A Helping of Mexican Culture (Between Meals)

New York Times, 8/24/2010

National parks, check. Ruins, check. Beaches, check. Mountains, check. Waterfalls, jungle cruise, homestays, check. Eating insects, check.

In my Latin American adventure, I’d covered a lot of ground. But with one week to go before I crossed into Texas, though, there was a gap: culture. Not culture as in, “Why do you guys have dinner so late around here? But culture as in, a jazz concert. An art gallery. A history museum.

Fortunately my next stop was Zacatecas. This colonial city north of Mexico City, where Pancho Villa and his rebel army scored a major victory over federal forces in 1914, now has an arts scene that suggests a population of more than its 120,000 residents. I decided to go after reviews started pouring in, from friends, strangers, Mexicans, Americans, e-mailers and Twitter followers. Their opinion was unanimous: Zacatecas is a regular stop for Mexican tourists that is virtually ignored by foreigners. They were right.

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