Getting lost in and around Guanajuato

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North America » Mexico » Guanajuato » Guanajuato
June 18th 2009
Published: July 23rd 2009
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La Lavenderia!La Lavenderia!La Lavenderia!

A sight for confused gringo eyes!
I don´t know what else to say but just ¨lovely¨. Guanajuato is just lovely. I was impressed with how fine of a city San Luis Potosi appeared to be but Guanajauto is a city I could really get into. I´ve been here an hour and I´m already making plans to stay longer...

The first morning I was there I went to do some laundry. The day-keeper at the hostel, Christopher (kris-toh-fér) gave me directions and I left with a pretty good idea of where I was going. I just needed to go to where they sell chicken. I did, no laundrymat around but a helpful young man there sent me to another back the way I came up Av. Juarez. Once I was sure I´d gone too far I asked again and was sent up a narrow callejón (alleyway) to a plaza. The plaza was surrounded by hotels and cafes, not laundromats, so again, I asked for help. After a bit more meandering up and down Callejones under the direction of a couple more people, I wound up back on Av. Juarez, at the first place, which was just opening (at 10:17am), but it was a drycleaner -
Church, GuanajuatoChurch, GuanajuatoChurch, Guanajuato

I stopped trying to keep track of the names of them. I found this one on the way back from the ¨laundromat¨
not a laundromat. The woman that worked there sent me to a per-kilo laundromat down Juarez a ways which i´d heard about from a couple people already but was told I´d have to take the bus. When I asked her how far it was she said it was less than a Kilometer. Ok. Whatever. So I walked about a Kilometer, still no laundromat so again I asked directions and again was sent back the way I´d come. By this point I was sure that I was falling for some prank organized by the city of Guanajuato to mess with chump tourists.
Still, with the chord from my laundry bag slowly cutting its way through my hand and shoulder, I headed back down Juarez to exactly where the laundromat was meant to be but wasnt. Ok Im between that bridge and this store... What the eff? Just then I heard a ¨psst!¨ and an older gentleman beconed me over. He told me, real sly like, that the fabled laundromat which I sought was closed still and no good any way. He directed me toward yet another down a narrow street and up a staircase that would be better and cheaper. OK.
Sunset at the University of GuanajuatoSunset at the University of GuanajuatoSunset at the University of Guanajuato

The entrance way to the chuch this steeple belonged to said 1560-1565. I´m not sure but I assume that´s when it was built. The steeple must have been an add-on but the arch at the entrance looked 450 years old...
after a little poking around I noticed, beneath a bush and atop a staircase a sign saying Lavanderia Economica in front of what appeard to be someone´s house. As we all know, appearences can be decieving. Not this time, however - it was someone's house. I rang the doorbell and a woman came down in her dressing gown, took my laundry and instructed me to return that day at 7. She said sorry for it being done so late, but if I´d only gotten there sooner...
So what was all that about, you might ask. Well, for one, it was to set the tone for my stay in Guanajuato, and B), well I guess it was a funnier story lived than described. I just wish I had a bird´s eye view of my trek across Guanajuato with my laundry but I don´t so we´re all going to have to imagine it (me, you and the one other person who got this far - Hi Mom.)
I must stress, however that it was anything but a waste of time. One of the best things about Guanajuato is it´s walk-around value. I met about 15 people along the way, if only briefly and distractedly but, perhaps most importantly, it was a lesson in going with the flow. If it hadn´t have been such a pleasant walk I might have started to get annoyed, but I´m proud of four-days-ago me nonetheless. I did have to chuckle when, on the way back, I found another lavanderia about 50 seconds from my hostel. Just to make myself feel better I asked how much it costed per kilo. sure enough, about 10 pesos (less than a buck) more. Hah! Small victories, right?

The next day I went into Leon to try to replace my rear tire. What a nightmare. The first shop I found wanted 1600 pesos and the second - a modern Honda dealership with clean-cut staff - wanted 920 for the same tire, 1030 installed. I entrusted baby to them and went to the Museum at the University of Guanajuato to check out a Rodin and Dalí exhibit. What do I find upon first entering the door but Rodin´s thinker. See photos. I spent a couple hours wandering among shapes and spirits only accessible to me in dreams before returning to check on baby. (I had something to the same effect but much more poetic written down at the time but can´t find it now)
So I was getting a better deal on the tire at what appeard to be a more professinal shop. No brainer, right? Well it is until you come to pick it up your bike and the new tire's not holding air. I don't know why they bothered putting a flat tire back on the bike, but they did. The it was time for siesta. So I wandered around León trying to find a Kawasaki dealership which amounted to a less fun version of my Laundromat trek. Finding everything else closed for siesta I returened to the bike shop just in time to get drenched as a celestial water main ruptured and to find them trying to stretch a 16¨ inner tube on my ¨17 inch rim. I had a look at my tube which they´d taken off the rim and it had a two inch gash in it the shape of a tire iron. I don´t know how but i guess I managed to find the only bike shop in the world that had never changed a tire before. I had to walk them through it. Then the
Rainy day CallejónRainy day CallejónRainy day Callejón

If I took a picture of everything I wanted to capture... But here I was just trying to show how bright and colourful the city is, even on a rainy day.
shop began to flood because of the rain. In the end they promised me 150 pesos for the tube they broke, we put my spare on and I went back to Guanajuato. They couldn´t give me the money that day because el Jefe had gone home for the day.
What a mess.

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