Mexico 51, 27th June 2004

I'd given the guardian a beer last night, he seemed to appreciate it, so before I left I propped another by his office door.

I forgot to mention, I dropped by Zitacuaro yesterday in the pouring rain. As well as wanting to investigate the church and the plaza I mainly looking for something to replace the drive belt for my vacuum cleaner which had broken. The vacuum cleaner, a gift from Danny Campbell in Des Moines, Iowa, has been really useful, but it's no good without a drive belt and you can't get the belts in Mexico, I've already found that out. (Danny - you should have given me a spare belt!) I didn't stop in the plaza but I did see a repair station for my brand of computer. If you stay here 2 days the repairman says, we can get the bit to fix the hinge on your computer, we don't normally do laptop repairs. When I said I'm not here that long, he said OK, in Morelia they do laptop repairs there and they will fix it.

I stopped in Tuxpan, friendly little place. No luck with the drive belt, but one place I asked was a radio repair spot. I've been having minor problems with my car CD player, it's full of dust. The man blew the dust out and refused payment since he couldn't get the radio out of the dashboard and do a proper repair. I take a daily tablet for a minor prostrate problem, I'm running out of tablets and haven't been able to find a substitute. I did here, and at a fraction of the price I expected to pay. Internet worked fine too. So did the phone to Acer in Mexico city to find the address of the computer repair shop in Morelia. Funny how you get to like some places!

I crossed to Morelia by the Mil Cumbres road (1000 peaks), it was bit hazy but a good trip.

Lots of views like this.

First call in Morelia was the computer repair shop. Sure she says, no problem, we can do that. It needs a new screen she says. She looks at my papers and says it's still under guarantee. I thought it was 1 year guarantee but seems it's 2 years. That's good. We need photocopies of invoices etc she says, so I go to the photocopy shop. Just by the way, everywhere in Mexico is full of copy shops. Few people have their own copier, you go to the copy shop. It's not expensive, just different. I get back, we fill in all the forms with my name, address etc. OK she says, it will take about 30 days. 30 days? Yes she says, it has to go to Mexico City...............

So the hinge didn't get fixed.

Apparently people have boondocked at Wal-Mart here, so after shopping there I did the same. Up bright and early in the morning so I found a parking spot near the plaza. I meandered about, bought a set of 6 classical CD's from Sanborns. Mr Sanborn is the richest man in Central America apparently, but the price of my CD's, 280 pesos the set, was OK. The cathedral is nice.

I took a trip round the town on the tourist bus. If you look carefully you can see a tourist bus in the 1st picture above. It's behind the middle car. Whilst looking carefully, can you also see a pigeon and a police pickup? I meandered though more shops, I sat on the plaza, I watched small boys (successfully) trying to catch pigeons. A gentle, nice, day.

Everyone says the cathedral is especially nice at night. It was raining so I took my umbrella.

There were people sleeping under the arches round the plaza. Hey, I've found out why all the plazas are surrounded by buildings with arches over the pedestrian ways. The Spanish king Phillipe II decreed that it should be so, to give shelter to the various market sellers who always gathered around the plaza. Central plazas are always beautiful, in all the towns.

I was intrigued by one small group sleeping out under the arches. Young people, they didn't appear to be down and outs, they had seemingly good quality blankets. Mexican backpackers maybe, run out of money? I caught one girl's eye, she seemed embarrassed, almost hunted, she didn't have the look of a peasant. I'll never know the reason they were there.

The peasants, the people without money, who walk everywhere, huge distances, mostly Indians, the indigenous peoples, they are a proud people, they look at you without flinching, they are not ashamed to be caught looking at you.

With the rain and everything I didn't feel like moving so I just stayed where I was, on a street near the plaza.

In the morning I sat on the plaza for a while, wasted time on the internet - I had to go back to pick up my notebook that I'd left there last night. Bought another fruit thing, I've forgotten the name, full of different fruits chopped small with all sort of bits and pieces of powders and sauces added from jars and bottles, topped up with fresh squeezed orange juice. Delicious! I picked up a couple of things at Wal-Mart and carried on to Quiroga where there is a camp site. I don't know where the day went. I did waste a lot of time tracking down a drive belt for the vacuum cleaner, trying all sorts of shops and suppliers. I managed to buy on "O" ring gasket seal of the right size and it works. I drove through Quiroga and stopped by a nice view and it came on to rain so I've stayed here, on a road junction. I've noticed police driving by from time to time.

Best regards

David Barker

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