"Michoacan and the City of Morelia" Estado de Michoacán de Ocampo by melosh

The City of Morelia is in the state of Michoacan and not in the State of Morelia. This can lead to some confusion. Both the city and the state of Morelia are worth visiting, but I have found Michoacan of more interest. It is second only to Oaxaca for the extent of the arts and crafts. As in Oaxaca the missionaries promoted community specialization in order to promote commerce and productivity. The City of Morelia is a good center from which to explore these towns. The Tarascan culture and local history is worth exploring.

A dream

Long before I had my first chance to visit Michoacan, I had a recurring dream. It arose after a trip I took with a bunch of friends to Merida and they kept asking where we could go next. I knew Michoacan was a place I wanted to eventually visit. My brother who works in geothermal energy exploration and had worked in Morelia for a year had once told me knew of a great but inexpensive hotel on a hill in the City of Morelia. From these forces came the dream.
In the dream I am watching TV late at night and a program comes on which describes a beautiful but inexpensive first class hotel on hill in an undiscovered town in Michoacan with narrow streets, friendly markets, dance, arts, crafts and foods. The dream was colorful and detailed. Strangely the dream specified that there was one drawback -- no nearby archeological sites of interest. The town was called "Ana Banana Mexico" and it seemed just right for a visit with this group of friends. Each evening when I had the dream I would get excited; I had found the almost perfect place. Eventually I saw the dream TV program to its conclusion and watched eagerly to see who produced it. When I finally saw the credits and I read that the source was the "Ana Banana Mexico Tourism Council" I suddenly realized to my horror that millions of Americans were seeing the same program and this town would now be overwhelmed by Gringo visitors. So I never went to Ana Banana Mexico. I went to the real Michoacan instead, and I have not regretted it.

El dia de los muertos

Although this celebration happens in various forms throughout Mexico it can not be mentioned without reference to what happens in Michoacan. Even in Michoacan different towns have different traditions. The most famous is that of the island of Janitzio on Lake Patzcuaro, but this does not define the event. This means that by your choice of where to spend your time, you define your own experience. What you are certain to learn is that it is only remotely related to Halloween. Even though I read Mexican journalists complaining about the commercialization of the holiday, I personally found it a very spiritual experience unlike anything in the USA.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Cultural complexity, arts and crafts
  • Cons:The People are less relaxed than Southern Mexico
  • In a nutshell:A good place to first experience Mexico
  • Last visit to Estado de Michoacán de Ocampo: Oct 2000
  • Intro Updated Oct 16, 2006
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melosh

“If you have not been, you can not know.”

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