Sunday, May 15, 2011

Can you hum along, while I play?

Last night the wife said she wanted to buy a guitar for her niece. So we have a few choices here, either go to Walmart and pick up made in China or some other place in the world OR, go to the guitar capital of the world, right here in Michaocan.

She opted for the more expensive alternative.

So what we figured we would do is have breakfast at a place El Gorjeo de Las Aves En Las Ma├▒anas de Abril, which is located sort of on the way to Uruapan and later Paracho.

The town is Ziracuar├ętiro, about 8 or 9 miles west of Patzcuaro.

After breakfast we would then proceed to Paracho which would then facilitate us getting a few geetars.....

On the way to Uruapan on the back road we passed a restaurant called Hacineda Los Arcos. I have been on that back road only once before about 10 years ago and really didn't remember it at all. What sparked my recollection of it was have Don Cuevas write about it on his blog awhile ago, and any place that he enjoys, has always never been disappointing to me.

You can see by the picture the patron saint of Paracho is the Acoustic Guitar.
I have only been through Patacho once before. On the autopista between Guadalajara and Morelia about 10 years ago, we figured that we would go through Urupan to get to Patzcuaro.....sort of a short cut.

Not in your life.

Even with the autopista completed between Uruapan and Patzcuaro, the trip is a half day jaunt.
The time before we were not looking for any guitars, so we never stopped.

Walking the streets, every other shop was selling , making, or supplying parts for guitars.
So now the work for my wife was to negotiate a guitar or two, while I waited outside.

Not that I know anything about guitars, I figure that if I wait outside, she may spend less money.
But I am usually wrong, as I was this time.

I have had several friends ask how close we were to Paracho, and now I can tell them it is about a two hour drive, going through several small villages, one of which the local Indian ladies had totally different style of dresses, a lot more color full and decorated with glass and metal sequins.

Interesting how different villages have different styles of dress......
But that's for another post.

With two guitars in hand with a few thousand pesos removed we made our trek back home. One the way home we stopped by at Hacienda Los Arcos for the afternoon meal.

The place is impressive to say the least, interesting that in the middle of nowhere, you find a place that has at least 25 cars parked in the parking lot, and a nice spread..

Later, I will discuss our meal and surroundings......more to follow ......


JerryL said...

I have always heard of Paracho when it came to custom made guitars. I wonder how the town got started in that industry?
Do tell.

Don Cuevas said...

I wish you'd contacted me first. I have two guitars (U.S. made) that I'd be happy to sell cheaply. The 5-string banjo would be more costly.

Los Arcos is a favorite of Felipe's. El Gorgeo and Mesa de Blanca are among our favorites.

By the way (off topic) we finally ate at Fonda Marceva in Morelia on Saturday. It was very very good. The reports are true. It's comida de la Tierra Caliente. Details later.

Don Cuevas

Dan in NC said...

Tancho, Your travels piqued my interest about Paracho, and their guitars.. Read a couple of blogs (one from '98) and had a look at the instruments made by one of the local companies. THANKS! Looks like an interesting place to visit in the near future. Also, sounds like the missus let you off lightly - from the prices I've seen.. She did good!
Dan in NC

Tancho said...

Jerry, Long time ago, people kept asking me if I was near Paracho. Finally I connected the two together and found out that it really is know for it's guitars. Like most other Mexican towns it has vendor overload. One one street in a two block area, I counted over 60 guitar related shops.
Sr. Cuevas, US made guitars are probably better than the majority of the ones made in Paracho, but from my recent exposure to the choices, I am sure that it would have cost me more to find out. After now going to Los Arcos, I would have to say that it has jumped up to the higher spot on my restaurant list than El Gorgeo, which I find the menu boring.

Dan, Paracho is kind of a "guitar cult" find. They don't have anything to offer except guitars...the town was kind of lackluster and on the dingy side, it has yet to be exploited as a serious tourist destination, probably because of it being in the middle of nowhere...but if you combine it with a jaunt to Uruapan and visit the National Park, it is worth the tope jiggle.
I would have locked myself in the car if she would have asked me for any more money, especially on "starter" guitars....

Anonymous said...

Not long after we got married in 2002, my wife and I drove to Paracho to buy her a guitar. She still has the guitar, but of all her many talents one is missing: the ability to play a musical instrument.

But it's a nice guitar, and it decorates our living room to this day.

-- Felipe

Calypso said...

John Lennon's first $8.00 guitar recently sold for over a quarter of a million dollars! This may be an investment if your niece does well by it ;-)