It was Fri. night in Guanajuato, an old silver mining town tucked away in a mountain valley full of students. People were in the street drinking, chatting, laughing, blaring their music from stereos, and I wanted to be out there with them. But hark, once again the youth hostel was void of travellers. Sat. night rolled around and I anxiously awaited the arrival of anyone, anyone that would want to go out and enjoy the weekend, but noone again. I mustered my courage and decided to go out into the night alone and see what might come about.
Guanajuato is famous for it's callejoneadas where professional musicians dressed in old Spanish leotards gather a group in the plaza, pour drinks, and take the group around the windy cobblestone streets singing and dancing. I followed the group and started chatting with people, and before you know it I had a whole new group of friends! I met two Mexican-American cousins/artists from Aguas Calientes who love rock music, and we went to a "rock" bar after. They invited me to their home and want to take me out, so I might be backtracking north in a week or so. What a great night, it sure says something about putting yourself out there!
The small indigineous town of Paracho (50km from Uruapan) is famous for its guitars. I met a Japanese guy in the hostel who was here just to buy one with a budget of about $300, and I came along for the entertainment. We went from studio to studio where they make beautiful handmade guitars with nothing more than a saw, sanders, some funky tools, and some wood. I was tempted to buy a violin (for about $35!) but resisted, then resisted even buying some claves (you know, those wooden clinkers they had in the percussion section of band class). Sure, $2 for a pair of beautiful hand-made claves, but what am I going to do carrying a wooden pair of sticks across Central America??? I suspect I'll regret this decision later in life.
Feb. 20, Angahuan
Being the volcano freak that I am, I've been looking forward to visiting Angahuan for awhile now. It's the nearest town to the Paricutín volcano which emerged out of a field in 1943 and destroyed a couple of towns. The only remaining structure today is the top of a church and it's steeple that withstood the 2-story-high lava flow. I splurged and hired a guide Jesus who took me on horseback (Chicutín, in case you want to know my horsey's name) to the site. For lack of words, I will tell you that it was awesome. Unfortunately no volcanic steam since it hasn't rained in a while.
Me and Chicutín