Morelia was beautiful, reminding us of Queretaro. Both are of an age and a type. Historic Morelia is made largely of a rosy stone that gives the old streets a glow.
Street in historic centro of Morelia
We have started retracing our earlier route; I find it interesting to see the same things with different eyes. We are more experienced in Mexico than a few months ago.
We visited Isla Janitzio, a tourist island off Patzcuaro. It is a hilly island perhaps faintly suggestive of Greece, with an enormous statue of the revolutionary hero Morales on the top.
Janitizio topped by the giant statue
One can climb up inside the statue, perhaps faintly reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty?, even up a narrow spiral staircase to the top of the arm.
Looking down inside the statue
We saw a wedding reception with probably two hundred people seated at long tables, and watched three men trying to set up the sound system.
Power for the reception music
We met a couple from Eugene who spend several months every winter in the campground where we stayed in Patzcuaro.
Then back to Villa Corona, but there wasn’t a circus. The warm swimming pools, heated by hot springs, were even more appreciated this time, I think. Back to the same trailer park in Mazatlan, where we visited with a couple from Pacific City Oregon who spend about six months there every year and who are trying to find homes for their litter of (mostly) fox terrier, “rescued”-mom, puppies. (They threatened to hide some in our car.) We are picking up our puppy in Southern California in a week.
Our new puppy
We have had a few more adventures turning down roads that might, but in fact don’t, lead to where we want to go. We are getting much better at these adventures. We have driven through dozens of gamma ray detectors, doubtless funded by US anti-drug money. What do gamma ray detectors detect? (And don’t say “gamma rays.” That isn’t helpful.) At a vegetable inspection today (like California), Sarah said we had no fruit, but we had candy, and held up the package. The inspector said, “Me regale uno?” so of course we did. That was the cheapest propina (tip) yet.
We have learned that the maps, even the much-recommended Guia Roji (Red Guide) should be considered suggestions or improvisations or hypothetical. And we have learned that sometimes you can’t get where you want to go unless you have been there and know how to do it. We wanted to turn off of the major beltway/southern bypass around Guadelajara onto the major highway that leads toward Puerto Vallerta or, eventually, to Nogales on the US border. These are not small roads. As far as we can tell, you cannot make a left turn to do that, nor is there an exit with a cloverleaf. What you do it keep driving until you are pretty sure you have missed the turn, then take a “retorno” or make a U turn across the median, and come back and make the right turn, which is clearly signed.
We can tell we are back in the north of Mexico. We see lots more US license plates, and some of them are even valid for 2013. (Many are on cars that were imported and stay here, presumably without local papers, certainly with really old California or Texas plates.) We talk with more people who have lived in the US and speak some English. And we are seeing wheat tortillas advertised on the streets. In Guatemala, people trimmed the vegetation on the sides of the road with machetes. In Belize, they used gas powered weed whackers carried with a strap over the shoulder. In the south of Mexico they seemed to have newer hand carried weed cutters. Today a crew was cutting the vegetation with a tractor.
Last night at the beach, the restaurant people moved some tables and had us pull the car inside the fence, under the roof, for the night. You can just see the car in this picture I think.
Camping spot at Playa Ceuta
We waded, lounged on the sand in the sun, had dinner at the restaurant pictured, and enjoyed a terrific sunset.
Sunset at Ceuta Beach
Our lunch restaurant today had a Brown Swiss cow head mounted above the bar. It reminds me of a Tom Lehrer song:
“I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow,
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow.”
It is going to be difficult to return to rain, clouds, darkness, and cold. It rained today in El Fuerte, Sinaloa, perhaps trying to get us used to going home. We are looking forward to warm friends to make it worthwhile.