Paul's birthday, Mazatlan, Zacatecas , Guanajuato

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Friday, September 10, 2004

Hello all from Guanajuato, a pretty, lively town with lots of small cobbled streets, restored and protected churches and buildings. Over the past week we have moved from the coastline inwards on our way to Mexico City. Mazatlan is a small seaside town with lots of atmosphere in the old town, there is also the Zona Dorada (which is the expensive high rise hotel end which we didn't go to. Enjoyed having a relaxing few days there in our cool hotel room, wandering through the old town and sunbathing on the beach. On the night we arrived we went to the main Plaza where a small local concert was going on; an old man was dancing with two old ladies on the stage who were fighting for his attention.. it was quite funny to watch. We walked through the old town towards the beach but had to stop had a taco stall as the smell of the barbecued steak was divine and the Tacos weren't bad either!!! We got to the coastline for sunset which was really pretty; a reddy pinky sky with the moon reflecting in the sea. The coastline was a hive of activity, locals just getting off the beach, food stalls, clowns, and the most exciting part was a young boy about to dive off a 40ft rock into the sea (where the waves were crashing against the rocks dangerously). The suspense whilst waiting for him to surface was nail biting. He eventually surfaced and we gave him 5 pesos for his bravery...We spent the next day just wandering about the old town again and relaxing on the beach, the sea was just like a warm bath and the waves were good fun (It reminded me of when the sea used to be rough on holiday and you had to jump the waves - remember Dad??). After a hot 2 days at Mazatlan we moved on to Zacatecas which is a small town in central Mexico. It is quite compact and the main activity occurred near where we were staying at the Plaza Zamoras. Although I didn't feel too well Paul and I enjoyed our time in Zacatecas and hardly saw any other tourists. We decided to go to the Feria (the fair) on the Wednesday night as I felt a bit better. We caught the local bus but ended up at the end of the line and the bus driver asking where we had wanted to go only to tell us that we should have got off ages ago.. we caught the bus back and vowed to learn the phrase can you tell us where to get off?? After our mini bus adventure we arrived at the Feria where a bullfight was taking place. We decided to go and watch it out of curiosity, it was interesting but cruel. Interesting because of the animation in the crowd and the way they respond to the matadors performance but cruel because they basically torment the bull for 1/4 of an hour and make it run round the ring, sticking things in it and trying to spear it from horseback then kill it at the end. If it's a successful kill then the crowd goes wild... Definitely won't go again but we enjoyed seeing the spirit of the Mexican people in a national sport.
We caught the bus back to the town centre.. don't worry we got off at the right place this time.. As many of the locals were lining the streets we decided to join them as we knew there was a local event celebrating the town that day. We waited, and waited, and waited until 1 and 1/2 hours later (in the rain!! and with empty stomachs) the procession began. It reminded me of Macclesfield Carnival (Mandy). It was well worth the wait though, everyone seemed to have gone to a lot of trouble to organise costumes, floats, decorate trucks etc... There were bands, brigades and a lot of church processions, people in traditional dress. It lasted about 3/4 hour and it was nice that we had timed our trip well enough to coincide with the local festivities.. To warm up we went to Paul's favourite little taco shop for coffee, tacos and crisps... (the procession finished about 1030pm).
We said goodbye to Zacatecas and hello to Guanajuato which we have thoroughly enjoyed so far. We have spent the time walking round the cobbled streets, looking in beautiful churches and for a special birthday breakfast we had Roast Pork sandwiches... much nicer than bacon butties!! The place we're staying in is near a Theatre and a lively square so hoping to have some good birthday celebrations tonight.. The hotel is called Casa Kloster and it has a great courtyard with views over the town. Guanajuato was built in a small valley but there are still lots of hills. For the romantics there is an alley called kissing alley (callejio de beso) so we went there today for a birthday kiss.. In Guanjuato we went out to a couple of bars on September 10th to celebrate Pauls birthday with Vinnie, Kylie and another couple we met Nino and Carrie. 7 beers later and a take away we had only spent about 4 pounds each, not bad for a night out!!! We continued to enjoy the relaxing 'siesta' feel that Guanajuato has along with its cobbled streets and colonial charm until Monday. We visited a museum called the Alhondigas de Granaditas and the Statue of Pipila two important sites in Guanajuato relating to the Mexican War of Independence.
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