.

Today we hooked up with a local, Sitlali (an Aztec name), who took us to one of the most famous Pulquerias in town. Pulque are like  bars but instead of beer, wine or liquor, they serve naturally fermented juices. It’s a tradition that is gaining new popularity with the young, hip crowds of Mexico City.

We walked in at 2PM and it was jam packed like a bar in NYC at midnight. Surreal. After garnering permission to shoot (this time, very easy, big hats off to the waitress with the half shaved head and leopard spot tattoos) we sampled a few of the drinks. In the hot, crowded, noisy bar with sever stomach issues, drinking strange, fermented juices is a no-no, but I did it anyway. At one point I was sure I would pass out, but somehow, I kept it together long enough to put together what we think will be on of the highlights of the show.

Then we took the metro (subway) back to our hotel and as if by fate, it began raining, just as our shooting day had completed.

I took that as a good sign because I will be 100% honest when I say being this sick, while traveling is disheartening and gives me pause. It’s one of those moments when I question myself and say “why am I doing this”… “what is the payoff”? Why oh why didn’t I take an easier, safer route?

While those moments pop in my head from time to time, they usually pop out just as quickly. Once momentum starts to happen, it’s hard to stop something and I feel it with this project. It’s been picking up steam since January. But now all I want to do really, is eat solid food again.

Then I’ll be happy and life will be good again.


I’m happy and life is good again. I honestly forgot what feeling normal felt like. Now I’m ready to work out and rip the world a new one. Right after one more swig of Pepto (OK, I’m not 100% just yet but I’m close).

The Lunar Pyramid of Teothuacan

More importantly, I feel back on track creatively. Thank goodness for my dedicated and TALENTED crew Renzo & Moses. They know just exactly what to do when I’m unable to contribute 100%. The show is a true collaborative effort and I think we balance each others strengths and weaknesses out naturally.

Today, it was off to the pyramids and ancient pre-columbian city of Teothuacan. This amazing human accomplishment has been around since BC times and at one time housed 150,000+ people. The climb to the top of the tallest pyramid, The Sun Pyramid, is a workout and you need to rely on ropes along the way it’s so steep. At the top, the view was incredible (best we could muster it was 21 or so stories high) but we didn’t dilly-dally long at the top because it was cold, rainy and windy. I felt we had just climbed Mt. Everest or something.  I don’t typically do museums that often but the one at Teothuacan is a must see full of ancient artifacts and preserved skeletons from the burial grounds.

Early Residents of Teothuacan

The next day the crew and I took some time to work with some special needs teens and adults in Southern Mexico City at The Integrated Center of Special Education school. It was raining and that cut attendance to 10 or so students but that was the perfect size for us. We were to teach them some recycling tips and how to reduce, reuse and recycle (they already knew quiet a bit so we were pleasantly surprised).

I’ve never worked closely with special needs people before and I was a tad nervous about doing it on camera. The last thing we wanted to do was come across as exploitative or glib. But literally after 5 minutes the personalities of the students began to assert themselves. There are no hidden agendas or politics with these guys, what you see is what you get. Omar was the class clown and he was hilarious, boasting 70 girlfriends and dancing a jig when some Mariachi music was played. It was Maria Jose’s birthday party and the staff and students invited us to cake and flan and we stuck around to help them celebrate.   They even gave us each a parting gift of beautiful lamps made of recycled glass. I just hope I can get it home after 8 weeks on the road. You could tell there was no shortage of love in the school.

Our New Friends @ Integrated Center for Special Needs Students
Our New Friends @ Integrated Center for Special Education

In many ways these are the lucky ones. The Center is in a nice neighborhood and is a private school where parents of these kids can afford to pay the tuition. I thought of the many special needs kids with parents more like the majority of the Mexico City citizenry who have precious extra $s to spend on their care and attention. Who is helping them? How are they making it in the world?


Next we headed by metro (Subway) all the way to the opposite end of the city (about 40 minutes by train I’d say), to the famous Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most visited religious sites in all of the Americas, and for good reason. Here is where the apron of Juan Diego that shows the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe is displayed. The Basilica is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism and is visited by several million people every year. The gardens and smaller basilicas were some of the highlights for me, so tranquil and beautiful, a true oasis from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City.

