Leòn, Guanajuato, Mèxico
Hello hello all! Latest update from south of the border!
Since my last post, I have been spending time in Leon, which is in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. It´s only about thirty minutes from Lagos de Morado. Here´s what´s happened:
After leaving Lagos, it took me three rides to get to Leon, which is the next major city on the road to Uraupan and Acapulco. The first two were simply farmers who took me in the back of their pickups. The last guy took me just into the city limits on Leon and then kindly paid for a cab to take me to the road that leads out of the city, which is a good thing because it can take hours to find your way out of a large city like Leon or Guadalajara. The cabbie took me to what seemed to still be the centere of the city. He pointed out the route to Uraupan and was on his way.
So I started walking. After about thirty minutes, I came to a major intersection. I asked a lady the way to Uraupan and she pointed right. So right I went. A few seconds later I was accosted by a panhandeler, imploring me for pesos. I told him I didn´t have a red cent on me, but I offered him a cigarette since I´m a fucking nice guy. He apparently wasn´t, because he grabbed the whole pack and took off. Motherfucker. First bad experience of Mexico, and hopefully the last.
After walking for about fifteen minutes, and not seeing any signs of civilization peetering off, I asked a policeman for directions. He told me Uraupan was back the way I came. This was distressing for me because I had just walked forty minutes in this direction. But, figuring that if anybody knows the city, a cop does, I took his advice and turned around.
Later, I again asked for directions in a bank just to be sure I was headed in the right direction, not wanting to waste anymore time going the wrong damn way. I was told it was in the direction I was going, which was good. The lady wrote down a street name that I was to turn on on a little slip of paper.
After turning down that street, I felt like I was closer to the downtown than I was before. So, I again, asked for directions (which by the way, in Spanish, is, Estoy buscando el camino para Uraupan.) This guy told me back the way I came. WTF. I asked another person, who said it was in the opposite direction. Goddamnit, does anybody in this city know how to get to fucking Uraupan??
After asking five or six other people and getting five or six different directions, I was starting to get pissed. I probably walked four kilometers just going around in circles. I finally started whipping out my map of Mexico and pointing to the road I needed. I went into a hotel, and finally got some good directions. That way, straight, in about five kilometers, turns into the freeway that you are looking for. Fucking fantastic, about time.
So off I went. I stuck my thumb out, hitched up my pack, and started walking. About two kilometers later, someone in a sporty looking little blue Japanese car stopped, which is unusual, because usually I get picked up by vehicles that wouldn´t even come close to passing inspection if they were stateside. Inside were two guys, Manuel and his brother Edger. I told him where I was going, and he offered to take me a few kilometers closer to the freeway, as he wasn´t intending on leaving the city. I told him that would do nicely.
As we were riding, I told my obligatory story (which is completely committed to memory in both English and Spanish, I´ve said it so many times) and Manuel got very excited and told me that I should stay in Leon for a few days so as I could experience the city. I figured, why the hell not. It´s not like I have a schedule to keep or anything.
So we ran a few errands, which included the Home Depot (which is like the mall in Mexico) and then went to Manuel´s country house, about twenty five minutes outside of town. Turns out, he is fucking loaded. He owns his own auto mechanic shop, at least three houses, and four or five cars. Bomb.
So we picked up a few beers on the way over there, and then spent the next couple of hours drinking, doing yard work and generally tidying up. Once we were finished, all three of us relaxed in the pool and finished off the beers. Around nine, we headed back to Leon and crashed.
Next morning, Manuel and Edgar had to work. I tagged along, not wanting to spend the day alone doing nothing. We went to a bunch of different car dealerships, where Manuel and Edger scavenged old parts to use in restorations. At one shop, there was a buffet with about forty people eating off of it. Upon seeing the gringo enter, the crowed rushed up and practically insisted on me trying everything, which was fine with me. Mexicans know how to cook, after all. I barely had time to finish one dish before another was slapped on my plate. Tight.
After doing this until about four, we headed back to the house. Manuel said that we should go to Guanajuato for the evening, as it is a beautiful city with lots of fun stuff to do. I said, hell yeah!
So around eight, we leave for Guanajuato. We stop on the way to pick up a bottle of tequila, and then stop once more at Manuel´s mom´s house. He said we had to wait there for a bit, as he was going to pick up some friends and they were not ready yet. So while we waited, we drank tequila. With his mom.
After searching in vain for about ten minutes for shot glasses, we had to drink from cups. I was just expecting to take shots but apparently in Mexico, you sip tequila, and they both looked at me like I was crazy when I knocked back the whole glass in one go. I told him thats how we do it in the USA. Lol.
