Leaving ajijic for mexican coutryside

Sometimes after a really big party you sleep right past buenos dias and straight into buenas tardes....  We set out on foot in search of much needed tacos and then make sure we can find the guys house before driving up the hill.  George hears us outside and pops his head out and invites us in.    We are lucky enough to see today's troupe unloading/rebuilding the castillo for tonight's big event, and later move up the hill and park E in the garden space behind the wall of George and Steve’s home.  These walls might seem like forts from the street, but the few homes and buildings we’ve been able to see or walk inside of are simply amazing hidden courtyards and architecture.  Next time we’ll go door to door knocking and asking for tours!  Nice relaxed day and the we all head out again for the fiesta, dinner and castillo show.  This time we opted to close the night relaxing in their gorgeous home rather than shutting down the party.In the morning we wake up and head over to chapala for what the guys understand will be a pride parade.  We walk all over town and then finally the parade comes by.  Our group of the guy's friends probably outnumbered those in the parade... it turns out to be little more than three vehicles, a handful of drag queens and a leprechaun but a good time nonetheless.  I think the parade was really more for HIV awareness than anything else- from what we’ve seen the mexican culture is already really accepting, and in chapala/ajijic it clearly is a non-issue.

After the parade we head out across country not really sure of our route but weaving our way across slowly.  At one point we see a “tool shop” on the side of the road and cant help but pull over.  We shop for cheap and pickup the missing wrenches from our set and the giant socket needed for getting at our brakes.  Sadly, i apparently neglected to put the hubcap back firmly enough and a half mile down the road we hear it rolling along side us.   We pull over and search the area but have no luck.  E now looks (officially) ragged.As darkness encroaches we pull into Irapuato.  Nothing more than a dot on our map, but it turns out to be a huge city.  We meander through like we do all cities, with our faces squeezed up against the safaris hoping to catch a glimpse of the cathedral towers between blocks.  At one point we are forced back down the street by a parade coming our way.  From what we understand  (based upon our questions to the children handing us candy) tomorrow is dia de Guadalupe and the celebration goes on for 3 days prior.  We definitely feel at home in a country that celebrates every day for several! We finally spot one church, then the next and accidentally find ourselves in the middle of the central zocalo (town square) where seemingly everyone in town is out finding dinner for the night, shopping the street vendors for tomorrow's produce and everything else you can imagine. We grab a bite at a taco stand, then hit the market to locate a much needed charger for the mac (ours lost a battle with the grill sliding around on the road a few days ago).  The foot and vehicle traffic is madness but we love watching the people around us and even stumble upon a secondary park that has setup a giant ring of chairs and speakers blaring for a night of dancing for anyone who decided to join.  Clearly not an impromptu event as everyone had on their shiny dancing shoes.

Maybe its just my architecture background, but i am constantly taken aback by how the central square of each town draws the entire community together seemingly every day (and certainly on a saturday or for holiday festivities).  We walk through this giant zocalo backlit by the towers of the temples that hug the masses and lit only by the fountain lights and those of the vendors/food stalls lining the streets.  Music is everywhere and is only drown out by the talking and laughter of those around us.  Truly a magical moment for us...just a typical saturday night in Irapuato!

We move off the busy street and pay for a night of parking, explaining to the attendant that we are sleeping for the night.  Just as jen is falling asleep for the night we are jolted by someone pounding on the bus and shouting at us to leave.  Apparently there was a misunderstanding by the attendant, but it appeared more like his boss showed up and didn’t like us being there.  We groggily head back out on the streets in the darkness looking for another spot- at this hour not the best idea.  It takes us 3 circles of the centro, but we finally end up parked outside the fence we just sat inside and climb in the back to sleep.