Making the pilgrimage
Pilgrimage to the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe

We had to cancel a shoot later in the evening by a Mexican-American journalist who jerked us around all week and finally, eventually just cancelled (ironic that everyone came through but that the person with the “professional” resume acted the most unprofessionally). No worries. We’ve got a great episode for Mexico City in the can.  But like clay from the artifacts from Teothuacan it will need to be formed and shaped, pulled and formed.

But next, we switch gears completely and head to the the jungles of the Yucatan. Stay tuned for what are bound to be some tremendous adventures!

North America

A Rocking & Swaying Start to Mexico City


Getting a Cleaning By Aztec Shaman
Getting Cleansed by an Aztec Shaman


Mexico City began with a rumble, or more specifically, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake late Saturday night, early Sunday morning. I felt our hotel room dip and sway before the crew had ample time to say “what the????”. Things in the room clanged and clattered as the entire building moved back and forth for what seemed like forever, but was probably 15-20 seconds.

Sheer fear (we were on the top floor) and awesome power is the only way I can describe it. No injuries, no damage, just a serious blast of adrenaline making it hard to sleep. Despite having spent so much time in California, this was my first earthquake.

The Templo Mayor Ruins of Zocolo
The Templo Mayor Ruins of Zocolo

Had it not been for the earthquake, I would have definitely slept the sleep of the dead. Sleep has been a stranger to me this past week as I was super busy coordinating the shoot and preparing an 8 week journey through Mexico and Central America that has been months in the making. It will show on camera with some serious eye baggage and I feel like I’ve been run over by said earthquake. But keeping it raw and real.

Our hotel is conveniently located in Zocalo, smack in the very center of Mexico City where the epicenter of the Aztec Empire once stood. In fact, just a couple of blocks from our hotel in the middle of Mexico City sits the remains of the Aztec Templo Mayor (Major Temple).

Aztec Dancer
Aztec Dancer

The center is crowded but a great place to make home base as we were able to walk around the 1st couple  of days to get to the major sites. I took part in an ancient Aztec cleansing ritual to start the trip off right. The Shaman was super cool and blessed the remainder of our trip. He must have done something wrong because 3 days in and I already have a case of Moctezuma’s Revenge. May as well get it over with I suppose, but if this keeps up we’ll be targeting some toilet paper sponsors.

OK on to more pleasant matters. On the weekends, the Zocalo reverberates with the sound of drums as Aztec dancers show off moves that have been passed down over the centuries. They dance for hours on end for tips (propinas) from the crowd.

El Chopo Market
El Chopo Market

Next we made our way to El Chopo market which has to be one of the most unusual flea markets I’ve ever seen in all my travels and one you won’t likely find in any standard tourist guide. This market has been going on for 30+ years but instead of fruits, vegetables, etc. this one is full of all kind of underground music and paraphernalia like band T-shirts, Doc Martin shoes, anything and everything having to do with underground culture. Though it’s underground it’s also very official and very huge and crowded. There are probably more tattoos and piercings per square foot in El Chopo on any given Saturday than at a Metallica concert.

You really can’t visit Mexico City and not notice the influence of underground culture. It’s in your face. It seems every third or fourth young person is sporting some kind of tattoo, piercing or expression of a rock & roll lifestyle. I’m left wondering if they are somehow paying homage to their Aztec roots or is the California Chicano culture influencing Mexicans or visa versa.

To my knowledge, El Chopo has rarely if ever been covered by U.S. television (it has on BBC). Luckily we  had trusted local pals to guide us there and tell us when it was safe to pull out our cameras. At first I was on edge and tense but the feeling quickly wore off as we got to know many of the vendors and attendees. Mexico City is a city of contrast and perhaps nothing illustrates this contrast more than El Chopo.

El Chopo Market Pulls Together the Large Underground Culture of Mexico City

That night we headed over to Garibaldi, which is basically an area where scores of Mariachi bands and musicians gather to be hired out by locals. Mariachi music is everywhere but if you tire of the audio sensation, you can hop over to the food section and grab some tacos or other authentic Mexican food. We did, and I’ll just say LA is good but Mexico City is the real deal.

