Michoacán is a state of Mexico, located in Western Mexico, and has a coastline on the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. It is bordered by the states of Colima and Jalisco to the west and northwest, Guanajuato to the north, Querétaro to the northeast, the State of Mexico to the east, and Guerrero to the southeast. The capital of Michoacán is Morelia and has a nice historical city center.
25th Oct 2018
Coming from Aguascalientes by a six hours ride by bus, I was happy, that Neftali, my host, did pick me up at the bus station. There was a special reason for it as well. Neftali lives with his girlfriend outside Morelia and it had been really expensive to take a taxi there. He first recommended me to visit the city center as well as the aqueduct and left me close to the Cathedral, where he later will pick me up again, because he had to go back to work. Neftali is a doctor of medicine and has his practice somewhere downtown. He never told or showed me, where. He just told me, that it is too complicated to find the way by my own. He did not tell me his address either, but that I can always call him and he will pick me up.
I was walking all the way to the aqueduct and took photos on the way as well, when I reached it. There is also an interesting fountain. Back close to the cathedral I entered a café and thought, it was the one, Neftali had recommended me, but I think I have got it wrong. The waitress was talking very fast with bad intonation, though I could not understand her. I asked her to speak slower. Instead she asked me, if I speak English. Unfortunately I told her, that I do. I could not understand her English either and it was even worse than the Spanish, because she did not speak out and her intonation was horrible as well. I did not give her a tip and wrote on the backside of the bill, that I expect, when I ask, she should speak slower, that she does it and not change to a very bad English instead. While I just had got my order, Neftali asked me by a WhatsApp message, if I was ready to come with him. I answered him, that I just had got my order.
When I had finished my meal and paid for it, I messaged him, that I was ready to meet him at the Cathedral. He answered “ha,ha – now it is my turn to eat” and asked for 25 minutes. Finally, when Neftali picked me up at the Cathedral around 8pm, his girlfriend was with him – they always leave together in the morning and return together in the evening. They only have one car. I was very surprised, when I got an own house to sleep in. It was not really furnished, but an air mattress each in the bedrooms. There were no dishes, cutlery etc in the kitchen either, but the stove was working (with gas). It was late, when we arrived and I stayed in that house directly over night, because I thought, both will be very tired after such a long day. Neftali and his girlfriend were going to there house wall to wall.
26th Oct 2018
The air mattress was cold, but I want not disturb the couple in the middle of the night, though I tried to get some sleep anyway. I got some sleep, but was so frozen in the morning, that I only did wash me and was not taking a shower. Afterwards he drove me to the bus station, because I told them, that I will go to “El Oro (de Hidalgo)”, which is a “pueblo magico” and as i thought in Michoacán, but it is situated in the State of Mexico (EDOMEX), a short distance from the border between both states. Neftali thought, that I have to change bus in Tlalpujahua, but I could not find a bus from Morelia to Tlalpujahua. Therefore I asked at a ticket desk for a connection to El Oro or Tlalpujahua, showing the assistant on Google maps, what my destination is (there are more villages or towns called El Oro in Mexico). I was sold a ticket for Maravatio and told, that there is a bus from there to El Oro. The ticket was for 175 MXN.
Well arrived at the bus station of Maravatio I had to ask at the ticket desks, where I can buy a ticket for El Oro and was adviced. I did not really know, if a bus will going all the way or if I have to change in Tlalpujahua for a collectivo or similar. Though I told the assistant, that I would like to have a ticket for El Oro or Tlalpujahua. He asked me, what my destination is and I have got a ticket for the whole way, because the bus is serving both small towns and going further to Atlacomulco. This ticket was for 62 MXN. In this bus a seller came with lots of small cups of ice cream – with different tastes. It was 10 MXN for an ice cream and nearly all the Mexican people in the bus bought one – so did I. By the way I did not have a long waiting time for the bus change. Two women asked me, where I will go and when I told them, they did tell me, that El Oro is very beautiful.
At my destination for the day I started to walk the city. There were different signs, where to go. I followed one of them and stupidly I was looking for the arc. It was an arc, when entering or leaving the small town and nothing special, but the tourist information tried to make it to something special.
The town hall, was nice to see instead, but mostly I was impressed by the small streets and the low houses. El Oro is a former mining town.
I spent around three hours there and ordered a meal without asking if it was spicy. It was very spicy and hard to separate the spicy stuff from the other. It was my mistake not to ask, though I had to pay for it anyway – and did not try to avoid it.
Back in Morelia, Neftali and his girlfriend picked me up at the bus station again. They invited me for tacos. I only had one. It was very fat pork meat with parts of it, I could not eat. The restaurant chosen, was not the best, even we had to wait for a table. I also was asked that evening if I was interested in to follow the next day to a birthday dinner for an aunt. I told them, that I would like that, if the aunt is OK with it. I was assured, that she is. I asked for the start time of the dinner and when I had to be back the next day for going there. Neftali answered, that it would be good if I would be back at 6am for having enough with time to change clothes.
Even this evening we were going to the different houses directly after arriving there, because of the late hour. Anyway they gave me a woolen blanket, which I put on the air mattress under the thin cotton blanket. That helped very much.
27th Oct 2018
This became a day I will never forget – not for it is my daughter’s birthday, even it is one of the reasons, but also for, what happened this day.
I had agreed with Neftali, that I will take the bus downtown, because I was a little tired the evening before for my trip to El Oro. There was no problem to catch the bus. Neftali had told me, that it stops close to his house and also a woman with a child where waiting there. That bus was not going all the way to the city center, but I found easily collectivos and one of them, which was going to the Cathedral. I had a brunch at the café Panoli and it was excellent, so was even the waiter.
Afterwards I walked the city center for a pair of shoes I could have together with my dress. I thought, I can neither arrive at the dinner in my walking shoes nor in my flip-flops. It took time and I was mentally preparing for to go there in my walking shoes anyway, when I found a pair I liked and had the right size as well as the right price. First I was thinking, that it is stupid to buy them, because I have to carry them with me the rest of my trip and I already have a lot to carry, but the price made me change my mind, because I will not find a pair of shoes in that quality for that price at all in Sweden.
With the shoes carrying all the afternoon and evening I tried to find a museum. The one I had chosen were not existing anymore. The building was abandoned. Therefore I decided to visit the “Museo de Dulce” (museum of sweets). I passed a building of the University of Morelia, which had open day. I took a look, but did not see anything special. I also came to the “Mercado Artisanas Dulce”. There were the same things offered, like it is possible to buy in Aguascalientes and which there are called specialties of Aguascalientes. My GPS did send me forth and back and forth again. It was not sure about in what direction I had to go. Finally I found that museum and it was quite interesting. The admission fee was only 23 MXN – for everyone. At the end we also got to taste new-cooked quince sweets. I bought there a birthday present for the aunt as well.
I had promised my host to cook for them and it was only the upcoming day left to do it. Therefore I was going by collectivo to Walmart, which I had seen was in the right direction, closer to San Pedro, the area Neftali and his girlfriend lives. I bought everything I needed as well as a pair of nylons and tissues. I paid and picked up my other items and was eager to send him a message to pick me up, though I would be in time, but my cellular phone was dead! I tried to start it again, but there was no possibility. It was really dead. Therefore I took a taxi to San Pedro. Unfortunately I did not really remember, where my host live – there are different areas, but entering San Pedro, one can only see two or three of them. I walked back to the security man in the hope, he could tell me where I have to go after telling him, how it looks like and that my host’s name is Neftali and that he is a doctor. The security man was not able to help me and first I was not allowed either to be in that tiny house, he has there at the gate.
