Why Is There No Gas?

Recently, there has been a gas shortage in Mexico City and Guadalajara, and it’s possible that this shortage may be making its way to Saltillo.

Pemex gas station.jpg
CC BY-SA 3.0, Link




Up until late 2017, the only gasoline that was sold in Mexico was Pemex.  All the gas stations were Pemex.  (It was only within the last few years that they began displaying prices, because . . . well, what was the point?)

Over the last few years, Mexico’s Energy Reform has been incrementally implemented, which paved the way to other gasoline providers, as we see today.  (Posting prices, following market prices for gas, the legal ability to sell gas that isn’t Pemex.)

For far too long, there has also been an enormous problem of people robbing gasoline.  Like, straight out of the pipes, en route to distribution centers and whatnot.

This shortage is the result of trying to get to the root of that problem.  From my understanding, they’re trying to figure out exactly where the gas is being robbed from and who is buying it.

How Does This Affect Me?

Because Pemex’s deliveries are being cut off, that’s putting too much strain on other gas companies’ supplies, so they’re running out, too.   According to the Economista, “the Secretary of Energy is doing everything possible to increment distribution up to 20% in the affected states.”


20%  That’s a problem.

Coahuila isn’t one of the affected states.  Yet.

But we’re already getting rumors of shortages at some gas stations.


So What Do I Do?

Fill up when you can, and limit your travel as much as possible.

Want to be a superhero?  Use public transportation.  Not sure where Saltillo’s buses go?  I’ve got most routes posted here.

In the short term, this is awful for everyone.

But long term?

This is a small sacrifice to fix a HUGE problem, a problem whose solution will benefit everybody.  So keep your cool, keep a healthy perspective.  We’re all in the same boat–this affects everyone.

So have patience.

Don’t panic.  If your kids can’t get to school, because there’s no gas to drive them there, chances are huge that most other families can’t get their kids to school, either.  The same theory applies to jobs.

Hopefully, this will blow over fairly quickly.





Gas station photo courtesy of Magister Mathematicae on Wikicommons

Gas pump photo courtesy of SkitterPhoto on Pexels.com


Christmas Markets in Saltillo

For any holiday in Mexico, street corner vendors take over, hawking flags for Independence Day, Guadalupe statues for Guadalupe Day, fake mustaches for Revolution Day, and team jerseys for the football finals–because that’s as big a holiday as any in Mexico!

Christmas in Mexico is no exception.  But instead of merely just the street vendors hawking Christmas trinkets, entire plazas get taken over and turned into a veritable Christmas market.


What will you find at a Mexican Christmas market?

Nativity Scenes

Throughout Mexico, the national obsession from mid-December to the 2ed of February  is arranging enormous nativity scenes.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m convinced that there’s an unofficial competition among all the Mexican grandmas as to who has the most elaborate Nativity Scene.  These things literally take over the large part of most living rooms!

(If anyone has a photo of a spectacular one, please share it in the comments section.)

Where to all these abuelitas get the figurines for their Nativity scenes?  At the Christmas market, of course!  There are rows and rows of baby Jesuses, Wise Men, Angles, cows, shepherds, Marys and Josephs . . . plus ladies making tortillas, old men roasting goats, and Satan.


Because every Nativity scene needs a Satan, right?  (Well, they do in Mexico!)


They also need stables to house Mary and Joseph, and moss for them to rest on.


Christmas TreesIMG_8057

Christmas trees are popular in Mexico, too.  Mexico is quite mountainous, so one doesn’t have to go far in order to find a decent pine forest.  But most trees are imported, so check with the seller if you’re dead-set on finding a locally-sourced one.

Unless you live on the coast.  Then you’re out of luck, and they’re all likely imported.  But those probably all come from Christmas tree farms, so that’s a good thing, too.  (Here’s hoping that domestic trees come from tree farms.  On the books, cutting down trees is well-regulated in Mexico.  But like with most laws here, it’s questionable how well those laws are enforced.)


And there are plenty of people at the Christmas market selling lights to put on that tree!  Good luck finding a strand that doesn’t play annoying music.


Ponche and Champurrado

A quality Mexican Christmas market will have stands selling ponche and champurrado–and if there’s champurrado, there’s likely tamales, too!

What is ponche and champurrado?

Selling ponche in huge quantities–as it was meant to be!

Ponche is a hot, fruit punch, made from apples, guavas, tejocotes, sugar cane, cinnamon, and piloncillo.  It’s just marvelous, and very seasonal.  Part of the ponche magic is eating the fruit along with the drink, so ponche should be served with a spoon or fork.

Champurrado is basically hot chocolate, fortified with tortilla dough.  It may sound weird, but it tastes amazing.  That extra thickness from the dough makes it even thicker, so it’s more of a stick-to-your-ribs kind of drink than normal hot chocolate.Ponche de frutas navideño - 3

Unfortunately, my market in Saltillo didn’t feature any hot drinks sellers.  But if you’re exploring in Saltillo, you don’t have to go far for a decent champurrado.  Head up toward the San Francisco church, and take a left at the corner of Juarez.  Compadre’s restaurant has a good café de olla, but if you’re in the market for champurrado, head a few doors farther down Juarez to the Cafeteria y Hotel Doña Ofelia–well, it’s Doña Somebody-or-Other, but Ofelia sounds about right.  Anyway, their champurrado is excellent.  (The tamales are just OK.)

