Monday, February 25, 2008

Patzcuaro, Janitzio, Pescado de Blanco

11/12/07: I arrived in Patzcuaro because I was ready to move on form Uruapan, which was great, but I had given it enough time. Patzcuaro has lost none of it's colonial feel. Plenty of older architecture remains. Lake Patzcuaro houses Janitzio, ( an island on the lake with a population of primarily Perupecha people. The Perupecha resisted the Aztecs and were never assimilated into that empire, but remained independant. The local fisherman still comb the lake with their traditional butterfly nets for the local cusine of Pescado de Blanco, which I am anxious to try.

Fishing the old way

The deeper that I get into Mexico, and the further from the normal track, the more surprised I am. No tourists, beautiful, peaceful, authentic. There are no gaudy plazas here, it's all cobblestone and even the new buildings are modeled after the towns original architecture. It's a great spot. After doing a nightime trolley tour of the city, I went to get dinner in the town's central square. One of my new favorite things to do on this trip is dissapoint the other European (white) travelers. Clearly the 10-12 I have seen think that they are the only people that have the ability to travel to places like this. A couple of them are visibly frustrated when I say hello to them. For me, I don't measure a place by how known or unknown it is. If it interests me I'm not concerned with much else. Of course some places like Patzcuaro are less well known and there is some satisfaction in "discovering" it on your own, but if this becomes your main criteria for travel, you'll miss out on plenty of other places worth seeing. This is why they become popular. (Hello, Yosemite). The bar I was writting this entry in was built for miniscule Indians. I can barely fit and I'm 4'10". Some live music, a few Cohibas and to bed.

11/13/07: Up at 8 am, no Enrique. It was time to find breakfast and buy a pair of sunglasses ($3US) and then to Muelle General, which I think = the Marina. It was. My cab driver has some English, and directs me where to but the ticket for Janitzio. the boat ride to the Island is engaging. The water reminds me of Clear Lake, not necessarily a good thing, but I was wondering if there are Bass present. I soon found out:
Nice creel

I believe the smaller fish on the inside is the larger version of the 'Pescado de Blanco.' They also have a smaller one, the equivelant size of a french fry, fried whole and served with hot sauce. Before we reach land we get a display of the traditional methods of fisherman as the circle thier boats and round on thier catch. I believe that they also use nets for Bass, rather than the rod and reel, but that's just a guess.

When we reach the shore I can't believe the size of the statue of José María Morelo (

Good lord they really like this guy

It's about a 20 minute walk up to the top if you decide to leave the shops until later. At the top you can enter the statue for a small fee. There is a museum inside the statue, and you can ascend all the way to the top of his raised right arm.

The view from his hand

On the way back to the pier I negotiated for some goods, a shirt and a Mexican blanket, which will be great in the ski house I don't own. After having some Pescado de Blanco I catch the ferry back over and find a cambion for $.80 that will take me to Tzintzuntzan and it's ruins. After a few minutes the ruins show themselves during a beautiful time of day.

The sun set on these before Columbus arrived in America

The weather, the mountains, the sun, and the lake all remind me of California. After exploring here for the afternoon it's back to town, and Ihuatzio + me tomorrow.

11/14/08: The ruins were beautiful and easy, I didn't make one wrong turn. After returning to El Centro I was headed to Mexico City on a bus. No problems at all, and I had arranged with the hotel to have a Cab ready for me at the station. After a long cab ride I drop my stuff off, have a nice chineese dinner and get ready to walk the city in the morning. I couldn't wait.

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