Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fun In Morelia

We went to Morelia yesterday in order to take Catalina to a doctor's appointment and our guest, Rosa, of http://www.casadelarosa.info/ guesthouse back to her place, visit one of my doctors to get a prescrip filled (as our Pátzcuaro doctor was on vacation), and do some heavy grocery shopping.

As many of you know, Morelia is located in a valley or a broad plain some 1000 feet lower than Pátzcuaro. There is a distinct warming up when you drive down the slopes into Morelia. It's a welcome warmth in the wintertime, but can get uncomfortable in the spring before the rains have begun.
This part of the year, the end of the dry winter season, is characterized by dry heat, smokey haze and a lot of pollen.
Morelia is a medium sized city, and the narrow Spanish Colonial streets of the historic center were not intended for automobile traffic. Not all the city is, of course, Colonial, but it is often congested, particularly the commercial steet, Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas.

Coming in to the hospital where Catalina's doctor's office is located wasn't bad.
But when we took Rosa back to her casitas, we became ensnarled in difficult traffic, in fact, we had our main route, Avenida Madero, cut of by chanting demonstrators on the march. We were detoured by cops (the wrong way, of course) and doubled back, seeking an open route to cross Ave. Madero before the marchers intersected our path again.
After missing a likely spot due to our inattention, we found a street headed the right way, incredibly jammed with cars.
At that moment, an ambulance came up in the queue behind us, sirens wailing. Fortunately, a traffic cop at the intersection of Madero took heed, and let our line of cars across the Avenue so the the ambulance could get through.
The marchers were maybe 100 yards from us as we just barely slipped into our escape route.

While the street plan or layout of Morelia is not difficult to suss out, knowing which streets are one way or which intersections allow a left turn is not easy. But eventually we got Rosa back to her house, but not before a car equipped with a mega blockbuster boom box, pulled up behind us and gave us a free, full bass and vibe serenade of the latest Mexican rocanrol.

Then Susan and I had to navigate a new route back to the hospital where Catalina was waiting. After several tries and one inquiry, we got it right. Fortunately, my doctor's office was not far away, and there was even—get this!—parking spots close by.
I waited maybe 35 or 45 minutes, no AC, (I didn't actually have an appointment) and then I was admitted to his consultorio. we chatted a few minutes, he filled out the prescrip, and charged me nothing (You gotta love the Mexican doctors, for the most part). I made an appointment to return in June, and the receptionist started to write the appointment on the back of the prescrip!! I stopped her, as these documents are taken very seriously at some farmacias, and any alterations or annotations are a very bad idea.

I walked around the corner to fill my prescrip without delay. It was one of those nice, air conditioned Farmacia Guadalajaras where they bake off fresh cookies and pan dulces (although, in this store, the pan dulces were burnt.)
After a brief wait, I got my medicine.

After all this exertion, we needed a treat. We drove a relatively short distance to Mariscos Los Delfines, on Ave. Lázaro Cárdenas, but parked about 5 blocks away, as there was a free spot on the "right" side. We all had seafood coctails of various combinations and then some tostadas de marlín. It's a smoked marlin spread, cooked with tomato and spices. It's especially good at Los Delfines. It's just an open air stand, but one of the more enjoyable seafood spots around. The family that runs it, and the in-laws that run the adjacent parking garage, are warm, friendly people.

We then drove to our super market destination on the outskirts of the city, fortunately on the route to Pátzcuaro, where we loaded up on cheese, wine and other stuff, before heading home. There was a welcome drop in temperature as we drove less than 10 miles from Morelia. When we got home, at 4:30, to the house, it was pleasant outside on the patio, and cool indoors. We could relax in the tranquility of our temporary casa., enjoying the breeze from the freight trains hurrying by.

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