Ciudad de Amigos!

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Friday, December 23, 2011

So happy we didn't waste time getting to Zacatecas. We absolutely loved it!! 

From the minute we stepped onto the cobblestoned streets we were welcomed by locals curious about us - where we're from, we'd just come in from and eager to help us find our hostel.

Imagine the colonial feel of Morelia with hilly and winding roads yet the hustle-and-bustle and markets of Oaxaca. On day 1 we already decided that it's our new favourite Mexico city! And that's saying a lot since we've decided Mexico is our fav travel destination....period! Before Mexico Mario's was Thailand and Dee's was Turkey.

Christmas had well and truly arrived in Zacatecas! Christmas lights, a free outdoor ice-rink with a European-style market alongside it blaring Christmas classics in Spanish, and Santas lurking around every corner. The streets were abuzz with last-minute shoppers, and savvy entrepreneurs were even selling goodies out of the back of their vans. Picture that on Oxford street!

At first Mario was still feeling under the weather in stage 3 of his man-flu i.e. a runny nose and dry cough. So Dee flipped between playing nurse and exploring the town, bringing back supplies to the nest and sources of vitamin C such as juice in a plastic bag with a straw stuck in it. 

When he was finally well enough we indulged in some of the sights: 
* the Teleferico (cable car) ride across to the La Bufa, the higher of the two hills; 
* one of the Coronel museums displaying his extensive collections of masks (think V for Vendetta);
* the tour of La Mina Eden all in rapid Spanish so much of it was lost on us, but we saw a variety of minerals stuck in the rocks alongside each other; 
* a night out to an old school pub called Las Quince Letras (The 15 Letters - which happens to consists of 15 letters!). It used to be exclusively for men and still has a gutter running down the length of the bar so men could just sit and pee right where they were

Dee also got to know the GBLT scene by accompanying her new friends to the two gay venues in town and even got to go back stage with Angie to see the drag queens being made up for their show!
Around just about every corner you happen upon something interesting...

One night we stumbled upon a "posada" - a re-enactment of the events of the very first Christmas eve. A sombre crowd of singing-praying families go to door-to-door around town carrying statues of Mary and Joseph. They are cued as to which song to sing or line to say by a man with a mic. At the first few doors they get turned away, and finally they find a "posada" (inn) willing to take them in. This is a Mexican Christmas tradition that happens in a many towns.

A year-round Zacatecan tradition (on a much more frivolous note) is to follow a brass band around town while downing Mezcal from a cup hung around your neck. Mezcal is like a poor man's tequila, smokey-tasting and made from a different type of agave plant. The fun kicks off at 9pm every night but we never got around to joining the band(wagon), but we crossed paths with the drunkards one night
We were more than happy to spend Christmas in Zacatecas, we even decided to stay for New Year's too! It was still cold but sunny and made up for it by being so darn pretty! 

On Christmas eve Dee joined the hostel margarita party and met some fellow hostel-dwellers evenly split between locals and foreigners. It seems Zacatecas is a popular holiday destination for Mexicans. Our main Christmas day meal was rather untraditional but oh-so-deeleecious - bacon, banana and egg toasted sandwiches spiked with hot sauce! New Year's Eve started off with rooftop fireworks and margaritas with all our new buddies. After the sombreros and vuvuzelas came out, we headed out into the night for some bar-hopping led by Ernesto, the hostel owner.
After 11 nights I left Zacatecas with a heavy heart, having enjoyed many fun nights out with lots of special new Mexican friends. Hostal Villa Colonial have found the perfect formula - "buena onda" - and have a great thing going on. But if I have any hopes of having a liver until old age, I'd best move onto the next town! 

Love and miss you guys!! Thanks for making our Christmas and NY so special!! xxxxx
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