Or there are plenty of other hot drink/tamal/gordita options right behind the cathedral, on the corner of Calle Bravo and Juarez, and around the Plaza San Francisco.

Where’s the Christmas market in Saltillo?


Joseph with a Zapata-style mustache!

It’s in the Plaza Francisco I. Madero, on the corner of General Cepeda and Emilio Castelar, just a block behind the cathedral.  (And about half a block to the left of the cathedral, if you’re facing it.  Or, north of the cathedral, for those who can process cardinal directions.)

Don’t get Plaza Francisco I. Madero confused with Plaza San Francisco.  That’s just a block up the road.  Or, if you get to Plaza San Francisco, walk down the street (literally, down–this is Saltillo, and the city was built on a hill) and you’ll find it sooner than later!

If you’re elsewhere in Mexico, poke around any historic city center, and there is bound to be a Christmas market somewhere.

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Photo of Woman Making Ponche by JEDIKNIGHT1970 from wikicommons

Photo of Mug of Ponche by ProtoplasmaKid from wikicommons

The Trittico of Puccini

On Friday, the 23rd of November, The Trittico of Puccini will be presented at the Teatro de la Ciudad Fernando Soler by the Coahuila Opera Studio (AFA) and the Orchestra of the Desert.

What is Puccini’s Trittico?

It’s a collection of three, one-act operas.  Puccini debuted them on December 18, 1918.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of their debut, and the Coahuila Opera Studio’s director, Alejandro Reyes Valdez wanted to commemorate the anniversary by presenting them on their 100th birthday.

The closest he could get was the 23rd, so we’re rolling with that!

The three operas that comprise the entire trittico thematically represent heaven, purgatory, and hell.  (Puccini was a good Italian, invoking Dante and all.)  😉  The conflict of all three of them revolves around “the consealment of a death“.

Gianni Schicchi

Last year, the Opera Studio presented Gianni Schicchi at the Besana Theater, downtown.  It’s quick moving, very physical, and awfully funny–even if you’re not keeping up with the traslation on the screen.  Gianni Schicchi is the vehicle to explore heaven.  (Or it simply has a happy ending.)

Suor Angelica

Two years ago, the Coahuila Opera Studio presented Suor Angelica, with a cast of fifteen women, led by Alejandra López Fuentes.  It’s the story of Suor Angelica, exiled to a convent and is the story of her resignation, despair, and redemption.  This is the purgatory of the trittico.



Il Tabarro

This year the Opera Studio has spent most of the year getting ready for the third installment, Il Tabarro.  Representing hell, it has its darker moments, but the music still remains light in places.  Not having seen it yet, it’s still a bit of a mystery.  (But I don’t recommend taking kids to that one!)

But given the success of the first two installments, it’s going to be a treat to see them all together!

Head out to the Teatro de la Ciudad Fernando Soler to catch all three of the operas the comprise Puccini’s Trittico on November 23, 2018 in Saltillo, Coahuila!


Video credit:  Alejandro Flores

Video Tour of Monterrey

The Tripps got out again–this time they went to Monterrey!

Let’s vicariously travel with them and explore the Macroplaza and Barrio Antiguo!


If you liked that, subscribe to their youtube channel by clicking on the link here!

The Fair Is In Town!

The annual Fair of Saltillo is in full swing!  It runs through August 5th, so if you’re in town, head out to the fairgrounds!  (On the road to Arteaga.)

Last year, the Tripps documented their experience at the fair.  Click on the video below to see the fair through their eyes.


If you liked that, subscribe to their youtube channel here!

Curious about the concerts?  Here’s the official poster!


Bus Routes Explained!

I stumbled upon maps of many of Saltillo’s bus routes!

This HAS to be shared!

For those looking to hop on a bus for the first time, it costs $11 a ride (July 2018).  So yes, if you have more than 2 people, getting a taxi is more economical.  There are discounts for prepaid cards, students with prepaid cards, seniors with prepaid cards, and handicapped people with prepaid cards.

For full disclosure, I found the maps at transparencia.saltillo.gob.mx

Can’t find the route that runs by your house?  Maybe transparencia.saltillo.gob.mx will have it!  (We can hope.)

Or, hop on a bus and see where it takes you!



ruta 8 morelos directaruta 13Aruta 13BRuta 14Ruta 18 ColoniasRuta ArteagaRuta Los Valdez

Mural Tour on Calle Bolivar

Last May, Colectivo Tomate took to the streets–well, one street in particular–and, quite literally, painted the town.  (OK, they painted the street.)  The effect is impressive, and one that Saltillo can enjoy for years to come.

