Paracho 1:30 p.m. 2003-07-27

Current Listening: Mexican Rock
Current Reading: On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Herrmann Loomis
Recipe of the Day: Sopa Tarasca, Crepas con Cajeta, Corundas

Oh, my God, but I am tired! I am in our beloved Cyber Cafe in Morelia, and I am just enjoying sitting and surfing, after our exciting trip to Paracho yesterday, and my night of trying to sleep with people walking upstairs above our room and talking (12:30 AM), one person snoring (I wonīt say who...), and another person who has a cold (again, I wonīt say who...).

The highlight of this trip for my husband was to be a trip to Paracho, where they make all sorts of stringed instruments. In order to get there, we took a taxi to the bus station, after getting a quote on his fee for going all the way there ($30). We asked to take a bus through Uruapan, which is a big city, but the bus lady said, "Oh, no, you should go through Cheran, it is more direct." So, we bowed to her expertise.

Well, the way that the second class bussed operate here is that they start out from the station with the people who purchased tickets there. From then on, itīs a never-ending start and stop voyage as new passengers flag down the bus, as control people board to check tickets, as hawkers get on to sell everything from salves to potato chips to fruit... We passed through some very dreary towns, bustling with markets and new building. It was amazing.

When it looked like we were in Cheran, I finally had to ask the bus driver if there was a bus station, as people were pouring off of the bus in fits and starts. He said no, and when I asked how we were supposed to get to Paracho, he pointed to a taxi in front of us and said we should take it. We got down and asked the fare, and it was a reasonable 8 pesos. Per person. And, after two other people climbed in with us (a young man, and an older woman), the taxi stayed there. There were 3 people in the back, and my husband in the front seat with the driver. I finally was able to communicate to the driver that, if all he was waiting for was 8 more pesos, then I was willing to pay it!

While in the cab, I finally got the courage to mention the disturbing occurance of gang grafitti (Sur Trece or Sur 13) that I had seen, not so much in Morelia, but in the small towns like Patzcuaro, Cheran, and the like. The young man chuckled, and my husband looked worried and said that I probably shouldnīt mention it here! But itīs a question that remains to be answered: are these signs from people returning from the U.S. or is it pervasive in the culture? If you are not familiar with my concern about gang activity, read this.

I need to wrap this up, because we need to check into our hotel, but - mission accomplished - my husband has purchased not one but two stringed instruments, and I also purchased some nice chatchkies! We paid $15.00 for a taxi to Uruapan, and took the bus from there. Now, we just have to figure out how to get all this stuff home!

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Đ Tiedyefor 2003