Recently the wife and I took a week long trip to Mexico with my brother-in-law to visit my sister-in-law and niece who live in San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. SLP is located centrally in Mexico, strategically positioned between Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. I hadn’t been to Mexico since Christmas 2009 due to a combination of being too busy and also due to the increase in violence at the start of the decade. While a lot of the violence has abated, SLP has always been much safer than cities along the porous border Mexico shares with the US. My fears turned out to be unfounded and we ended up having an incredible time in a truly amazing country!
Tracing the lineage of my ancestors is a circuitous route. Countries of my paternal ancestors include the Czech Republic, Germany, Sicily, and Mexico… just to name a few of the most prominent. My great-great-grandfather Otto Ludeke immigrated from Germany to Mexico and married a Mexican woman, Guadalupe Vogel, of mixed Mexican-German ancestry. (That’s right.. I wasn’t the first Ludeke man to marry a gorgeous Mexicana!). They eventually immigrated to San Antonio. So, I’m not surprised that I feel right at home visiting Mexico!
My great-great-grandparents, Otto and Guadalupe Ludeke.
For our trip to Mexico, we had to first fly from Houston to Dallas, then catch a flight to San Luis Potosi.
We made it to El Aeropuerto de San Luis Potosi! Hooray!
Bienvenidos a San Luis Potosí!
Of course I can’t use my US dollars in Mexico so I had to get some Mexican Pesos, which were very colorful. Click the first photo to launch the photo gallery. The last photo in each gallery will be captioned so you’ll know when to move on:
My first meal in Mexico: Hawaiiana Tacos! Tacos al Pastor with tocino (bacon), jamón (ham), piña (pineapple), and queso (cheese). Added after the photo was taken: Cilantro and cebolla (onion). This meal hit me pretty hard with how incredibly delicious it was. Anyone who serves you tacos al pastor without the piña isn’t doing it right!
The first night we stayed at my sister-in-law’s house in SLP. In the morning we headed out for Cerritos, a small town in the hills of San Luis Potosí state where my wife and her family grew up.
One of the first stops we made in Cerritos was to visit my wife’s great aunt and great uncle. The great uncle goes by the nickname “Chato” and he runs a fried chicken place, known appropriately as “Pollo Empanizado el Chato”.
Tio Chato is a very hilarious dude! His favorite saying is “A toda madre” which is a slang Mexican saying meaning something to the effect of, “I’m f’ing awesome!”. He says when people ask you how you’re doing, tell them “A toda madre!” He says people often want to see you down or doing badly, so tell them “A toda madre!”
Below is a photo of Tio Chato and me standing in front of his store; note the sign above us.
A toda madre!
The second picture is of the front door to the restaurant. I thought the little chicken hatching was cute.
Inside the chicken restaurant
In order L to R: My niece, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, wife, great aunt, and great uncle.
Next we swung by to see another one of my wife’s uncles, Fausto, who owns a small convenience store in Cerritos.
Inside Tio Fausto’s store
Then we walked back to Tio Fausto’s house where we stayed the night with him and his wife.
Looking down the streets in Cerritos
After dropping off our luggage at their house, we decided to climb a very steep hill up to a sanctuary overlooking the whole town. Click the photo gallery below to see the view:
Enjoying a snack that evening in the town plaza
The next morning we awoke to another beautiful view. Tio Fausto’s house has a flat roof one can climb up on a get a good view of the surrounding countryside:
Down a random street in Cerritos
Next we went to the La Huasteca region that covers part of San Luis Potosi state and Tamaulipas.
First, we stopped off in Aquismón in San Luis Potosi state to visit the “Sótano de las golondrinas” (rough translation: basement of the swallows) an open air pit cave of 1092ft depth, home to nearly 25 thousand white collard swifts and green parakeets. Everyday the birds fly out the cave in spiral motions in search for food. We sat near the edge of the top of the cave to watch the birds flying down into the cave:
They have guides who will rope you up and let you peer over the edge down into the abyss of the cave. Here’s my brother-in-law getting roped up and then looking down into the cave:
Next we went canoeing down the Tampaón river. Click the first photo to launch the gallery:
Be sure to check out the video below! (give it a few seconds to straighten out)
After canoeing for an hour or so and stopping off and seeing the beautiful waterfall, we then canoed some more and then stopped over at a cave to go swimming. It was a hot day and the water in the cave was freezing but felt great once we got used to it.
Later that night we went to visit Las Pozas, near Xilitla, San Luis Potosí. Las Pozas were created by British surrealist artist Edward James, in a subtropical rainforest in the mountains of Mexico. It includes more than 80 acres of natural waterfalls and pools interlaced with towering surrealist sculptures in concrete:
After visiting the garden we made our way into the town of Xilitla, San Luis Potosi.
Looking down a street in Xilitla
Inside our restaurant for dinner. I love the colors!
That night we stayed in a nice rental house which was on a farm.
Cows in the distance!
For breakfast I had amazing chilaquiles!
Then we hit the road to head towards our next destination, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Along the side of many roads when driving through the countryside there are often many little roadside stands selling all sorts of food and knickknacks.
Micheladas y nieves!
This fella was standing guard outside a gas station
Here there! Check out Part 2 right here.