February 23, 2004

Guadalajara to Morelia

Press HERE to see a slideshow from
Guadalajara, Morelia and Patzcuaro.

In Guadalajara

Thursday, 19 February:
As I was saying in my last entry, I was at the beach, at Playas Novillero. The beach is wonderful, beautiful soft sand. There are very few people in living on the beach and almost no tourists. The room I took was ok. I could have had one that opened to the beach, sort of anyway, but I took another. When I got up this morning, I was disappointed to find no hot water. I decided to move on, but if all the beaches in Nayarit are like this, it would be a good place to spend some time if you could find the same with a little bit more life. After breakfast I was on my way to Guadalajara. The dry fields dominated the countryside, but I saw thousands of acres in agave as I approached Guadalajara. It was no surprise when I later discovered the town I was passing through was called Tequila.
I arrived in the late afternoon. It seemed that it took forever to find a place to stay. I did get a chance to see a bit of the city. Finally I settled. I went out to update this blog, and eat.

Lago Chapala
IMG_1835: Lago Chapala

I decide to leave the hotel, too noisy. I went to the information bureau. It is in a wonderful downtown area. The city has some fantastic public areas, with fountains and sculptures. As I drove about the city, I did not see an area that I wanted to stay in. The city and its suburbs has a population of more that three million and perhaps more than five million. It is dry, dusty, and hazy; pollution? I decided to drive around a bit. It was not a city I wanted to stay in. I am sure there are nice neighborhoods, but the ambiance was not what I expected. I decided to head south for Lake Chapala. The lake is gigantic, but the lake has been loosing water for years. The hyacinths have inundated the lake, not a pretty picture. Heavily developed on the north side of the lake, and almost deserted on the south side. The fields started to turn green as I headed down highway 15. I passed through dozens of small towns. And finally I put down in Zacapu. I went into the center of down after checking in. It is a typical small town, with a nice plaza and public spaces. I stopped for dinner. It was excellent. I hiked back to the hotel and put in for the night.

Morelia Main Street by Plaza
IMG_1841:Morelia's Main Street by Plaza

Fountain in Front of Old Aquaduct in Morelia
IMG_1850: Fountain in Front of Old Aqueduct

Side Street in Old Morelia
IMG_1853: Side Street in Old Morelia />

Saturday, February 21, 2004:
I was only 84 km from Morelia, but I am sure it took more than two hours to drive there. It was the typical narrow two lane road with far too much traffic on it. Along the way I had some beautiful views of Lake Patzcuaro. If I get a chance I will drive back here and check out the area around the lake. The major delay as I approached Morelia was a public works project that was putting in new sewers and possibly rebuilding the road. As I drove into the el centro, I knew this was a city that I would have to stay in. The colonial buildings have been carefully protected. The plazas and cathedrals were beautiful. I check with the tourist bureau. They had lists of hotels but really no information on the quality, cost, or additional amenities for each. I got some info on goings on in the city too. Then I went about the arduous task of looking for a place to stay. What made it so difficult was the irregular system of one-way streets. Finally, I found one that looked nice, with lots of character and big windows, TV and hot water. I studied a bit of Spanish and got ready for the evening. After a meal with too much beef, I walked through the central plaza. I had heard about a place with music and beer nearby, and I went there. It was not really what I wanted to see being more of a show, than a cantina. The manager was nice enough to direct me to Porfiriana, where one could find live salsa music and dancing in one room, a balladeer in another and pool tables in yet another. I wish that I had continued practicing the salsa dances that I had learning in Guatemala. It was really a great spot for an evening of fun. I watched people dancing and having a good time and drank beers until a little after midnight.
I walked back to my hotel. When I arrive I could here live salsa music play. "Where is that coming from?" I asked. There was a cantina in the basement. I thought, what the heck, I would check this one out too. I thought the place a bit strange. The music was good, and I thought the place was a just a more working class version of Porfiriana. The women were mostly big(!) and dressed provocatively, showing a lot of cleavage. I bought a beer for 20 pesos. Before long one of the women in the bar saddled up next to me and before long asked me to buy here a beer. "Sure," I said. The waiter asked me for 30 pesos. "No way," I said, "they cost 20 pesos!" For the women it costs 30 pesos. I told him and her to forget it. I asked the bartender if all the women in the bar work for the bar, and indeed they did. I put my half finished bottle on the counter and walked out. But I did not entire escape the sounds of the bar. The music and the noise in the street kept me up literally all night. The bar music stopped about 3 or 4 am. But the noise of cars and motorcycles drove me crazy. Why was there so much traffic? I peeked out the second story window. Many of the bar ladies were now on the corner below, selling themselves. Finally about 6:30 it quieted down with the earplugs from my Rio player that I put in my ears. I got about less than three hours sleep.

Sunday, February 22, 2004:
First thing I did after showering, was arrange for a different room. Then I ate, rested and took off to see much of the town and take some photos (see extended enty). When I got back I rested and started writing. I guess I am feeling better, even on three hours of sleep.

Posted by bill at February 23, 2004 12:19 AM

Hi Bill

Glad you are in Mexico and having fun! Isabela and I are expecting a child in 4 weeks! She is really big now! Her mom arrives from Brasil in 2 days to help!

Have a Pacifico for me! Fishing is good here too!!


Posted by: Jeff Roberts at February 23, 2004 01:00 AM

hy bil how are you °°° i m waiting you be glad whit visit in guanajuato mexico its great city (i hope you tink same) i liked go whit you to the bar but it, too few peoples i tink is best the dama of camelias i think jaja well i wating dro you answer ,,, your friend from mexico gerardo okk i hope you wild wirte for any cuestion here well bye enjoy mexico °°°°°°°°° land of magic enchantle °°

Posted by: gerardo at March 1, 2004 02:03 AM