Sunday, October 28, 2012

Regarding Guanajuato

No other city in the world looks like Guanajuato. Technically this is true about every town and city of course, because they are different cities, so necessarily there is something different, but I mean in the first-glance way. You could throw a few downtown buildings pictures or random neighborhood pictures or highway pictures in front of me and I might be hard pressed to tell you from just a snippet whether it was Dayton or Terre Haute. (I can't picture either of these cities in my head right now, so there you go.) Or, frankly, Denver or Kunming -- you all would be surprised how much China looks like the U.S., or was that the U.S. looks like China? You've seen one sprawling highway oil-fueled superpower, you've seen them all, I suppose. But my point is ---> Guanajuato. It doesn't look like anything else.

The city of Guanajuato, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, is nestled in between mountains and built up the hillsides and full of old buildings and lookout points and stairs and slopes and colors, so it ends up looking like this:
Guanajuato. Photo by Brian!
This is one of the pictures Brian took during our recent weekend sojourn. We arrived in time for the tail end of the Festival Cervantino, which is a big festival of visual arts and literature and music and theatre and whatnot that happens in Guanajuato and also a bit in some surrounding cities. Our weekend getaway began in San Miguel de Allende, and then we had Sunday, October 21st and part of Monday, October 22nd in Guanajuato. There were sooooo many (drinking) festival Cervantino people (drunk) piled in the streets -- sometimes, actually piled in the streets, sleeping on their jacket/sleeping bag/duffel bag before heading back to the bus station or whatever. Loads of young people, college students, rock music fans, creative types, pierced types, people from Mexico City, people from Guadalajara, and whatnot. But all ages and all sorts.

We stayed at a hostel right in the Centro, about a four-minute walk from my new favorite building in the world, the Teatro Juarez. Our time in Guanajuato consisted of lots of strolling and some good eatin' (of course, because that is what happens everywhere in Mexico) as well as climbing the hill for some great views, admiring buildings and plazas, drinking a beer or two, wandering the streets, eating some more, and so forth.

Lord knows I have not been a prolific blogger during our Mexico stint, and I regret to say that part of the reason for this is we have been less mobile than I generally like to be, and I have not been too keen on blogging about my day-to-day schedule and duties. We often stay put in QuerĂ©taro, with only occasional galavanting. This is due largely to our exhausting schedule, lack of weekends, lack of holidays, and lack of funds. But the few weekend getaways we have had have been very nice. And this was one of them!

For those keeping the body count, Guanajuato is also one of the Safe Cities, as it were... one of the places around here where, when we tell someone we're going there, we don't get the raised eyebrow or any warnings about being safe. It's not as if we've even considered taking a spontaneous Monterrey-Durango-Juarez road trip or anything like that, but there is the occasional unrest in various other parts of the country, too. Not really Guanajuato, though. And yet! AND yet! Brian and I managed to see our first dead body in Mexico. On the bus from San Miguel de Allende to Guanajuato, we were rounding the curve at one part of a sprawling lake and I glanced from my bus window down to the patch of dirt where waves lapped the rocks, and there it was  -- a body, lying face down on the sand, partly but not very muchly covered with some blue tarp/blankety thing. There were a half dozen police on the case and a bunch of bystanders around, too, and it could have been anything -- accidental drowning, or foul play, or suicide, who knows? But hey! How often does that happen on your little highway bus journey? "Look out the window, honey, at the pretty trees...the sunny blue sky...the wildflowers on the side of the road...oh, don't miss the dead body right there..."

No dead bodies once we got to the city of Guanjuato. You know what they do have, though? These amazing roads that are built into and under the aforementioned hills. I've never seen anything like it. Tunnels and tunnels and gray brick arches of more tunnels and roads under roads and rock...I've never had a city bus stop in a tunnel to let people on and off before, but there we were. You can just kind of wind your way down and in and around beneath parts of the city. It's fascinating.

Central Mexico. It's where it's at, yo! And I don't just say that because our schedule and salary don't allow us to travel any farther...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great opportunity and exposure! Your lives are so enriched by your travels. Dad