Pleasant Surprise

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
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57
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Trip End May 10, 2011


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Where I stayed
Geraldo's Casa

Flag of Mexico  , Michoacán,
Sunday, October 17, 2010

San Diego to Cotija de La Paz. Population 20000:  12 miles/ 20 kilometers











 We hit the road early (8:30 am) and were not surprised that San Diego was still asleep. The mountains in the distance and country side around us were shrouded in morning mist. We began a gradual climb just out of town. We were huffin' and puffin' in our steady battle with the hill.
 
We passed corn fields and small villages where roving cars with annoying loudspeakers announced wares (grocery fruits, vegetables etc.) for sale. The propane gas truck uses a loudspeaker too to announce that he is there. These are probably nice conveniences here in the country. But we can imagine them making that racket in the States.

On a long uphill stretch we noticed a herd of cows ahead of us on the road. Michelle thought it would be great to get a picture of us riding through the herd. But we could not catch up. Oh well, maybe next time.  

By 10 am the sun broke through and we shed our jackets. It turned into another great day. Winding past farmland and meadows with plenty of wildflowers. We encountered very little traffic and the road surface stayed poor until we crossed from the Jalisco State line into Michoacan. As we crossed the ridge into the next valley, the landscape became a lot greener again.

In this region, towns have a bypass road that avoids the town center. When we arrived at the split in the road, we could see it was down, down, down the narrow streets into Cotija de La Paz. The bypass road seemed to stay high and level. Michelle questioned the police at a checkpoint there about restaurants along the bypass road. He indicated we needed to go into town so we did. Rolling down the steep street, we found a very charming town. And we almost missed it!

When we enter a town, we always head toward the large church tower, every town has one, to find the main plaza. The plaza always has shaded benches and is a place where locals come to chat with their friends and neighbors. A friendly middle aged man approached us, speaking perfect English. Gerardo worked in Bakersfield, California in a nursery that sent him all over the world. He owns properties in Cojita and several houses, of which one is for sale. He suggested we stay over in Cotija and offered to let us to stay in the house. We gladly accepted. 
 
He walked us up a block to the house which had several rooms opening up to tiled courtyard. No furniture and no hot water but perfect for us. Gerardo handed us the key and offered us the use of his car, which we declined. He said to make sure to visit the plaza at 9 pm because every Sunday the boys and girls come there. That in itself didn't sound too exciting to us but we took his word for it and planned to show up.
 
We checked out the market, always the heartbeat of a town, and enjoyed some great tacos before exploring the rest of town. The main plaza had free Wi-Fi so we planted ourselves in the shade and worked on our blog for a bit and researched our route ahead.
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We had dinner in a place Geraldo recommended and were joined by 2 young waiters (it was not busy) who wanted to know about our trip. They were fascinated to hear about the many places in Mexico we had visited. They themselves had not ventured far from Cotija. They had completed 12th grade. One had steady girlfriend and the other was still looking.
 
At 9 pm, we found a packed plaza. Hundreds of mostly teens from far and near gathered here and circled the plaza. The girls counterclockwise and the boys clockwise. The boys would shower the girls they found appealing with confetti and, if they received positive vibes back, would offer them a rose. Needless to say, the expectation for young people is to get married and start a family. Especially in these small towns, a college education is not part of the equation. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the spectacle which has been a tradition in Cotija for a 100 years.

We turned in and slept like babies on our pads and in sleeping bags. 
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Comments

gavilanma@ol.com on

si alguin sabe como hasrer las cocadas de dulce y puede compartir la reseta se los agradeseria mucho

Marcos on

I am glad that you enjoyed my hometown and the ranchos (villages) that you passed by on your way from Sandiego. I have many friends in those ranchos and you uncovered a lot of tha basic beauty, but there is definitely a lot more activities and things to see.

L.Maldonado on

Wow!! I love all the pictures and I do agree Cotija is full of culture and natural beauty.. I Love you and I miss you COTIJA!

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