Aguascalientes

Aguascalientes is the name of a Mexican state as well as of it´s capital. It is one of the smaller states and it has not very much to offer, but there should be warm pools there, like the name is telling (warm waters). The town and state are most known for its bull-fight arena and the school for bull fighters.

 

.

20th Oct 2018

I arrived from Guadalajara, Jalisco, by bus after around a three hours drive. It was a hard time on the bus, because the driver mostly drove more than 90km/h, which means, that the signal for too high speed sounded nearly all the time. Also my seat neighbor soon fell asleep and was snoring. Luckily after a while I also fell asleep. One thing I would like to name as well: Before I was allowed to enter the bus in Guadalajara, my little backpack was checked – like the bags all passengers did take into the bus itself. The security man was wondering about my head-lamp. He did not understand, what it is, though I put it on for him. The big backpack and my other bag, which were put in the luggage compartment, were not checked at all, as usually. Though if someone would like to hit the bus, it is easy to have a bomb in the big luggage.

I had messaged my upcoming host, Erick. by the CS App, that I leave Guadalajara at 12:30pm. He did not answer me and I was afraid, he did not read the message. Well in Aguascalientes I was waiting at the bus station until he sent me a message, apologizing, that he had not got my CS message before. He also told me, that he is on his way to meet me. That was around an hour after my arrival. She was picking me up together with his wife and I am experience the diversity of the life of Mexicans. They actually have an old 2-doors-car and are living with his mother in the same house. His parents are separated and his mother has a little shop in her garage. It is as Mexican as it can be.

Before we arrived at their home, they invited me to a restaurant and had ordered food meanwhile I was in the bathroom, but not without asking me before, if I can eat everything. They also told me, that on Sundays the whole family gathers for eating “menudo”. That is the dish I have got in Jimenez and I could not eat, because it was too fat (and originally it also is cow stomach in it). I told them, that it is one of the few Mexican meals, which I do not like, because it is so fat. By the way we actually speak mostly Spanish, which I am happy about.

When we arrived at their home and I was welcomed of his mother, we did not stay there for a long while. They did take me out for a walk, but we first had to go by car. We were walking the “Jardin de San Marcos”-garden, where people were playing music in the hope for coins and there were some nice statues. On our way we had to wait for a demonstration against abortion. There is the church of San Marcos close to the park and these people had arrived there. That was the reason for questions of my host’s wife about, what law we have in Sweden and she told me, that it is good, that it is allowed, because in Mexico a lot of women die by non-legal abortions.

We walked further and came to the arena for bull fighting and I was told, that Aguascalientes is known for the bull fights and the school for bull fighters – the only one in all of Mexico, but they also told me, that they do not like bull fights. Nor do I, I answered. We were soon back afterwards, because Erick had to go to his night shift. Well back at their home, he did put the sun shield in the front of the car and I was wondering, if he do not need the car to go to his job. He answered me, that his employer has a pick up service for the employees. I have seen before, that this services exist in other towns, but not known a person, who use that. I asked him, if he only works night shifts, but he told me, that it is alternating between day and night shifts. He works e.g. four nights and has then three free nights and after that he has some day shifts. He is a technician, serving robots of the car industry. He works for a special make, but I won’t make any advertising here, though I do not name it. Furthermore he told me, that it was the last night of four for him.

We had around half an hour more together, before he was leaving and I was together for a little longer while with his mother. I was asleep quite early. I would have updated my blog, but even he had given me the password for the Internet, he had not told me, which one is hims and also I had problems to identify his numbers.

 

.

21st Oct 2018

I was sleeping until 8am or 9am. I do not really know, because I had turned off my cell phone during the night. I had not enough battery left and it would break without battery, I was told, when I bought it, if the battery come down to less than 5%. I think that is more for the warranty, but anyway. I felt still a little tired, when I awoke and took good time before I was going for the bathroom. When I finally was going to the kitchen, even Erick came. I was wondering about, that he was already awake or if he did not sleep after work. He told me, that he has had some sleep, but will sleep more later that day. He started to make breakfast, but had to fix some ingredients. His wife was also coming and helping to prepare the breakfast. At least all of us, even his mother, were in the kitchen and soon we had Mexican omelette with tortillas and hot cakes as dessert. It was the hot cakes Erick did and he put a lot of sugar in it, even he used brown sugar, I did not know, that there is sugar in hot cakes in Mexico. During breakfast we were also one more time talking about, what to do in the state of Aguascalientes. His wife told me, that we will go to one or two “Pueblos Magicos” on Monday.