It was raining and there was a thunderstorm as well and I had to wait outside. I thought Neftali will come that way for going to the dinner and see me. Here I have to add, that I had asked Neftali different times for his directions, but never got an answer. His girlfriend tried to send me the place for the houses by GPS and WhatsApp, but we were already away from home on a highway. Though I only have got that position, which I had told her. Unfortunately I did not remember Neftali’s last name either. After a while the security man did call his boss, which told him, that he should let me into that little house and the boss did call the police to help me, because now it was already dark.
When the police arrived, they first checked my identity – by my passport and I told them, that I have the paper (tourist permit) in the house of my friend. By the way, all the conversation was in Spanish, which did not make my situation easier. The police checked my permission by calling somewhere. After a while and after I had been asked, if I had somewhere to stay during the night – one of them was all the time at the phone, I was told, they have a place for me. I had wished, they would have driven around with me in the area, though I could find the right house, but they did not. They took me instead in their car – which has a grid between them and me, back to Morelia. I felt really bad, even the windows are darkened, other people can see into these cars and they may have thought, I had done a crime. There was a house, we could not reach by flooding – even they did try it from both sides of the house. I was able to see that house and I have got the feeling, that they will bring me to a psychiatric clinic. Though I told them, I need a computer for contacting my friend. I was asked, if I will contacting him by email and answered by an app. I also told them, that I could take a room at a hostel or hotel. I was asked for my name again, then fortunately one of the policemen came back to me and gave me his phone, the Google App opened. That way I could contact Neftali by the couchsurfing site and they also did see his last name.
I wrote him, that I need his address for the police and he send me the address of his girlfriends parents, because he and his girlfriend were in that house, when I contacted him. That address was so different to the one I expected and it did not help, that he was writing, that it is his “in laws” house. I did not understand what he meant. The police asked me, that I should ask him for his phone number. I started, but was not sure if I had to do that in English or Spanish, though the policeman asked me, if he is allowed to write him a message – in Spanish. He did get Neftali’s phone number quickly. I do not know, what they were talking with each other, because the policeman was outside the car, when he was talking with Neftali. I was very happy, that Neftali answered so fast for my messages by couchsurfing. Many members of couchsurfing do not answer quickly, but in some days. I think, Neftali has fortunately the same settings for the App like me – to get an email, when someone write to him. – By the way, a truck from the police had already arrived to take me to the house.
The police finally did drive me to Neftali – to his girlfriend parent’s house. Neftali was waiting outside – in front of that house. He smiled, when we came and he was not angry, but did not apologize either, that he never told me his address. I followed them to the dinner for the aunt’s birthday, dressed like I was (in my pants …). – The moment, when I have seen that white building and guessed, it is a psychiatric clinic – for people with Alzheimer etc. I was really scared. I thought, if they leave me there, I will never get out of it.
The aunt’s birthday was celebrated in a special occasion for such parties. When we arrived, most of the guests were dancing to life music. Neftali told me, that it is usual in Mexico to have Mariachis at those parties. I do not know, why he called them Mariachis, because Mariachis are different and much better singers. Mariachis have UNESCO intangible cultural heritage status, this group had it definitely not. There were different instruments, but not the usual for Mariachi music and there were two girls in very short dresses singing. Even the men did not have the outfit of Mariachi singers. I had not written a lot about it, if it only had been the outfit, but the singers were not at all as good as the Mariachi singers are.
When we arrived I also felt, that all people are looking wondering at me in my outfit. Later I saw, that not all guests were party dressed. Though they may have wondered, whom I am and what I have to do there, because I am not a part of the extended family. Neftali’s girlfriend were going to her sisters and other relatives and greeted them. She also introduced me. We were then sitting at a table with two of her sisters and respective families. We got a cream soup and after a while the main dish: Chicken breast with mashed potatoes and boiled carrot slices. There were tea spoons as well, though I thought, there may be a dessert as well, but we never got it. We had also some wine to celebrate the birthday lady. She became 60 years that day. I asked Neftali twice for her age, because I thought she looks older, but did not say that. We already left the party at 11:30pm, because Neftali’s girlfriend did not feel well. I have not had a chance to try to learn Zumba, even her father had promised to teach me.
Well in my bedroom, I saw a cockroach in a corner of it. Fortunately there had been cockroaches in Neftali’s girlfriends parents house as well. They were already dead, but I was talking about them with Neftali and he told me, that he just kill them by stepping on them. Now I had to try that and I did put the cockroach down on the floor with one of my flip-flops. Then I actually managed to step on it. I was happy about that and I think I was able to do that, because it was not a very big one. Another problem was, that the air mattress was losing air every night. Anyway I won’t disturb my host at such a late hour and was sleeping on it anyway, but first I checked the room for more cockroaches, spiders and other insects. They were coming in the room by the open window during the day. Therefore I had killed two or three small spiders and the same amount of other insects.
28th Oct 2018
Neftali, his girlfriend and I were invited for breakfast of his parents, though I was expecting, that this would be done in her parent’s house, but Neftali drove to a Panoli restaurant. There are several in Morelia, I now learned. Her parents were looking tired and they were dressed in the same clothes like at the birthday party. Though, after breakfast, we were first driving to the parent’s house, where they changed and left the car, they were coming with. We were going all together to a lake in Los Azufres, named Laguna Larga, two or three hours drive away. There was a thermal spring very close to it, coming from the mountains.
The parents rented a row-boat for five people and the men were rowing. They had rented for an hour and used all of it, even we were going back and forth on that little lake, which was flowing. To row against the flow seemed to be really hard. We also took a walk to the thermal bath and spring, where we could see that the water is more hot than the temperature. By the way, in this area it was really chilly. I was lucky, who had taken my winter jacket with me. The temperature of the hot spring is +40° C. Afterwards we were to a rustic restaurant a little bit away from the lake and bath. They ordered a dish with beef meat and I with chicken. The chicken came in very small bites with fried onion, rice and beans and was very delicious, but I did not eat the beans. I did not have tortillas as well. I mostly cannot eat all of the dish, so the tortillas would make, that I had to leave of the chicken, which was not my intention.
Back in Morelia, Neftali drove his girlfriend parents to their home and we changed car there as well. It seems, the bigger car is the one of the parents and the smaller one, an old Ford Fiesta, is the car of Neftali. I do neither know, how much a general practitioner (GP) nor a nutrition earn in Mexico, but it seems to hold two houses is quite expensive for those people.
Finally at their place, I tried to cook for them as I had promised. There were some problems on the way: They did not have gas for the stove in there house and no water in the kitchen. In the house I slept was gas for the stove, but no water in the kitchen either. Actually they had pots and pans etc in their house, though we carried it all over. I did not think about all I needed and had to ask them for other utensils all after I needed them. We did eat in their kitchen / living room. It has an open planning. They liked the Swedish dish (the meatballs) like all my other hosts before.
Neftali’s girlfriend had got a cold and she was going to bed soon after the meal. Neftali and I sat in the kitchen and he was asking me a lot about my travels and the countries I have seen. He also told me a little about his / their travels. I actually also told him about helpx and the possibilities to be a helpx helper in the different countries I have been outside Europe as well as we were talking about visa and the necessity of them or not as a Swedish (EU) citizen. It was very close to midnight, when I left their house and was going to their other house for sleep. The air mattress had less air left, but at the late hour I did not ask him for help. I slept on that mattress anyway and actually not so bad.
