Subject: Mexico on the cheap! Part 2
Hi Ziners,

More from my son-in-law, Peter.

Guanajuato I arrived in Guanajuato yesterday evening after an almost 24 hour bus ride from the Copper Canyon. The bus ride from Batopillias in the canyon to Creel took longer than expected - I guess that the bus moves slower uphill than it does down. Also regular drivers tend to take the roads faster than the tour bus which we caught a ride back on. Having missed both trains (1st and tourist class) in Creel I decided to take the evening bus to Chihuhuaha and from there south.

Guanajuato has a series of underground tunnels which crisscross cross the city, driving through them on my 2.5 peso city bus (a converted school bus) was very bumpy as all the streets are cobblestone. I found a room at a hotel near the central market (very pricey at $220 pesos / night) but it was late at night and my map, not terribly good. However, the shower was good and hot, and I slept well after my bus ride.

Guanajuato Hotels seem very expensive in this city so I'm lucky that Jas and Jan (ex-neighbours of my in-laws) have been kind enough to put me up in a spare room at their apartment. Guanajuato is a city in a valley, and their apartment is up a fair bit higher than the centro. Accordingly the views from their rooftop viewing area are spectacular.

I visited the museum of the mummies this afternoon - the local cemetery ran out of space and those families unwilling or able to pay the new tax had their relatives exhumed. It wasn#t all that disturbing until I came to the room full of mummified children and babies. I elected not to pay the 8 pesos to get into the second section of the museum where the mummies are dressed in all sorts of costumes (Dracula, a ballroom gown, etc.) Outside, I couldn't resist buying a replica of one of the mummies made out of sugar. The candy cracked on the bus ride home, though (the bus driver took off rather suddenly, and my shopping bag came between me and the seat) so I don't know if it will survive all the way back to Canada.

Jas told me that many of Guanajuato's network of underground tunnels were formerly mining tunnels, expanded to fit automobiles. They definitely ease traffic congestion (but makes it very hard to know where you're going if taking public transit - I have been caught twice going too far and had to wait for the bus to make its return trip above ground.)

There are many vendors on the street here. I walked by many bakeries and pastry shops and had my mouth water. Jas has since told me that the French influence in the city does not extend to the pastry making, and that most are made with oil and not butter. I have very much been enjoying the food down here. In the north, my diet consisted mostly of meat and beans, but I am now feasting on large amounts of fruit. I went on a trip to the supermarket this morning.

Things there are much more expensive than at the market - with prices comparable to Canada.

I am heading out tomorrow towards Morelia and Zitacuaro to see the monarch butterflies which migrate there every winter from Canada. From there I will take a bus through Toluca and then to Cuernavaca to visit Kate, an acquaintance of Meredith and mine. Im not sure what it is that she does in Cuernavaca (whether or not she is a student, or English teacher) but Im sure I'll find out soon enough. I've decided to leave Mexico City to another trip with Meredith because a day or two would not do justice. Im running short on time given that I want to see Oaxaca and the ruins of Palenque before heading out to the Yucatan.

I picked up a pineapple and papaya last night and we had it for breakfast this morning along with coffee! Jan made drip coffee this morning with Oaxacan coffee beans which are easily available here. Also available are a large variety of Cuban products such as coffee beans, as well as Cuban rum. I never thought of Mexico and Cuba being trading partners, but I guess it makes quite a bit of sense.

Im off to lunch. I think Im going to try a carnita (chopped bbq pork) torta (sandwich) from the market. Hope everything is well back home.

Sent by Frances West Toronto, Canada