We packed up, said goodbye to the Blue Pepper hostel and hit the road out of Guadalajara. That was a good hostel in a good location btw, highly recommend it. Really enjoyed it there and the city totally warrants staying for much longer to take in everything it has to offer, but that’s not the type of trip that we’re on. The road was calling and we had time to make up after getting waylaid by hurricane Odile.
The hwy outside of town was all farmland and hills reminding us of Annapolis Valley. While I was driving it occurred to MacKay that our Mexican insurance had actually run out the day before. Whoopsie. We weren’t planning on being in Mexico this long. Now I was driving illegally, hoping not to get in any stupid accidents.
My friend Sonny had suggested on facebook that we stop in Tepititlan if possible. His ancestors were from there and he said it was a nice little town. It was on the way and we hadn’t eaten yet so we pulled off to check it out. Sonny was right, it was a cool little place, narrow, one way streets everywhere and a couple of big cathedrals and plazas in the center. The place was bustling, people everywhere. Tons of colorful shops and restaurants. Didn’t seem like a Monday at all, more like a weekend.
Parking in Tepititlan proved near impossible. All the streets were lined with cars and we drove for blocks one way, turned and went up the next one way street, down the next one, nada. Finally we spotted a parking lot area inside a building beside a throng of people waiting outside a church. Yes! We zipped around the block to sneak in there and when we got back 30 seconds later there was a row of pylons blocking the street we’d just been down. Sweet SaChriX!! (ya, the prayers to Saint Christopher and DMX were getting too long so we abbrev’d it). You gotta be kidding. We looked around a bit more and found another parking lot thingy.
We hiked it back into the central area and stumbled upon a taco dream joint called Taqueria el Portal. Yep, time to ramp up the taco count. I opted for 2 Al Pastor (which is turning out to typically be the primo taco meat selection at most places), and 2 barbacoa. James got 2 al pastor and.. a quesadilla? I slapped him in the face. A friendly little turtle guy we named Senor Verde kept us company while we ate.
James stopped by a pharmacia in the main square to replace his asthma puffer. They told him the one he was using is obsolete in Mexico and he replaced it with this futuristic spaceship looking gizmo. Apparently it packs an effective punch. While he was doing that I snapped a couple of Tepititlan pics.
Really cool place, great suggestion on Sonny’s part. We liked it so much we got lost trying to find the car just to check it out a bit more. Full of taco goo and asthma juice we saddled up El Burro Peligrosa and drove on to our next destination, Guanajuato.
After a couple hours of driving (still illegally), we rounded a corner and the city of Guanajuato was suddenly below us in a valley. It was gorgeous. The houses were stacked up the sides of the valley walls like haphazard lego blocks of all different colors. Bright, bright colors nestled into the greenery of the valley. And we could see large buildings and monuments, even a statue of some beefy dude with a sword overlooking the whole scene. Wow. Couldn’t wait to see what the city was all about.
And as if the magnificent descent into the city wasn’t rad enough, the road down took us through all of these neat tunnels and underpasses. And when we finally did get down to city level the pavement turned to cobblestone streets and then we went UNDER the vibrant city into a labyrinthine series of dark subterranean tunnels. It was fucking incredible. And really fun to drive. But holy shit did it stink down there.
We found a spot to park in the skanky undercity and made our way through the tunnels back up to street level. We emerged from the underground onto a street with a large bronze statue of Don Quixote on a horse. Across from him was a hotel and we beelined right for it. We wanted to get into city exploration mode pronto.
First stop was a coffee shop called Cowfee. We were both a little tired from the mosquito ninjas disrupting our sleep the night before. A couple of lattes brought us back to par and we were off. The city had a European feel to it with the cobblestone, narrow streets, old theaters and fountains, bell towers, churches, and that slight medieval touch with the underground tunnels. The whole town was alive as well. People everywhere. Street performers and minstrels abound. All of the restaurants had outdoor seating areas full of patrons. It felt like everyone in Mexico was on vacation here. And 2 gringos
Here are some pics
Narcopiggy makes a new friend. Narquixote?
We walked around until about dinner time and found an outdoor patio in a square with a fountain. The hostess described a dish on the menu that MacKay translated to Bull Tacos. Do they make tacos from the bullfights? We had to try em out. And score some more chicken scratches on the rally taco tally. It’s getting up there. We also deviated from our liquid intake of solely mexican beer and margaritas and tried some girl drinks instead. James got something called a CCCP while I went for an Orgasmo (just so I could rip off Buck 65s move when I ordered it).
The tacos were kind of disappointing. They did have a distinct taste to them but were slightly bland and required a ponds worth of salsa to moisten things up. As it turns out, my Spanglish-laden attempt to understand what the tacos were was misleading – they weren’t bull tacos, rather a certain cut of beef.
We went back to the hotel to chill for a bit. James wasn’t feeling too well and wanted to lay down for a spell. He’d gotten slightly sick over the course of the day and was coughing and stuffed up. His nose was now a mucus faucet, it was gross. I felt bad for the guy but of course had to give him a hard time and tell him that he had Dengue Fever. We’d seen a handful of PSAs while we were in Tequila and Tepic about Dengue Fever, and he had gotten eaten alive by mosquitos the night before so… “I don’t have fucking Dengue Fever!”. “Ya dude, you do.”
I got down to blogging while MacKay had a nappy nap. After a couple hours we heard a ruckus outside our window. Drums and trumpets, it sounded like a parade. We jumped up from the hotel beds and bolted out into the street to see what was up. Following the sound, we clipped along dodging people to get closer to the source. It actually was a parade of some sort. There were two groups, one all in red, the other in green. They had flags and some of them were carrying these small wooden boxes on their backs. In the boxes were these weird little dolls. The trumpets blasted and the drums kept pace. The red group finished their song and then the green started, at which point the two groups separated down two different streets. We never did find out what it was all about and have no pics either since it was all done in darkness.
We left the parade to go into a farmacias. MacKay wanted to try and get some Doxy pills for the potential malaria sites we were going to be entering soon on the trip. We also thought it would be a good idea to pick up some multi-vitamins to supplement our all taco diet. No dice on the Doxycyclin, needed a doctors referral for that. The vitamins we got were these massive horse pill looking, vitamin B packed purple monsters. Hope they help.
We turned on the Bardar and roamed the town looking for a place to grab a drink. We found this underground spot down below the street called La Diabla.
Not much going on down there but we sat down nonetheless. We ordered these drinks called Vampiro. The description said sangria and tequila, but what we got tasted awful. From the name I think they were trying to make it taste like blood. But instead of delicious blood it just tasted like sludgy tomato mud. We could barely get through them and put some Modelos in before even getting half way done. I started on a postcard for my friend Penny who’d signed up for the postcard club. It was her birthday too.
For our entertainment the bar was playing a Spanish subtitled, straight to VHS, American Pie deviant MacKay believed was called Beta House Rules. It didn’t rule though. It was dumb. But it was still entertaining in that Mystery Science Theater 3000 kind of way, and I think I actually learned some Spanish reading the translations of their asinine college pranks.
After stacking a few more on the rally beer tally we split back to the hotel. Lots to do tomorrow, we wanted to get up early (by our standards), grab breaky, renew our mexican insurance so we could drive legally again, take a cable car to the top of Guanajuato, see the acclaimed Museo del Momias in town, and then get to Teotihuaca to catch the Sun and Moon pyramids before sun down. Ambitious to be sure, but what could go wrong?