29th Oct 2018
I had booked a hostel weeks ago for the nights of the 29th Oct until 4th Nov, because I did not get any reply from the hosts in Pátzcuaro. The hostel was in the city center of Morelia, because I was expecting to go back there every night, even the “day of the death” (El día del muerte). I asked the night before for an early check-in time (between 10am and 11am) as a favor I could get as a “genius”-member of booking.com. I was allowed and was leaving Neftali and his girlfriend together with them in the morning, when they were going to their work. It was around 8:30am we left and we were around 9am already at the hostel. We took good-bye of each other and he told me, I could always contact him, if I need something. By the way, when I told them, that I will go to a hostel on 29th, which I did after that scary experience with the police, he told me, that he has another place – one in the city, which I could use as well as I could stay with her parents. I answered, that I had booked that hostel weeks ago and now I have to pay anyway for the bed, if I use it or not. Though I was not accepting his offers.
I was waiting outside the hostel, because I was so early, but they opened at me. It seems to be a family run business. The mother was leaving, when I arrived and the daughter was checking me in. She first found only the cancelled booking. I had booked for all of the days before I have got the invitation of Neftali. Then it seemed like I could get hosts for the stay in Morelia and Pátzcuaro, but I did then not get one for Pátzcuaro and booked fewer days at the same hostel. It took time for the daughter as well as she called booking.com to get it right, even they had lots of free beds. I had booked a bed in a dormitory for women with seven beds and was asking for the single bed, but they put me in a ten bed (5 bunk beds) room instead – for the same price!
There were also a problem with the payment. I had not really so much cash with me, what the rent of the bed was, because there is always coming the taxes on the top of it. Though I asked, if I could pay with card. She answered something I did not understand – against their policy none of the staff is speaking English, but the father some. She also told me, that I had to wait for her father, because he was the only one to use that machine for the card payments. Now I asked her in which direction the HSBC bank is and she showed me. When I tried to leave the hostel for a walk to the ATM, she stopped me and told me, that I just had to wait for her father, which I did. Because of my early check-in I did not care about the waiting time. In the meantime I asked her for the laundry and she told me, she washes the clothes of the guests at a cost of 80 MXN. I was OK with that. Actually I could have done my laundry at Neftali’s place, but I did not see a dryer and thought it will be better to make the laundry at the hostel.
The father did put my Visa-card in his machine and put the amount of 1380 MXN in. I told him, that is too much and he explained, that there is a 4.6% fee, when paying by card – of the whole amount (including the amount for the laundry, which I could have paid cash). I told him, that I do not agree with the payment and did not put in the PIN, though he cancelled it. I am really happy, that I need to put in the PIN, when I am paying with my card and it is not possible for them to get the money another way. I told him, that I was on my way to the ATM for cash, but his daughter stopped me. Now I was allowed to go there. Back again I paid the amount of 1319 MXN (1239 MXN for six nights and the 80 MXN for the laundry) in cash.
Done that, I was going to the area of the cathedral again. On the way there, I had an ice cream (two scoops for 30 MXN, which shows, that Morelia is a tourist destination). Later I had a lunch on a place, which had guests, but was not crowded. I chose a crepe with ham and cheese for 60 MXN there as well as a papaya drink (with really much papaya) for 35 MXN. That was the cheapest meal I so far have had in Morelia, which I had to pay for. Most of the day I was sitting in the sunshine close to the cathedral and just recovering from all I have experienced the last few days, thinking how stupid I have been not to look up the address by the GPS and writing it down in my notebook (the paper edition ;.)) as well as I was angry at myself that I bought the shoes, which I do not really need. I have shoes enough in Sweden, even not in red.
I was early back to the hostel and updated my blog somewhat. For the evening meal I was to a nearby supermarket and bought two sweet breads for only 11 MXN. There is free water at the hostel – and also free coffee and tea, if one wishes.
During these days I also tried to find out, if I can see Mariposas Monarchas already in November or have to wait for December. I found email addresses to send my question, but I only got automatic answers, always stating that I have to go to another website or send another email to another email address. I gave up and I will wait for December and not try earlier, because there is a long ride to that natural reserve, where they will be.
I had even a lot of WhatsApp chat with Bolor, the CS girl, who contacted me for the “Day of the Death”. We will meet at 1st November in the morning. She will take a sightseeing walk throughout the historical city of Morelia, before we will go and meet another CS and follow him to Pátzcuaro. We are even allowed to stay over at his place.
30th Oct 2018
When I awoke I thought, someone had switched on the light and it was still night-time, but it was the daylight, coming through the roof window. It was five minutes to eight already, what I got to know by asking the hostel’s owner. I was clear to go, but waiting for the breakfast, because it is announced at their poster outside. When I asked the owner, he answered, that they do not provide breakfast. This poster is wrong on many things. There is no SPA at the hostel e.g. either. The hostel has two showers and three toilets, the two in the showers included. There are five rooms and most of them has several beds. Our room has already ten. Though, more people at the hostel, longer queues. The bathrooms are not to recommend either. One of them is so small, that there is no space to have your clothes, but in the basin. There is a too short shower curtain in that shower, though all floor gets wet and by that dirty. The other bathroom has more space, but if you do not take a chair inside, there is no space for your clothes easier. This shower has a fitting curtain, but some of the guests get the floor wet and dirty anyway and you have to coop with that, when you are using the toilet. In addition to that, to reach both these bathrooms, you have to cross the patio, which is the smoking area. There are two plastic tables which each four plastic chairs. When it is raining, you get wet, if you use this area, even you only cross it for the toilet.
There is a kitchen in the hostel, but no good system for storing your food. You can be happy, when you return in the morning and none has used it. I have got a bucket for my dry food, but there is no possibility to have my name on it either. If most of the guests would try to cook their meals, there would neither be time enough nor space for the food in the fridge etc. The kitchen is not clean. The stove is working, but that is it. There is aluminum foil around the burners. The burners are hard to get to burn. You have to ask one of the owner’s family to help you – for the lighter and the way to light the fire. There is bad detergent available – it is stored under the basin. Usually there will be filled a box with water and detergent – like they do here in Mexico, but that always run out before I make my dishes. The detergent is not good against grease and in the morning, the water was not running down, though I had to tell the owner. If you do not find the dishes, pans etc on the drying rack, you have to look for them everywhere in the kitchen. Nobody empty the drying rack, but the owner or his family. They do it not often at all. There is no drying cloth available! It is only possible for one person at the time to cook. This hostel has got a good rating and I am wondering why.
I was to the next corner and bought a muffin and a slice of sponge cake (Rührkuchen / sockerkaka). This little shop offer only snacks and sweet bread. I also messaged with Bolor. When I was ready to go, I asked for the bus for the Pueblo Magico Santa Clara del Cobre. The question is always, will the bus go from the Central station or another bus station. There are so many buses in towns like Morelia. I was answered, that I have to take a bus from the Central station and that I have to go via Pátzcuaro.
I had seen, that the red line of the collectivos is going to the Central station, but I had to find out, which one of them, because there are routes 1 to 4. Though, when there were no written on the window screen that the buses, which passed, where going to the Central station, I stopped one of them and ask for the line. With the answer “line 1”, it was much easier to stop the right one. The collectivo is for 9 MXN, even all the way to the Central station, which is, against it name, not central in town. It took more time then half an hour, maybe a whole one. The Central station is really far away. Well there I bought a ticket all the way to Santa Clara del Cobre. It was for 90 MXN. I actually do not remember, which company it was. Anyway I remember, that it was one of the companies at hall B, that means, the buses not going to other states of Mexico.
