Our Mexican Family, the Penaloza's (Pt.1)

Trip Start Feb 20, 2012
Trip End Apr 15, 2012

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nuestra familia mexicana, la de Peņaloza

Flag of Mexico  , Michoacán,
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Days 20, 21, 22
Zamora and area.
Now we are beginning to feel the 'real' Mexico! Paul's family here - the Penaloza's are now are family as well. Leonel, Luly and oldest daughter Zayra have truly been the most gracious hosts and friends we could ask for. We went downtown to see the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or as it is also known 'the unfinished cathedral' - looked pretty finished to me! Huge twin spire edifice that is the 2nd tallest (largest) in Mexico. A masterpiece.
 Saturday morning Leonel and Luly took Donna & I out to the lake for a swim (son Paul was still asleep).
Lago Camecuaro is a spring fed lake surrounded by trees. IN pictures I'd seen and even in arriving I kind of expected it to be murky with a muddy bottom. Not the kind of place an 'Oliphant swimmer' would enjoy, boy was I wrong! The water was crystal clear and about like Lake Huron out past the islands (cool but nice once you're used to it). Lovely to float on your back and look up through the trees at the filtered sunlight. Although it gets quite busy, this morning there were very few people and we had a good time. After that the 4 of us went for breakfast, and had a delicious meal at a little restaurant outside the park. It was a yummy. The 'Agua Fresas' (strawberry water) with fresh strawberries was delicious. Luly is a vegetarian, so it's nice for Donna to have someone to help her pick out her food. Leonel helped with mine, but mistakenly thought I was a 'veggie' as well! Although the chilaquiles, heuvos, pappas etc. were all delicious, I craved some MEAT, so I went back up to get some chicharron and pollo. Now I knew what pollo is (chicken), but in trying to describe chicharron to me, I misinterpreted it as pork - looked good to me. Alas, I believe it would be my downfall. It was actually pork rind, but not crisp and deep fried the way we might know it. Not my favorite but I cleaned my plate.
We picked up Paul and headed to a small village outside Zamora called Patamban, which is known (amongst Mexicans) as a puebla de artisanos de ceramica, they make ceramic pottery. It is a very poor village and we went to a couple ramshackle buildings and went in to see the most amazing work being done. No synthetics, not clay, paints, nothing, not even the paint brushes. They use squirrel fur for the bristles! We bought several items (maybe 7?) between the two places for 600 pesos (about $45 Cdn.). We saw similar work in San Miguel De Allende that would cost us that or more for ONE piece! 
Back home we met Zayra the oldest daughter. She speaks english very well having spent a couple years in England and Canada, she is 25 yrs. old and is delightful! Fun to watch her tease her little brother (Paul), as it is all girls (three) in the family. We had another marvelous dinner prepared by Luly, who is a fantastic cook! She is an event planner by trade and also caters many of the weddings and events she plans. We can see why she is so successful!
Unfortunately, that night  the chicharron came back to me. Over and over...

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Brenda on

I had always thought that Paul got his talent in writing from his mother; now I know that it's from BOTH parents. I'm thoroughly enjoying your tales, Dave! Please give my love to Paul'y'!

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