Thursday, September 08, 2011

Purepecha - it's fun to say

Did you know there's a show tonight?  Actually, a couple of shows: one in Davis (Buk BUk Bigups) and one in Sac, at Luigi's (Devon Williams and English Singles)

More stuff about my trip to Michoacan (if you care to look) after the jump mom and I took an all-day tour to the Lake Patzacuaro region, but since it's a low season for tourism in Michoacan, we were the only people on the tour! This was both uncomfortably intimate and kind of bad-ass.  Our tour guide was an American dude who moved to Mexico 30 years ago.  In addition to Quiroga, the world-capital of carnitas, we went to Tzintzuntzan (which is a native word for "place of the hummingbirds")
 There's a 17th century monastery in the town, which is planted with very old olive trees.

 It was abandoned for a couple of hundred years, but parts have been restored.
The native peoples of the area, the Purepecha (also sometimes called Tarasco, although they prefer Purepecha), had built massive pyramids, and when the monks arrived, they disassembled the pyramids and built churches with them!  Bastards!

 This church is also pretty awesome, in that creepy Catholic way
 Here are the two thieves that got strung up with Christ.

Our guide said that this painting is the oldest in Mexico, it was actually brought over from the Canary Islands and dates to 1488.

 Here's the guide.

 On the grounds of the monastery, there's a workshop of a guy who makes ceramics.  His stuff is really expensive but I was able to get a slightly damaged vase for cheap.
 He uses pre-Spanish techniques for all his pieces.

 After we were done with the monastery, the guide asked if we wanted to see they pyramids, which are not part of the standard tour.  I said fuck yes.

 Here's some archeology in action for you archelogists out there.  This was a part that's being excavated that they think was either a burial ground or a human sacrifice spot.  There were little pieces of bone everywhere.  The guide urged us to pick some up and take it home but I don't want to get cursed.

 The pyramids consist of five huge stone platforms which are themselves situated on an immense man-made plane that may have even been made by an earlier tribe than the Purepechas.  It's pretty mysterious, there's more info here.

 There are petroglyphs (not sure if I'm using that word right) carved on lots of the blocks.

 There are islands in the middle of Lake Patzacuaro that are inhabited.  The most famous (and touristy) one is Janitzio, which is home to 4000 Purepechas.  You have to take a ferry boat, which takes about 30 minutes.  We had time to kill while the ferry filled up, so we ate at this lady's restaurant.  One of the specialties of this region are these teeny little fish which are deep fried.
 That's a pile of the fish in the foreground.  Pretty good despite being culled from a sewage-filled lake.

 This guy at the ferry station has pretty great style.  Click on the photo to see how he matched his pants to his grey Cons.

 This is the ferry, this lady is cross-stitching a traditional skirt.

 Here's the island of Janitzio.  You walk up a bunch of steps to a 30s-era statue of Morelos.

 This guy at the top made me a delicious Vampiro (Squirt, tequila, lime, sangrita, chili and salt)

 Here's the statue.  I have never visited a place in which a person is more revered than Morelos is in the state of Michoacan.  You cannot shake a stick without coming upon some tribute to Morelos.
 You can go inside the statue and there are tons of neat (neat? I sound like an idiot) murals about the life of Morelos.  Read about him here.

 Here he is being executed by a firing squad.
Can anyone translate this?  I love the font.
 Our last stop (it was a looooooong day with lots of small talk) was in the town of Patzacuaro.  I wish we had had more time there . I would like to have spent the night.  I got some more of the famous ice cream.  This is a double scoop, peanut and mamey.  The peanut was dynamite!

 Picturesque Spanish house in Patzacuaro that is now a craft market/Purepecha language school

Ha ha! That's not all! I'll post the last pics tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Membrillo ice cream!! I think I'm gonna try to make that.

Anonymous said...

What time does that Luigi's show start?


beckler said...

supposedly 8. english singles might play first.

Anonymous said...

There's no way it starts at 8:00.


Anonymous said...

Ok....When does it start?


Anonymous said...

It means something like "Oh, that my death should show victory to the downtrodden." You know, typical liberal bullshit.


Anonymous said...

My guess is closer to 9:00. But who knows?


Anonymous said...

Your trip looks awesome. Sometime I'm going to have to make you take me with you. I have no idea where to go in Mexico on my own, and the only time I tried it, we got accosted by federales and then the revenge hit me hard (forgot about ice cubes!)

Anonymous said...

Great photos! I've heard that the Lake Patzacuaro region is a pretty amazing place to witness Dia de los Muertos, so always been curious.

Anonymous said...

I am reading "Under the Volcano" by Malcolm Lowry. I hope to visit the area that he sets the book in around next Christmas.Man,those pics are hella cool!! That is exactly what I would love to see next time!!! Muy Excellente!!

beckler said...

which volcano is it under? the one near uruapan? i tried to make it out there but didn't have enough time. i've read about the malcolm lowry guy a bit, seems like he was a real mess. that reminds me, i saw a lady in mexico wearing a shirt that said "hot mess" and i was pretty sure she didn't understand the idiom.

D. said...

Patzcuaro is one of my favorite places in the world! Did you feel safe there with everything happening these days?

beckler said...

I did, in Morelia for sure, but when we were in the cab from the bus station in Uruapan, the cabdriver wouldn't take us to any of the hotels we wanted to stay at because all three of the hotels on the main square were filled with federales, which meant that there were dudes with machine guns hanging out at the entrances to all the hotels. That was creepy. I only saw the federales all suited up with the black masks once. But other than that, if was fine. Nothing sketchy at all, no sketchy dudes.

Anonymous said...

Cuernavaca is where "under the volcano" is set. So the state of Morelos.