Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Porcelain God is Angry...Do Not Feed Him

OK, so here's the (nasty) deal with Mexican toilets--in every town, they're working with plumbing systems that are at least a couple of hundred years old. Therefore, they don't work too well. It is the accepted custom to NOT put toilet paper in the toilet. It stops them up, and the results are unpleasant. Next to each toilet is a little plastic-bag-line trash can. And, you guessed it--that's where the TP goes. Sounds awful, but once you're used to it, it all goes smoothly (no pun intended). Oh, yes there was!

So, last night was my first night in Morelia. In the hotel I found--modern--I thought, "let me just chance it a little bit. This place looks brand new, it's clean...give 'er a try." The Porcelain God rebelled! Not an explosion, mind you. I've seen some of those. This was just an oozing out of water from the base of the toilet all over the bathroom floor. And I didn't realize it had done that until (yep) I stepped in it! Ooooh. The management let me change rooms.

This morning I changed hotels. This one is the Hotel El Carmen. For all of $22 it includes private bath, color TV, and wireless Internet access. And it faces out onto a pretty public park and the city's cultural center. Very nice.

A couple glimpses of Morelia:
I noticed that the main public square/park was being advertised as "Free Public Wireless Internet" available. Wow! That's more advanced than most U.S. cities. I had to ask a policeman how it worked, and he pulled out his Blackberry and showed me how to sign in. Computers are everywhere. A saw a girl with her mom sitting in the park doodling away on her laptop. There are sidewalk cafes everywhere....always with at least one person working on a laptop. And Internet shops are in almost every block...very popular, too. So, you can say Mexico is truly on-line.

Out in the public square "zocalo," this afternoon, I had a nice sit down. No reading a book, no listening to music. Just a sit down. Not that I do that very often. The people watching is great. The world just passes you by. I watched a movie/ videographer setting up his very fancy camera equipment. His models were 3 little boys--triplets! All dressed alike. Dressed to the nines. With mommy and daddy looking on proudly (also dressed exquisitely). The middle and upper class in Mexico have money, and aren't afraid to spend it.

Morelia is a cultured city. I've noticed a number of bookstores in the Historic City Center. That's unusual in most Mexican cities. Probably as a result of the universities here. Also, the country's oldest music conservatory is here, housed in an old ex-convent. Inside is an open courtyard with a formal garden and mature shade trees, covered sidewalks around the periphery. And lined with student practice rooms. It's a little slice of heaven.

I got to hear not one, but TWO concerts this afternoon. The first was in the little park right in front of my hotel...a community chorus. Since I'm a reformed singer...near and dear to my heart. Sponsored by the state government as a "Sundays are for Families" event. The other was a big deal in the main plaza, up on the main bandstand. Hundreds of folks were in the audience.

In Morelia, I saw my first organ grinder in--oh--probably 30 years. No monkey, though.
Another custom you see throughout Mexico is women walking hand in hand or arm in arm. It's a rather endearing sign of friendship.