And yes, I did resist the temptation to purchase an over sized mariachi hat. For now.


We began the day at Torre de Latin America (Tower of Latin America) one of the tallest landmarks in Mexico City and the first “successful” towers to be built in this seismic region to withstand the numerous earthquakes.

Renzo made his way to the top to grab some aerial shots of the sprawling city while Moses and I strolled around to gather some b-roll at the Palacio De Bellas Artes (Palace of Beautiful Arts) and adjoining Paseo por el Centro Historico (Passage of the Historic Center) and park. The park is incredible and full of beautiful, classically designed water fountains that soon filled up with young, screaming kids cooling off on a hot summer day, (until a police officer firmly but kindly shooed them to another fountain made just for kids to cool off on a hot summer day).

Aerial Photo of Mexico City from Torre De LatinAmerica
Aerial Photo of Mexico City from Torre De Latin America

We then made our way over the Lagunilla market which is also off the beaten path and was just as big or bigger than El Chopo but was a bit more of a traditional flea market. Lagunilla offers up things to eat, drink and wear and appeals to a more mainstream clientele but that doesn’t mean the items on offer are boring. Not in the least. Among the items I spotted were antique stuffed Jaguar tigers, rare mineral rocks, one of a kind design T-shirts, ancient artifacts and more… much more like Chapulines.

Though I normally shy away from fried food, and specifically eating insects in any form, my crew and some convincing locals were enough for me to try some Chapulines, which is basically fried grasshopper. It’s marinated with lime and hot sauce but… add all the condiments you like, I’m still not digging it.

To rid ourselves of the aftertaste of fried grasshopper we headed to a local food market to partake of a massive but cheap and more traditional meal at one of the other local fruit and meat markets (always a good spot to grab an inexpensive authentic meal in Latin America).

Chapilinas or Fried Grasshoppers
Chapilines or Fried Grasshoppers


A More Traditional Meal
A More Traditional Meal

Then it was off  to one of the highlights of our trip so far, as we headed to the southern part of the city to XoChimilco (pronounced Chochimilco). XoChimilco was once where the Ancient Aztecs navigated and lived on the canals. Today the canals are where travelers, families and friends gather on colorful, rented boats to eat, drink and be merry and listen to live Mariachi or traditional Norteno music.

While being rowed down the canals, smaller canoes and boats pull up beside to sell food, drinks, souvenirs and… you name it. Our boat was named Violeta and we were fortunate to be on the river just as the sun was setting which made for some pretty outstanding footage.



On the way back to the hotel we headed over to Frida Kahlo’s old neighborhood of Coyoacon, an absolute treasure of a neighborhood where you can stroll among upscale Mexican families enjoying the park and unique Mexican sweets like churros.


I was surprised at how calm, safe and serene this large and supposedly chaotic capital city actually seems. Police (unarmed by the way) and security are highly visible in all areas and after 3 days of roaming all over town we’ve not had one instance of even a hint of danger.

Anytime you are rolling around a strange place with video equipment it is easy to be paranoid, but I have to say, (I don’t think these words will come back to haunt me either) Mexico City feels as safe or safer than Buenos Aires, Rio, Bogota or Lima.. and given my last few days there with the mass shootings and gun play, safer than Santa Monica, California.

Traffic in Mexico City is no paradise but it’s not that horrible either. In my opinion, Los Angeles and other North American cities are much worse. They have a rent-a-bike program called “Ecobici” which seems very popular with the locals. The Metro (Train) system is easy, safe, cheap (around 30 cents U.S. per ride) and convenient. We’ll be weaning ourselves completely off of taxis very soon to both save money and to travel in a more eco-friendly manner.



Tomorrow, it’s up early for another day of shooting. We have a lot ahead of us including shooting the famous “Lucha Libre” wrestling where rumor is my producer is trying to arrange a match with lucha officianado, “El Kiss”. Today I bought my mask and have been practicing some moves.

We’re also arranging some Aztec language lessons and hopefully, if things come together, we’ll be teaching some recycling tips at a local school and a visit to the iconic religious site of the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Mexico City.. I wasn’t counting on the earthquakes or the fired grasshoppers, but I’m still very glad we’re here. Stay tuned!