The bus was stopped by a group of men somewhere outside Morelia. I did not understand, what the one entering the bus did tell us. The Mexicans did give him money (coins) and when Mexicans do it, there really is a reason, though I did as well. I asked the driver to announce, when we arrive at my destination. At that time he told me, that we still are far away. When we well were there, he did not tell me anyway. I just had the feeling, that we may be there and asked him for it. He answered yes. Well outside the bus I tried by the GPS to find out, where in Santa Clara del Cobre I am. Unfortunately the GPS told me, that we had not arrived yet, therefore I was uncertain, if that really was the town I was looking for.
Anyway it was a very nice town (or village) and I was taking a look. I was asking the policeman, taking care about the traffic, if there is a tourist information and he told me: “At the museum.”, while he pointed in the direction, where the museum is situated. I followed that direction, taking some photos on the way, but had to ask for the museum, when I was close to it. I could not see it and it was not really in that direction the policemen had shown me.
There was no real tourist information and the digital information was out-of-order. There were no map about the place either, but soon I understood why. There are no many streets and the sightseeing objects was the town itself, the museum and the two churches included. This town is an old copper mining town and it is amazing, which beautiful things were done in that metal. I actually could not withstand and bought some items, among them a ring for 15 MXN and a bracelet for 23 MXN. I still cannot believe, that they were so cheap. Later I also bought a necklace. I thought, it had three copper items, but there was only one. The other two were ear rings. Almost all of the necklace I liked came with ear rings. This necklace I was sold by a ten or twelve-year-old guy, who helped his parents in the shop. He was very clever and service minded. Even I do not like when children have to work, this guy was outstanding.
I had walked the city for a while and was hungry now. If I remember right, it was already three o’clock in the afternoon and I had not eaten since the breakfast around 9am. I was looking into some kinds of restaurants, but they had no guests, though I was going further. A hotel had a restaurant open for the public. There were a lot of people having their meals. I ate there as well and it was a good decision. Instead of the usual soup I chose spaghetti with cream as a first dish. The main disk was fried chicken breast (a thin, but big slice like it is usual here in Mexico). It was much better than all the others of that kind I have eaten in Mexico before. It was crunchy with a good portion of salad. Only the French fries were not good-looking – they missed color, but the quality was not bad.
Before I was returning to Morelia, I bought another souvenir – a fridge magnet looking like a kitchen hook strip with different utensils like a spatula and a serving fork. I did not know, where the bus back to Morelia was going from or would stop for me, but there were collectivos for Pátzcuaro and I took one of them. The ride was for 18 MXN and I was wondering, if that was such a good decision. Anyway I arrived at the Central station in Pátzcuaro with a short waiting time for the bus to Morelia. It was an economic class bus as well and was for only 50 MXN, though it was a really good decision I had done. Instead for 90 MXN and a very old bus, I only paid 68 MXN and the bus to Morelia, a Flecha Amarillo, was really nice.
When we were close to Morelia, I thought, but we must already have been in Morelia, most of the people left the bus at a bus stop, where I could read signs for the city center and I also had seen, that there were collectivos, but it was dark and I did not really know, where we were, though I continued all the way to the Central station. During these part of the returning ride, we also had to wait for a very long goods train. It started raining, when I left the bus, but I was happy and directly caught a collectivo downtown.
I left the collectivo later than at the Cathedral, because the hostel is not very close, but only close to it. While walking I stopped at a supermarket and bought bread and other things to eat, because for the hostel’s kitchen I do not have to eat all my meals at restaurants. I do get, what I like to eat and it is much cheaper than the restaurant breakfasts and other meals.
I fried two eggs and had two slices of toasted bread as an evening meal at the hostel and tried to update my blog, but did not come very far with it. I was too tired after this day. All the other girls in my dormitory were already asleep, when I was going to bed, but I had my headlamp with me and did not disturb them.
31st Oct 2018
I had no hurry this day. I was awake around 8am, but left the bed around 9am. I had to wait for the shower, especially because I was waiting for the shower with the fitting shower curtain. When it was my turn, I took one of the plastic chairs from the patio into that bathroom and put my clothes on it. It was much more comfortable than the other bathroom.
I had yogurt and a cheese sandwich for breakfast and started afterwards with my sewing. I actually fastened the both ear rings on the necklace, though I really have a special necklace now. I also repaired the bra of my bikini, where the clasp had broken a couple of month ago. I did close it with the help of a safety-pin since that, but now I just sewed it together. I need to dress it by taking it over my head, but in the 1970s all my bras where that way. Furthermore I finally put a strip on my hat. It is windy off and on and I could not have the hat for that. Now I can do it again and I practiced that this day.
At the Mexican lunch time I was to the same restaurant, where I have had the crepe the day before yesterday. I chose a salad with chicken. It was not so cheap like the crepe, but it was delicious, even one of the ingredients was spicy, but not so much I could not stand it. While I was waiting for my dish, there was a singer, with a good voice and he also was playing the guitar to his song. The guy actually got some dineros, even by me. Unfortunately when I tried to use the bathroom at the restaurant, they were just cleaning it.
I walked the place in front of the Cathedral, taking photos from the decoration for the “Day of the Death” – it had become much more since I had been here before. I continued to the Aqueduct to see, if there were some decorations as well and there were. In the little park in front of it, school classes had their competitions in art. Two of them had really nice work done. I was asked if I want a photo in front of these arts, but I was not interested in that. Mexicans really love to take photos with themselves and the places they are. Therefore they also ask me often, if I want a photo of me and the place, where I am just at the moment.
I was looking for the woods close to the aqueduct, which Neftali earlier had recommended me to see and actually found it. It was not big, but there were different places for different activities, one of them was a nice play ground. I walked around quickly and then back to the hostel, where I checked my bank accounts and updated my blog. By the way, I messaged Neftali for different questions, e.g. for the name of the lake we have been on Sunday. He was always answering very quickly, but for the question, if I should dress in dress or pants on the “Day of the Death”. He had not answered that question yet, though I think I will ask at the hostel instead. I also have to tell them, that I want to be there the night from 1st November to 2nd November, when I am in Pátzcuaro.
I finished the update of my blog, which is very good, because I cannot update the blog during the “Day of the Death”. I hope you have something to look forward to: The report of that special day. Meanwhile I was writing I have got a message of Bolor, that she is on the bus. It is a night bus from Monterrey. She will arrive in Morelia the upcoming morning around 9am.
1st Nov 2018
Bolor is originally from Mongolia, but had been living in different countries. She is usually studying in Germany, but just now she is studying in Monterrey. She tries to use weekends for seeing more of Mexico. Before we met, I was recharging my cell phone for data traffic. I did not have WiFi hos my last host – because he had neither, though I was using a lot of data of my Telcel account. Afterwards I was walking around the Cathedral and looking for the added decorations. They got their final shape today and were more, as well, as the day before. I took a seat on a bench in the sun and was waiting for Bolor. It is not really hot here and I also wore my hat.
When she finally arrived – her bus had been late, because a window had broken and they had to wait for another bus, we were going to that restaurant I have been twice before. When we nearly had finished our lunch – it took actually much longer time for me to eat than for her (I had ordered Taco dorado, that means fried Taco rolls. As usual the amount of them were more than enough to get full), it started raining and it was raining for a long while. We stayed at that restaurant and ordered also a dessert each. We could walk our way without getting wet, when we had finished the meal and paid our bill. The service was a little slower this day, because they had really much to do. Many tourists had arrived in Morelia for the “Day of the Death”.
