Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 9. La Tzararacua y Guanajuato

We figured that the best part of the morning would be taken with thetrip from Uruapan to Guanajuato, but eager to extract the most of thetrip decided to make a short detour to visit the waterfall of LaTazararacua, about 10 km south of Uruapan. It turns out that this partof Michoacan has very steep topography, and the Tzararacua is at thebottom of a very, very deep canyon, so of course there were many, manysteps to get down.

Once we got down, however, we were thunderstruck by the beauty of theplace. The Rio Cupatitizio forms the bulk of the waterfall in terms ofdischarge (and it has been raining a lot lately), but what is reallyunique is that the cliff has “exposed” the water table near thecontact of two lava flows, so the whole water is springing along thewhole wall, creating a curtain of falling water. (I have seen the samephenomenon only once before, at the Burney-MacArthur Falls in NorthernCalifornia).

La Chiva Loca (aka as Mayita) decided to jump on a zip line thatrushes down the roiling waters. If her mother could see where herdaughter has been not only would she not be able to sleep at night,but she would also stop talking to me! Maya’s lead was followed byRaul, who was beaming with excitement after the swift ride. Alas,Georgina and I thought that they were nuts and remained with our feetplanted firmly on the ground.

The ride to Guanajuato was swift, along excellent toll roads, exceptfor the crossing through Morelia, which had a lot of traffic. We gotto Guanajuato sometime around 4 pm, so after dropping our things atthe hotel made a beeline for downtown, where we had a delicious dinnerunder the shade of the trees of the Parque Union. Later we took astroll around the callejones (very narrow footpaths in between housesand buildings that seemed to have been tossed helter skelter on thesteep slopes of the canyon where Guanajuato was built) to see theCathedral and the University.

Guanajuato was one of the earliest silver mining districts developedby the Spaniards in the sixteenth century, so it retains a very strongSpanish flavor. I believe it is my favorite Mexican city, full ofcreepy legends and romantic traditions. One of these traditions wasestablished by students in the seventeenth century. A Tuna, or studentmusic group, would go singing to the streets to earn a little moneysinging in plazas, or they would bring serenades to the girlfriends offellow students for a few coins. From there to flirting with everypretty girl in town was but a step, and now they adorn their 17thcentury garb with capes with ribbons of many colors, each given by agirl who showed some favor to the young man.

Naturally we wanted Maya to see this old tradition, so we joined aTuna as it ambled through the city, “callejoneando” until quite lateat night. They did a good deal of songs, and Georgina and Raul joinedin every one of them. Wow, they seem to know all songs ever written!It was a very romantic stroll through the town!

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