The Hill of Frogs

Guanajuato is not a Spanish word, it’s the native American name for the area. It translates as, “the hill of frogs” and most people just call it the City of Frogs. You can find frog artwork everywhere here.

View from the Edelmira Hotel rooftop restaurant
View from the Edelmira Hotel rooftop restaurant

It amazes me every time I pay the bill how cheap everything seems. Yesterday I ate a huge plate of food and drank three tall glasses of freshly-squeezed orange juice. Cost? $10.00 USD including a large tip. Keep in mind this was in a touristy area, so they may have charged me too much 馃槈

The Casa Ofelia Restaurante-Bar where they apparently really, really love crucifixes
The Casa Ofelia Restaurante-Bar where they apparently really, really love crucifixes

When you move to another country it’s normal to feel a little out of sorts at first. After a few days, you start to settle down after you figure out the best way to do a lot of the little things. Today I dropped off my laundry, t-shirts, underwear, socks, etc., ($4.00 USD) exchanged $200 USD into Mexican pesos and I booked my next residence.

I’m in a nice bed and breakfast until the 13th of June. It’s charming, it’s inexpensive, I have free breakfast and they clean my room every day. It’s great. But, it’s a large three-storey house and I have a room off the main living room. It feels just a little too small for me and a little too close to other guests. So, I booked an entire apartment from the 13th to the 27th (14 days). It looks great from the Airbnb photos – of course, photos can lie. I’ll inspect the place day after tomorrow. If I don’t like it, I can cancel, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Don Quijote de La Mancha has a long, sharp lance.
Don Quijote de La Mancha has a long, sharp lance.

I’m paying $42.74 USD a night at my B&B, Casa Tepozanes. That works out to an equivalent of $1,282 USD a month. I’ll pay more for the apartment I’m moving to; $48.56 USD a night which is equivalent to $1,456 USD a month. But, like I said, I’ll have more space and feel like I have more privacy.聽Below is a photo of the place I’ve reserved.

This flat has a huge glass window facing the city
This flat has a huge glass window facing the city

 

Good morning, Guanajuato!

Such a lovely mountain city.

Guanajuato, Mexico, founded 1548
Guanajuato, Mexico, founded 1548

If you don’t like to walk or climb LOTS of stairs, you should stay away. It’s difficult to find a flat street here. I like it, but it may not suit everyone.

Oooh, scary
Oooh, scary 馃槈

I was in a Guanajuato neighborhood today that had signs warning of thieves. Hmmm, interesting. Apparently, this small square warrants two posters 馃槈

 

What’s up, pumpkin?

Day 29 of retirement and every day I’m amazed I don’t need to work.

A gringo is a white American male. A gringa is the female equivalent.
A Guanajuato City bus. Check out those louvers on the sides of the engine cowling. Beautiful!

I spent the day walking around Guanajuato. This place is crazy with twisting streets and alleys that snake around houses, parks and commercial buildings. It’s beautiful because there was apparently absolutely no planning involved with its layout.

There are a few people peddling trinkets, candies or a song for spare change. Sometimes I give them what’s in my pocket, sometimes I’m already tapped out.

On one of my walks today I was in a narrow alley surrounded by tall houses. A tiny little girl of about four turned into the alley apparently running ahead of her friends when she suddenly froze. In front of her was a 6’3″ old gringo with whiskers and he looked pretty scary. She meekly let out a small, “hola”. I grinned back and said to her, “Que te pasa, calabaza?” (what’s up, pumpkin)

A gringo is a white American male. A gringa is the female equivalent.
A gringo is a white American male. A gringa is the female equivalent.

She laughed. She thought that was pretty funny. Gringos say crazy shit.

Dinner in Guanajuato, Mexico

The flight to Mexico and getting through immigration and customs was very easy. Now I’ve got a 180-day Mexican visa.

I arrived at the Le贸n airport and took a taxi to Guanajuato. It was only about 20 minutes long. My driver kept passing other cars on double-yellow sections of the highway which didn’t make me happy, but that’s Mexico for you. At least the cars we passed slowed and pulled over on the shoulder of the road for us. 馃檪

Dinner on the second-floor balcony of the Hotel San Diego overlooking La Jardin de la Uni贸n. It did not suck.
Dinner on the second-floor balcony of the Hotel San Diego overlooking La Jardin de la Uni贸n. It did not suck. (click on the photo for a larger image)

When we got to Guanajuato, I got out of the taxi and started walking. Taxis can’t take you directly to where you want to go because most of the city is blocked off to cars.聽Guanajuato is extremely hilly. you’re either going up a street or down a street, almost never walking on flat pavement. I had to ask directions a couple of times, but eventually found my destination. My host Roberto Vargas met me at the B&B, Casa Tepozanes. He’s a very soft-spoken guy of about 35 and he told me to contact him on whatsapp if I ever need anything.

