Video Of The Day: Men Embrace Pointy Boots in Mexico

The Origins of the Mexican Pointy Boots

If you plan to travel to Mexico soon, look out for the latest fashion craze young men are embracing: pointy boots. Said to have originated in Matehuala in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, the fashion trend has men elongating the toes of their boots as much as five feet, curling the tips upwards toward the knees. Men who can’t afford to have their boots extended by a shoemaker will stretch out their boots themselves, using pliable PVC, garden hoses and tires as extensions. The boots are then painted, sequined and otherwise embellished, sometimes going so far as to incorporate blinking lights and disco balls.

To further accentuate the boots, skinny jeans and cowboy shirts are also in vogue. The easiest way to spot the shoes is in nightclubs, where troupes of men in matching outfits show off their boots (and dance moves) to the sounds of tribal guarachero music, a mixture of pre-Columbian and African sounds mixed with electronic beats. However, the boots are becoming so widely worn that the dancers are being asked to perform at weddings and other events. The above video gives a more detailed primer into the trend, which is now making its way up into the United States and farther south into Central America.

Travel Expert Brings Local Flavor To Guidebooks, Video

guidebooksKnown worldwide as travel editor for CBS News, Peter Greenberg has traveled the planet bringing far away places into living rooms for decades. Now, Greenberg shares his expertise on destinations around the globe in his new “Like a Local” series of guidebooks, videos and travel tips that go on sale April 16.

Teaming with Michelin, Greenberg is releasing the series of “Like a Local” travel guides to Buenos Aires, Cuba, the Caribbean, New Orleans, and Miami that have must-see sights and activities, but also reveal insider tips on how to navigate the process of travel to get the best experience.

“Learn tips like how to avoid the touristy tango clubs in Buenos Aires and dance with the locals in a milonga,” says a release touting Greenberg’s endeavour. Telling “where to find street food stalls serving locally sourced seafood in the Bahamas; how to spend a day with Cuban tobacco farmers in Pinar del Rio” and more, the series looks to be a winner.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Greenberg in Amsterdam and found him as colorful and descriptive about travel as one might expect. Speaking of his recent PBS special, “Mexico:The Royal Tour,” Greenberg was as passionate about experiencing the country with Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderón as his guide, undertaking whale watching in Baja California, rappelling down the Cave of Swallows in San Luis Potosi and zip-lining through the jungles of Puerto Vallarta.

Bringing that level of up-close and personal experience to us via guidebooks, videos and tips, the project promises to be far more than the sum of it’s parts.

Packing for Travel Tips


[Image via Flickr user LollyKnit]

Sections of Mexico unsafe for travel, consulate issues warning

mexico unsafe for travelJust when we thought it might be safe to travel to Mexico again, more bodies found in mass graves prompt a new travel warning for U.S. citizens and law enforcement. Mexican authorities have charged 14 people in connection with bodies found in newly-discovered mass graves warning us that parts of Mexico are still unsafe for travel.

The story starts back to August of last year when bodies were found in mass graves at a ranch in San Fernando, Tamaulipas in Mexico, just 90 miles south of Brownsville, Texas. Buses heading north towards the U.S. were stopped and boarded by gunmen who demanded identification then took Mexican national passengers away. Authorities have not confirmed but believe the intent was to hold them for ransom or use them to smuggle drugs into the U.S. 72 bodies were found then.

Last week, 59 bodies were found on Wednesday then another 13 more bodies were found on Friday at the same ranch. Bus lines followed the lead from cruise lines to cancel routes into the troubled area sparking demonstrations around Mexico. Protesters condemned the drug gangs themselves and the Mexican government’s war on drug gangs.

“The investigation is in progress and we must be very careful, especially not to cause alarm among the population that is worried about the whereabouts of their loved ones, but we can deduce that, unfortunately, that they are fellow Mexicans,” said Morelos Canseco Gomez, a top security official in the northern state of Tamaulipas reports CNN.

If you have been keeping up with the news you know that Mazatlan, Mexico has been in the spotlight recently as cruise lines stopped calling there over safety concerns. Gadling readers both agree and disagree with the decision by major cruise lines to stop calling in Mazatlan and the general safety level in the country saying:

“There is no place in Mexico that is safe right now. Death is random as well as directed toward a target. Collateral damage happens anywhere there is some beef between these diablos”

“I’m glad to see some cruise lines are not putting their passengers and crew in harms way by avoiding certain vacation destinations. As tourists we should withhold our travel dollars until safety and security become a necessity and not a luxury.”

“Americans are being targeted in Mexico — and murdered. These murders are occurring in taxis, at airports, and on the streets. Rich Americans are fleeing Mexico for their lives.”