We were walking around the church and also visiting it. Afterwards we continued to the little park close to the aqueduct. Bolor was not so very interested in the aqueduct, but all the flower decorations in the little park. She also tried to get in contact with a guy from CS, which had promised her, to take us from Morelia to Pátzcuaro and that he had a bed for both of us there. But this was getting weird. He was surprised, that Bolor was in Morelia even that was agreed before. He did not answer for a long time and did change the time to leave Morelia for going to Pátzcuaro from 4pm to 6pm. In addition to that he asked for 150 MXN for the trip, but had never before mentioned, that he will have paid for it. Moreover he messaged her, that he had to ask his relatives if it is OK, that we stay over in her house. Though we decided to go by bus and see, how late we can return to Morelia.
I stopped a collectivo for the Central station. It was a new experience for Bolor. She had not used collectivos before. Well at the Central station we bought return tickets for the bus to Pátzcuaro. They were for 90 MXN each (it always gets cheaper with return tickets). As usual the ticket back to Morelia was an open ticket and could be used under three month. Well in Pátzcuaro we were asking, when the last bus is leaving there. We were told, that there are buses from the lake all the night through. That made it unnecessary for us to stay over night at this place. Bolor had already messaged the CS guy, that we won’t stay at his relatives house, because she was not expecting, that it will work. This guy had answered, that it is rude in Mexican culture to get an invitation and not take it respectively to first agree and then decline. Bolor did not care about that, because she felt very uncomfortable with the situation, but I hope, she did apologize.
Outside the bus station we had no idea about, how to come to the lake – if it was close enough to walk or if there is a collectivo etc. I asked a Mexican woman and she first told me, that we had to take a taxi, but soon afterwards she took us to a collectivo. She and her girlfriend were also on the way to the festivities. We later get to know, that they are from Guanajuato. They were really kind, they did not only help us to come to the lake, they also helped us to get tickets for the ferry and to queue for it, because the best of the festivities were in Janitzio, which is a village on the island with the same name.
It was a long queue for the tickets and a longer queue for the ferries, which actually were boats for passengers only. The return tickets for the ferry was 70 MXN. I was surprised, that the ferries were not decorated for the “Day of the Death”. The boats were for more than twenty people, though that queue were decreasing very fast. Anyway, I think if I had to make all this by myself it would have taken hours to come over to the island. By the way, while queuing, the Mexican girls were buying something to eat for themselves, but they had asked us, if we want something as well. When they came back they entered the line with us again and Bolor were going for a bathroom. I was afraid, that I will not be back in time, though I was in the queue all the time.
Well over there it was very crowded, but after a short while the crowd got scattered. The destination for Bolor and the Mexican women was the graveyard. There it was worse with people. There were not all the people of the former crowd, but because the other kind of space, we could only come further one step at the time and by the rain, the soil was slippery. The graveyard had a wall high up on the hill and at that side I was afraid of high again, especially by the amount of people, who tried to see as best as it is possible. Though I tried not to go too close to it. I followed the Mexican women, who were used to handle this and similar situations. We were halfway through the graveyard, when I saw a Mexican woman (I guessed she is indigenous) sitting on a low chair on a grave and it seemed, that there a man and a child were buried. I felt uncomfortable for her. I was in my mind wondering how it feels for her with all that people, who are just interested in how the graveyard looks like with the decorations of the graves. It seemed she were missing her relatives. I was happy, when we left the place. I do not know, why we think, we have a right to visit a graveyard in such a crowd, without having any relation to the dead persons.
For the darkness I did not use my camera, but I hope Bolor will remember to send me a copy of the photos she did take. Meanwhile you can get an impression of, how it looks like by the following link: Day of the Death in Janitzio. Unfortunately she only sent the photo of me and the Mexican women.
Bolor did not feel comfortable as well by walking the graveyard, though she was happy as me, when we left. She also felt very tired and asked me to return to Morelia. She thought, we might catch the last bus for Morelia from the bus station in Pátzcuaro, which was leaving 23:50. I was so hungry now, that I had the feeling I will throw up, if I do not eat anything immediately. At the same time, I was not happy to risk to get some spicy meal. I saw quesadillas, but the other girls were to fast, though I could not buy one or two. On the way down to the pier I saw a lot of bread and asked the Mexican girls about, because I would like to have bought one, but they explained to me, that this bread was on an altar and not possible to buy. Finally at the pier there were a stall selling Atole and bread. Atole is a rice drink. It tastes like rice pudding with cinnamon. There is cinnamon in it, only the texture was different. I bought one of each. The bread was quite big and I only ate half of it directly.
We had to ask, where the ferry to Pátzcuaro is leaving, because there were ferries to different destinations. The third pier was it. We just came with the first of them as the last passengers, but before we reached the ferry, there were so many people on the gangway to it, that the gangway was drowning. We had to back and the one behind us did it not as quickly as we wished, because they did not really understand the situation. Though both Bolor’s and my shoes got wet, which none of us was happy about.
2nd Nov 2018
Well in Pátzcuaro, I first was to a bathroom. Soon we found a collectivo. The night tax was 15 MXN. Bolor gave me the 5 MXN for the bathroom, because I only had a 200-peso-note and the lady at the bathroom no change for it. Bolor also paid the fee for the collectivo – by the same reason. I hoped, that I will get some change before we separate. We asked in the collectivo for the bus stop for the bus to Morelia and one of the passengers told us, he knows, where it is and he will tell us, when we are there. He also did, but when we tried to enter the bus, it was the wrong bus company. Our tickets were not valid for that bus. Bolor was asking for the stop for our bus and got it explained – twice. Anyway the explanation was not totally correct.
We looked around, where the stop should be, but there were only tourist buses. Bolor was close to give up, but I remembered her, that we were told, it would be a 10 to 15 minutes walk. I looked down the street and saw a junction and asked her to follow me to that junction, because the bus stop might be there. The street, even it was a well trafficked one, had no good light and lots of people, probably coming from the island, were walking the street. She did not feel comfortable and I remembered her, that by all the people, it was safe to walk there and added, that we really should go to that junction and check if the bus stop is there. Already a hundred meter before the junction we could see a bus announcing, that it is for Morelia and I told her, that is our bus – and it was. Our open tickets were valid there, but had to be changed for tickets for exactly this bus. We first were told to cross the street and do it at a sales station, but then we could enter the bus and an assistant of the bus company were coming to us and realized the transaction.
We had to wait in the bus for half an hour or more until the bus was nearly full. We were happy, when the bus finally left Pátzcuaro and were falling asleep during the ride, but were both awake before we arrived at the Central bus station in Morelia. Bolor tried to get an Uber-Taxi, but there were none available at that time. Though we shared a taxi. She had a host in Morelia, living in an area close to the Central bus station, but the taxi driver did not know how to go there, though Bolor used the GPS and told the taxi driver how to. From there we had to go back nearly all the way to the bus station to go to the city center and my hostel. We had already agreed about the price with the taxi driver, but I was anyway wondering by myself about the streets he used. Actually it is a little problem by the one-way-streets in the area of the hostel. I think the for me – in the dark – unknown streets belonged to that.
Finally at the hostel, the taxi driver was waiting until I was let in. He also saw the buzzer. I was only surprised, that I could not come all the way to the bell to call for the owner to open for me, because it is stated, that the hostel has a 24/7 desk. There was another gate, who did hold me from ringing the bell. I ringed the buzzer twice, because I was not sure, that it was heard. The sleepy owner was really coming and let me in. It was 4am and I apologized, because I had told them, that I will not be back during the night.