My room is about what I expected. It’s small, clean and meets the basic requirements. The neighborhood seems very quiet. We’ll see if it stays that way. I have a great view of the huge statue overlooking the city and just as I arrived a dark storm brought thunder and lightning sweeping in over downtown. 聽An hour later it stopped raining, so I went to dinner.

Another view from my table at La Trattoria in the Hotel San Diego.
Another view from my table at La Trattoria in the Hotel San Diego.

I decided to try, what I think is, the most expensive restaurant in town;聽La Trattoria at the Hotel San Diego. They gave me a table on the second floor overlooking the pedestrian street and the main plaza. It’s an amazing place to people-watch; just brilliant. I had a great meal and two margaritas (no salt, please). Total cost with a 20% tip: $20.00 USD. Of course, you can find cheaper meals here, but 20 bucks ain’t bad 馃槈

Last Day in the USA

This is my 27th day of retirement and early tomorrow morning I fly to Guanajuato, M茅xico. I’ve got cash, new underwear and my teeny-tiny backpack will be bursting at the seams. One last check to make sure I’ve got my passport and I’m ready to hit the road.

Union Station, downtown Denver, Colorado
Union Station, downtown Denver, Colorado

Let’s do this!

Elevations

I feel I’m finally starting to adjust to the Colorado altitude. I’m still getting a light nose bleed, but it’s much improved. Five days from now I’ll be even higher as Guanajuato is far up in the mountains.

Just west of Ft. Collins, Colorado
Just west of Ft. Collins, Colorado

Mexico should be rockin’ since the national team is 2-0 in World Cup competition, including defeating the current world champions, Germany.

Elevations above sea level
Abu Dhabi 89聽feet (27聽meters)
Ft. Collins, Colorado 5,003聽feet (1,525聽meters)
Denver, Colorado 5,280 feet (1,609 meters)
Boulder, Colorado 5,430聽feet (1,655聽meters)

Guanajuato, M茅xico 6,600聽feet (2,000 meters)

Almost time for Mexico

I leave the U.S. on 28 June for Mexico. This will be an interesting step forward on my journey into retirement. I’ve booked a highly-rated bed and breakfast called, “Casa Tepozanes” in the most beautiful of Mexican cities; Guanajuato.

Casa Tepozanes is located on,”Callej贸n de perros muertos”; the alley of dead dogs. The hotel just down the street is, “Zopilote mojado”; the wet vulture.聽You gotta love Mexican humor.

My stay at Casa Tepozanes is for 13 nights and the cost is 11,021 pesos, or $541 USD. At that rate I could stay at this place for about $1,200 USD a month. Keep in mind, this is at a very nice B&B and this is the internet rate for gringos. I’m betting I can find a nice, furnished apartment with two bedrooms for maybe $800 a month? I don’t know. I can’t wait to find out.

My flight from the U.S. ($422 USD) will take me from Denver to Houston (2h 17m), layover of about one hour, then from Houston to Le贸n, M茅xico (2h 14m). Should be a relatively easy day. I’ll grab a taxi from聽Le贸n to Guanajuato. The ride will take 30-40 minutes and cost me 20 bucks. I should be at the B&B by about 3:30 in the afternoon of the 28th.

I’ll shower, get dressed and head out for a couple of margaritas (no salt, please) and a dinner including lots of black beans because my daughter tells me I don’t eat enough fiber.

My backpack and I are sooooo ready 馃檪

 

Ridin’ the rails

Every time I’m in the Union Station area of Denver, I’m blown away. It’s so beautiful. It’s not running on all eight cylinders yet, but in 2-3 years, it will be. The G-Line isn’t running yet. Dairy Block is almost finished. The Coloradan is almost finished, Market Square is still a ways off. IncaHuron isn’t even a hole in the ground yet. The Colorado Rockies Mixed-Use & Hall of Fame hasn’t broken ground yet. But, when all of this comes together, Union Station/LoDo will be insane with activity.

The Average Nomad & Union Station, Denver
The Average Nomad & Union Station, Denver

A pig at breakfast

While traveling you sometimes see things that really amaze you. This guy dumped a full container of coffee sweeteners on the floor. Then, he wiped his mouth with a napkin and tossed it on the floor. A few minutes later he did it again.

After 10 days in this hotel I haven't seen a single person leave a tip. Americans no longer tip?
After 10 days in this hotel I haven’t seen a single person leave a tip. Americans no longer tip?

After awhile, he called a Mexican waitress over to clean it all up. While she was cleaning, I apologized to her in Spanish for my countryman’s behavior, “Siento por el comportamiento de mis paisanos. Unos son puercos.” 馃檨

 

Gay times

Sunday, 17 June, my sister and I went to a gay pride party and then attended the parade in downtown Denver. It went on forever! Back in the 1970s I remember attending gay pride parades that only lasted a few minutes. Times have changed – for the better 馃檪

PrideFest is an annual gay pride event held each June in Denver, honoring the culture and heritage of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the State of Colorado.
PrideFest is an annual gay pride event held each June in Denver, honoring the culture and heritage of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the State of Colorado.