Zacatecas, Zacatecas - Thank Heavens for Zacatecas (week two)

Sunday August 10
We awoke early in our wonderful hotel accommodations. It was a joy getting ready this morning in a real room. I then went and took pictures of aguava plants in the hotel garden. We took the Teleferico over to LaBufa.

At La Bufa we wondered around the grounds, took in the museum which was about the battle (1914) or revolution here at Zacatecus. We looked at the old church (1700's), etc.

We were by that time a bit peckish and ate at a clean looking restaurant vender. I had a potato taco and Ken had what he described as a great hamburger. We walked down the La Bufa hill on the wide, cobblestone walkway. It has big crosses every once in a while, Ken says they represent the stations of the cross.

We walked towards the centre of town and luckily for Ken ended up near the bakery. I got to pet the pooch I like so much. I found out he is really a "she" cute for a mutt. She could tell I liked her.

We went on to the Museo Francisco Goitia a famed artist. The art of Pedro and Raphel Cornell were also on display. We weren't allowed to take pictures on the first floor where all the really good art was. We took a siesta in the colorful garden.

Then we walked across town to Mina El Eden to make some tourist type purchases.

Then back walking again to another part of town to the mask museum. This was a oops, because I wanted to buy a t-shirt at a different museum. By this time of day and with hours of walking we were both exhausted and were just plowing through, not many thought processes working. Ken did take me to the museum of abstract art to get my t-shirt.

Continuing on even though we were really exhausted we walked to La Casona de La Abue (which we nick named "rice and beans") for beer then to another area for supper at Los Dorados De Villa. At the end of this extreme walk about day we walked up the hill from Centro to the hotel. I fell asleep watching TV.

Saturday August 9
I"d had it with the rain and camping! We are moving into the hotel. The bell boy carts almost all of our belongings into the hotel room, Rubbermaid boxes, food and all. We went into the business center of the Hotel, hung out there and ate breakfast there. Once the room was made up we went and got ready to go out. It was so nice to have a room and a bathroom attached to it. I felt like a queen being able to sit on the bed in comfort. This was the latest we went down the hill. We went to "no soup for you" _ Los Dorados De Villa. This restaurant has budgies in the waiting room for the bathroom. It is a tall three story vertical tunnel with old branches, some windows and birdhouses – a budgies dream set up
We hung out in Alameda Park for a while then finished walking to mina El Eden. You go underground so you have to dress for the experience. You are given a hard hat with a hair net like thing. The hair net is to keep you from getting lice (yeah, right). You were taken in a small pediatrician train to a main area. Lots of vignettes of miners,a santo to children, etc. There is an underground area that is converted into a disco by night, looked interesting.

Ken, of course, had to go against the rules and had us leave our group to find a different exit near our hotel. We walked quite a ways and a worker told us we had to go back. I personally was glad to get out from the tunnels and be in the fresh air.

Friday August 8
We had a really lazy, yucky day. To start the day off right it was too cold to eat out in the hotel garden so our other option was eating in the van. Keep in mind the van has all the blinds up on the windows including the front sun screens (what sun you ask on this cloudy day– the sun we usually have). Then neither of us wanted to go to the lobby and blog, etc. We get good wifi in the van so stayed in the van. I got lots of typing done and a bit of painting. No sign of the parts but the tracking on website shows the package cleared Customs and was in San Luis Potosi last night, not far from us, maybe today is our lucky day. Here is not a bad spot, great food, good people, but we both want to go on and put the repair behind us.

In getting ready to go, Ken thought to start the van and charge the battery again. This time a no go, we needed a boost. The staff at the hotel don't have cables so as it turns out one of the hotels managers was having his car repaired and a mechanic was already coming. Turns out this was the case and about a half an hour later two guys showed up and were working on the bosses VW. After the boost Ken spoke to the older guy who identified himself as a teller mechanico. Ken was able to explain the repair required for the van and asked how much for the repair. It turns out the mechanic only wants us to buy him an air filter housing for his truck, Ken figures about $40 - 70 bucks in Canada. We waited around for the van to charge up the battery (about an hour).
I had a nap which is becoming habit forming.

