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Published: October 16th 2010
I'm sitting on the rooftop patio at Casa Berta overlooking Guanajuato. We're here in part to attend the Festival International Cervantino. The other part is because we love it here.
Getting to our hotel on Thursday was a struggle, although one we expected since we stayed here last trip. Guanajuato doesn't have many streets that are open to vehicles. Our taxi dropped us off at the bottom of the bowl that holds the old city. Our hotel sits half way up the bowl's edge, maybe a couple hundred feet up - at least it sure feels like that much. We had to carry our bags up a long flight of stairs followed by a slope and into a plaza. Then, we wound through a narrow alleyway up and up until we reached our hotel. Pant, Pant.
Guanajuato is a most interesting city. As I already said, the central city is located in a bowl and is surrounded on pretty much all sides by hills. The buildings are of many colors and make the city a beautiful site.
There are 9 temples listed on our street map guide. This afternoon, all of the temples serenaded us with
a half hour of almost continuous bell ringing. Very interesting although it got old pretty quick.
Once, there was a river/creek/whatever that ran through the bowl and caused flooding problems. Since Mexico is mining country, they dug a tunnel under the city and diverted the water underground where it was out of the way.
Later, they did something else with the water (not sure what) and turned the tunnel into a passageway. That worked so well that the city is now undermined with tunnels that move the vehicle traffic here and there underground and thus off of the city streets. You enter town by driving through these tunnels and surfacing into one of the few streets that allow vehicles. If you're on a bus, it simply pulls over to a bus stop in the tunnel and lets you out. Finding your way to the surface is up to you - usually a set of stairs into a plaza or up a road used by vehicles to enter or exit the tunnel system. Now I know what my gophers feel like.
Saw a Colombian group - Los Reyes Vallenatos - Thursday night thanks to a friend. What fun
they were. Our local friend Alejandra got us into the paid section with her. The band had she and I up dancing in the aisle. Bob guarded our purses while we partied.
Darn - Tickets to Wynton Marsalis (Friday night) were sold out before we had a chance to get them. However, there is a free section we thought we might try to get in. We didn't. We spent a lovely evening at a steetside cafe with Alejandra and her 2 year old daughter, Amanda, instead. If any Crawfords or Scott and Cindy read this, they won't believe me when I say that Amanda had incredibly good behavior - apparently not something she's known for.
We had tickets to a jazz group - Edmar Castaneda Trio - on Saturday and have tickets to a Canadian group - Dave Young Quartet - on Sunday. There are several free concerts around town to fill in the gaps. What happened to our relaxation time? I guess we'll find some manana.
I will say that our acer aspire one netbook sucks. It is the most annoying computer I have ever used and I have been using computers since
building an Altair 8080 in the early days. But you have to go with what you have.
Guanajuato has been one of our favorite places since our first trip to Mexico. This is our 3rd stay and it is still amazing. This trip was to accomplish an item on our "Mexico Bucket List": Festival International Cervantino. The city is crowded and we continually hear music in the background. The incessant drumming is reminiscent of Burning Man. Cold at night and very nice in the daytime.
Through chance alone we managed to get the most expensive and most distant venue tickets possible. Malo suerta o no suerta. (bad luck or no luck to us English speakers) Still it is worth it and I expect we will do it again someday.
We have been here enough times that we have our favorite restaurants and have to force ourselves to try new ones. When we arrived at Casa Bertha we were greeted with "Hi Bob", a nice touch. As I have said before traveling in Mexico is wonderful. To lift the veil of ignorance and learn about the historical as well current cultures in the Americas should be a must
do for everyone.
This trip is only for two months and I'm sure it won't be enough time for everything.
Friday night we met up with our friend Alejandra again. It really enriches travel to connect with locals. We had been accosted by the cutest restaurant hawker I have ever encountered several times and I told her we would be back. So, I suggested dinner at her restaurant. It was excellent. Alejandra told her we came to dinner because of her and she said we were making her blush. She looked cute in red also.
There was a "woman" (we weren't sure) in a wedding dress and a skull for a face that was posing with passers by. I wanted to get a shot but we kept going. Probably won't see her again. You have grab it as it passes by or you miss it.
Today we went to one of our expensive shows. It wasn't at all what we expected. It was a great jazz trio: Sax, drums, and concert harp. US, Israeli, and Columbian musicians. Worth the expense.
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and I wish you were all here.
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