I was not up before 10am in the morning. I hoped, the bathroom will be available, but none of it was, though I had my breakfast before I took a shower. Most of the people were late this morning, of course. All might not have been in Pátzcuaro, but even in Morelia they celebrated the “Night of the Dead” as it is usual everywhere in Mexico. The fascination of Janitzio belongs to the lake. Unfortunately I could not see the ceremony at midnight, because I won’t Bolor get home alone.
Around 12pm I messaged Bolor and asked her, if she was awake. She answered, that she just awoke and not long time afterwards she were asking me, if I would go with her to Tzintzuntzan (that is actually an existing municipality in Michoacán). I saw that message after I had taken the shower and it was around 1pm. Though I told her, that I think it is too late to go there, because I was not happy in coming back to the hostel in the dark again. Soon afterwards I was leaving the hostel for the Museum of Contemporary Arts, but on the way I had a meal at a café – a late breakfast for 59 MXN.
The admission to the museum was for free, but I had to register, which is usual in this state of Mexico. I only was walking around in the museum for around half an hour, because there were no many rooms and not a lot of paintings etc. In one room there were comic sites at a wall about talks at a hair dresser. The painter was hoping to activate women to self-empowerment. In another room were portraits of famous women. There were also paintings for illustrating books. It seemed, it was about the painters family, because there were self portraits of her in another room and I could see, that she looked like the mother in the illustrations of the book.
There was also a room with collages of another artist, even a woman. I did not really understand her art. I would have liked a guiding about it.
From the museum I tried to go to another one, but as it looks like on the map, that museum is now used as a practice for family therapy. In the garden is a nice sculpture, which I could take a photo of throughout the gate.
It started dripping, but I walked further, looking for a café. I would have liked to eat a cake with cream. I did not find any at that place, though I continued and tried to find another café far away from the Plaza de Armas. I did not. Though I was to the Panoli restaurant, close to the Cathedral. There was no seat available, but a queue. Anyway the sale pastels, bread, coffee and more next door. Though I bought an individual pastel – it was a surprise, what it was, because there were no signs on them, and took it to the hostel, where I had a (free) coffee with it. The pastel was for 29 MXN and had additional the chocolate taste also macadamia nuts.
Afterwards I uploaded my photos, had my evening meal (fried eggs on toasted bread) and updated my blog. Unfortunately the photos are still missing, but it was after midnight, when I had finished the text.
3rd Nov 2018
My very active day started with, that I had to queue for the bathroom, though I had my breakfast before I was using one of them. When I finished my breakfast, the bathrooms were still occupied. I tried to use that special one again, but it was locked. Though I asked the owner about it, but meanwhile the bad bathroom on the site of it was vacant and I had to take that. The owner told me, that I did not need to wait in the queue for it.
Around 10pm I was ready to go and took a collectivo to the Central station. My goal for the day was to see Tzintzuntzan, the pyramids and Pátzcuaro by daylight. There was no direct bus from Morelia to Tzintzuntzan. I had to go via Pátzcuaro or another destination. I did not understand the name for it. I chose Pátzcuaro, because I did buy a return ticket. I do not know, how much the different would have been to buy a ticket to the other place, she named and from Pátzcuaro for the way back. I actually regret, that I did not take that possibility. I would have seen more of Michoacán and maybe also saved time. Well in the bus, it stopped soon on another place and sellers came into the bus offering “tortas” (a kind of sandwich) etc. I actually bought one, because I already was hungry again. Unfortunately I could not buy any drink. I made it anyway to the bus station of Pátzcuaro and had a drink chocolate there.
From Pátzcuaro there were only collectivos for Tzintzuntzan and the first one run away from me, because I had to use the bathroom, but they are going every 15 minutes and I was soon on my way to my destination. Tzintzuntzan is an indigenous word and means hummingbirds (Kolibris). Anyway it was the wrong time of the year, therefore I could not see any. The small town is a Pueblo Magico as well. The police was there for letting tourists cross the busy main street. I was first up to the pyramids, because this town is also known for it’s archaeological site, which is very close to the town center. Before I left the little town I stopped at a stall, selling some special things from the area. I bought gifts for my children there. There was no entrance fee at the archaeological site this day. I do not know, if it had to do with the “Day of the Death” or if here usually the Saturday is the day for free entrance, because on other locations, the free entrance is on Sundays. Furthermore, I did not have to pay either, even it was stated, that free entrance only is applicable for Mexican citizens.
It started raining meanwhile I was walking around, taking photos and also sent messages with photos to my Mexican friends by WhatsApp. I was happy to have my rain coat, even I was going to the museum, but it was a heavy rain and I would have been very wet without my rain coat. The museum was not big at all, but had an interesting exhibition. The artifacts with really nice decorations where already from the 16th century and later as well.
When I had finished my visit at the museum, the rain had stopped, but the path and the greens were very wet. Anyway I was going to see the hieroglyphs. There are some stones on a lower area, who have hieroglyphs, but they also were wet, of course and it was not easy to see the figures. I walked down there and took some photos. In the town of Tzintzuntzan were lots of stalls, selling the most you can imagine. One female seller offered a very nice, woolen cape with hood. It would have been perfect for me, and for only 600 MXN, but I did not know, where to put it, respectively where to put my jackets if I would buy it, when going home by airplane, though I did not take it. There were also nice, embroidered blouses with totally different motives, I never had seen before.
Before I was going further, I was walking around in the old part of the town. It was somewhat similar to Santa Clara del Cobre and also in between the mountains, but anyway different. The permanent stalls were offering Christmas decorations, wooden work etc. When I was ready to leave, I asked the policeman at the main road, how to come to Ihuatzío, another archaeological site not far away and he told me, which collectivo I had to take. He also stopped that collectivo for me! I had to pay 16 MXN for the ride and was told, where I had to leave and actually before a young woman, who also was a passenger, told me in English, there is a sign, where I have to leave the collectivo. Even here I had to walk a bit. Actually a little longer than in Tzintzuntzan, but not for more than half an hour. Even here there was no entrance fee for me, but by my age and not caring about, that I am not Mexican. This place had less pyramids, but they are still working on it. When I asked the guardian there, if that pyramid was all to see, he told me, that there are round pyramids as well, but not open for public yet, because they are working to get them ready to watch. He added, that there are more ruins on the other side as well. I asked him for the hills around, if they maybe also are ruins or are natural. He answered, that they are natural.
I was the last visitor, leaving the site and this guard was ready to leave by his car. I walked down the road, hoping, he would offer me to go with him, because it was getting dark now. Surprisingly he did, telling me, that it is quite a long walk and it will be really dark before I reach the village. Not enough with that, he was also looking for that I came with the collectivo to Pátzcuaro!
The ride between Ihuatzío and Pátzcuaro was for 14 MXN. I asked to leave in the historic city center even it was really dark now. He told me, that he will let me out at the Plaza Chica, which he did and that was exactly right. There were lots of stalls on the plaza, both things and food, reminding me of the Christmas stalls in Northern Europe, but I think it was just a prolonged “Day of the Death” possibility, because it was weekend now and many of the visitors were still staying in town. It was not so easy to take photos – because of the darkness. I was not using the streets around, but staying at the market place, even this town was similar to Santa Clara del Cobre, but Pátzcuaro is much bigger.
I bought some “gorditas de nata” (sweet bread) and ate it without anything else. Later I found a stall, where I could buy “agua de Horchata” and had a whole liter of it, before I took another collectivo for 9 MXN to the bus station of Pátzcuaro. That collectivo did stop of the other side of the bus station, though I had to asked the driver, how to come to my goal and he told me: Straight away. In the dark I could not really see, that I was closer than usual. I changed my return ticket to the ticket for the bus, which was already waiting for passengers. It took a time before it left and I was happy, that I was early and got the seat I like. The bus became really full. One of the passengers was sitting on the stairs. There was no other seat for her. The bus driver gave her a little cloth to sit on, because the stairs were dirty. It was raining heavily during the ride.