 

One of the Statues in the Park “El Jardin de San Marcos”

 

After breakfast he was going to sleep again, but before we had agreed to spend time together after 8pm. He asked me, if I mind, but I told him, that I would like to update my blog and that I am happy to have some time for it. I asked even for the clarification of the Internet password and was starting soon with the update of my blog. I worked on it for around five hours. I do not know, if it takes extra time for me, writing my report, but I need that time. Meanwhile I got hungry and I will try to find a snack, because we will have a meal around 8pm.

When I had updated my blog and even my files, it was time for the evening meal. Actually it was not 8pm and I have not had a snack as well. Though it was really good to get something to eat already around 6pm. It was meat from our meal at the restaurant the day before – we could not eat all of it and had the rest in a doggy bag. I think it was as much as we had eaten. They had cooked rice as well and served it together with salad.

 

Colors! – To Make People Happy
Aguascalientes is on the Second Place in Mexico Regarding to Suicides

 

After the meal we were going downtown again, but this time to the new center, where e.g. the government building and the cathedral is. We walked around and I have seen all that bronze sculptures in front of the theater as well as the artificial Jacaranda leaves and the up-lighted Jacaranda trees. I was taken to a sweet shop and was allowed to choose a marzahn sweet – I think it is a peanut powder and this I chose was with small bites of chocolate as well. In a bakery I had to choose a sweet bread as well. All bread here was integral and baked without the use of sugar – but it was sweet anyway, though I guess, they used Stevia or something similar. On our way back it was dark. The cathedral had lights since the bell was ringing, but the government building, which should have been lighted as well, was still in the dark. The place in front of it was very dark by that as well.

 

Theater

 

We walked back to the car, which was parked some streets away and were going back to their home, where we had a tea and sweet bread. Soon afterwards we were all going to bed.

 

.

22nd Oct 2018

I was up as late as 9pm, but the first in the kitchen. It seems, they are waiting for, that I go into the kitchen and they come as well. This morning it was a different breakfast to yesterday. Erick’s wife did make sandwiches for the whole family, even her mother in law. She asked me, what I would like to have on the sandwich. For themselves she put much more ingredients on the sandwiches than I had asked for and she put them also together, like real sandwiches. I ate both toast slices for themselves. Together, the sandwich would have been to high for my mouth.

After breakfast we had half an hour for ourselves before we all together were going to the “Sierra de Laurel” and “La Cascada El Garruño”. We came throughout the town of Calvillo, but did not stop. Erick was driving and I was a little afraid in the back seat. He is driving very fast and do not care about the speed limits. Neither he nor his wife do use the car belt and the belts in the back are not working. I think the biggest adventure in Mexico is going by car with a Mexican. That is the same with the belts even if you go by taxi. Some taxi drivers use the belt and the belts are usually working in the front seats, but for the backseat they are usually not working at all – if there are some.

The “carretera rural” (rural highway) we had to go was in a very bad condition. We came through a little village, where it started and not far on that highway, Erick told us, that he had not enough with gasoline. He had tried to buy some before, but the gas station was closed. Afterwards he had forgotten that. Though he had to drive back until he found a gas station. He was asking in the village and got the answer: Straight forward. He was driving straight forward, but that was a dead-end street. Driving back again, he followed the main road of the village and found a gas station before he totally run out of gas. The problem in this case had been, that the road was going really much upwards and the little amount of gasoline left was not enough for all the way. Driving back was downwards and the problem was solved so far. Beside the rural highway we could see Nopales (cactus) farms. I also could see men harvesting Nopales. They only took one row from the top, though they could take more later.

 

La Cascada el Garruño

 

Well close to the cascades, there was a gate and a sign, that we had to pay 15 MXN each. We did not find any people to pay that fee and I saw. that the gate was closed, but not locked. Though we entered the path to the cascade anyway. The path was not very wide, but OK to walk. The steep was on the right hand side, but there were lots of trees. It was uneven, but anyway not as difficult to walk as on other places, where I have been before – outside Mexico. We reach the waterfall much earlier as we expected it. We took a lot of photos, not only of the waterfall, but also the surrounding mountain. It is so beautiful!

 

Part of “La Sierra de Laurel”

For more photos of the cascade and the Sierra click here, please.

 

On our way back to the car, Erick’s mum and also his wife did pick flower seeds. His wife was going outside the gate and waited for us, when a snake crossed her way. Later that evening Erick told me, that there are lots of snakes in Mexico, but he did not tell me, how dangerous they are. Maybe they are not very dangerous. While driving back the rural highway Erick stopped a couple of times to pick some prickly pears. A flock of sheep climbed upwards on the side of the road.

