we spent half a day relaxing/doing chores around the vehicle and the other half
at the Lavanderia doing laundry and visiting the Internet café.
While doing chores can be dull, we thoroughly enjoyed the conversation we
had with the owner of the Lavanderia, a single businesswoman in a large city and
she was very helpful when she steered us in the direction of the cybercafe.
completed, it was time to visit Guadalajara!
We took the advice of the park owner where we spent the night and took
the bus in the city center. This
proved to be a wise choice as the city dwellers take their driving very
seriously. He who can squeeze
fastest into the smallest space wins! We
were very happy to sit back and enjoy the sights on our way into town.
in the city center, we started wandering from place to place.
We started with the Plaza de Armas, the Palacio de Gobierno and the
Presidencia Municipal. We then visited the Cathedral whose building was begun in
1558 and took 60 years to finish. Then
it was off to the Central Market where we explored and found a place for lunch.
Don ordered an incredible meal that consisted of carne asada, chorizo,
nopales (cactus), beans, chiles and avocados and was served in a heated lava
rock bowl. When it was delivered to our table, the surrounding diners
all oohed & aahed. The dish was
so hot, that Don had to remove the food from the bowl and let it cool on another
plate before he could eat it.
lunch we headed to the Plaza de los Mariachis.
This plaza is where it is said Mariachi music was born.
The term Mariachi has a disputed origin; some say it stems from the
French word “mariage” (marriage) and the weddings the Mariachis would play at, some
say it arises from festivals honoring the virgin Mary (Maria) with the Nahuatl
“chi” added on, and still others claim that it stems from the use of the
word “mariache” which is the word for the stage people perform on.
Whatever the term, Mariachis are an important part of Jalisco.
last stop was at the Instituto Cultural de Cabanas. This beautiful building served for over 150 years as an
orphanage. Between 1936 and 1939
Jose Clemente Orozco painted 54 murals in the main chapel. These murals are beautiful and haunting and present many
opportunities for interpretation.
we were off to the state of Michoacan. The
word Michoacan is an Aztec word meaning “Place of the Masters of Fish”.
The term probably stems from Lake Patzcuaro, an outstanding feature.
Another of the natural features of the state is the Cordillera
Neovolcanica, the volcanic range that gives the state its fertile soil and its
We chose to drive the free road today and as we drove along, we noted that the scenery was gorgeous and that we were ringed by volcanoes and cinder cones. We were also amazed by the abundance of wildflowers in all shapes, sizes and colors. Driving the free road also allowed us to stop in the small towns along the way.
in Patzcuaro late in the afternoon, we pulled into a trailer park and will
explore the town tomorrow.
is a lovely colonial town in the highlands.
It was the capital of the Tarasco people from about 1325 to 1400.
The Spanish came in 1522 and in 1529 the people came under the rule of
Nuno de Guzman, a conquistador of legendary cruelty.
Guzman’s inhumanity to the indigenous people was so severe that the
Catholic Church sent Bishop Vasco de Quiroga to fix the mess.
Quiroga set up cooperatives and schools and encouraged the indigenous
people to develop its own craft specialty.
He is venerated to this day.
the area is inhabited by 130,000 Purepecha people, direct descendants of the
Tarascos. Their celebration of the
Day of the Dead is legendary in the area and is especially colorful on Isla
Janitzio. We visited the island and
were struck by its liveliness. Fishermen
greeted the boats coming from the mainland with a choreographed ballet of
butterfly fishing nets, dancers in masks and colorful costumes made fun of old
men and colorfully dressed indigenous women sold everything under the sun.