I have a cold. I don’t know how to convey that properly simply by writing and I don’t want to make everything look like it was written by a Scouser typing phonetically, but rest assured, I sound somewhat silly right now. After spending some four months in the jungle, on beaches and in tropical climates, getting blasted by the cooled air of the Copper Canyon has positively destroyed my vocal chords. Then again, it may be the fact that I took a 23 hour bus ride from Morelia, Michuacan, all the way to Chihuahua only to wait seven arse-destroyingly uncomfortable hours in the bus terminal waiting for a 05:00 bus to Creel, sleeping very little and not having any hot food other than a pizza that burned my mouth to pieces on the way. I arrived exhausted. But happy.
Morelia, The Undiscovered Gem
Mexico is celebrating 200 years of independence this year. Technically, it’s only been 193 since Spain
cut it off, but they’re rightly celebrating from the time independence was declared rather than when it was actually given by the higher powers. Their celebrating on their own terms. Good idea. Well, 200 years later and the Spanish have left them more than just a history of excessive cruelty and rights of access to resources that they already took. They’ve left behind some of the most shamelessly beautiful and ornate little cities dotted around the country with displays of wondrous architecture and mathematical and technological superiority for the Mexicans who stayed behind to enjoy. How kind of them.
Morelia is one such wonder. I hadn’t heard of it until about five hours before I d
ecided to go there and I’d be shocked if you have, too. It’s a hidden masterpiece of colonial design. From its wonderful baroque cathedrals to its awe-inspiring palaces, I rather rapidly ran out of exaggerated, non-generic phrases to describe its beauty. It really pushed my vocabulary of positive adjectives, for it is so pretty, so consistently pleasant on the eyes, that I simply had to shut up after a while for my companion, a very enjoyable Israeli with a somewhat darker sense of humour than I, was getting irritated with my constant exclamations of enjoyment.
The food was delicious. Aside from the usual selection of good soups, meats and that sort of thing, Morelia had a few places that made what they called “Gaspacho”, but we would probably call a fruit cocktail. Mango, banana, watermelon, melon, papaya and a variety of other fruits all sliced up into tiny cubes, jammed into a 750ml cup and topped with a generous amount of chilli powder and coconut shavings. It’s a full meal for 22 pesos -or about £1 or €1.20 – a marvellous deal.