Thirty minutes and four shots later, we were off. We picked up two of Manuel´s friends, stopped for tacos, and then headed for Guanajuato, which is about thirty minutes away.
Upon arrival to the colonial-looking city, we went straight for the clubs. We went into a loud, flashy one with lots of dancing people. Since we had already finished off the other bottle of tequila, Manuel called for more. In Mexico, when you order a drink with tequila in it, you don´t just get the drink. You get the whole fucking bottle. For fifty pesos, or about five bucks, you get an entire bottle of Cuervo and all the mixers. Christ almighty, if I ever settle down, It´s gonna be in Mexico.
So we drink. And dance. A few hours and a few more bottles of tequila later, we leave and head back to Leon. Upon arrival, we decide that we have the insatiable need for MORE TACOS. So more tacos we get.
In Mexico, the roadside taco stands are fucking fantastic. I rip my way through about seven in about as many minutes. Manuel meets more people he knows here (he seems to know the entire city) and we go off to a random ally and, you guessed it, drink more tequila.
I get to talking to one of Manuel´s friends, and learn that he will soon be attending school in Botoga, Colombia, and that I´m welcome to stay with him upon my arrival to the country for as long as I want. Hella tight, now I don´t have to sleep outside the ENTIRE time I´m in a country that´s currently involved in a forty-one-and-counting year civil war. That´s what I love about my spontaneity. Somehow, shit always works out.
After drinking in the ally until about dawn, we decide to call it a night. We stumble our way back to Manuel´s house, and hit the lights.
I spend the entire next morning and most of the afternoon nursing a wicked hangover. After about five o´clock rolls around I´m feeling like my old self again. This is a good thing because Manuel informs me that he´s holding a cookout at his country house that´s sure to be lots of fun. We go to the supermarket (which is a lot more like an actual market than any place in the USA) and pick up the food. There´s pretty much anything you could ever want at the market. It´s outdoors, and there´s thousands of little stands selling everything from meat and produce to ceramic animals and moss (what is the moss used for??)
Later, we head for the country house. Many of Manuel´s friends are there, totaling to about forty. One of his friends is a German, named Rudy, who is living in Mexico teaching languages at the local community college. He is a cool motherfucker. He tells me he used to hitch around Europe all the time when he was my age, and we had a grand time sharing our experiences.
So, the cookout was great. I drank some drinks, bullshitted with my new friends until the wee hours, played with Mexican children (who were thrilled that the gringo was chasing them about) and fell in the pool on several different occasions. Good times.
Next day was Sunday, which is considered a day of rest in Mexico. We lounged about, ate food, and went to see 2012 in Spanish. Good thing it´s a visual movie.
That leaves today. When I woke up, I decided to go explore the city on my own. After walking for only a block, I stopped to bum a smoke (Me regales un cigaro, por favour) from a gaggle of Mexicans. They seemed tickled pink (or brown) that I was clearly a foreigner, and wasted no time asking a million questions. I hung with them for awhile, and one of them said that he worked at the tortilla factory just across the road, and that I should come over and meet his other friends. That´s another thing I love about Mexico. Fuck what the media says, our neighbor to the south is 90% really nice and friendly people.
So I meet his friends, and they waste no time asking me if I like the ladies in Mexico. I tell them fuck yeah I do, because I think Latinas are smokin´. So they proceed to spend the next hour trying to hook me up with one of the girls there (much to her embarrassment.)
The tortilla guys crunch caffeine pills like candy. My friend tells me it´s better than cocaine. I disagree. They offer me one or five, and, as usual, feeling it impolite to refuse, I eat all those motherfuckers. Then they ask me if I would like to participate in the creation of tortillas. As I´m game for just about anything, I tell them I´d love to.
They show me how it works. There´s a big machine that grinds the corn up into dough, and another big machine that you pack the dough into that flattens it out into tortillas.
My friend tells me that the machine can make eighty kilograms of tortillas an hour, or about 1,600 tortillas. Damn.
I worked in all areas, from corn-grinding to tortilla-flattening.
That´s what I spent my day doing. Making the staple for thousands of hungary locals all around town. Tomorrow, who knows. On Wednesday, me and Manuel are headed to Mexico City for three days, to see the sights and clubs of the largest city in the world. After we arrive back in Leon, it´ll be time for me to hit the road, which is good because I can feel myself getting antsy from staying in one place for so long.
Another post will follow detailing my experiences in Mexico, D.F. before my departure to the south. Look for it on Sunday.
Over and out, my friends…
The Modern Nomad