Word Salad – May 2023

Mexico on the World Stage

Mexico holds more world records than any other Latin American country, and it shows no signs of slowing down. When it comes to world records, most of us turn to Guinness World Records, the acknowledged record keeper of the superlatives—biggest, best, worst, smallest, smartest, etc.—of just about any and every imaginable thing. Basically, if you can think of it, Guinness is there to determine a winner. They offer contests for anything from Tallest Living Man (Sultan Kӧsen, 8ft. 3in., Turkey) to Longest Career as a TV Presenter (David Attenborough, 70 years, UK) to Most Hula Hoops Spun Simultaneously (Marawa Ibrahim, 200 hoops, Somali-Australia).

While some titles are arguably more prestigious than others, many competitions are pursued with a distinct tongue-in-cheek approach, basically people just out for a lot of fun. So it should come as no surprise that Mexicans, lovers of festivals and good times, organize competitions to set or break a world record . . . on average every two weeks. To date, it holds 217 world records.*

With 338 participants, in 2018 the Largest Facial Cupping Lesson was held in Mexico City and earned the top spot with Guinness. For the uninformed, facial cupping is said to increase blood flow and increase collagen production. That same year world records were set for most people performing the running man dance and over a thousand people participating in a foosball-playing contest, both in Mexico City.

When it comes to food, Mexicans are passionate, so it is no wonder that many of their world records involve gastronomy: the longest line of hot dogs, almost a mile with 10,000 hot dogs, Jalisco; the largest jar of jam, 1,234 pounds (blackberry flavor), Irapuato; the largest peanut marzipan candy, 18,289 pounds, Guadalajara; largest cup of hot chocolate, 1,272 US gal., Michoacán; largest Caesar salad, 7,246 lb., Tijuana; the longest tamale, 164 feet, Tabasco; largest serving of guacamole, containing approximately 25,200 avocadoes, 3,500 tomatoes, 3,000 lemons, 750 onions, and weighing over 8,350 lb., Michoacán. The largest enchilada, the largest burrito, the largest serving of tacos, the list goes on and on.

They don’t stop when their tummies are about to explode, however. Let’s consider some of the other records Mexico has earned. In 2010, fans attending a NASCAR car race in Aguascalientes were handed a questionnaire on sleep/insomnia. The number of surveys returned was 3,461, earning the world’s record for the Most People Completing a Questionnaire. The Yorkimania kennel club organized a dog walk open only to Yorkshire terriers, and won the world record for Largest Single-Breed Dog Walk with 783 four-legged participants. That’s 3,132 little patty-paws.

In 2014, Mexico topped the category of Largest Parade of Classic Cars, in Mexico City. The parade of over 1,674 truly classic cars drew more than 25,000 spectators. In Morelos, a mandala of approximately 126,000 poinsettias measuring 14,200 square meters set the world record in 2018 for Largest Carpet of Flowers.

Also in 2018, the world’s largest bead mosaic was named in Guadalajara. It measured over 877 feet. The creation of 15 artists, it was made up of 66 pounds of glue and almost 1,000 pounds of beads.

Guinness isn’t the only organization with its eyes on Mexico. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, commonly referred to as UNESCO, has listed 27 World Heritage sites in Mexico. These amazing places can (or should) be found on “bucket lists” around the world. Here are but a few:

Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila. A seemingly endless sea of magnificent blue agave, located in Teutchlán, between the Tequila volcano and the deep valley of Rio Grande.

Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System. Located between the states of Mexico and Hidalgo and built in the 16th century, this aqueduct is an engineering marvel.

Palenque. The ancient city of Palenque is a prime example of the Maya’s Golden Age. A stroll through these ruins surrounded by gorgeous trees and vegetation brings a sense of peace rarely found in urban areas.

And next, to the nation’s capital. To make the most of a visit to Mexico City and to learn more about UNESCO sites, be sure to include a visit to (1) the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which is home to a variety of native plants and wildlife. For the most dramatic experience, plan a visit in the autumn, when millions of Monarch butterflies return; (2) the Luis Barragán House and Studio, built in 1948 by the master architect Luis Barragán. Barragán influenced architectural design around the world; and (3) the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. These stunning gardens and waterways were constructed by the Aztecs centuries ago. Today, visitors book an afternoon in one of the colorful trajinera boats for a floating adventure.

And finally, Mexico receives two “best of” nods from the consummate travel magazine, Condé Nast’s Readers’ Choice Awards. In 2019 Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, was named the world’s Best Small City, and San Miguel de Allende, the colonial city in the state of Guanajuato, was crowned the Best Small City in 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021. San Miguel del Allende is to worldwide small towns what the New York Yankees are to baseball: perennial bests. Not to be outdone, the beach city of Puerto Vallarta was awarded two accolades by Condé Nast readers, one of the favorite “Best Cities in the World,” and “Top Small Cities Outside the U.S.”

All in all, Mexico is being recognized in multiple categories as one of the best places to live or visit. And to put a finer point on it, for many expat retirees, Lake Chapala gets the “Best Place to Retire” award hands down. Way to go, Mexico!

*Some of these records have since been broken.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Sally Asante
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