Monday, November 05, 2007

Vacation Diary, Day 2

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Woke up obscenely early, eager to explore the delights of historic downtown Morelia, which houses more than 1000 colonial buildings and churches. The day dawned to perfect weather for drooling on notable Spanish architecture and important social realist murals.

I set out walking, but not three meters from the hotel door I was riveted in place by my first Amazing Sight of the Day to write home about: the manhole covers of Morelia are elaborately adorned with the images of three kings! There is nothing like this in Deep Inferno. I would have brought some home with me but I was afraid it might be tough to sneak them through customs, and anyway I was already in their bad graces for the ink pen fiasco.

Manhole Cover With Three Kings
I milled around the sidewalk admiring this exquisite manhole cover for close to five minutes, blocking foot traffic and attracting dubious stares. I'm beginning to suspect that maybe I don't get out often enough.

Oh, and you know what else is really cool about Morelia? And all of Mexico, I guess: zillions of old style Volkswagen bugs! And buses. By the time I finally made it to the corner, I had counted 37 bugs and 12 buses, and it only took me seven minutes to walk half a block. And then there was the whole hair gel thing, where I got totally sidetracked trying to catalog the creative array of dramatic hair sculpting styles favored by the young males of Morelia. And shoes, of course: I am always intrigued by foreign shoes. And did I mention the graffiti? You can tell an awful lot about a city and its people by the graffiti.

Winner, Best Graffiti Award
Splendid example of culture jamming outside a classroom at an elite secondary school in Morelia.

According to the notes in my travel journal, those were my main impressions of the day. But now that you mention it, I did see some spectacular architecture:

Church in Morelia

And classical musicians serenading diners at sidewalk cafes:

Musicians in Morelia

And vivid, often disturbing revolutionary murals:

Mural in Morelia

And we can't forget the ubiquitous balloon vendors:

Balloon Vendor

I spent the entire afternoon wondering what the hell they do with the leftover balloons that don't sell by the end of the day. Is there a giant warehouse somewhere on the outskirts of the city that threatens to levitate off its foundation on particularly unsuccessful days? Must do more research.

Saturday night: W00t! More margaritas! Accompanied by fancy dinner on top of a swank hotel that overlooks the baroque Morelia Cathedral which was built between 1660 and 1744. Every Saturday night the entire city gathers in the streets below for the illumination of the cathedral, which is accompanied by fireworks, orchestras, and choirs. It was an impressive sight, and I deeply regret that I forgot to bring my camera. But clearly this is a very cultured city. According to prominent signs on numerous street corners, they are currently recruiting more choir members who sing alto.

Illuminated Catherdral in Morelia

Thanks to all the walking (plus the margaritas), I have been sleeping very well in my Zalce bed.

More sights of the city:

Young Musicians in Morelia
Young musicians compete in a battle of the bands in a plaza in Morelia

Musicians in Morelia
Classical musicians play and painters exhibit their art in the Jardins de las Rosas.

Aqueduct in Morelia
The aqueduct in Morelia was built between 1785 and 1789. It measures 1600 m (5251 ft) in length and is borne on 253 arches.

Zalce Mural, Morelia
There were so many breathtaking murals by Alfredo Zalce and other painters, I could have happily spent an entire decade studying them.


Blogger Sara said...

Eeeee. you are there!! I'm living Mexico vicariously through you, so be sure to post lots of pictures, especially scandalous ones, that would be great.

10:19 PM  
Blogger saraarts said...

"I could have happily spent an entire decade studying them."

You know, it's not too late. :)

9:47 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

Thoroughly enjoying this vicarious trip. Those murals look fantastic; hoping for many morephotos of them.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Trasi said...

Snickering about "alto." Ba ha ha!

4:27 PM  
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11:21 AM  

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