Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Off to Patzcuaro

Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday – Week 9: Before our children returned home, Mary Ann made the comment that she really had not bought much since being in San Miguel. When I heard this I thought I was going to choke. On Sunday, after recuperating on Saturday from having visitors, Mary Ann moved into Type A buying mode. I think she is now realizing that we will be leaving San Miguel next Saturday and there are few shopping days left. We began Sunday with the Home and Garden tour and visited three completely different homes. One had wonderful art work. One had beautiful native handicrafts (which Mary Ann quizzed the owner about) and the third was in our neighborhood and was fun to see what was hidden behind the walls.

In the evening we returned to the centro district to pick up our packages and have dinner at what we referred to as the poor man’s La Capilla. The name of the restaurant is La Posadita and is across the street from La Capilla, which is probably the most expensive restaurant in San Miguel. Both have roof top dining areas and overlook the Parroquia Church. We had dinner and drinks for about $10 a piece, so felt very righteous in saving the money after the shopping splurge. The restaurant is not listed in any of the guide books, so we also felt very adventuresome. As May approaches the Rainey season is upon San Miguel (they hope) and about 9 p.m. we had a wonderful colossal lightening, thunder and rainstorm. The storm was right over the top of us and I don’t recall ever being so close to so much electricity. We lost power two or three times for a few minutes but the CFE (power company) efficiently got everything running again.

On Monday we started early on an overnight road trip to Patzcuaro, which is about 150 miles southwest of San Miguel. We traveled south to Celaya, then southwest through Morelia, both which are large cities. Getting through the cities is always a challenge for us, as there seemingly is an absence of road signs at critical points. As our children will tell you, the only time Mary Ann and I ever argue, is in the car and about what direction to go. This trip was no different, having been challenged in Celaya with a main road that came to a complete stop because of construction and no directions for where to go. We did however arrive in Patzcuaro in about four hours plus another half hour being lost in finding the hotel.

Patzcuaro is a wonderful picturesque town of about 40,000 people located on Lake Patzcuaro in Michoacán State. On hotel was the Mansion Iturbe located right on Plaza Don Vasco Quiroga. The hotel was fun as it had 14 rooms, must have been built in the 1800’s and was decorated for that period. (See photos above.) It was a great day as it was Children’s Day for the Mexicans and there were literally thousands of children in the Plaza for live music. We had a great dinner at one of the restaurants on the Plaza with Mary Ann having the local soup and fresh trout from the lake. Because of my conservative nature I went for the Filet Mignon with mushrooms. We walked the whole historic downtown including the Gran Plaza, visited the Basilica, and braved communication at a shoe repair store to repair a tear in my shoe, which was the only pair with me.

Tuesday was the return day from Patzcuaro and of course we would never return the same route. We went west along the lake, then eventually north on some crazy back roads ending up in Silao (near the Leon airport) and then back into San Miguel on our usual route. The mileage was about the same as Monday, but because of the mountainous back roads it took us a couple of extra hours. For a look at Patzcuaro take a look at the following website:

Quirky Living Note: The street our casa is on is a little bit schizophrenic in the naming department. The primary name is Salida y Queretaro (exit to Queretaro). It is also named on some of the street signs as Real y Queretaro (royal road to Queretaro), but on some of the local maps the lower portion of the street where our casa is located is called Calle Pedro Vargas. Pedro Vargas (1906-1989), was from San Miguel, and was one of Mexico’s most beloved tenors and movie stars. In 1964 he performed at Carnegie Hall and he appeared in over 70 movies. He owned a house somewhere along our street. Could it have been our casa?

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