"Mexico: A Toy-velogue" or "An American Geek in Mexico"
April 14, 2011

My girlfriend and I recently took a week long trip to Mexico, the Motherland. I call it the Motherland because both my parents are Mexican, and while I was born and raised in the USA, I was brought up with a rich Mexican heritage and speak fluent Spanish. So naturally I’ve been to Mexico several times before, but never Mexico City or its surrounding areas. My family is from the north of Mexico and that’s pretty much all I knew of the place.

 

On this trip I expected fun, relaxation and adventure (the fun version that American tourists have when "discovering" a nice restaurant as described in a guide book). What I didn’t expect was to be hounded by toys and geek culture. My first encounter being at a KFC near our hotel in Puebla. They were offering Justice League toys with the kids meals, called Chicky Packs. Pictured below are the images from the offending KFC. Not pictured is the fact that KFC’s in Mexico also sell chicken butts, and no I didn’t have any, they’re too spicy.

 

 

 

 

 

While in Puebla, we visited the nearby town Cholula (yes, like the hot sauce, but you should know most hot sauces have corresponding towns in Mexico, so it’s no big deal). There we experienced a beautiful church and ancient ruins, but as is the case with most travels, no matter how amazing the site you always get distracted by funny signs.

While in Puebla we spent a day visiting markets and found some interesting things. Like this piñata that chokes the candy out of you with its mind:

The less said about these chicks the better, but yes they’re real and they’re spectacular:

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t show you some cheap toys sold in the markets, many collectors are familiar with Mexican knockoffs. Growing up, I visited my Grandmother in Mexico quite often and had my share. Most memorable was a knockoff Batman: The Animated Series figure made out of a rubbery, translucent plastic that was quite on-model. He could’ve been a stealth Batman. I was quite surprised with some of the random loose figures that are thrown in with the fake ones.

Later on we entered a real super market and I found some Marve Universe figures that were very conservatively priced at about $14 a pop. A real steal:

Our travels then took us to the scenic town of Tlaxcala. There we saw Mexico’s oldest bull fighting ring and some nice churches. BUT we also saw a carnival with some interesting attractions. Including this shooting gallery that as a reward for shooting the right button, your prize is having Freddy Krueger or Dracula pee on you:

Aqua Hamster Ball Carnival ride:

We also saw a booth at the carnival selling toys of course, but these quasi-artsy vinyl Homer Simpsons were pretty unique amongst their offerings:

I was confused by this though:

When we ventured back to Mexico City we took a day trip to Xochimilco, a wonderful excursion spot which I suggest you look up, where we found these being sold on the street:

I was quite surprised by the random Green Lantern, I don’t even know what line that figure is taken from. I also saw a lot of Ben 10 knockoff toys, he must be pretty big in Mexico, as he outnumbered Spiderman and Batman as far as I could tell, dwarfed only by Proffessional Wrestling and Toy Story figures.

On our final day we took in some local culture, starting with a couple of museums. This piece was from the Museum of the Templo Mayor in Mexico City, an ancient Bat-God, that could very well be a proto-Batman:

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Masks seem to be a staple in terms of street goods in Mexico, these were from a market outside of Tlaxcala:

And these we found in Chapultepec on our way to the Anthropology Museum:

While we were at the Anthropology Museum we found some interesting ancient art, which led me to wonder, were ancient Mexicans early collectors? Look at this collection:

I mean the statues they coveted weren’t that big? What was the compulsion? Maybe they were just ancient geeks, that explains my collection, it’s in my blood! Although my girlfriend might take that argument to task. Ancient toy collectors? You be the judge:

Of course no culture tour of Mexico would be complete without taking in a Lucha Libre match, I snapped this prescient pic in my hotel room as I was flipping the channels, hours before the main event:

Cameras weren’t permitted at the fight but I snuck mine in anyway, you’re better off not knowing how. I was able to get a few pics:

So that was my trip, it was fun and filled with lots of historic sites, but not without its geeky merits. And of course, I couldn’t come home empty handed:

Thanks for reading! CZ

Cesar Zamora
Born and raised in El Paso, TX. I grew up collecting and displaying toys. My love for action figures has only been strengthened by the fact that the internet provides a community to share that love with. I currently reside in Los Angeles, CA freelance writing and buying too many toys.
Read other articles by Cesar Zamora.

 

 

 

12 Comments »

  • ANDY says:

    Hey Ceasar, did you happen to pick up any of those Superman figures at KFC?

  • George Cordova says:

    Wow I can totally relate, I’ve been to most of the places you visited as I too grew up with Mexican parents, my mother actually is from Puebla. I bet you saw that place where some guy was buried alive with his dead wife alongside of him. And Yea I visited the Volcano’s and the churches and all that but I experienced the same geek out feeling when I saw real toys mixed in with the knock offs at the tianguies or swaps. Is hard to swallow how expensive stores sell for two times the retail, considering minimum wage is 50 bucks a week.

    By the way I love the mask, El Santos I believe he’s called nice find. Its also nice to see fellow paisanos, doing big things like writing articles like these.

    Very Awesome read. Kudos to you sir.

  • Cesar Zamora Cesar "Masked Avenger" Zamora says:

    ANDY I didn’t purchase any, I was tempted but they weren’t all that interesting and while it occurred it to me that others might want them I felt it would’ve been a waste of my money that would’ve been better spent supporting small businesses and local merchants. George or Jorge as I will be calling you, I appreciate the comment and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I was hoping for it to stir memories in people but knew that it might be lost on some. El Santo is one of the few wrestlers I’m aware of and wanted a nice version of his mask. Thanks again!

  • Eriq edison says:

    Once again great article on not just history but the hidden gems of a country I’ve not yet had the pleasure of exploring (juarez doesnt count ) I look forward to more articles…and since george got the royal treatment u shall refer to me as enrique from now on…GRACIAS

  • JuliusMarx says:

    Awesome Blog! I’ve been to Mexico once before and looked for geeky stuff (I might have to write a follow up blog to this) and it looks like we are going back again later this year so I’ll have a new batch of Mexican nerd goodies when I return!

    • Cesar Zamora Cesar "Masked Avenger" Zamora says:

      Please do, I’d like that, I feel there’s a lot more stuff I didn’t take pictures of. Thanks man!

  • demoncat says:

    love all the unique sites and that musuem with the acient art pieces. those super friends toys look like jack in the boxes. that rip off batman looks interesting though i would pass on that game where freddy or Dracula pee on you once you shoot and hit the target

  • Thomas says:

    Is that a MU Archangel? At $14 that’s a steal compared to the $30 I’ve seen it sell for on ebay.

  • Sandor says:

    ¡César tú estás bastante guapo y sexy!

  • DanMan says:

    That is a fantastic blog, thanks for sharing it! Those Homer sculptures are especially cool.

  • Cesar Zamora Cesar "Masked Avenger" Zamora says:

    Thanks for reading and enjoying! Special shout out to Enrique, gracias mi amigo. And Sandor, I couldn’t agree more…

  • Quinn says:

    I loved this–I’ve never been to Mexico City, and your writeup was cool, funny, informative…I liked it. Great stuff.

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