Finally we had to eat and Ken wanted Chinese food. The building housing the Chinese restaurant was fabulous – stone plinth blocks around the doors and windows and, the stone walls were at least twenty feet high. Food – not so fabulous! Two thumbs way down from Donna!!!

After eating that big meal and a bit of a walk about Ken wanted to go...guess....yes, you are correct. He wanted to go to the bakery. While Ken consumed, it rained buckets. We thought it would let up, but it did not. I felt so bad for the old beggar man and his dog. The dog was in a box under a stone bench. The old man was eating in a restaurant. Finally we got out the umbrellas and walked part way home. Some areas had rivers of water washing down the streets.

We finished the day with a taxi ride home. It had been difficult getting a taxi because of the rain. As we were trying to hail a taxi, a group of young people with instruments came singing down the street. We waved our umbrellas at them in the shear joy they were spreading. After being picked up we drove by the Alameda Park and saw the group of young people still playing their instruments in the rain. From somewhere a donkey had appeared with them in full saddle. The things you see and do not understand in Mexico.

It rained hard most of the night and was very noisy in the van.

Thursday August 7
In the morning we both blogged for a short time. I was anxious to get away from the hotel and go do something. We thought we should get ready to go before the parts arrived. We finally got the tracking number for the parts and found out they were in Guadalajara. We needed to do the laundry, find out the prices of mango juice, sugar and pick up some propane. So much laundry had accumulated that we really didn't like the idea of hauling it down the hill. Our bus karma is fabulous. We walked out to the the adjoining Teleferico to see no cabs, but a bus was there, delayed waiting for a truck to move out of the way. Ken had the 7 pesos in his pocket and away we went on another bus ride. We dropped off the laundry and headed to our new favorite restaurant Casona de la Abue (Rice and Beans).

Heading back to the bus stop by VIPS; Ken asked the drivers which bus to Guadalupe as we were headed for Walmart which was on that way. Looking around for bus ruta dos we boarded. Now the price on the window says $5 which I'm not sure is the price as Ken gave the usual $7 pesos and the driver accepted. The bus drivers may have a sliding scale. This driver was interested in making time, we don't know why, but at the halfway point to our journey, speeding by, he handed off a time card to another man that ran with it to a time clock and punched it. The driver seemed more relaxed after that. We asked the driver about WalMart and he dropped us off as close as he could. Zacatecas is a tourist town for Mexicans and the service staff treated us real well.

WalMart and Soriana were across from each other. They are similar to our big box stores except in two ways I can see. The grocery baggers here are elementary school boys and the foods are different. The produce has varieties we never or seldom see and the soy milks are almost all mixed with juice.
Ken noted the prices of mango juice and sugar (9.9 pesos per Kg) we found WalMart cheaper on some of the items.

We walked to the circus we saw the previous hike to Guadalupe. I had to see the Camel; I had to say goodbye. The circus show was to begin shortly and there was a large line up to get in. we scooted around and had a nice visit. Others, we saw were sneaking in around the fences and getting real close to the buffaloes and bulls. They were caught and herded along to the fence. Then, it started to rain and we headed back to the bus stop for our next bus ride, this one was uneventful.

We stopped into Sanborns for a light supper, picked up our laundry and headed home. We seem to be able to feed ourselves supper for under $4.

Wednesday August 6
We got up late, in fact I woke up because the van was getting too hot to be inside. I might have been extra hot because of my sunburn. I am covering up today.

Ken discovered more in-depth features of Google's Picasa for our blog pictures. He will describe it in the the blog entry. He spent much of the day working (or should I say "playing") with it.

Google's Picasa is where the pictures we use in the blog end up. This is the server they come from. I noticed they provide a lot of space for picture storage (1 gig) and allow extended captions, which they use from the pictures title. Also, the pictures can be positioned using Google Maps so you can show exactly where (if you can find the place, it works better in urban US areas over say try to find El Divisidero) the picture was taken. The feature that was of most interest was the newly announced one. You can upload an album of pictures (and resize) from iPhoto. This is a nice plus as the blogger method was to upload each picture say 4 at a time. Slow and you have to resize them. using Picasa I was able to fill an album with pictures then go away and let them upload, nice. Features you lose: are the ease of positioning text and picture alignment. That is how the text flows around the picture and how picture situate in the blog. I'll use it on the rest of this blog for sure. I need to find out what the cost us when we fill the one gig limit it comes with.

