A trip to see “Globos de Cantoya” in a Festival in Paracho,
on 23 and 24 of July 2011, by Georgia
Well, five women (3 gringas and 2 Mexicanas) and a 10-yr old angelita (Mexicana) made the trip to Paracho for the Festival Nacional de Globos de Cantoya. The following is a rather lengthy trip report. Skip it if you’re not interested or save it for future reference.
We left Lake Patzcuaro at 9:30 AM Saturday taking the back roads from Eronga to San Isidro, and then to the Paracho area.
I mention this route so others on this list know that taking back roads is okay and to give you options about things to do/places to see in conjunction with next year’s festival…..or for that matter this coming week’s Festival of Guitars.
As we arrived at the entrance to Paracho, we decided to visit some of the nearby villages. Our first stop was Ahuiran famous for handmade rebozos. After visiting a shop on the main street before the plaza (with two wooden figures on the second floor advertizing rebozos for sale), my neighbor Cristina mentioned that she was familiar with a local family. We drove to the house of Rosa Silva Pascual, Calle Maramoros #310, where we were met with hugs and showned a number of finely made silk and cotton rebozos at a better price than the first shop. You might be curious about prices. I bought a beautiful silk/cotton one that was normally priced at $1500.
Next was Nurio, famous for its restored church. A multiple wedding in the church and festival outside kept us from touring other than the recently restored capilla or chapel. We cruised to Cochucho, where there was another festival. We stopped to see the church but didn’t want to shop for pots, so we headed to Patambam with a brief bypass at Ocumicho.
In Patambam, we visited two pottery shops. We bought several pieces from Martin who makes those dishes with area’s scenery at much more reasonable prices than sold in the fancy hotel at the exit from the national park in Uruapan.
Patambam and the next village San Jose de Garcia are famous for the pineapple-pine cone pottery pieces in green and/or gold. These weren’t on our shopping list, so we headed to Tangancicuaro to find a restaurant. Note: there was no restaurant in Patambam and we only saw a Pemex with a sign for hamburgers, tortas and the like. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a restaurant open in Tangancicuaro. It was about 4:30 PM by this time and in a HEAVY downpour.
From there we headed toward Carapan but stopped in Chilchota where there was a festiva,l and I said a Mexican festival without food would be like a fish out of water. Sure enough, there was a long row of stands offering all sorts of hot and freshly made dishes. Thanks to a previous tip from the Warshauers, I realized that the stand behind us was full of bottles of Cosecha Purhepecha salsas, and several bottles came home with us.
Finally we made our way to Paracho, checked into the hotel and went to the main plaza to see the hot air balloons. We were amazed and thrilled by large and small creations, especially as the day passed into the night.
Dinner was had across from the square in an indoor food market. Pozole, tortas, and tacos al pastor were appreciated.
We looked for a recommended breakfast place run by “Piojo” who cooked for several years in San Francisco, Calif. Wouldn’t you know it, he is closed on Sundays and even though we ran into him in front of his restaurant, we couldn’t talk him into cooking for us. His loncheria is located two blocks behind and one block south of the plaza (directions given with your back to the church. It’s on a Carranza street).
We then watched balloons being made and a few balloons head into the atmosphere and bought several embroidered items at stalls in the main square, went to Zacapu for ice cream made by the Luna family (once again a swarm of people in line to buy bolas en conos o canastas caseras), then to Santa Fe de la Laguna to visit and buy some pottery items from Nicolas Fabian Fermin/Maria del Rosario before three in the group heading back to Morelia from Quiroga by bus and the rest of us drove back to Arocutin.
I am not going to count the number of villages we visited. You can jot them down. Better yet, head out to to the middle of Michoacan and report back to the rest of us about your aventura!