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Bill_N

Aug 5, 2003, 3:40 AM

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Recently Returned from Morelia

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My wife and I had a nice vacation in Morelia and the Lake Chapala area. We spent 18 days in Mexico. I posted a "travelogue" in the Traveling in Mexico forum on this site if anyone is interested in our impressions. I will be posting pictures of Morelia and Lake Chapala as soon as I get them all labelled and described etc.

Briefly we found Morelia to be a beautiful city. Well worth a visit if you are travelling in Mexico. Many interesting things to see and do. Great shopping etc. Morelia is a "relatively big city". I believe it has at least 1 million inhabitants (close to that anyway). The downtown (En Centro) area is very crowded with cars and people, at least more than I am used to. If you like living in a "metropolitan" area, Morelia would be a good choice because it is not quite as crowded "yet" as Mexico City or Guad.

I would be happy to answer any questions about our experiences in Morelia and Lake Chapala either privately or on this forum.

Regards

Bill Newell

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jennifer rose

Aug 11, 2003, 8:31 PM

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Re: [Bill_N] Recently Returned from Morelia

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Well, Bill, did you get up the hill to Santa Maria while you were in Morelia? It's the part of town where donkeys vie for roadspace with BMWs. My part of town, on the southern rim of the city, is very much a small town. Tonight we sat out on the sidewalks of main street in our lawn chairs as part of "Los Candiles," a tradition for the fourteen nights preceding the fiesta patronal, warming ourselves in front of bonfires set right on the street, waving at the cars, drinking coffee and eating candy, and, of course, gossiping about those didn't string the blue and white banners across the street.


garth

Aug 12, 2003, 3:40 PM

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Re: [Bill_N] Recently Returned from Morelia

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Jennifer’s response reminded me of my stays in the Morelia area. I stayed in Quinceo ( sp?), a small village on edge of the growing city. The crisp college students in their white shirts on their bicycles had to dodge the cattle herd meandering down the street. We had fresh tortillas ( unbelievably delicious ) hot off the comida, made from the corn stored in the unfinished bedroom upstairs that was shared with two small chicken whose feet were tied to bricks to hold them in the room. ( Why go anywhere, they had all the corn they could eat? ) Every morning at the crack of dawn the local women would be out cleaning the street in front of their casa, as in my case, after sweeping and mopping the entire lower floor of the house. The garbage man would walk down the street in advance of his cart, ringing a hand bell to announce his arrival. The clap - clap - clap of a large workhorse and rider dragging a giant 25 foot wooden beam down the road to a construction site. A continuous parade of the small VW buses would travel by in regular intervals, each having a different number that signified the route it travels. The chatter of the parrot and it’s companion parakeets that lived in the tropical plants lining the courtyard downstairs... Coffee on the balcony over looking the street was one of the most pleasurable times of my stay.


(This post was edited by garth on Aug 12, 2003, 5:52 PM)


jennifer rose

Aug 12, 2003, 5:47 PM

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Re: [garth] Recently Returned from Morelia

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Cointzio


jshrall

Aug 13, 2003, 8:59 AM

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Re: [jennifer rose] Recently Returned from Morelia

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Well Jennifer, when my wife and I get to Michoacan next week, we’ll be sure to search out the hill to Santa Maria to check it out. We’re doing a similar trip to Bill only in reverse. We’re renting a car in Guadalajara and heading around Lake Chapala to explore the area around Uruapan.



From there we’ll take a leisurely route into Morelia in order to experience all the wonderful places you have described in your many posts on this forum. I thank you in advance for all the time you obviously spend sharing your experiences with us on the outside looking in. If Michocan is half as beautiful and interesting as you have described, we’re in for a real treat.



We then plan to swing back to Ajijic for the last week or so to meet with 2 other couples arriving from Dallas. We’re all continuing our exploration of the area with intentions of moving in the next year or two. When in Ajijic we plan to look at the south side of the lake and visit Sayula, Mazamitla and Tapalpa at least.



The nice thing about having a car is that you can head in a general direction and end up some place you’d never plan to see no matter how much research you do. Some of our most memorable travel stories start out with getting lost in Costa Rica, France and New Zealand to mention a few, and just stumble into the most quaint towns, sometimes spending several days.