Back in Calvillo Erick parked the car and we were walking that little Pueblo Magico. One street I liked most of all:

 

Calvillo

For more photos of Calvillo click here, please.

 

Even the rest of the center of this little town was nice to see. Furthermore it was a perfect opportunity to buy more sweets. There was also a well-known shop, selling special sweets from Aguascalientes. Erick’s mum was interested in to buy some sweets for relatives in the USA. Erick and his wife did buy sweets for themselves and so did I. The young couple also bought sweet bread, cheese, a pineapple and more cheese. I do not know, if all this things are special in Calvillo or if it just was special for them to buy somethings out off their own town. At least we were going to a taco place and this time I really enjoyed the taco. I had “taco (carne) asado”, who came with cheese and fried onion and were not dry at all. Sometimes you need the salsa, which are to spicy for me, to have a good taco, but here it was tasty without the salsa. I was invited again.

The day had been very cloudy, but it had not been raining. Off and on I had to think about the hurricane Willa, which is on its way to Mexico and I hope, it will not happen, even we will not be in the risk zone. I think about all the people living in that areas, who will get their houses destroyed and maybe die.

On the way back to Aguascalientes I have seen a sign about an archaeological zone and asked Erick about it. He told me, there is none in the state. I googled it and found, that there are three different. One of them, an old pyramid is nearby Calvillo and called “El Monte de Huma”. It was not time enough to go there as well, but if we had known earlier, I think, we have had the time.

Back at home, we were taking a rest from each other, but after a while, Erick’s mum asked me, if I want to take a bath. Her son and she had already had one. I actually cannot think about to use the same bath tube like other, but family and though I told her “not today”. Even later that evening we had tea and of the sweet bread, they had bought today. I was asking about Christmas and was told, that their celebrations start already at the 12th December with the day of Santa Guadalupe and continue until 25th December. I explained for them our Christmas rituals, but the food and also about the 13th December, when we celebrate “Santa Lucia”, the fest of the Winter solstice, even it is not on the right date.

We took good night of each other around 11pm, but I updated my blog afterwards. Enjoy!

 

.

23rd Oct 2018

From this day I do not have much to report and no photos at all. Most of the day was in the sign of the meal I would prepare for my host. Unfortunately Erick’s mother was going and visiting her sisters in Zacatecas, another of Mexican states. She knocked my door around 8am, told me, that she will go to the village (pueblo) and hugged me good-bye. I was not really awake, so I did not answer her. I regretted it soon afterwards, but she had already left.

Between 9am and 10pm Erick, his wife and me had breakfast in their part of the house, that means downstairs. As long as his mother was with us, we had the meal in her part of the house, that means upstairs. We had omelette with cheese, beans, avocado, tortillas etc.

The weather was very cloudy and we used our time to ask and answer questions about traveling and customs of the different countries. I was also asked about New Zealand. Before Erick was joining me to the butcher, he told me, that he would like to work in the USA. I was surprised, because he has work and his wife is pregnant, but did not ask anything directly. On the short way to the butcher – they have all the most useful shops close to them like a small supermarket, a grocery shop, a tortillaria and the butcher, he asked me what meat I exactly need for the meatballs and how much. I told him, that the best combination is 70% beef and 30% pork, both grounded and that I need half a kilo. Usually the recipe is for 400 gram for four persons, but I like to offer a little extra and it is easy to prepare even with 100 gram more. The most critical is the size of the egg, which is used for the meatballs. When the egg is big, I actually only take the yellow of the egg, though the paste will not be to lose.

At the butcher Erick tried to talk for me, but he did forget to name the amount of the grounded meat, though I could answer the butcher. I had to pay 56 MXN. This shop had an extra cashier in a secure box. I paid with 106 MXN, because I did not have exact change and made the cashier a little happier. We went back to his place, but it was still a lot of time, before I had to start with the meal. Though we continued to share of our experiences. At 2:30pm I started with the cooking. It took a little longer as usual, because I had to look for or even ask for utensils respectively salad, onion and more. Around an hour later we sat down and had our lunch. It was a really late one. I am used to that Mexicans eat at 2pm, but Erick and his wife does not. Do I have to name, that the Swedish meatballs I had fried, were a success?

Meanwhile we were for a while in the living room at the upper floor, it started raining heavily. Erick was on his way to go for a run, but he had to wait and actually he never did that run this day, because both times, when he thought, it will not rain anymore, he had to stop, because the rain continued. His wife had used the little sun in the morning to dry the laundry, but could not continue with it, by the rain showers. We were also following the news for the hurricane Willa and they told me, that the weather, we have now is because of the hurricane. Usually it would be sunny and warmer. Anyway the young couple got some time for themselves and I made the dishes, before I was for a while on twitter.