Murals are one of Mexico’s more notable art forms.  The Mexican mural tradition dates back to prehispanic times, but had a notable resurgence in the 1930s, thanks to artists like Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siquieros.

Weaving Dinosaur
The ultimate Saltillo mural–a dinosaur making sarapes!

The Tomato Colective has been drawing attention to neighborhoods, making murals throughout the country, notably in Puebla, Mexico City, Querétaro, Monterrey, La Paz, and San Luis Potosí.  “It is a project based on the active participation of the community through the creation of murals that will be in their neighborhoods and, above all, on their houses.  This will create a connection between people:  it will tell the story of the neighborhood and, doing so, will result in a healthier society,” explained Liz Raschel, chief of public relations for the Tomato Colective to Zocalo reporter, Christian Garcia.


The Tomato Colective‘s artists planned and painted (with help from the community) 50 different murals, painted by 25 different artists.  Some artists are from Saltillo, some from other parts of Mexico, and some came from other countries.  (Scroll down for a list of the participating artists.)


“The impact of the Tomato Colective‘s work is that all the neighborhood comes together and all the neighbors collaborate.  It’s not just having 50 random pieces of art.  These 50 murals reflect the history of these houses,” commented Mabel Garza, director of the Municipal Institute of Culture last year.  [Quote also from the Zocalo, May 2017.]

Not only do these murals reflect the history of the houses they’re painted on, but the artists worked closely with the families who donated the exteriors of their houses to this project, making sure that the finished products would be a source of pride for the families, the Águila de Oro neighborhood, and the larger community of Saltillo.




Where to find the Águila de Oro Murals?

It’s on Calle Bolivar downtown.  Calle Bolivar dead ends at the parking lot for the Museo de los Aves.  It is often easiest to park on Calle Bravo (the next street parallel to Hidalgo), and then walk the four blocks to where the murals really start.  (There is one on a building near the Bird Museum.)

Towards the end of the Parade of Murals, some streets that cross Bolivar end in a set of stairs that will lead to the Mirador.  It’s a pretty intense hike, but if you’ve made it that far (and are in pretty good health), it’s worth finishing off the mural tour with the best view of Saltillo.

Still not sure how to get there?  Contact Jill Douglas at jilldouglas01@hotmail.com, and we can arrange a guided tour.


Participating Artists:


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Saltillo's downtownmuraltour

Real de Catorce–on video!

The Tripps keep documenting their Mexican adventures–this time, they take us along (through to the magic of YouTube) to Real de Catorce, a breathtaking Pueblo Mágico 4 hours from Saltillo.

If you haven’t been to Real de Catorce, what are you waiting for?

Or, if you’re not convinced yet, let’s go with Hannah and Doren!


Wandering Arteaga



Our Pueblo Mágico next door.

We’ve all been there.  And this is what it looks like:


At least, on a Sunday, this is what Arteaga looks like.

For those who haven’t been to Arteaga (on a Sunday), there’s a pretty large market that sets up all over Arteaga’s Alameda every Sunday.  Go early, because parking is a pain mid-afternoon!

La Colmena Candy Store off the Alameda–open during the week, too!


The other day–a THURSDAY MORNING–(who goes to Arteaga on a Thursday morning?)  this is what it looked like:

IMG_6263IMG_6261 - copia

Shhhh . . . it’s very quiet here on a weekday!

Maybe too quiet for some . . .

La Llorona, carved into a tree.     La Llorona is legendary all over Mexico for having killed her children after her husband was unfaithful to her.



But I love Arteaga when it’s quiet!

Plus, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there are some restaurants open during the week.

I also ventured off the Alameda and found the Plaza de Armas.  It’s another tree-lined square, with the mayor’s office on one end and the elementary school on the other.

Another block away (behind the elementary school) was Arteaga’s main church, San Isidro Labrador.  His feast day is the 15th of May.  So when the kiddies don’t have school for Teacher’s Day, swing by Arteaga–I bet these few blocks will be rockin’!



IMG_6264 - copia
Don Arteaga himself.  This plaque was terribly unhelpful, but it seems that he was a war hero when the French invaded (and took over) Mexico in the 1860s.
Arteaga in season


Here’s a gorgeous video from Televisa, highlighting the town (and county) much better than I can!

Downtown Tour–on Video!

For those who aren’t yet in Saltillo, and are looking to get a feel for the place, I’ve added this video from Hannah and Doren.  They’re missionaries affiliated with SALT church (on Eulalio Gutierrez, just north of HEB San Patricio, and services are informal and largely in English, for those interested).

Doren grew up here in Saltillo, and Hannah moved here last year, and this is one of their many videos showcasing what they enjoy about living in Saltillo.

This one gives us a brief walking tour of Saltillo’s colonial downtown area.

Thanks for sharing, Hannah and Doren!


If you enjoyed that, pass on some love and subscribe to their youtube channel!


If anyone else has photos, videos, or written reflections they’d like to share here, send them to saltilloexpats@gmail.com or send Jill a message through the SaltilloExpats facebook group.