We’re excited about this trip and what will be several more as we search out a retirement adventure in Mexico.


garth

Aug 13, 2003, 9:28 AM

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Re: [jennifer rose] Recently Returned from Morelia

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I’m uncertain of your reply Jennifer, but I have verified town’s name: it is Quinceo. It’s north of Morelia center, north of the beltway, slightly east of the soccer stadium, at the edge of the foothills. I can see the Cathedral towers from my friend’s balcony. Anyway, it is the other side of the tracks when compared to part of what I saw in Santa Maria. There are no BMW’s in Quinceo. I loved Santa Maria’s modern take on traditional Mexican residential architecture. Luis Barragan would be proud. This must be a ‘gentrified’ area of Morelia, with higher income families building modern small scale Mexican residences, with the emphasis on Mexican. Is the ex-pat community stronger there than elsewhere in Morelia, or are the buildings I saw owned by middle / upper class locals? My experience is limited in gauging economic levels in Mexico ( or elsewhere ). As a Norte Americano my experiential yardstick is limited to a range from moderate excess to the absurd. I did have a wonderful time staying with a working class family for several weeks in Quinceo. I wish all of America could have the same experience in order to begin to understand the rest of the world and see both sides of what we really have in the states.


(This post was edited by garth on Aug 13, 2003, 9:33 AM)


jennifer rose

Aug 13, 2003, 10:39 PM

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Re: [garth] Recently Returned from Morelia

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You’re right, you’re right. I tend to think of Quinceo as only the mountain. (Once a southsider, always a southsider, I guess.)

Santa Maria has seen many iterations from a poor village predating Morelia to the site of Morelianos’ weekend and summer homes in the 19th C., flight during the Revolution, a poor town and a world unto itself once again, a scattering of artists, and gentrification on a slow pace. It is still very much a mixed neighborhood, with the rich as well as the very humble. There are BMWs, Mercedes SUVs, ordinary cars, pickup trucks and low-riders.

The expat community of Morelia is dispersed throughout the city, no longer centered around the Villa Montana in Vista Bella as it was back in the days of Ray Cote. Only a handful of expats live in Santa Maria, even though it’s a desirable address. Those foreigners who do live up here make an effort to simply blend in. In times gone by there were more expats living around here than now.

Those who live in Santa Maria make distinctions between those old families who were here before the Revolution (only four old families remain), those who moved in from other parts of Michoacan, and the Chilangos. Yes, we do have an attitude – those who live below the hill regard Santa Maria as somewhat wild, and we who live in Santa Maria consider ourselves a notch above the rest. Even the very poor who live in Santa Maria consider themselves better than those who live in the valley. For years, there was but one road, unpaved, up the hill. We still think nothing of holding long conversations in the middle of the street, car-to-pedestrian, and we often walk right in the center of the street instead of on the sidewalk.

The area has grown incredibly just in the past few years since Valladolid, the city’s best prepa relocated here, and since then it’s been joined by Monterrey Tech, the Thomas Jefferson School, Paco Medina’s fabulous subdivision, and the Jack Nicklaus golf course. We’re thrilled about the opening of the new Pemex station next to the Benedictine Monastery, two gourmet coffee shops, Trico, and two Japanese restaurants. A deluxe hotel is slated along with a shopping center in the coming years. At the same time, we still have the guy who sells cream, dirt and orchids (not all at the same time) from a donkey and chickens butchered on the street. And Dona Chita who sells cigarettes singly and whose Pastor Aleman fell off the roof into a neighbor’s garden, only to be terrorized by the bullmastiff. And cockfights and the jaripeo. We have Pepe, our resident loco, who proudly announces that he’s too lazy to work, wants to shake everyone’s hand, and occasionally takes the bus down the hill, announcing to everyone that he’s going to America or Europe for the day. It’s a curious blend of Faulkner (a guy someone grabbed off the street to remove the possum from my living room proclaimed it “good eating”).


(This post was edited by jennifer rose on Aug 13, 2003, 10:41 PM)


rock9995

Sep 11, 2003, 9:37 PM

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Re: [garth] Recently Returned from Morelia

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nicely written, Garth. I hope to have memories like that soon. You sure made it sound real.



rock
 
 
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