Hola to my new blog readers. Welcome! I’m honored to have picked up a lot of new readers due to the article that recently appeared in Next Avenue. I hope this blog keeps you entertained AND inspires you to live your dreams, whatever they might be. Some of you newbies have tried to friend me on Facebook. As a rule, I don’t friend people who I haven’t met face-to-face, or at least had a few on-line chats with. If I haven’t replied to your friend request, please take no offense. Once our paths cross we’ll become besties. I’m still honored you signed up to read the blog. If you are a bit behind in reading about our adventures, feel free to start here.
The isolation of Zihuatanejo
One of the biggest problems living in Zihuatanejo is that it’s fairly isolated. It’s beautiful and mesmerizing, but it’s also far away from other cool places in Mexico. Zihuatanejo dangles other parts of Mexico just in front of you, and then pulls back with days trips that are just far enough away to be out of the running. Acapulco is five hours away, Mexico City nine, and Morelia and Patzcauro are three and four hours. All great places, but not exactly a hop, skip or a jump.
While we’re not restless or bored of Zihuatanejo, it’s time to hit the open road. We’re one month into our six month rental, and it’s time for a jaunt. Me and mi amore and my mom are moseying on down to Patzcuaro this coming Sunday to partake in some Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) activities. I’ve wanted to participate in Day of the Dead festivities for a long time, and we originally thought that we would attend events in Oaxaca. But many people told us that Patzcuaro has one of the largest and most authentic celebrations in all of Mexico, so we made reservations when we were living there in July. We’ll be in Patzcuaro for four nights with 100,000 of our new best friends.
The Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, is a festival celebrating the reunion of dead relatives with their families. This year it will be celebrated on Nov 1-2.
Customs dictate that during Day of the Dead, people’s spirits come back to visit for one day and night. Why not honor them with a happy celebration instead of mourning them? To honor them, families build beautiful and colorful altars. The altars have flowers, photos, trinkets and even a favorite food of the dead. Families visit their graves, light candles and celebrate with stories and food. It’s a festive, famliy-oriented celebration based on indigenous practice dating back some 3,000 years.
Our plan is to arrive in Patzcuaro two days before activities gear up, hang out in the main square and watch the tourists descend upon the town. We’ll be staying at the same casita we stayed at during our stay in July. My mom will stay at a nice hotel one block from where we’re bunking.
During the days leading up to the celebration, we’ll visit some of the many indigenous towns dotting Lake Patzcuaro, including Capula. All of these towns specialize in producing their own handicrafts, including black pottery, embroidered clothing, catrinas (skeleton sculptures) and my mom’s favorite Carnitas, piles and piles of braised pork Quiroga is the carnita capital of Central Mexico.
On November 1, we’ve signed up for a Night of the Dead tour with a local tour company.
We’ll leave Patzcuaro at 9:00 PM and go to a nearby town for a late dinner, watch some traditional dancing and then we’ll visit two cemeteries, respectfully visiting the altars of the dead and interacting with those who are commemorating the lives of their departed loved ones. I promise to post tons and tons of pictures of the awesome handicrafts, food and of the alters ( if the families permit). We’re supposed to get back to Patzcuaro around 2:30 AM–well past our bedtimes, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a really important, spiritually-based, indigenous Mexican tradition up close and personal. I’m really looking forward to experiencing this with them.
Here’s a cool video if you want to learn more about this incredible family rememberence day.