Mexico at last
Trip Start Nov 02, 2009
13Trip End Mar 19, 2010
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Where I stayed
My Mexican amigo (via Sally), Daniel, was waiting for me inside the terminal. How wonderful to have a local to pick me up at such a late hour! He took me to his family's little country house in an enormous estate not far from the airport, about half way between Leon and Guanajuato.
The next day (Thursday, November 4) we drove into Leon, and I was treated to an expert walking tour of the city, including some of the many leather and shoe shops and the great market, as well as the mandatory, very impressive cathedrals. In the afternoon, Daniel needed to attend to some business, so he dropped me at the new, very flash museum, which was featuring one display about the prehispanic history of the first sedentary Mexican people (the Olmecs) and another detailing the story of the Jesuit monks from their beginnings to their eventual expulsion from Mexico by the king of Spain
When I confessed to the young woman selling tickets that I couldn't speak Spanish and so probably wouldn't understand much, she replied that she spoke English, so not to worry because if I liked, she would accompany me with explanations. Well - what luck! Thus ensued almost three fascinating hours with my own personal guide. I was especially interested in her discourse about the early people and their (somewhat grizzly) customs and beliefs. Amongst many other things,I learned about their underlying world views regarding life and death, and how this translated into their rituals of sacrifice. I also found out more than I ever wanted to know about the exact nature of the rituals and also about their peculiar head distorting and cross-eyed creating customs - performed on babies in the name of beauty and indication of nobility,
Later, Daniel took me to large pub sort of a place where enormous bull heads festooned the walls, and where we were served a succession of delicious snacks - to the extent that eating any dinner was out of the question. We were joined by Daniel's brother, Alexandro, his wife, Sophia and their gorgeous little boy, Daniel. Conversation was limited since I speak so little Spanish and they speak so little English, but the music was loud anyway, and the energy was warm and friendly.
The next morning, Daniel drove me through a maze of tunnels (a former mine) to Guantajuato. It's world heritage site, so much of the old hispanic architecture is beautifully preserved or restored. It's easy to see why it's such a popular tourist destination.