So as I write this I am continuing to learn the routine of blogging and some “best practices” regarding posting and updating. Lesson 1…
Write down interesting details WAY BEFORE posting!!
Seems I find myself as of late taking it easy and getting a few things done on the truck, maintaining some business back home, and generally relaxing. Recharging though has been good as there has been a list of things thus far that have not quite worked out, and I’ve had to adjust for. But, that’s good.
Because now I am better prepared for the next challenges that I’m sure will come.
I can honestly admit that although Mexico has been beautiful, and quite honestly, so much more breathtaking and special than I expected, I st back and think, maybe I should have just taken a regular vacation? You know one that is easier, more predictable, less expensive, etc…etc….
But then, there is something about the challenge that possibly starts to get addictive in itself. The small things that should be easy, like getting software updated in a phone, or having an a/c system diagnosed and repaired become much full fledged missions.
But along with the challenges also come those small triumphs where you can just sit back and smile at having made it through.
Before crossing the border, driving through Mexico seemed daunting. I imagined lanes that were randomly chosen, along with traffic rules that would seem arbitrarily followed. (some of this is indeed true). But then a brief moment hits…
At remembering that if anything seems daunting, the best way to make it less so is to do it.
If you are nervous about driving South of the border, even just for the weekend, just do it. Be cautious, mind you, but go for it. And anything else for that matter.
Just my very small two cents for this post, now on with a much apologetic inexcusably late post on Guanajuato.
So it seems like I rolled into Guanajuato at the lucky time the city was hosting Cervantino, so I suppose I was lucky that I could attend the event and feel the vibrancy of the city? Maybe, but it was also STRESSFUL! Driving into Guanajuato reminds me what driving in Europe must be like for the first-timer. Windy streets with odd connections and no feel for rhyme or reason, not really created for cars,a nd therefore, extremely tight in some areas.
The Festival Internacional Cervantino (popularly known as El Cervantino) takes place each fall in the city of Guanajuato, located in central Mexico. This is a small colonial-era city with history of having a large cultural scene. The origins of the festival are from the mid 20th century, when short plays by Miguel de Cervantes called “entreméses” were performed in the city’s plazas. In 1972, this was expanded with federal support to include more events to add a more international flavor. Since then, FIC has grown to become the most important international artistic and cultural event in Mexico and Latin America, and one of four major events of its type in the world. It is a member of the European Festivals Association and the Asian Association of Theater Festivals In addition to government support, there are also private sponsors such as Telmex, Televisa and Microsoft.
Luckily for me, I was offered the most unusual tourist services shortly after entering. There were folks on the streets with signs offering information on hotels in the city. One gentlemen came up to the car and was suggesting some places to stay and upon hearing some reasonable rates, I inquired more. He proceeded to explain where they were, of which most I could not understand, but still tried painfully to understand while horns blasted behind me. He told me he would show me and I made the split judgement call to have him escort me to the place. As we drove around in what seemed like a maze, he explained the festival to me, and also calmed my nerves as this seemed to be the program.
After turning down the first spot, the second seemed a nice fit. One challenge with this kind of trip is finding accommodation with parking, so far secure parking has been relatively easy, but with the festival it was near impossible, or over my budget!!
Admittedly, I would have NEVER found the Independencia, which turned out to be a nice spot. In retrospect, my guide made the entire process much easier than it would have been without. Probably would have been a couple hours looking for something that worked!!
And to make it more challenging, Guanajuato centro is covered, almost entirely I think by underground tunnels for traffic. Which is very fun to drive through, but very difficult as well as a sense of direction in relation to the city is lost easily because there are no landmarks to watch out for. Every inch when in the tunnel looks the same, and there are many turns. This was a large contributor in my decision to leave the car parked most of the time and ride the bus to and from Centro! But also, at about .30 a ride, its a deal!
So, another learning experience was my first night spent in Mexico with my car in open parking on the street, albeit close to the hotel. All advise on this trip from other travelers is repeatedly NOT to leave the car outside after dark. Especially important to me as I could not find any coverage available for the truck in Mexico besides liability. I can pleasantly report that the car was still there though, and after the first night, I felt much more comfortable with the next 3 nights. No incident, (except for finding much later in Merida a nice scratch across my front hood, it did not happen in Merida, but unfortunately I cannot say quite where.
So regarding a choice of car for this trip. I think I would be unlikely to recommend something newer. Although the chances of breakdowns are higher, I cannot imagine being always worried about acts of vandalism, or even road wear on a newer vehicle!! Seems it would really age a vehicle fast!
Guanajuato definitely has a European charm that is entirely different and unique from anything else I had seen in Mexico to this point. And a cultural vibrancy and cafe culture of young, university, hipster type folks. Perhaps this was for the festival, I’ll never know, but it was great experience.
And the decision to rearrange my plans paid off nicely, as attending Anna and Marcel’s engagement party was a definite blast! A beautiful setting and Anna and Marcel’s family and friends were all amazing hosts! Such interesting conversation along with Marcel’s powerful drink mixing. Philosophizing about life, travel, living life, and friends was a perfect way to experience in a very special way this magnificent city. Although it almost didn’t happen! Because my cab couldn’t find the house! Luckily, Marcel’s next door neighbor saw us looking and pointed over! Unfortunately, I did not have my camera as I would have loved to post a picture of these great folks and the great time that was had. But I definitely wish Anna and Marcel the best in the future and thank their family for the invitation and being such great hosts!
I admittedly felt rather settled in the hotel and neighborhood I was in, especially after learning the bus route, and found it hard to get motivated to push on. Plus, I had been debating heavily whether to drive into Mexico City or not. At this point, I had not reached the confidence level for driving as I have now!! So my friend Marisol contacted me and was interested in joining for some of the trip back to her city of Merida, where I would continue…so at least with a navigator, I felt more comfortable, and it was decided to give it a go….
Unfortunately, the truck broke down and although I technically “rode” my truck into Mexico city, I was not driving, but yet I was the only one in the truck.
How is that??