Re: The Griswald's Mexican Road Trip - Part 3

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Escrito por Geenance desde ( el día domingo, 21 de marzo, 2004 a las 19:20:04 horas :

En respuesta a: Re: The Griswald's Mexican Road Trip - Part 2 escrito por Geenance desde ( el día domingo, 21 de marzo, 2004 a las 17:08:47 horas :

Having survived the drive up into the mountains, we were ready to tour central Michoacan. Our first night there we stayed at the Hotel Mansion del Cupatitzio, right beside the national park in Uruapan. We chose this hotel because a) we had heard it was nice, and, perhaps more importantly, b) it is on the outskirts of Uruapan, minimizing our likely number of 'temporary displacements'. The hotel is fairly expensive for a non-tourist area Mexican hotel, but it has beautifully landscaped grounds and wonderful Spanish colonial architectural details. Expecting the food prices to match, we were somewhat confused by the menu. Was it in US dollars, or pesos? It seemed too cheap to be pesos, but too expensive to be dollars. I asked the bartender. He seemed confused (he didn't speak English and I didn't speak Spanish) but in the end he nodded vigorously when I mentioned US dollars. My husband asked the front desk, and they indicated pesos. We asked the Maitre 'D and the waiter. Finally we felt comfortable that the hotel's fancy restaurant was incredibly cheap.

My husband had brought of jug of real maple syrup to Mexico, planning on giving it out as a gift. To this point in our trip we still hadn't given it to anyone, so, my son brought the jug to breakfast the next morning so he could have the syrup on his pancakes. Not wanting to look tacky, he discreetly placed the jug under the table by his chair. As we went to leave, the waiter yelled after us, holding the syrup jug high in the air. My son had forgotten to take it with him. The Griswald's strike again.

That morning we drove to Paracho, the 'guitar making capital of Mexico', about a 45 minute drive from Uruapan. We spent the bulk of the day there, visiting the various small guitar stores and workshops. My husband was determined to learn as much as he could about guitar making before we picked one out for our son. I don't recall seeing any other gringos in Paracho and most of the townfolk do not speak any english. For lunch we went into a small snack bar. My husband wanted a cheeseburger but didn't know the spanish word for cheese. I knew he wasn't going to be successful when he decided to use charades to get the idea across....unfortunately he started way back with the cow. He gave up. Our day in Paracho was successful though as we picked out a lovely guitarra for our son, which he christened "Isabel". Isabel hasn't been out of his sight since.

On to Patzcuaro. Why is it that you cannot simply drive straight through a Mexican town? It looks so simple on the map. In one particular town the main road ran into the main square. A few detours, blocked streets and one-way streets later, we were lost. My younger son Tayler, had the navigator's seat and suggested a way out of town to my husband, but hubby thought he knew better. We ended up face to face with a bull. A kid on a horse was trying to lasso him but the bull was busy staring us down. In the end he lost interest in the PT Cruiser and ran off. The Cruiser was still in one piece.

Patzcuaro is a lovely town, with beautiful Spanish colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and tidy plazas. (And yes, we got temporarily displaced yet again when trying to get tro the centro area.) After settling in at the Hotel los Escudos, overlooking the main plaza, we went out for dinner. My younger son and I headed back to the hotel first. Hey, where is the door to the hotel? All of the shops, offices, and our hotel had closed their big wooden doors for the night and they all looked the same, lining the old colonial building. We finally peaked through the crack in a door and could see our hotel lobby inside. Yep, right door. We knocked. Nothing. Knocked again. Still nothing. Hmmm. What to do? Earlier that evening, my husband had told us the story of when he was in Spain. He said that if they came back to their hotel too late, they stood outside their building and clapped their hands and a man with a big ring of keys for all of the buildings would come running up and unlock the door. O.K. We'd try that too. We clapped. Nothing. I bet we looked pretty silly standing their clapping at the closed door. Ultimately we knocked some more and the distracted front desk clerk finally opened the door for us.

After a relaxing morning in Patzcuaro we climbed into the Cruiser for our trip back down to the coast. We were pros by now though, so "Mario Andretti" Al sped down the highway at a good clip, honking and waving at the locals as usual. And, yes Dad, we think those are avocado trees too. We passed the 'pee rock', the bridge under construction, the 'falling construction workers', the informal tolls, cute kids, cute goats and a large red truck coming at us around a curva peligrosa, taking his half out of the middle. Somehow 'Clark Griswald' kept us on the road. Thanks Clark. I enjoyed the trip. Let's do it again.

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