On Sunday morning, the second day of our stay in Cuyutlan, Jonnie and I decided to go over to Tecoman, Colima, the closest city to Cuyutlan. Tecoman has a population of about 112,000 and, so, compared to Cuyutlan is just HUGE! Cuyutlan is also near to Manzanillo, Colima, which is even more populated, but Jonnie and I had already seen Manzanillo and wanted to check out Tecoman.
So early on Sunday morning, before it got too hot, we jumped in Stormy (my pickup) and headed east. Within 25 0r 30 minutes, we were in Tecoman. And, boy, what a difference from Cuyutlan! Not only lots of people and cars, but almost every intersection had five lanes coming into it so the lights were a little “wacky” to me. Cuyutlan doesn’t even HAVE a stoplight and the stop sign at the main intersection coming into town is actually on the far side of the intersection so that if you obeyed it literally, you would have to stop 3/4 of the way through the intersection. (Perhaps, like Mexican speed limit signs, it’s merely a suggestion, not really a rule.)
Knowing that if you can see the church steeple in a Mexican town or city, you can find the plaza, and helped by the “Centro” signs, we soon found ourselves right downtown. And the first thing that caught our eye was this:
This is the Cathedral of Santiago Apostel (St. James the Apostle, the same one we saw celebrated in Sahuayo!). But what makes this church so special is its construction. It’s open on so many sides. Something you just don’t see on many Mexican churches.
I love two things in particular about this church. (1) The curved pews that fit so nicely. It actually reminds me of a tiny Congress…except without the desks. And (2) that it appears to have been thoughtfully constructed for a church in the tropics. When I was a graduate student in anthropology at Indiana University, I wrote a paper on tropical architecture. And what I found during my research was that way too often architects just take a Western (i.e. US and/or European) style of building and slam a few air conditioners into it and call it fit for the tropics. This one did more than that.
Since it was a Sunday morning and services were going on, neither of us took a lot of photos. Besides, we were starving!! I mean, we hadn’t eaten since about 4pm the afternoon before. Oh, wait, one of us had been munching on chips and dip throughout the evening, but it wasn’t me!
Nonetheless, we wanted to find somewhere to eat. One thing you need to understand about Mexico is that eating about 10AM does not mean you are going to have breakfast. 10AM is desayuno time. Desayuno is kinda like brunch. And Mexican brunch does not really involve eggs and bacon. You MIGHT be able to get eggs, but it’s just as likely you won’t. Desayuno more likely includes tacos and tortas (sandwiches) and chilaquiles (look it up, my interested friends!).
As we were crossing one street, Jonnie spied a traffic cop and asked him where was a good place to eat. Not surprisingly, he rattled off something in Spanish way too fast for Jonnie or I to understand. (This is what comes of having a good “accent” in Spanish but not being fluent in it.)
While Jonnie was dealing with the traffic cop, I had noticed a restaurant very close to us, so I asked her to ask him if this was a good place. Apparently it was, because the cop escorted both of us to the nearby cafe, completely ignoring his traffic-directing duties. I kept expecting to hear numerous crashes at the intersection because the man supposedly handling the flow was instead walking with the only two gringas in town!
And, my friends, I must tell you it was delicious!
Jonnie had quesadillas (really just kind of a snack) and I had a Cubano, a sandwich which I had come to love when I worked in the Everglades in Florida. In Tecoman, it consisted of seasoned pulled pork, pressed bread, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes. And it was fabulous!
After desayuno, Jonnie and I wandered around the plaza in Tecoman, but even though it was only 11am, the heat and humidity were getting oppressive, so we headed back to the truck and decided we just wanted to go back to the casita in Cuyutlan. I mean, what were we, 30 minute from there? Easy; right?
Well, not so much. We figured how to get from downtown Tecoman to the road we’d come in on. Heck, we even figured out how to get to the giant Bodega Aurrera (kinda like a low-end Walmart, if you can imagine such a thing). So we stopped in and got some things we were missing, limes for my micheladas, some dish detergent to clean up our mess, two large garbage bags (as Jonnie said, don’t you just love a place where you can buy only two garbage bags instead of a whole box of them!), and some travel-size shampoo for Jonnie. Since travel-sized things are a rarity here, Jonnie wound up buying a small bottle of baby shampoo for 10 pesos.
And then we headed off for “home” (i.e. Steve’s casita). We easily made it to the next town, Armeria, where we stopped at the equivalent of a 7-11 and bought some ice for my drinks. And then, somehow, it all went wrong.
About an hour later, my gas gauge hitting the 1/4 full mark, I realized this was not where we wanted to be. But you know the nice thing about traveling with your best bud instead of traveling with your spouse? They don’t point the finger of blame at you. They just kinda go with it. And that’s what Jonnie did.
No “you idiot, why didn’t you ask for directions?”. No “turn this truck around right this minute!”. Instead, it was “well, this is kinda nice.” And so we ventured on until Jonnie finally got the map out and discovered that we were WAY past our turn off point to Cuyutlan.
So backwards we went and within a very short time we found the turn to Cuyutlan — which, by the way, coming from this direction was marked by two very large signs! — and “home.” (Jonnie and I both swear that there was NO sign for the turnoff when coming from Tecoman. And you can trust us, because neither of us had even had a cerveza yet!)
So that’s the story of Sunday morning. There’s gonna be more about Sunday later, a tale in which we find Jesus! Oh, speaking of which, I chose that photo at the top of this post because it reminds me of Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. You know, this one: