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Jun 27, 2001, 2:13 AM

Post #1 of 1 (3634 views)


Why Patzcuaro: 1st Trip part one

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After mentioning an unshakable attraction to Patzcuaro and the area, Jennifer nudged us to tell why. That's tough, because it isn't so much anything physical that i can point to. It has to do more with a feeling. I don't have the literary skill to draw a sufficient image that can express it, so bear with me and i'll try.<p>The first time i went to Patzcuaro i had only been in Mexico once before in the previous spring and this time it was December. I didn't speak much Spanish, well hardly any actually, and didn't know much about the culture or history. I have since remedied that to some extent, but at the time my ignorance led to me easily enjoying feelings of magic around me. On this trip i had already been to D.F, Guanajuato, San Miguel and Morelia.<p>I left Morelia early in the afternoon, for the hour or so bus ride to Patzcuaro. Upon reaching the small bus station on the edge of town, i hoped on a bus heading into the center of town. I didn't know the layout of the town but it's small and i sensed we were nearing the center of town. That is probably when a feeling of being somewhere different began to hit me. The bus stopped in front of a church and many locals hoped off carrying all manner of things. It was the kind of scene that you would of half expected for one of the Senoras to reach under the seat and grab her chicken before getting off. I jumped off, slung my small bag over one shoulder and started walking up the street to the Plaza Bocanegra. Along this street I was well into the area where all the buildings lining the street have the traditional whitewashed walls with terracotta color painted bases, wood eaves, and little wood signs hanging out front (the proverbial shingle hung out). Much of the town is exactly like this street, due i imagine to local building codes so as to preserve the character of the central area.<p>After a few blocks I came to what I believed was the plaza Bocanegra. Now here, the people are buzzing back and forth going on with the daily routine of life. There was no fiesta in sight, but i sort of felt like Michael Douglas and whatshername in Romancing the Stone when they came out of the jungle into the little village that was preparing for a fiesta that night. I'm thinking this isn't like the other places i have seen in Mexico so far, and we sure aren't in Kansas anymore. I just stood there drinking a coke soaking it in for a bit.<p>I finally decided i need to get a room, so having consulted my little guidebook i had a few places in mind that line up on one side of the Plaza. I was still in college in those days and i needed someplace cheap, but hopefully comfy. I only had $800 to last me for the month, which should be plenty but only if i watch my pesos. There is a place upstairs, at the end of the portico, right next to the mercado, and of course the sweet little old lady running the place gave me a room overlooking the mercado. It's a simple space. To the right is a bed, to the left is a shelf hanging on the wall with a single candle and an ashtray, with a mirrow above, and straight ahead is a well worn chair sitting nest to a french door that opens to one of those little balconies that you can't walk out on, but you can stand in the doorway. Being over the mercado is a terrible place to be at 6:00 am when the young folks setting up their stands below seem to need to blare the music to get their day started, but it's a great place to be later in the day when you want to pull up the chair and sit there gazing out at the mountain off a little way in the distance and listen to the sounds of the mercado. Of course one of the sounds was a song from 4 Non Blondes that had hit Mexico recently from the u.s.. The words are burned into my memory from the 20 times a day or so i heard it while the top of her lungs the lead singer (now dead of an overdose i think) is screaming "and i step outside and i say to myself, WHAT'S GOIN ON", but i digress.<p>Now, there are places to go and things to see. You can go see the Casa de Once patios which no longer has once patios and where you can

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