Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Vacation Diary, Day 3

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another perfect day for traipsing around Morelia! Or for doing pretty much anything, for that matter. But traipsing happened to be my activity of choice, so after breakfast I traipsed on over to the Alfredo Zalce Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum is housed in an amazing 19th century French-influenced mansion located in the Bosque Cuauhtemoc, or Cuauhtemoc Forest (actually a big lovely mid-city park with lots of trees).

Zalce Museum of Contemporary Art, Morelia
The museum

There is a permanent collection of Zalce's work here, but lots of other delectable delights for the eye were on display as well. It's a fabulous museum with thirteen exhibition rooms. I could have easily spent 15 or 20 years inhaling the colors.

Alfredo Zalce
A Zalce

Zalce himself

Another room in the museum, with non-Zalces

Another non-Zalce. (Why the hell didn't I write down the names of the other painters? As if the entire art world is divided into two categories: Zalce and non-Zalce. Yeesh, I'm so embarrassed; my apologies.)

After a couple of heavenly hours at the museum (it would have been a lot longer if the gift ship hadn't been closed on Sunday), I traipsed over to a delightful cafe for a latte and cookie break (where I valiantly refrained from taking advantage of internet access). After that I traipsed over to the Jardin de las Rosas, a lively little urban plaza where bands were playing, children were gamboling, and local artists were displaying their work.


I was just traipsing along merrily minding my own business when I suddenly fell madly, insanely, head over heels in love with a half-finished painting that was still on its easel. The woman who was working on it turned out to be the well-known (though not by me at the time, because when it comes to art I was raised in a cave by wolves) Michoacan painter, Evangelina Abonce.

Of course she wouldn't sell me the unfinished piece. But maybe she was flattered that I was so taken by her work out of all the hundreds of paintings in the park that day, especially since I obviously had no clue who she was. She showed me two smaller Día de las Muertos themed pastels she had just finished. But these two also weren't for sale, she said, because she was planning to enter them in a juried show the next week. Alas, by the time they were ready to go on the market, I would have taken my pesos and traipsed all the way back to Deep Inferno. Here was this magnificent but cruel artist, tormenting me in the park with no works for sale!

Well, I tried to be a good sport and forget about the pastels, but my heart simply refused to move on. It was breaking. I loved them so much! I couldn't imagine living the rest of my life without them. Señora Abonce finally took pity on my forlorn looks, or maybe she just wanted me to quit moping around stalking her booth so she could get back to work. Anyway, she sold them both to me for $1200 pesos. My Spanish was totally inadequate to express to her how happy and how honored I was, but when they come back from the framers I'll email her a photo of them hanging in my shack along with my best attempt at immoderate gratitude.

Pastel By Evangelina Abonce

Pastel by Evangelina Abonce
Aren't they magnificent?

Sunday afternoon: I bid a sad farewell to beautiful Morelia and headed for Uruapan. But one look at the hotel in Uruapan and I forgot all about Morelia. I never wanted to live any place else for the rest of my life! The hotel is the Garden of Eden! A veritable tropical paradise, a hotbed of luxury. Lush colorful flora abounds: bougainvillea, roses, birds of paradise, Royal Poinciana trees, enormous banana plants, huge tropical ferns. Somebody pinch me: this has got got to be heaven. Spent the afternoon lounging on my balcony reading Paul Auster.

View from Hotel Room, Uruapan
The view from my hotel room

Hotel in Uruapan
The view from my balcony

And then, just when I thought life couldn't possibly get any better, dinner was served in the hotel restaurant. Simply unbelievable. I had an exquisite freshly caught local trout with a macadamia nut sauce made from regionally famous macadamia nuts and a very nice Chilean wine, delivered by Jesus, the world's most handsome and attentive maître d'. This culinary zenith was followed by an excessively decadent dessert comprising absolutely perfect crêpes glazed with a burnt goat-milk macadamia chocolate sauce, and topped with vanilla ice cream.

Please: shoot me now. If I get any happier I may explode and take out half of Mexico.


Blogger Sock Girl said...

Oh my goodness! It sounds postively heavenly!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

I can't even tell you how happy it makes me to read about you being so happy. I want to go to Mexico and follow in your footsteps. Can't wait to read the rest of this adventure.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice! Looks like a lovely, lovely dream.

9:25 AM  
Blogger kristi said...

I love your vacation posts. And I particularly love the Dia de las Muertos pictures. I'm just a gringa, but I'm very fond of that holiday. Congratulations on getting the artist to give them up!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Dr. Lisa said...

Color me jealous. I can't wait for the next installment as I try to visit Mexico vicariously through you.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Corvi said...

Couldn't happen to a nicer woman. I'm so glad you went, and I'm really enjoying the travelogue!

2:59 PM  
Blogger momo said...

Uruapan! I was there when I was fifteen, many many years ago. I love the way it sounds, Uruapan!
Your photos are gorgeous. I'm so happy that your time in Mexico was joyful!

7:35 PM  
Blogger citygrrrl said...

this is so fun. cup of tea and as the tumor turns goes to mexico. what could be better on a crisp fall night?

8:18 PM  
Blogger Mel Starrs said...

hope you are OK? your trip inspired me to visit too...

4:39 PM  
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11:21 AM  

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