Mummies, Don Quixote, and lots of Cuban Music

15 Oct


This is a much belated summary of the fantastic weekend I spent at the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato a few weeks ago.  Cervantino is a huge international arts festival that runs for 2 weeks at the end of October.  Tons of performances in theaters, in the street, in outdoor amphitheaters…everything from dance to opera to theater to jazz orchestras, cuban jazz, electronica, and related after-, before-, and during- parties!  All of this was in one of the most gorgeous cities ve ever been in, replete with cobblestone streets, winding allies, epic stone staircases and even more epic churches, beautiful pastel-colored houses, endless street markets, and, unexpectedly, dozens of roadside pizza stands (in reviewing the weekend, I think I ate 12 slices of pizza over the 3 day trip).

It was a star-studded trip.  In attendance: Holly, Martin, Ana, Kirsten, Che, Yazmine, Chantal (CEPE friends), Andy (my new flatmate), a surprise visit from Cameron the Kiwi (who was first discovered langouring in a hostel in Puerta Vallarta, and later visited us in GDL), and of course Kisiev, who was kind enough to let me crash at his uncle`s place.  Gracias, cabron!

It was a non-stop weekend.  Lots of music (awesome, huge, free concerts in the hundred-year old amphitheater,  including Willie Chorino (a Cuban singer), Paquito D`Rivera (a kickass sax player also from Cuba…he brought his whole jazz orchestra), and others.  Tons of strolling and exploring.  Visits to The Don Quixote museum (and statue…see below), the Diego Rivera/Frieda Kahlo museum, and the creepy Museo de los Mommias, a collection of disinterred corpses, including babies, that are only partially decomposed but completely disgusting.  Spent lots of time hanging with locals, too.  Big ups to Payo and Paula for taking us all over the place, from salsa clubs to grungy house parties to hidden, late-night taco stands!

The city was so alive with people partying and dancing in the streets that the hours seemed to meld together, and the time of day didn`t matter any more.  We attended one techno party with some great DJs in a park one sunny afternoon (a strange but wonderful experience that later spilled into a nearby club…a total of 12 hours in a row of dancing to some great music with a hip, friendly, and exhausted crew of people from all over Mexico).  Another night (morning), we summited Pipila, a huge stone statue towering from atop Guanajuato`s tallest hill, to watch the sun rise, only to discover there was already a crowd there getting ready to start the next day of festivities.  Not to mention the greasy and delicious tacos we scarfed at 6:30 that morning, right before starting our climb…dinner for (early) breakfast!  As Ana would say, porque no?

We got back to GDL four days later; exhausted, dirty, and happy as churros rellenos.

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