We take road trips quite frequently and last week was busy in Patzcuaro, with all the hoopla for the Day of the Dead, traffic is usually nightmare and we have a good friend that built a cute little 3 story house in San Miguel de Allende, and invited us back!
Who were we to say no to an warm initiation like that?
So since we had the invitation and we were told that the autopista had been finished around Celaya, there was a perfect opportunity to go.
And go we did.
It is only about 240 kilometers from Patzcuaro and it was basically about 2 and 3/4 hours journey, with one stop on the way. A breeze.
I read for the social aspect of it, not for any entertainment value I may find reading about the present residents and their daily trials and tribulations.
We have been to SMA several times, but never on the Day of the Dead week. I was hoping to remove myself from stumbling on altars at every doorway and cubby as we walked around the centro.
I was not disappointed.
In all my explorations, most of which were either zapaterias, boutiques or gift shops ( I was following my wife and managing the peso supply) we did not see one altar.
I did manage to see one a few doors down from one of the worst meals I have ever had in Mexico. ( Ok not the worst, but one of the worst)
The building was a few doors down from where all the police hangout across the street from bench city.
In Michoacan, every little tope city, has displays and exhibits either with altars and some memorials.
SMA only seemed to have Katrinas, which were in the shops more as a sales item than anything to do with the Holyday.
Maybe someone will shed some light on the subject, my assumption is that Michoacan is more heavily inundated with Indian rituals and traditions and therefore garners yet another day of celebration and a reason not to show up for work the next day.
With the autopista complete, we will be jaunting over more often, a 2 and a half hour trip to visit friends and but some useless bobbles and trinkets is acceptable........you know, leave a peso here, one there.
We were impressed with the Starbucks on the corner of the plaza. Felipe had mentioned that it was a cushy plus little place with a purpose. I will have to agree, it was a nice change, having a consistent cup of joe each time we venture in.
Pricey to Mexican standards, but it had no trouble having people toss pesos on to the cash register's counter.
One thing I did notice is the ridiculously high prices of the furniture for sale there. We visited a place that we had purchased items for the house, when we were building it years ago. The had on display a hand made pine (one of the cheapest woods around) table and chairs. The price for each chair was 10000 pesos. Yep, both myself and my wife asked the price just to confirm.....The set for the table and 6 chairs was over 90000 pesos.
I would venture to guess the majority of their business is from someone first coming into town, needing to furnish a place Carte Blanche........Those rich gringos....... (is there still a Carte Blanche credit card, again dating myself)
The shops come and go, lots of same stuff we saw a few years back, but all in all it seems like a nice place to live (hint, hint Mr.C ) lot's of purpose in life, even if you have to fight to gain a seat in the plaza now and then.
We had a few great meals and one awful one.
One of the better ones was a few blocks away from my host's home, on the main drag and Pila Seca, it was an Argentinian style restaurant called Payo, they had absolutely the best sweetbreads I have ever had. Usually sweetbreads are swimming in a heavy cream sauce of some kind, these were grilled and included nicely caramelized grilled onions. It was so good that we even considered getting another order........
The worst breakfast place was a restaurant across the street from the plaza that on first pass looked promising. It was located about two doors down, towards Starbucks from the Police station.
Awful, simply awful. We usually order the fruit plate to share as a starter, and it had no taste to it at all. My attempt at Eggs Benedict were cold, with a off tasting sauce and bland. My wife's eggs had cold and overly mushy beans along with stale chips and day old tortillas.
After walking around it looks like we should have gone to the corner cafe up the street from Starbucks across the plaza.......