Sunday – back from Guanajuato

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Now, I have some bad news for you: we did not go to Dolores Hidalgo. I really wanted to go, but it was too unwieldy. In case I haven’t mentioned it before I was not going there for the history of the famous “grito” of the Mexican Independence. I was not even going there to buy ceramics (after all, we are going to Puebla later!). I was going for the ICE CREAM. Here’s a quote from an article on Mexico Connect.com:

“Ice cream stands abound on all four corners of the main plaza and, in what seems to be a local tradition, each tries to outdo the other in their offerings of unusual flavors. Aside from the usual and more mundane flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and pecan, how about something a bit less common, like avocado ice cream? No? Then try some corn ice cream. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, how does fried pork skin ice cream strike you? Still no? Oh, maybe you’re in the mood to imbibe at the same time as you eat your ice cream, then perhaps some tequila ice cream or, another popular fermented drink, pulque appeals to you. But the final word in unusual flavors, it would seem, must be shrimp ice cream. That’s right,shrimp ice cream.”

Saturday night, I was contemplating our options. My first plan was to take a taxi there, let it go, and then take another taxi back after we were done. I had asked the taxi driver who drove us in from the bus station, and he said that the charge to drive from Guanajuato to Dolores Hidalgo would be 200 pesos (and, I assumed, 200 pesos back in another taxi). Then, Wheat and I passed a tour service that advertised a group tour by bus to Dolores, San Miguel de Allende, and some other small town that was supposed to be picturesque. That was 200 pesos per person – and it would have ended up costing the same as the taxi. The complication was that the tour would end at around 7PM, and we still would have to get back to Morelia.

I next asked the woman at the front desk of our hotel if she could suggest something. Almost immediately, she summoned one of the many bell guys that work at the hotel and who had already offered to find a guide for us when we arrived. He stepped in to say that he had a friend who would meet with us in the lobby and give us a quote. I just had time to get out of the shower when he called up to arrange a meeting.

He was surprised that we didn’t want to go to San Miguel de Allende, but I explained that there was a time factor. He told us that to drive us to D-H, stay there for four hours, and then drive us back, it would cost 1000 pesos. I said that that would be too much. He explained that he knew a lot of people who worked in ceramics there and that he would show us around the city as well. I explained that, while we were interested in ceramics, of course, we had another reason for going to Dolores – we were going to videotape the ice cream vendors. He finally came down to 850, but that was still too much, so we thanked him and he went away.

So, the strange and wonderous ice cream concoctions will have to wait for another day. I may still write about them – although I am a daring taster, I didn’t know how my gag reflex was going to handle chicharrone (pork rind) ice cream!

We slept later this morning (Sunday), ate a leisurely breakfast, then Wheat was going to nap while I did some last minute shopping. We had been told that checkout time was at 1:30, so I figured I would have an hour to shop, my things were already packed, and when I got back, we’d check out. Thank goodness I stopped to ask the front desk clerk (the same one who told us checkout was at 1:30) to make a wake up call to our room at 1:00. She hesitated, and looked at me, and then started to explain in Spanish that we needed to be checked by 1:00. If we waited until after, then the hotel would charge us for a half a day!!! I was so annoyed and shocked that I asked her to repeat this in English. I explained to her that SHE had said that checkout was at 1:30, and she repeated the spiel about the extra charge.

I said, go ahead, let’s check me out, then. She explained that we both had to be out of the room, with all of our luggage with us at the desk in order to check out. Highly annoyed (okay, pissed), I went back upstairs to explain this to Wheat. When we went down to check out, the front desk clerk said that they would be glad to hold our things for us, but by then, I knew it was time to go back to Morelia.

It all worked out. We took Flecha Amarilla, a second class bus of the Primera Plus line, to Morelia at 1:15. I already knew that there would be 6 stops in between – actually, more, because right in the middle of nowhere, people would ask the driver to stop and let them off. People got on and off at Irapuato, Yuriria, Moroleon, Salamanca – and a few more I didn’t remember. There was no movie, but I got a lot of typing done. Twice, I got off at a station: one time to go to the restroom, and another to get a snack. We got home by 5:30, and it took only a half an hour more than the first class bus.

After we got back home, we went to eat in downtown Morelia. We decided on the Best Western Hotel Casino, which has a pretty nice “slow food” restaurant. I had Sopa Tarasca, and Wheat had a selection of regional foods, like corundas and uchepas with a salsa that had rajas (green chiles), cream and cheese. While we were there, I said hellow to a Canadian couple at the table next to us. By speaking slowly and being careful not to insert Spanish words into the conversation, I found that I was able to communicate in French!

For dessert, we had paletas. I had the chongos Zamoranos again – but this paleteria had a much tastier version than the one I had tasted before! Wheat had ciruelas pasas, which are – uh, prunes (dried plums, whichever your prefer). I expressed disappointment that they were out of both rompope and ceresa (cherry), and insisted that they have them when I came back!

So now, it’s off to bed. The connection is very slow tonight, and I already lost the links I was putting in the first post. So I will wait until tomorrow to work on those. Also, Wheat will upload the photos to Flickr ASAP. Thanks for reading!

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