Friday, March 16, 2007

A Road Trip to Guanajuato and the Airport

Thursday – Week 2: Today was selected for our second road trip. We wanted to check out the Leon-Guanajuato Airport, as we would be picking up guests there. The drive from San Miguel took about an hour and a half. The airport is very nice with a brand new terminal. We inspected both arrivals and departures and are now ready to greet our visitors without any surprises.

The rest of the day was spent exploring Guanajuato. This is a very unique city as it is set in a narrow canyon and portions of the access roads are in tunnels under the city, cut from a diverted river bed. Fortunately, we had picked up an excellent city map at the tourist desk in the airport. We went right to the parking lot we wanted and did not get lost. Amazing! We did end up on the sixth floor of the parking garage which then entailed walking down, and later walking back up. Guanajuato has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for its beauty and history.

Our parking garage was near the Central Mercado so we started there, then proceed up the centro checking out the various plazas, State Capitol Building, Churches, parks, theaters, and ultimately the Jardin Union, which is the center of community life. We had lunch at an outdoor Jardin restaurant and watched the parade of people walk by. The main campus of the University of Guanajuato is in the heart of the central area, so you see a lot of young people. There are about 8000 students on this campus. The city is built up steep canyon sides and the buildings are all painted bright colors which make for a unique and beautiful city. Guanajuato differs from San Miguel as there are few gringos and it is not a shopping Mecca like San Miguel.

The road between San Miguel and Guanajuato is quite a curvy two lane road, so it was certainly an adventure to drive. There were lots of maniacs passing in order to save five minutes on the drive. It seemed like it must be mostly open range as we saw cowboys, horses, cattle, sheep, and burros often right on the road. On the toll road from Guanajuato to the airport there was a herd of horses running to an open fence. You need to keep your eyes open!

Upon arriving back in San Miguel we went shopping at the other huge grocery/shopping store called the Mega. One of the unique free enterprise efforts in Mexico is the washing of cars, right on the street or in a parking lot. While in the supermarket we had our car washed for $4. For portable water buckets, they did a nice job. Rather than drive back to the casa with our groceries, as we were near our parking garage, we parked the car and caught a cab to the casa. So sophisticated! Besides there was no way I was going to get Mary Ann to carry groceries on the 20 to 25 minute walk up the mountain.

After the busy touring, the gourmet cook heated a store bought pizza and we enjoyed dinner on our patio.

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