I spent much of the day in the hotel's courtyard garden painting. Great place to paint – two fountains, big agave plants, apple trees, small pear trees, many blooming rose bushes, big squirrels, huge black birds, morning doves and friendly gardeners. Oh, and immaculately groomed grass, come to think of it we need a gardener at home.

We went downtown for a late lunch and Ken let me lead the way to the restaurant – mistake on his part. I was totally lost so we had an even later lunch. We ate at the seafood restaurant again. Ken ordered halves of avocado stuffed with mayo, cilantro and shrimp.

For the rest of the day Ken blogged and I painted. A quiet relaxing day.

Tuesday August 5
Today I was finally motivated and organized enough to start painting on cloth. Yes, I did bring cloth, fabric inks and everything needed to paint on fabric. Ken is lucky I did not somehow manage to squeeze in a small sewing machine and thread. I actually have one machine that requires no electricity and is run by a hand crank. I was not sure I would use the inks because I did want to actually get started on daily sketching and using water colors. Daily is not exactly what is happening but I did manage to start doing work in each of my two Moleskin journals. I find sketching hard to fit into my regular day to day activities. I feel distracted by life and do not remember I have the small Moleskin with me. I believe if I could just be really conscious of trying to sketch and paint more often for a while then it would become more routine. This routine would make it more part of daily life. By the way, I do love to sketch and paint. It is just finding the time which is not an excuse in my way of thinking. It is just a state of mind. I have lots of time, just to use it doing the things I want to do.
There is my piece of philosophy for the week.

I decided to paint a photo of artichokes I took earlier in our journey. Stupidly, I also chose to not wear suntan lotion and got a burn just hanging out by the van. Again my arms received a burn.

Ken discovered Picasa by Google. It is a way to post your photos on the web and manage them. You can designate on Google maps the photos location. It is very handy for reminding or showing where a certain photo was taken. Great discovery!

It is awkward painting outside or in the van, but I am really enjoying it so I am willing to continue on. I feel doing all the watercolor painting lately has assisted my cloth painting skills.

We ate lunch at the hotel's restaurant . It was totally devoid of the patrons. Not a good sign in a restaurant. The food was ok. They served crusty (or should I say hard) white buns and Saltine crackers instead of taco chips. Some restaurants that are a bit more classy do this here in Mexico. Oh, and they do not provide butter.

After 8:00 pm we dressed up warm and walked to town for supper. We returned to the great little restaurant with the courtyard and the $2.10 rice and beans. We brought a taxi back because it was late. We have only been paying $2.00 for a taxi ride. They always offer to give back change. I wonder exactly how much it actually is. I seems pretty cheap compared to Canada.

Monday August 4
We got a late start because we slept in and it felt great. It was going to be a lazy day because Ken wanted to work on the blog and he was not sure he felt one hundred percent. The big Festival was ending today and the dancers, etc. were leaving the hotel by the bus loads. The hotel will likely return to quiet once again.

Once we got going we saw a guy driving a SUV with a side-wall separation like we had never seen before. This is what Pepe the van originally went in to get fixed. It was the size of a cantaloupe. We laughed about how big it was, wondered how long it would last and how it would actually pop. I thought he should not take it on the highway. Ken laughed and thought that the first corner would pop it. We were half a block away and it burst, wow was it was loud.

We discovered a new restaurant that was on the main drag – Hidalgo. It has a courtyard. Ken liked that beer was only $1.50 and it had rice and beans for $2.10. We will return.

Back to our agenda. We wondered the streets looking for a copy place, an extension cord, limes, juice, a mask for bus fumes and saline (as a nose wash) for the same bus fumes. We found it all in a district we seem to frequent often.

We bought out umbrellas here earlier. This area has the best produce so far and also a fine selection of Goth accessories should you require them. I acquired a good sunburn thinking I had built up enough sun time that I wouldn't burn. Ken now thinks he has a cold. We headed back to the van. I drew a big agave plant, I think that is what it is called. Ken worked on the blog.

Now that we have an extension cord we watched a movie that Ken bought at a yard sale in the States. We were pleased with how the computer played the movie. It was quiet, and most of all, the lip movement matched the words.

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