Around 8pm we gathered again in the upper kitchen for the evening meal. This time they had corn flakes and yogurt with them. Even after this meal we were talking about traveling and I have got questions about Australia. She then told me, that they were traveling around in Mexico for a year, but visiting other places at the weekends only, because they did not know couch surfing at that time. We sat and chatted until 10pm, e.g. about my further destination and how I will go there. I googled to see, how often there is a bus between Aguascalientes and Morelia, Michoacán and found out, that there are buses mostly every hour. In addition to that I asked them, if it is usual with the gatherings on the God Friday with dance and Tequila. I was told, that it is usual with gatherings that day, but not with dance and Tequila. It is a day were the Mexicans eat a lot and have a special dessert, the capirotada dish. The last thing I did this evening was to update my blog.

 

.

24th Oct 2018

My last whole day has started as usual, but already the breakfast was different. My host told me, that I could choose between gorditas (not the sweet one, these remind me more at the Pita bread) and quesadillas, because they want to buy them next door, at the restaurant, which is in their house. The owners rent of them. I ask for one quesadilla, because I was told, that they are big like real wheat tortillas. Soon afterwards we were going to that restaurant only for to choose the filling. I had a mix of potatoes and chorizo. We ate at home. After breakfast Erick wrote a note for me with his name, phone number, address inclusive the old name of the “colon” (area) and the bus numbers of the buses I could use to go downtown and to return.

Before I was going to the bus, we were together to the Wednesday market nearby. There were lots of stalls selling vegetables as well as stalls with clothes and other items. Erick and his wife have a favorite stall for vegetables and fruit. There they bought for more than 200 MXN and they told me, they do it every week as well as these fruits and vegetables will last for a week. The interesting at this stall was, that the owner and his family were still using mental calculating. One of the sons was the seller and the father did check the calculation.  Afterwards they were going with me to the bus stop and put me on the correct bus downtown. They were very caring.

I left the bus downtown and entered an Oxxo shop nearby to recharge my cell phone with more data traffic. All went well and I looked at Google maps for the thermal bath I had found on the Internet the day before. I walked there, which took around half an hour. Close to it, I had to ask, where it is, because from my side of the street I could not see the sign.

This thermal bath (Ojocaliente) was not at all as I had expected. I had dressed in my bikini as underwear, because I thought it was a pool like they are in Australia and Hungary. Here I did not need any bath clothes, for the pools were individual.

 

Thermal bath

 

I was walking back to the city center after the bath and looking for a museum. During the walk I took photos of murals, which were on the walls of different houses. Some were also at the walls of a car tunnel, but they were difficult to take photos of, though I did not do that.

 

Open Air Mural

 

It started raining and I have got use for my rain cape again. First I was looking for the Museum of the town of Aguascalientes, but it was closed because of refurbishment. The other museum I looked for, was the Regional Museum of Aguascalientes. That was open, even a part of it was closed for refurbishment. I was told the admission fees for Mexicans and for strangers at the reception desk. I think, he took me for a Mexican woman, but was not sure about it. Why should he otherwise has told me the fee for the Mexicans.

 

For more photos of Aguascalientes click here, please.

 

The museum mostly showed things I already knew, they were not very special for the state of Aguascalientes. It was also not very big. Though I had a lot of time left before it became dark. I was looking for the shop with sweets, we had been before together. First I found another one, but they did not have the same sweets and when I was walking further I came to the bread shop instead for the other shop for sweets, though I had to think about it one more time and it helped. I found the shop for sweets, where I bought souvenirs for my children. I had a dinner somewhere before I was going back to my host by taxi. In Aguascalientes all taxis have taximeter and this guy really was driving the direct route. The ride was really cheap. It was for only 31:50 MXN. I gave the taxi driver 35 MXN, but got the change anyway. I would like, if all taxi drivers would be like him.

My host asked me, of course, where I had been and what I had done this day. I told them about the thermal bath etc and they did know that one as well as they did know, that it has individual pools.

 

25th Oct 2018

Erick drove me to the bus station after breakfast. I booked a bus, who was leaving 15 minutes later. My destination was Morelia, Michoacán and it was a six hours ride. The ticket was for 560 MXN and it was an Autovia bus. It was a similar bus like the ETN, with two stories. For my adventures in Morelia and surroundings, please use the link for Michoacán.