The great Masquerade
03.02.2007 - 04.02.2007 14 °C
Well, I might keep this as a short entry since I need to leave in 10 minutes or so.
Anyway, we left for Patzcuaro in Michoacan state 2 days ago, and Jay immediately wasn´t impressed with the town upon entering. Coming from the gorgeous towns of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato though, this is quite understandeable, although Patzcuaro we have discovered is beautiful in its own right. All the buildings in the town are painted white on the top half and a muddy red on the bottom half, and I thought this would be a good place to stay because it is reknowned for its artesanias and indigenous crafts. Well, we didn´t see too many differences in craft quality between here and anywhere else we visited, and were turned off by the busy traffic and congestion.
We carried our backpacks all over town at first trying to find a relatively inexpensive hotel. All the prices in our Let´s Go guide were wrong, and all the hotels apparently raised their prices by at least 100 pesos in each place, save the very last one on our list for 240. Luckily we felt fortunate in finding the place, as it had perhaps the best shower in our entire trip! So, we spent Saturday in our room, with takeout pizza and watching movies and eating in Bed.
Yesterday morning we woke up and caught a cambio (it´s a 'bus', but actually a converted minivan) to the Lake, and a peaceful lancha ride later we were on the island of Janitzio, which apparently was supposed to have the best prices on crafts and we discovered hosted an enormous monument. The weather picked up slightly as well, with sun breaking through the spitting rain. As we arrived to the island we witnessed a show with traditionally dressed fishermen using butterfly nets in a circle. It was quite a spectable, but obviously planned for the ferry as they finished the show and boated over to collect tips! This set the stage for Janitzio, as it became apparent that the only crafts we would find there would be cheap knick knacks and tourist items, nothing worthwhile.
The trip to the island was worthwhile, however, as the sun came out for much of the day, and we walked up to the giant statue, ate ice cream bars in the sun, walked along the edge of the lake, and enjoyed the water and the weather. A perfect way to spend an afternoon.
We returned to the mainland, and went to the craft stands at a nearby plaza where we indeed found some fantastic wooden masks at great prices (22 dollars for 10 of them!), and met a man who we had walked by on numerous occassions throughout the day. A 2 hour conversation and my dinner later, the sun had gone down and it began to rain, and our retired friend Cliff and us parted ways, although we´ll be meeting him again in about 10 minutes as he was too headed to the butterflies today as well, so we´re teaming up. My only concern: It hailed hard last night, and although the butterflies are 5 hours by bus away, I hope they didn´t receive the nasty weather too!
Crossing our fingers,