OK, Steve. What is it with the odd long-shot photographs of almost empty streets? Is this your Philip Glass period?
I thought I would do a preemptive strike before one of you did.
The answer is -- nope.
For the next two weeks, I am staying in one of the suburbs above Morelia. The city spreads out below. But I am holding off on visits down the hill until later in the week.
I got up Monday morning intending to walk through the local village and take a few photographs after dropping off my laundry. But once I am in walk mode, I will often keep going just to see what is around the next corner.
On Sunday night, I had dinner at a very nice apartment a few miles from here. My host pointed out the shopping center on the horizon.
For some reason, I got it into my head I would walk over there -- having no idea how far it was. You can barely see my starting point in the photograph at the top of this post.
It turned out to be about a three mile walk each way in very pleasant summer weather. Around 75 degrees. But it is evident not many people walk that route. Even though the streets are perfect, there is little space for pedestrians on a portion of the walk.
After I took the top photograph, I turned around -- and there it was. A shining city upon a hill.
Well, that may be too John Winthrop. But the shopping center's white architecture literally shone in the morning light.
Let me stop here for a moment. I am not a shopping center fan. Probably because I have no connection with the adjective. I find no pleasure in shopping.
But Paseo Altozano is not just a conglomeration of box-shaped stores -- though, there are stores. The place is an architectural wonder.
There is something whimsical in Hispanic architecture. You can see it in Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia or Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
Paseo Altozano has that same effect. It looks like a well-designed sailing ship marooned in the mountains of Mexico.
Take a look at these shapes.
The "sails" perform a function -- acting as umbrellas for the open-air pathways. But the effect is sculptural. They exist to give pleasure in addition to function.
Of course, the mall is a place of commerce. And there is plenty of that. Even though at one year old, the retail space seems to be only half filled.
What is there is exactly what you would expect in an upper middle class mall. Tommy Hilfiger. Brooks Brothers. Liverpool. Sears. Several eyeglass stores -- giving the impression that Michoacán is the heartland of myopia. A cinema. Several eateries.
I went into only one store. Not surprisingly, a small electronics shop.
The power inverter my brother gave me when we drove down to Mexico four years ago was stolen during one of the three break-ins the Shiftless Escape has suffered.
I decided to see if I could find a replacement. I did. Paying the usual premium for electronics purchased in Mexico.
And because I was at the mall, I had a Carl's Jr. fish sandwich and then took in a rather miserable movie.
But the view of centro Morelia made up for the movie. The city is a beautiful sight -- both in the day and the night.
Surprisingly, the three mile hike back to the house was quite pleasant. Pleasant enough that I may just keep the truck garaged for most of my time here. Driving into the centro area is not on my list of things I would really like to do.
I stopped off at the laundry -- a place that would not quite fit in with the mall, and that is to its credit -- to pick up my clothes. They were still warm and fresh-smelling from the dryer.
In Melaque, I pay by the kilogram of clothes. At this laundry, the owner looked at the clothes and gave me a quote. Based on the stack returned, the price was as bit more expensive than Melaque. But this is the big city.
Even so, at the equivalent of $3.75 (US) for two weeks of dirty laundry, it was a bargain.
And then we were off to dinner at Espartakos -- a restaurant owned by a local Greek family.
I may be reaching for humor these days, but I loved the pun of "takos" in the name.
My year of living in Greece gave me an appreciation of its cuisine. And I love gyros.
I prefer lamb in mine, but there was none available on Monday night. So, I chose the pork. In my Greek village most souvlaki sandwiches (that is what we called gyros in Kato Achaia) were pork.
And mine was far better than the anemic offerings that go by the name of gyros in American shopping malls. Even though one of the best I have tasted was last April in a New Orleans food court. But New Orleans makes everything taste great.
I have long ago acclimated to eating something light in Mexico for my evening meal. And the gyros filled the bill perfectly.
After a day like this, Morelia is very tempting as a place to live. It was always on my short list.
And there is one little weight that may tip the scales. Paseo Altazano is about to open one of my favorite stores --
Who knows where this could lead?