“I agree stay the hell away from Mexico…i went there in November and all you do is get hassled to buy stuff…drug…whores…anything”

Here is the travel alert issued late Friday by U.S. consulate officials:

“The United States Consulates General in Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, and Monterrey advise American citizens that the U.S. government has received uncorroborated information that Mexican criminal gangs may intend to attack U.S. law enforcement officers or U.S. citizens in the near future in Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and San Luis Potosi. This information is being distributed to all U.S. government employees in the three states. No other information is available. If more detailed information is developed, we will advise American citizens immediately.”


As Mexico’s war against drugs continues, look for travel alerts and warnings to continue also. be prepared for transportation companies to cancel routes and itineraries too, also concerned over the safety of their personnel and passengers. How much of that will happen is uncertain, but many agree, Mexico needs to gain control of the situation for the protection of it’s citizens and visitors.

“The mass graves found yesterday once again show the Mexican government’s failure to deal with the country’s public security crisis and reduce criminal violence, which has left many populations vulnerable to attacks, abductions and killings,” said Rupert Knox, a researcher on Mexico at Amnesty International told CNN. “All too often, such human rights crimes have gone unpunished, leaving criminal gangs and officials acting in collusion with them free to target vulnerable communities, such as irregular migrants.”

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A Mexican traveler’s money-saving tips

Headed to Mexico on a budget? Then you’re headed to the right place. In my experience, Mexican businesses and their employees are some of the friendliest and most service oriented people I’ve met, so you should take advantage of the freebies they’re usually willing to offer to visitors. A couple of years ago I started exploring the country of my ancestors, usually with a friend for company. Here are a few of the money saving tips I learned during my travels to Mexico City, Monterrey, and San Luis Potosi.

Take advantage of the free rides some nice restaurants will offer you back to your hotel
My friend and I discovered this service in Mexico City late one night after dinner and drinks at an Argentine steakhouse. We asked our server if the restaurant could call a cab, and instead he offered us the use of the restaurant’s car and driver. We gave the driver a reasonable tip and saved ourselves the cost of a cab fare. This service isn’t available at every restaurant, but all you have to do is ask to find out.

Don’t be afraid of street food
Sure, we splurged at that Argentine restaurant, but my friend and I also ate a lot of our meals on the side of the road, where you can get a hearty, delicious, and inexpensive meal at a food cart. Believe me, it was not easy convincing my friend that street food is safe and delicious. In San Luis Potosi, I finally convinced him to try a street vendor’s gorditas, which are fat tortillas that are split open and stuffed with meats and cheeses. When we were headed home, he admitted it was the best meal he had the entire trip, and it only cost us a couple of dollars!

Keep reading for more tips below…
Visit free admission museums
They’re everywhere, especially in Monterrey and Mexico City. I couldn’t believe how many museums are gratis, while I pay to get into most museums in the U.S. These attractions are a great way to learn more about the local history and culture. You might be approached by a museum guide, but you probably don’t need to hire one. Most of the Mexican museums I’ve been to are visitor friendly, with written explanations in Spanish and English for each exhibit. A word of caution: get there early. Some museums in Mexico close as early as 4pm.

Grab a free city map and guide instead of buying one
Some cities, including San Luis Potosi and Monterrey, have great tourist information centers. San Luis Potosi has one in the town square, and Monterrey has a couple of them in the bus station. Just ask for the oficina de turismo. It shouldn’t be too hard to find one, and they offer free maps and attraction guides in English, handed out by friendly greeters.

Skip the overpriced hotel breakfast
Many hotels in Mexico offer breakfast, but if it isn’t free, then skip it. The one time I ate at a hotel the food was okay, but overpriced and not so traditionally Mexican. Instead, I suggest hitting the streets to find a panaderia, a bakery where you can buy pan dulce, or traditional Mexican sweet bread. Throw in a cup of Mexican hot chocolate or coffee and you’ve got a quick, inexpensive breakfast. Yum!

Use public transportation instead of a taxi whenever possible
When we visited Mexico City, we decided to take a day trip to Xochimilco, a borough of the city that’s known for its series of canals that tourists and locals travel by boat. We could have taken a cab, but we were told it would cost us around $30. Instead we took the light rail train, which connects to the city’s metro system. It took us a little longer to get to Xochimilco, but we took in the landscape along the way, and it cost us less than $5 round trip.

Book your flight through a Mexican airline
Okay, this tip isn’t for everyone, but if, like me, you live in South Texas or another area near the border, this could work. When I was headed to Mexico City, I had a friend drop me off at an airport near the border in Reynosa, Mexico. If you don’t have anyone to drive you into Mexico, take a taxi or a bus to the airport. My plane ticket from Reynosa to Mexico City cost less than $300 on Mexicana, a reputable airline. Compared to the fares I found on several U.S. airlines, that saved me at least $200.

Shop around for a cash exchange rate

Casas de cambio,
or cash exchange houses, are everywhere. Especially in tourist hot spots, you should look around for the best rate. Use an exchange house instead of a bank and you’ll be out of there with your cash more quickly and easily.

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