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Bill Gibson

Jul 29, 2001, 8:54 PM

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Michoacan

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The following thoughts were resurrected from my trip to Michoacan:<p>Cuisine, recipes, hints of food preparation techniques, flavors, markets, culture, aromas, and expectations of finding a little piece of real Mexico, led me to plan a trip to the Mexican State of Michoacan.<p>Reading of this area with the State of Guanajuato and Colima to the North, Mexico to the East, Pacific Ocean to the West, and Guerrero to the South, Michoacan is partly in the beautiful lush Mexican highlands.<p>Driving from our home in the San Bernardino Mountains of California, we trekked to Tijuana, Mexico (some 31/2 hours to the South). Staying the night at a hotel near the airport, the next morning we boarded a flight for the 3-hour trip to Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. Arriving we hired a taxi for the 1/2 hour trip to downtown Morelia. <p>We stayed in Morelia (taking in all the very old exconventos, churches, civic buildings and such, beautiful city!).<p>After three days in Morelia, we rented a car and headed for Patzcuaro, Michoacan (latter to drive to Santa Clara del Cobre). Driving through the countryside, it felt like we dropped back in time a bit. Corn fields delineated by rock rows about 40 to 48 inches in height, 30 to 36 inches wide at the base, possibly to keep the free ranging cows, goats, pigs, and burros out, or to serve as property lines?<p>Hills, trees and crops offered up many soothing shades of lush green tranquillity. The only distraction from the visual magnetism was the occasional passing of a squeaky truck, car, bus, or having to slow for the speed control bumps present on almost all main roads leading into and out of all communities of any sizable population. Feeding on lush vegetation, within feet of passing cars, trucks, and busses, relaxed and contented cattle calmly grazed the fresh roadside vegetation.<p>Leaving Morelia behind and driving into the countryside toward Patzcuaro, the reality of coming face to face with an ancient culture began to produce a mystical feeling I have never experienced before. A feeling of reverence for another culture, a reverence for ancient customs and ways not fully understood. A realization that I certainly had nothing which would benefit the people of this area. I had wanted to experience "this Mexico" for sometime, but now I had reservations. I was entering into an ancient and timeless land where western culture felt very out of place. I was feeling pure reverence. <p>Along small roadways, country trails, and farm roads, burro drawn carts might be seen stacked with sizable piles of fresh cut hay, bags of dry goods, or whatever needed hauling at that particular moment in time. Burros hauling wooden carts that appeared to be built much the same as they have for centuries, but for one exception, the metal clad wooden spoked wheels were replaced with modern trailer axles with regular tires, but burro drawn all the same.<p>Driving along, looking right, left, sometime behind, I needed eyes in the back of my head to process the timelessness of the area. Often we watched as a little Mexican led a burro, packed with filled bags, down a countryside trail.<p>One of the most charming sights I encountered was:<p>A little Mexican man dressed in a typical straw hat of the area, with a poncho like garment over his shirt, light typical pants that extended 8 inches below the knee, and leather huaraches. He was arm in arm with his little Mexican Señora in her little dress with a shawl that covered her hair, shoulders and part of her upper body. They were slowly strolling (with the lush green beautiful hillsides in the background) down the timeless cobblestone street of Santa Clara del Cobre. A beautiful moment in time that I will never forget.<p>In the plaza a little lady was selling freshly cut chicken parts to order for the days household menu. Freshly made Buñuelos and "Enchiladas Mineras" hot and ready to eat. <p>Like science fiction movies about time travel reveal; "if you travel back in time, you should not change anything or it will effect the future. Traveling in "this Mexico" is definitely travel



jennifer rose

Jul 30, 2001, 12:56 AM

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Michoacan

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What a delightful replay of your trek to Michoacan!<p>BTW, those rows of rock can mean a property line, but not necessarily. And they can be intended to keep livestock out...or not. Mostly those rows of rock are simply a convenient and orderly result of clearing rocks from a farm field.


Juliet

Jul 30, 2001, 12:33 PM

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Michoacan

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Dear Bill,
Your description of Michoacan was very evocative. Thank you for posting your impressions of the area. I am planning to go to Morelia for 4 weeks at the end of December & beginning of January and would love to hear from you re: more specifics about car rental, accomodations, explorations of the area, and any other details of memorable moments and places.<p>


Bill Gibson

Jul 30, 2001, 7:24 PM

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Michoacan

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The kitchen is wonderfully large, and thoughtfully arranged. I love the "comales" along the wall adjacent to the dining room. René invited me to cook for them, when I return to the Hacienda, which I considered an honor.
I will cook for them when I return. Hope that doesn't sound too culinopocentric (invented word), but I have developed a pretty good handle on "La Cocina Mexicana". <p>Saludos
Bill Gibson
Crestline, CA
 
 
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