Guanajuato is a very cool town, a lot like Zacatecas, but with more of the town snatched straight out of the 17th century, and a corresponding increase in tourists. The streets are narrow and hectic with no discernible pattern to their layout. A really interesting place to wander around, and I’d imagine, hellish to drive in.
One of the most famous sites there, more for freak value than because of any historical significance, is the Mummy Museum. Apparently the town cemetery has been full for some time now so they’ve started charging an annual fee to have your ancestors kept safely out of harm’s way under six feet of dirt. If you can’t (or choose not to) make the payments, good ol’ great gramps gets dug up and some other lucky cadaver takes his spot. Interestingly enough, a fascinating trait was soon discovered among the bodies being dug up – they weren’t actually decomposing the way dead people usually tend to do. It turns out that low levels of humidity combined with unique mineral mixtures in the soil are serving to naturally mummify the bodies. Now, the morality of the entire practice aside, it has been great for visitors as they now have access to over 100 human corpses for the low, low price of twenty pesos. What could be better? Well, they expect to have over 200 corpses by sometime next year, so maybe that. Incidentally, I think that the key lesson that I learned during my visit was that no matter how much of your body may shrivel up and rot away after you die, your pubic hair will live on forever. A comforting thought.
So, other than wandering around town all day, we spent a lot of time drinking in large groups on the terrace at the hostel. And, of course, whenever a large number of different countries is represented at a gathering, more often than not the conversation turns to differences in culture and language. Either that, or the universal conversation piece – movies. Anyway, two of the many things I learned this time around are:
1) despite Canada’s Eskimo-esque reputation, people really have no concept of how cold it actually gets; out of eleven people, I was the only one who knew what a block heater was (although I’m still not clear on the mechanics of the thing), and a girl from Mexico assumed, upon learning our average winter temperature, that our cities must “close” in the winter
2) It would be much easier to discredit the whole “Eh” stereotype if I didn’t say it quite so often
We also went out to a salsa bar one night, which was a blast. Not that I know how to salsa, or do any other dance for that matter, but I still relish the opportunity to laugh at fellow beginners who are foolishly willing to try in public. That was a select few, of course, most of the people there had some serious moves going on. Combined with the 2 for 1 beer special there was a little something for everyone. Viva la Mexico.
After that, a few of us made our way back to Guadalajara for a fairly uneventful night we titled, ” taking it easy for a change”. In the morning I went off on my own again finally, having decided to spend my last few days on the beach in Barra de Navidad (which translates to “Christmas Rod”, your guess is as good as mine), near Manzanillo. The only interesting things about the trip there were that I had to set my alarm for the first time (to get up at the ungodly hour of 7:30) and that my bus driver in Guadalajara was one of those honking fanatics you’ve no doubt heard about. Throughout the entire 45-minute trip, every time we stopped, or even slowed down, be it for someone turning, parking, crossing the street, or even for street lights and stop signs, he pummeled the horn with reckless abandon. Yes, for 45 minutes he valiantly struggled against the laws of both physics and logic in order to loyally transport his passengers to their destinations in the least amount of time possible. It was a bit contradictory to the whole exercise, however, when he suddenly double-parked on a busy one-lane street to buy donuts from a street vendor, but who am I to question the tactics of a gifted street general such as this?
Barra de Navidad turned out to be a disappointment. Rather than being a small, quiet Mexican beach town, it was more of a tiny resort geared towards snowbirds and yachters. Which basically meant tourist prices, no local flavour, and half the town being closed until the gray-hairs start rolling down in a month or so. Thus, after just one night, I took my third bus trip in three days, this time back to Puerto Vallarta. While not overly spectacular, at least there is no shortage of options here.
Now for a quick “In the defense of men…” story:
While relaxing on the roof of my hotel I met an Irish girl who had just finished three weeks of volunteering at a sea turtle sanctuary near Puerto Vallarta (no, that’s Senor Frog’s you’re thinking of, this is different). I was curious to hear more about it but, unfortunately, she was only interested in rambling on and on about how frustrating it was to be harassed on the street, and in restaurants, by men, usually Mexican men (added for my benefit, I’m sure) when all she really wanted was to be left alone. I could see how that would be frustrating. In fact, it probably ranked right up there with the frustration she must experience on a daily basis while trying to squeeze her massive D-cups into a push-up bra that is two sizes too small and then attempting to encase the whole works in a child-size tank top, tastefully cut off six inches above the waistline.
Well, I can’t think of a better note to end on than women-bashing so I guess that about wraps it up, unless I miss my plane or something. I’ve got a few odds and ends to send along when I get back, and maybe some pictures.
See (some of) you soon.
….don’t cry for me, I’m already dead….