Published: August 11th 2010August 8th 2010
Despite the occasional truck noise from the main road outside, we sleep in. The bus with the words "La Valanciana" takes us to El Centro for $31 (all $ in MEX, divide by 10 to get approx AU$). Then we walk along the crowded footpath with strong smells to reach the Hidalgo Mergado.
We enter at the fruits end, look across to see chickens being chopped at the right, and opt to have a drink at a drinks stand. We work out 'fresa' is strawberry and seems we ordered a strawberry milk drink with real strawberries. Actually tastes quite nice. The boys have chocolate milks while I have a 'grande' (really really big) cup of a geenish coloured liquid with ice and seeds that sits in a large clear barrel. The girl scoops out the liquid into my cup and I find it is the lime drink that I recall from my previous time in Mexico. Very refreshing.
We then go up to the balcony and look around the various souvenir and art and craft stalls. Nothing much inspiring but Joseph does find a wallet for $60. We buy some crusty bread rolls then leave the market, uninspired, and
walk up the hill to find where the Artisanians are (artists). On the way I photograph the many colourful houses, but at the place we find it closed. There is a tiny playground behind it that we take a rest at for a minute, then decide to head on up the hill looking for the Museo de Las Mommias (Museum of the Mummies). A few disparate signs eventually lead us there up a long flight of stairs and up another alley. On the way we pass some pigeons pecking at discarded chicken legs and offal. Interesting. Later I notice a small street stand and note it as a possible lunch option (a long way from the pigeons!).
We buy tickets for the museo $168, and join a large queue of people waiting to get in. Being Sunday, the museum is popular. They let us in in groups of 30, where we first watch a video and are then escorted room by room to view a range of mummies. We find out on Tuesday that they are mummified because they drink the high mineral content waters in the area and as long as the bodies aren't left in water, such
as high in a crypt, the bodies dry out slowly. We see mummies from centuries back with clothing, hair, and in one case a woman that had died in childbirth and her stillborn baby was buried alongside her, both presented upright in a large glass case for people to look at and photograph. Did I mention people are having their pictures taken standing beside the mummies? Very different view of death in Mexico. There are old photographs from the past when people had been allowed to actually stand beside a mummy for a photo. I mean embracing it. I take only one picture to show you, but otherwise feel it isn't right to send photos out.
Oh, and the whole tour is in spanish, so we glean what we can from the few words that make sense. No audio tours available.
Outside, we brouse the souvenir stalls. I buy some colourful children's toys (because they are one of the things I remember about Mexico), we buy the boys hats for $150, a few other bits and drinks from a big bucket of water with a giant block of ice sitting on top.
Walking back over the hill
we do stop at that little stand to buy "granitos" for lunch. They are little patties of corn meal hollow inside that you put meat into. Joseph struggles a bit as his is spicy. Then back down to hill to the central area, where we try to catch a taxi. Taxis are very popular down there: as soon as one shows up with noone in it, someone is waving their arm at it. We eventually do manage to flag one down and $30 later are at the Soliana supermarket. Liam decides to have a haircut (shock, surprise from me as he has refused haircuts for months) at the "Chiquitos" ($50). Ky arranges various grocery supplies then we get another taxi back to the Villa, another $30.
Time for a swim.
Spag bol for dinner in our room, yummy bread sweets for dessert bought for around $6 each at the supermarket (AU 60c each).
The boys turn on the TV as if by habit, and watch the spanish version of "Enchanted" called "Encantada". Then we get a knock on the door: we are invited to a "Bienvenidos", a welcoming at the restaurant. Not sure what it's for, we
Guanajuato view 4
Up stairs to Museo de las Mommias
go along and would remain completely mystified if not for a Mexican gentleman and his family from Queretaro who translates for us. Seems the Villa offers like a program of activities for RCI guests, all of the items optional. We decide to have a crack at a 4 hour tour that is on on Monday that drives around the city. It will be in spanish but may be ok. $100 per person.
Time for bed.
There are more photos below