Well at the Central bus station in Morelia it was still raining. I dressed in my rain coat again and was fine, but most of the passengers did not even have an umbrella. I was walking towards the street, where the collectivo to the city center is going and could see one driving away, when I had ca. 100 meters left to it. At the street I saw a roofed bus stop, but it was high over the street, like done for the city buses in Chihuahua, Mexico city etc. There were other people already waiting, though I could asked, if I could wait there for the collectivo. We were six or more people waiting there for the same collectivo. Other routes were coming and going all the time, but none of the one we were waiting for. A couple gave up and started walking. Soon after, a collectivo of the route “Red, 1” arrived. In the bus was also this couple, because they had been going in the direction towards the earlier stop. All was fine and I came back to the hostel without any problem and much cheaper than by taxi, because it was for the usual 9 MXN.
I was tired and had wet feet – there had been rain pools in Pátzcuaro and one of them I had not seen in time and stepped in it. I was going to bed soon, but before I had two slices of toasted bread (in the pan) with my last two eggs. I had water with the meal. I also put toilet paper in my shoes, hoping they will be dry the next morning. In addition to that I booked two nights at a hotel in Colima, because I had got an answer of a host, who would like to host me, but was not at home before 6th november. When I finally had booked the room at the hotel, a booking, which was not free for cancellation or change, because I had no hope anymore to find another place to be and that was the cheapest one I could get, I have got a CS message of a host from a town close to Colima, inviting me and get to know his mother as well. I am really unhappy, that I already booked the hotel.
4th Nov 2018
I was up quite early in the hope to catch a bus to Colima before lunchtime. I know, it is a long ride and I wish to be at the hotel before 8pm. It was raining and had done that the whole night through. When I was to the bathroom during the night, I used that little toilet in our part of the hostel. To use one of the others, I would have got wet. Even this morning were already a queue for the showers, but I had not to wait for a long time. I only took my towels with me, because I was not happy to get my clothes wet by the rain. I did not dry my feet either, but in the room again. When I was dressed, I checked my shoes by taking out the toilet paper and luckily they were dry. I put them on directly to get my feet warm. Even the shower was warm, my feet got cold very fast.
When I had eaten breakfast, I packed my backpacks and my bag in the hall for not to disturb the people, who still were sleeping. Also there was a bench, where I could put my bags on and easily pack. When I had finished, I asked the owner of the hostel to call a taxi for me, which he did. He had just before called one for another guest, but for the airport. The owner was waiting outside for the taxis and the one to the airport was coming soon, but mine did not arrive. Of which reason ever, the collectivos were going throughout the street of the hostel this day and I saw one for the Central station and told the host, I could go with that one, but he declined. When after a long while no taxi had arrived, he asked me, if I was willing to take a collectivo and I told him, of course, I am. It took a while until another collectivo for the Central bus station arrived, but meanwhile, there were no taxi coming for me. I stopped the collectivo and entered it. The owner of the hostel did help me with my bag. I had both my backpacks.
The collectivo was quite empty and it was no problem with my luggage. I paid with a 10-peso-coin and got 2 pesos back. Though I have got the price for the elderly and disabled this time. Usually that price is half of the full, but here in Morelia I read, that it is only 1 peso less. When we came to the stop, where I had to leave for the bus station and usual walk for the rest, the bus was really full, but none had to stand up. Most of us were going to the next and roofed bus stop, waiting for another bus of the same route, but going closer to the Central bus station. I have got help of other passengers with my luggage out of the one collectivo and into the other. When I was ready to pay for this other collectivo I was told by other passengers, that I do not need to pay one more time. The collectivo is stopping where I was waiting the evening before for the city center. I was happy, that it was not raining so much for the moment and walked down to Hall A, where the buses for the destinations outside Michoacán are leaving.
I bought a ticket for Colima. Even it is a Primera Plus ticket, it was for 645 MXN. Unfortunately I was sold a ticket for the night bus, because day time there are no direct buses. To go via other destinations might be more expensive as well. If you are wondering, why I did not know that before, the reason is, that I checked the buses on the Internet and there was one from Morelia to Colima every fourth hour. Unfortunately this sites are often not updated.
Though I was waiting at the Central station for more than twelve hours for the bus. The only positive was, that I could write down my memories from the last day on a word-document, for later pasting it on my blog I was occupied with that for a couple of hours. There was no Internet available and I had nothing more to see in Morelia, though I stayed most of the time at the Central station, my big bag and my big backpack left at the luggage desk – which is not cheap, but comfortable. Only for lunch I was going back to the city center, because the so-called restaurants at the bus station had not much to choose and the quality of the food is not good either, because they do not have a kitchen, only a microwave.
I ate at the same restaurant as many times before, but this time I chose to sit inside. I was so frozen from waiting at the bus station. By the early hours, I could not sit in the more shield waiting compartment and by the door in front and on the back of the big hall, it was almost as cold as outside, but also windy. In addition to that it was raining all the day. The waiter did observe my situation and closed one of the doors close to me, though it should be a little warmer. I ordered a tea instead for a cold drink and I just had a Hamburger. This day they had the bread for it. Fortunately I have got cutlery for it, because it was a little hard to handle without. I ate it in layers and was happy to see, that there also was avocado in between. Furthermore I could take the raw onion out of it. I stopped to eat raw onion for not getting so much heartburn. For that reason I do not eat beans either. Meanwhile I ate there was a young woman facing me, but two tables away from me. First I thought she was talking in her phone, but I then saw, that she had no connection with it. She did talk and smile and make gestures. I did think about Alfons Åberg and his imaginary friend. Maybe this woman also had one or maybe she was talking with me. I did not find it out. Anyway, when she got the soup she had ordered, she placed the spoon on the other side of her table, but was also eating of the soup. When half the soup was left, she stopped eating and when she paid, she told the waiter something like it seemed by her gesture, that she wanted someone else have the rest of the soup. The waiter did take it away.
When I asked for the bill, I only had to pay for the Hamburger. I was told, that the tea was on the house. I do not know, what it depended on. Maybe they recognized me. I gave a tip as usual and was trying to find a mall, like I am used to in Sweden – where all shops are under one roof. I only found the one, I had been before, the one called “The sweets craft men”. I was going around there, buying a little sweet as a dessert and also found postcards with views. After a while I was tired by this little mall and walking to the bus. The rain was still heavy, though I used my raincoat. I walked for a while to come to a place where I was sure, the collectivo for the Central station was going.
I was back at the bus station around 6pm, still 6 hours to wait. Getting late I bought a kind of muffin and cup of tea, to get warm again. It was much warmer in the restaurant, even it was open to the hall. She was sitting there with her granddaughter and I made company at the same table, because all tables were occupied by one or two persons. We had a talk and did help each other, though we could be there for a longer while. Her bus was already leaving 10:30pm, but she was sitting there longer than me. She bought another bottle of water, though she could stay there with the girl. Once I asked at the luggage desk for my bags to take out warm underwear and was afterwards to the bathroom and dressed in it as well. Unfortunately I forgot to take out hat, gloves and scarf.
I picked up my bags some minutes after 11pm and had to pay 252 MXN (18 hours). That sounds too much, but they have an electronic system, though it is right. I entered the bus soon afterwards. It was warmer on the bus than it had been at the bus station. Soon after the bus left the bus station I fell asleep.
