A taste of Toluca

Last week Captain Andy and I were having coffee on the square when we saw a young couple walking around. They looked like American/Canadian/European tourists and we were somewhat surprised to see them because non-Mexican tourists are few and far between in these parts. In fact, we can go for days and days without seeing gringos or gringas. This twenty something couple asked us where they should eat and after they had eaten, they stopped by our table to tell us they had enjoyed our restaurant recommendation.

Conversation ensued and we found out that they are currently on a world tour! They had saved money for an entire year and then they carefully budgeted their money to allow them to travel on a world adventure.  I started asking them about their planning and they shared a bunch of cool travel stories with us. After they left, I looked up their blog and I just could not believe how much they were moving around! I realize that “20 something” is a lot different from “50 something” but reading their highly ambitious travel schedule left me exhausted.  One thing Andy and I are both starting to realize is that we really prefer slow travel over speedy travel. We can’t imagine moving from place to place for more than four or five weeks at a time. We just get too burned out and while we love to see new places, we also like to have our own kitchen and not living out of suitcases. But this couple was on a mission to see it all and see it fast.

This past weekend we went to Toluca in Central Mexico for a quick overnight jaunt. Andy had been there once before without me and really wanted me to see it.  It was a fun last minute adventure having decided to go just  the night before. We found out that there was a bus leaving for Toluca every hour from Morelia. We booked a $50 a night hotel on-line and off we went. We boarded a first class bus and 3.5 hours later we arrived. We visited the botanical garden (stunning stained glass was everywhere), hung out in a coffee shop, (I had a virtual reading date with a friend), went to the professional soccer game, (Toluca won), and ate dinner in a vegetarian restaurant. On Sunday morning we had brunch, and then boarded the bus to return home. I really liked Toluca. It had a nice historical district, a lot of modern stores, and it was very vibrant.  I would enjoy visiting again. The botantical garden was definately the highlight.

Besides the fun we had in Toluca, this past week was fun in other ways.  The international Morelia guitar festival was in town so we saw a lot of great guitar music and got to see the Michoacan symphony perform – all for free!  The amount of culture activities here is crazy.  Theater events, musical concerts, fireworks. It never ends. Soon the international film festival is going to start, (not free) and I know we’ll be able to see a lot of cool films. Day of the Dead festivities will follow. Before you know it, we’ll be back in Zihuatanejo!

We think we’re going to have to visit the U.S. sometime in the next six weeks. Andy has to get some chest x-rays and I’m due for a mammogram. Plus, we’ll need to restart our tourist visa…sooner is better than later because we don’t want to have to leave Zihuatanejo when the weather is so lovely in January. Our tourist visas will expire in January (we are only allowed 180 days) so it’s probably better to leave now and re-set the 180 day clock. Then we will leave again after our juant in Zihuatenjo is up in March. We actually are just finalizing our plans post Zihuatanejo. No announcment yet, but I can disclose the plans will involve 1) Travel outside of Mexico  2) Baseball watching  3) A big lifestyle change!

We think our trip to the U.S. will be a quick. Our tentative plan is to fly from Morelia to Tijuana, walk across the border via the pedestrian bridge, and then go to Kaiser in San Diego for medical tests. Then we will fly right back to Morelia via Tijuana.  Not sure if this plan will work, but research will commence shortly.

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Is my glass half-empty?

I’m sick. I have a really bad cold and I’m in a foul mood. The glass isn’t half full at this moment in time.  For the past week, I’ve been dealing with a nasty cold, and I’m run down. Our week has been spent pounding the pavement looking for a nice place to live for our final 6 weeks in Morelia, Mexico and house hunting/apartment hunting has proved to be somewhat difficult. We’ve seen a lot of properties, but none of them have been in the right location for us. We really want to stay as close to the main square as possible since we don’t have a car. Public transportation in Morelia is easy, cheap and great, but traffic is a nightmare so sitting in cabs or on mini-vans is not something we love to do.

Please don’t get me wrong, this nomadic life is fantastic.  It’s always an adventure and generally I love it, until I don’t.  While our  current rental, three blocks from the square in the historic district of Morelia is phenomenal,  we can’t stay here past October 15.  The owner is returning so we have to find a new place to live. We thought about leaving to explore another part of Mexico, but we’re not ready to leave. There is so much fun stuff happening here, we want to stay. But I must say, looking for constant housing is no fun.

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Then there’s Zihuatanejo…we left in the spring having signed a four month lease with a man who is building two brand new one-bedroom apartments. The one bedrooms are tiny, tiny, tiny, so we rented both apartments side-by-side figuring we’d have a place for company to stay when they visit and we’d have more space in general to store our stuff. Plus, Andy could hangout in one and I could hangout in the other 🙂

We figured we’d sleep in one apartment, and use the other space to primarily live in. Now when I write about our plan it sounds ridiculous, but as much as we tried, we could not find a nice two-bedroom in our price range in Zihuatenejo for four months, so this seemed like a good plan. Well, the owner of the house where the apartments are being built, (a fantastic guy) decided to build two more apartments (we just found out) and the design of the two new units took away our two front patios. Goodbye outdoor living.  In addition to the patio issue, now we’re going to have potentially two sets of loud neighbors to deal with.  It’s not what we signed up for. We thought we’d be the only people living there.  We did contact the owner, and  we may be able to switch to the two front apartments (they will have a patio) or perhaps occupy one in the back, one in the front, but it’s still stressful  and we may have to go to Zihuatanejo (4 hours from here) to see what we want to do. Not fun by any means.

But back to Morelia. We did finally succeed in getting a really nice, fully furnished house starting October 15,  but it’s about $300 more a month than we are paying now and we have to move out for four nights right in the middle of our rental and let other people stay there for Day of the Dead.  Argh!  Luckily, we can keep our stuff at the apartment and only take a small bag to the other space for these 3-4 nights. The owner of the house has promised us our stuff will be fine since the people coming for Day of the Dead are close friends of hers.

As I understand it,  October and November are high season n Morelia so things can be costly. There’s a huge International film festival, a music festival and Day of the Dead. All the hotels are jam-packed and sold out. I think we were pretty lucky to find this house for 6 weeks.

You can find photos of it here:

http://www.furnishedapartmentmorelia.com/casasanjuan

So my glass is only half-full and I’ve got a bad cold.

But tonight we’re having visitors for the weekend and we’re hosting people for Rosh Hashanah dinner on Sunday night.  I think my glass will be fully full soon.

 

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