Saturday, December 6, 2008

A weekend trip to Uruapan, Mexico

In mid-November we visited Uruapan (Oo-Roo-Ah-Pahn), about 4 1/2 hours from Lake Chapala!

On the drive there, we passed through some tiny towns that were fairly "authentic". This part of Mexico has a high Perepecha "native" population. These women typically wear traditional clothing...colorful skirts and large shawls/scarfs wrapped around their heads or shoulders in various ways. The native women work hard, and their faces show it. It seems that women here are either very young (teenagers) or old (60+). I'm sure that there are plenty of women in between, but as soon as the young women get married, have children, and work through the daily grind of life, they suddenly age 40 years.

When we got into town, we checked into our "retro" hotel that our Lonely Planet guide described as a place where "Austin Powers would sleep well". The Nuevo Hotel Almeda was clean and suitable, and I didn't think it was that crazy retro. However, it did have marble-swirl toilets and sinks in the lounge bathroom, which I found to be truly photo-worthy.
When we arrived in our room, we were kindly greeted by the resident pet, lurking directly over the bed.
We asked to be moved to another room, not because of the spider (which the bell man killed and brought to us in a bag to show us that he got rid of it), but because we preferred an inside room that didn't face the noisy street. Okay, but seriously...Jared was freaked out by the spider. Me? I would have slept in there (after killing it, of course). So, how poisonous does this spider look to you?

Our hotel was right next to the Plaza. Uruapan has a great little shopping strip, and wonderful little open-air market, as well.
Next we found a great Cafe in the downtown Plaza area. I enjoyed a yummy gigantic torta, and Jared got a hamburguesa like no other. It had toppings of carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, and who knows what else.

A local "marching band" started playing in the square, and I had to film it, just to prove to my family how terrible they sounded. Good intentions, yes...but I will file it under "Mexican Noise Pollution," as so many other things are sorted.
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In the morning, we stopped in an open-air market area for "breakfast." Gotta love the dirt-cheap, delicious meals. Honestly...when we order, we never know what we're going to get. This yummy breakfast was a pleasant surprise.Ella made a buddy immediately, and we spent quite awhile rolling playdough with her new friend, and her grandma. In the end, this little girl gifted her a mini children's mug that she was playing with. So sweet!
We walked around the plaza, and found some great products to try out at our store this summer (beautiful hand-painted boxes that remind me of Russian laquer boxes, but for only $25 Pesos...next to nothing)! We always enjoy the unique architecture in each town.

The plaza was quite nice, and very well kept. And of course, there are always some Mexican men standing around, socializing.


We went to the Parque Nacional Barranca Del Cupatitzio, the National Park just down the street from the main plaza. It was like stepping into another world! Whoever designed this did an incredible job, and we enjoyed looking at natural and man-made waterfalls that abound along the cobble-stone trail.

And I took another video of some typical Mexican music from a band in the park (but this time with a traveling harp...something I haven't seen!):


Next, we went 10 km south of town to Cascada de Tzararcua, a beautiful natural waterfall park. To view the falls, you have to walk down 557 steps, but it is well worth it!

Walking down all of those stairs with Ella was one thing, but up again? Well, we decided to take horses back up for a total of $140 Pesos (less than $14). Sure, we only had $200 pesos on us, and our guide didn't have change...but even then, it was WELL worth it! Ella loved riding the "caballos"!!


And I'm pooped just from trying to remember it all.
Uruapan was just the start of our amazing weekend trip...so stay posted for more!

3 comments:

Lisa said...

All I can say is WOW!

Michelle Cox said...

I'm so glad you're having such an awesome cultural experience!! It's so great for the kids, too -- probably more so for Ella. She may not remember it but she'll grow up not feeling afraid of people who are different and will be more excited to learn about other cultures and ideas. Just keep away from big scary spiders and parasites!!!

AMN said...

Oh my goodness! I am totally digging the Marble toilet... Just teasin! It looks like you guys are making some awesome memories for your little girls! I am glad you are enjoying your stay!