5th Nov 2018
I actually slept most of the time during the ride, but was still tired, when we arrived in Colima around 6am. My report about my time in the city as well the state of Colima you can read by following the link.
5th Dec 2018
I returned to Morelia, Michoacán for the big butterflies “Mariposa Monarca“. Mariposa is Spanish for butterfly. I was coming from Zacatecas by bus and it was more than a seven hours ride. That day I was happy to have booked a bed in a hotel, which I reached from the Central busstation as usual by taxi. The hotel was in the city center, though I had to pay 60 MXN, when I booked it at the taxi counter. I only had booked two nights at the hotel, because I was just coming back to see the butterflies.
I tried to find a tour to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which is situated close to the village of Ocampo. I also found one for the upcoming day – close to the cathedral and paid part of the price for the tour, actually only 100 MXN – the cost for the tour was around 400 MXN, if I remember right. I even was told, that I will get my money back if there will not be any tour, because of lack of attendees. I hoped, that there will be enough and if not, I will get to know that the next morning, when I should be picked up at the hotel.
After buying the tour, I tried to find a place to eat. I was first looking at the restaurant I often ate during my earlier visit of Morelia, but changed my mind. I was frozen, even it was not as cold here as in Zacatecas, but it was not warm either and my cold let me wish a warmer place. I was looking around, but was not willing to spend a lot of money for the meal either. I ended up at a Hamburger restaurant, which also had open doors. I had walked for a while and was so hungry now, that I won’t go back to another place. The burger meal I chose was for 115 MXN and I left a tip of 10 MXN as most of the time.
Back at the hotel after the meal I was going to bed. I was so tired, I fell asleep very soon, but was awake by the phone from the reception. They called me, because the cashier from the tour had arrived to leave the money back, I had already paid for it. There were no more attendees than me. I was not really awake, when I did answer the phone and even I did understand the Spanish words, I did not understand the situation. I just put the phone receiver down again. Some minutes later, someone was knocking at the door. It was the receptionist and this man. He was so eager to give me my money back and I would have appreciated it much more, if I would not have been so sleepy. I also was very disappointed. I thought, they make have waited for the morning, maybe there will come some more attendees.
6th Dec 201ß
Breakfast was included in the price at the hotel, even it was a very light one: Coffee or tea, fruit and one piece of sweet bread. There were three different kinds of fruit on the plate, always papaya. I was happy about it.
I had to make my mind up, how to go to the Biosphere Reserve and decided to rent a car. I used a site, which should guarantee cheap rents. I booked at a Sixt rental car – it was for around 1000 MXN, but would help me to make my way back the same day. The rental company did not open before 9am and I was there in time, but the seller was not – he was around 10 minutes late, but did not apologize for it. He did not know either, that I had ordered a car online. When I had to pay for the car, there were 18,000 MXN on the display. On my VISA card, I had with me, I did neither have so much money nor was I willing to pay that amount, even I was told it was a warrenty for the car, because I did not think to buy that car, just rent it. Though I went away without the car.
I took a collectivo to the Central bus station. I had read, in which communities the Biosphere Reserve was situated, but it seemed, there were only two entrances. At the bus station I asked for a bus to one of those communities. I was explained, that there only were buses to Zitucuaro, though I bought a ticket for that place and was lucky, that the bus was leaving soon. I made it to the bathroom, but there was no time to buy something to eat and drink.
Well in Zitucuaro I asked, how and when to go further. I was told, that I had to take the “green” bus to Ocampo and that it will arrive soon, though I just bought some cookies and something to drink and ate that during the waiting time. The bus was a little late, therefore I had finished my snack before it arrived. It was a long ride to the village of Ocampo, but I was happy, that I had asked women, sitting close to me, how to go all the way to the Biosphere Reserve. En elderly woman was also going in that direction and had to change to a collectivo in Ocampo as well as I had, she told me. She helped me to go catch that collectivo.
Finally at the Biosphere Reserve I was happy, that it still was open. It was already around 4pm and I was offered to go to see the butterflies by a horse. I did not know how it works, though I first told them, that I wished to walk. The guide – you have to take one and it is included in the entrance fee of 50 MXN, started to go with me to the foot path. Already at the beginning I understood, that it would take hours for me to walk all the way up, though I changed my mind and rented a horse anyway. That was a really good decision, because one is starting at a low altitude, but has to come up to around 3000 m. The horse was lead by his owner and very save. It felt a little luxory, but for my heart it worked very well. The horse was not allowed to go all the way up and the last part was steep as well, though I had problems to follow the guide. I had to tell him, that I actually have a heart problem and if I had known the area, I would have taken medicine, though it would have been easier for me. By the way, the guide had been walking all the way up to the meeting point for the horse and was already waiting for us.
Well at the view point for the Mariposas, I could not see as many as it was written about. There were two reasons for it: We only were allowed to be at the edge of their area and even they are orange in colour, they are not easy to see, because they are in between the leaves of the trees. When they were flying around, we could see them. Some were on the ground and I was explained, that they need to get warm to be able to fly again. It was quite cold here as well, even much warmer than in Zacatecas and that was a problem for the butterflies. A view of the butterflies on the ground were dead, killed by their natural enemies.
The guide got one of the butterflies to sit on my hand and even on my throat. On the throat it did tickle, though I did not look intelligent or sweet on the photo taken during this extraordinarily moment. Anyway it was an amazing experience.
The rules for visiting this place were, that we had to stay on the path and be quiet, when we were close to the butterflies. Not all visitors understood, what it means to be quiet. Maybe I would have seen some more butterflies, if they had.
It was already around 5pm, when I was back down, even I also had taken the horse that way. I had to pay 200 MXN for it. Only the way up is for 100 MXN. The guide was awaited of a wife and a little child, though I gave him a tip of 50 MXN. I do not know, how much they are paid of the entrance fee, but it can’t be a lot. He was very kind and polite and really worth some extra money. On my way out of the Biosphere Reserve a lot of children run towards me, trying to sell souvenirs. At the end I bought a beautiful sjal with woven butterflies of a woman with a stall close by.
There were no collectivo around and I was afraid, there will not be one more for the evening, though I tried to hitchhike. The first car stopped and picked me up. The driver also picked up another woman a bit further. When that woman left, he paid the driver, though I asked him, how much he wished to get and told me 50 MXN. It was actually a little more expensive than the collectivo, but much cheaper than a taxi and the most importand was, that I was with him in time for the bus to Zitucuaro, where I caught one of the last buses to Morelia. I was very happy about it. I already imagined, that I had to try to find a room in a hotel in Zitucuaro, before I got the bus.
Well back at the Central bus station in Morelia, I had a light dinner there, before I took a taxi to the hotel. The taxi was again for 60 MXN.
7th Dec 2018
I left a tip for the breakfast, like I had done the day before. Even the breakfast is included in the price for the room, there is a container on the breakfast table with a sign “tips appreciated”. Directly after breakfast I checked out and took a taxi to the Central bus station. Even the receptionist called the taxi, it was for 70 MXN. Another Mexican did explain to me, that it often is more expensive from the city to the bus station, but vice versa. It might be, because they are not at the place, where one is going from, while they always are waiting at the bus station.
I expected that it was easy to get a bus to Mexico city and actually to all destinations in Mexico city, but it was not. It ended up, that I took a bus to Mexico City Norte. That was the most frequented bus station and I could go further soon. I had agreed with my friends Teresa and Cesar in Mexico city to spend a few days with them, before I will go home to Sweden for Christmas.
About those days with my friends in Mexico city you can read by following the link for Mexico city – scroll down to the 7th Dec 2018.