Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer 2007 Car Trip - 21

If there is a room in Hell reserved for people who try to find a decent hotel room on a budget while travelling, I think we were in it in Morelia. Every hotel that we went to within our budget range was full! We finally learned that there was a marathon being run the next day here. Thus almost all rooms were booked. It was a frustration experience, to say the least.

We finally ended up at this hotel, Hotel Plaza Morelia. (8)

And believe me, the one night we spent there was indeed a night from Hell. Our room had two windows, none of which looked outside. One opened into an air shaft and the other looked down to the lobby. The hotel was full of Mexican tourists and they were loud. And rude. And thoughtless. They partied in the hallways all night long, running from floor to floor, knocking on doors, shouting between floors to each other and leaving their mess everywhere. And I'm talking about adults, not kids on Spring Break or something. There was absolutely no consideration for anybody else staying here.

We complained about midnight to the front desk. The clerk just shrugged his shoulders and said they paid for their room. We were left to our own devices....which weren't many. L kept alternately opening the door and yelling for them to be respectful or just yelling SHUT UP! in Spanish into the air shaft. Needless to say, after a long, hard day's drive, we did not get much rest.

The next morning our first priority, after breakfast, was to find a new room. If we couldn't find one, we had decided to just move on. Luckily, we did manage to secure another room at the Hotel Concordia (14). So on to visiting Morelia!

Without a doubt, Morelia is one of Mexico's shining stars. This beautifully preserved colonial city, founded in 1541, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. And deservedly so. I mean, take a look at it's cathedral.

It is centrally located downtown, right next to the main town plaza. Which means lots of people visit it. Unfortunately, the interior was closed to the public the day we visited.

It is also beautiful by night.

We did a walking tour of the city, following the directions from a handout given to us at the second hotel. It was very well laid out and informative. But exhausting!

At one of the buildings, which was hosting a corn festival, I found this intriguing statue. Maybe more at home in Guanajuato where Cervantes is celebrated as a hero.

Interesting from afar, but even more so from up close. That's when you get the full impact of the fact that this piece is made up entirely of spare vehicle parts!

It was while on this walking tour that I saw the dirtiest person I have ever seen in my life. A young man, possible in his 30's, was sitting in a doorway. Obviously homeless but not begging. He kept his head down as I passed and never looked up at me. He was not dressed as one normally thinks of as being dressed. He had wrapped himself totally in rags. Like a dirty mummy. Except he did not have enough rags to cover his whole body. His feet stuck out into the sidewalk and they were black from years of encrusted dirt. His face, hands and exposed body parts all looked the same. But the most incredible thing about him was the stench that lingered everywhere around him. It smelt like a slaughterhouse. I was both repulsed and fascinated. I would have loved to known his story, what brought him to this condition.

Tour over, we returned to the long row of covered restaurants across from the square, had a nice lunch at a sidewalk table and headed back to our new room for a much needed siesta!

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