Saturday, September 23, 2006

Cathredrals and Hombres

There were very few people on the 1st class bus from Guadalajara to Leon to Guanajuato. I bought a ticket on Amarilla Flecha, the 2nd class busline, but they seemed to put people with both 1st and 2nd class tickets on same bus. On that trip I paid $180 pesos for a 2nd class ticket, while the 1st class ticket on the same bus (owned by Primera Plus, the 1st class line) was $270 pesos. Actually, I think the ticket person gave me the old* people discount, even though I don't have a discount card. I must has looked especially old yesterday.

Nice comfy bus with: a clean toilet with toilet paper and free disgusting lunch with pop and cookies. The disgusting part was two pieces of Wonderbread with a slice on mystery meat, Plus: comfy seats that almost totally recline, with a leg rest that comes up so it's like a little bed, sort of. And special mesh screens you can pull down if the sun is shining on you, and a black-out curtain for sleeping or if you want to watch the movie. The movie screens are like large upside down laptops hanging upside down, one scren for every eight seats, but the people on the non-driver side of the bus can't see the screen very well. At least I couldn't.

I was in a front seat, by myself, and could see out ahead and on the side. Usually they curtain-off the driver on the fancy busses, and you can't see out the front window. But not this time.

*Side issue. I just noticed that the word for "old" as in old person, here is grande, not viejo/vieja. I like that.
I spent the night at a hostel in Guanajuato. It was $140 pesos for the night in a private room with bath. Kind of shabby, but clean and probably a good deal. The only window was up near the 16 foot high ceiling. The Hostel, Casa del Mi Tio, was about two blocks from the center of town, with a cathredal, churches, plazas, and lots of people-only streets. And a whole maze of old mining tunnels which run under the whole downtown. As the cab I took from the bus terminal to the hostel came into town we went into the tunnel and stayed under for maybe a mile or two, and came out right near the hostel. Kind of creepy, but amazing too.
I had dinner at this indoor/outdoor restaurant, and the waiter was wonderful. The restaurant was right in front of the Cathredral, which has a little park in front of it. I had two sort-of -quesedillas, with cheese and delicious beef pieces and tomatoes on the side. Very good. With a Coke it was $50 pesos, with a $10 peso tip.
I was uncomfortable leaving my computer and camera at the Hostel. I didn't feel like trying to find a lock to buy so I could use their lockers. So I carried them in my new little computer/camera backpack. It was kind of heavy, but okay.
I had a cup of Bing (they have Bing everywhere I have been in Mexico) strawberry and cheesecake ice cream for dessert. 15 pesos. Sat and watched everyone wandering around the streets and sitting on the benches on the plazas and church steps. There were good bands playing in all the outdoor restaurants, including one with three violinists, a cellist, and a couple of sax players, plus some other instruments. It sounded good. But I probably thought that because while I was sitting there they played "Guantanamera", which is my favorite Spanish song. Unless you count "La Cucaracha".
This little plaza and fountain where right across the right from the restaurant.
I went back to the room and studied my Lonely Planet map for a bit, and then I went back out to look around some more. Found a fruit stand and got two bananas and a roll for breakfast. And a milk. Went to sit at the second plaza, but at first I couldn't find any empy bench seat. Then I saw a three seater with only on older man sitting on it. I wasn't sure if it was okay to sit down next to a strange man, but he saw me looking and said, in Spanish, that his wife was coming right back and there was room for three. So I did sit down and we had a nice visit. And people watched for awhile. There were lots of people in costumes, for some reason.

I went into the biggest church before walking home. It was amazingly beautiful, with crystal chandeliers everywhere and beautiful tiles. There was a Mass going on and I stayed in the back. The priest was facing the altar. I liked being there, and sat there until the end of the Mass.
Bought a little alarm clock on the way home, at one of the 20 or so camera stores in the centro area. $3US.

Got up at 7 and packed up. Couldn't get out the front door of the Hostel, and no staff was around at 7:30am. Finally someone else came down, and together we figured out how to get out the door. Walked a block, and caught a bus to the bus terminal, which is actually in another town about 5 miles away. After waiting about three minutes I caught a bus leaving for San Miguel de Allende. The bus left the terminal full with six people standing. But the time we got to SMA an hour or so later, we had stopped many times for people on the side of the road and there were 47 people standing in the aisles. That's a packed bus.

I got a front seat again, and this time the last people on the bus were a father and son. They let me practice taking pictures of them. The little boy was very shy, and the Dad was a first-class flirt, a master of the soulful-look. My seatmate, a lovely young woman, and I started giggling about him, and I don't think he knew why. I hope not anyway.


Anonymous said...

Great pictures, Andee. Can't wait to see SMA through your eyes. The soulful hombre was wonderful, loved the way you zoomed in on him. You just know he's teaching it to Junior.

macmember said...

It's fun to see your pictures and know that "we were there" just a few weeks ago. I can picture where we were, in all of your pictures. In fact we saw the Hostel you stayed in and had breakfast where you ate. It sounds like you did not wander too far from the main plaza. There were some wonderful places not too far away. The people you saw in costumes were the students from the University. They put on free shows there every night. After they get started, they try to get you to follow them throught the streets while singing with them. This was our favorite town. We stayed right on the plaza at the Hotel San Diego. Great fun area but a little loud.


Roodi said...

Andee, you are making great use of your new camera! Thanks for sharing your pictures with us and allowing us to meet the characters in your travels. We will be in your area for a couple of months this winter and are very interested in your bus trips -- hope to do the same.