Day of the Dead

We started our Day of the Dead by cooking up some meat from the calf butchered the day before. As there is no refrigerator at Rancho Madroño, most of the meat was given away. Brian kept only a small amount of meat, and the hide.

Rancho Madroño - Cow Skin in Bucket (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking - Bag of Meat (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking - Brian, Marie (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking - Brian (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Maguey Blooming (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking - Brian, Lars (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking (photo by Geoff)Rancho Madroño - Fresh Veal - Cooking (photo by Geoff)

A new fenced pen was hastily constructed to keep the dogs from wandering.

Rancho Madroño - New Dog Fence Pen (photo by Lars)

Then we went wandering to check out the Day of the Dead festivities. Our first stop was the docks at Pátzcuaro, where we found that the usual long lines for a boat ride to the island town of Janitzio were almost non-existent! We jumped at the opportunity, and bought tickets to the island.

Pátzcuaro Docks (photo by Geoff)Pátzcuaro Docks (photo by Geoff)Pátzcuaro Docks (photo by Geoff)Pátzcuaro Docks (photo by Geoff)

Pátzcuaro and Janitzio are popular Mexican tourist destinations, but very few gringos visit. Our full boat contained only three other foreign tourists besides ourselves, as well as a large group of police officers (also on holiday?). On the way, we passed by a group of people who pretended to fish the old fashioned way with traditional butterfly nets, before asking us for some money.

Lake Pátzcuaro Boat - Police (photo by Geoff)Lake Pátzcuaro Boat - Janitzio (photo by Geoff)Lake Pátzcuaro Boat - Traditional Fishermen (photo by Geoff)Lake Pátzcuaro Boat - Janitzio (photo by Marie)

Only accessible by boat, the ancient Purepecha (Tarascan) town of Janitzio covers a tiny island. There are no cars or roads — only walkways and stairs. Lots of stairs.

Janitzio - Lars, Brian, Marie (photo by Geoff)Janitzio (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Marie (photo by Lars)Janitzio - Boat (photo by Marie)

The Janitzio cemetery, decorated for Day of the Dead.

Janitzio - Cemetery (photo by Marie)Janitzio - Cemetery (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Cemetery (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Cemetery (photo by Lars)

At the top of the hill is a statue of José Maria Morelos, built in the 1930s. For a few pesos, you can go inside and climb the spiral walkway past painted murals to a viewpoint at the top. We waited in a long line for the last squeeze into the very top of the statue, but after 20 minutes of not moving we gave up. For some reason, photography is not allowed inside the statue.

Janitzio - Morelos Statue (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Morelos Statue - Brian (photo by Marie)Janitzio - Morelos Statue - Spiral Staircase Inside (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Morelos Statue - Spiral Staircase Inside (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Morelos Statue - Spiral Staircase Inside - Lars (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Morelos Statue - Spiral Staircase Inside (photo by Geoff)

Around the statue, there are booths selling interesting mugs that are sold filled with a fruity boozy concoction. We also tried some other interesting snack foods sold on the island.

Janitzio - Lars (photo by Geoff)Janitzio (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Brian, Lars (photo by Geoff)Janitzio - Marie, Brian (photo by Geoff)Janitzio (photo by Geoff)Janitzio (photo by Geoff)

The return boat ride. A band sat right next to us, and played the whole way home.

Lake Pátzcuaro Boat - Lars, Brian (photo by Geoff)Lake Pátzcuaro Boat (photo by Geoff)Lake Pátzcuaro Boat - Musicians (photo by Geoff)

Evening in Pátzcuaro. It turns out that the action of Day of the Dead is really at night, and things were just gearing up. Noche de los Muertos is what they call it, and it's actually celebrated for two nights, Nov 1st & 2nd. We passed a huge truck stuffed full of marigolds sold for grave decorations, and the seller said he'd already sold six of these truckfuls that same day. After having coffee, dinner, drinks, and exploring for a while, we left Pátzcuaro at about midnight, passing a huge traffic jam of cars trying to get in for the night's festivities.

Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Marigolds Flowers for Sale (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Toothbrush Vending Machine (photo by Lars)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Coffee Shop - Lars (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Human Katrina (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Food Market (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Beto's Mariscos - Restaurant - Brian (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Pancake like things (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Bakery (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - Bakery - Marie, Brian (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Pátzcuaro - El Sótano Bar - Brian, Lars, Marie, Geoff (photo by Geoff)

The Santa Muerte church near Eronga.

Night of the Dead - Santa Muerte Church (photo by Geoff)

The town of Jarácuaro, formerly an island (before Lake Pátzcuaro shrank). We bought some ponche (a warm spiced drink), and checked out the celebrations in the church square. We spotted a surprising number of gringo tourists on organized Day of the Dead tours.

Night of the Dead - Jarácuaro - Ponche (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Jarácuaro (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Jarácuaro - Church (photo by Geoff)

The beautiful candlelit cemetery of the town of Arocutin. Here, the local families celebrating the dead were outnumbered by foreign tourists with their digital cameras. The ancient church had curious outward-leaning walls.

Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Marie)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Marie)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Lars)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Lars)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Lars)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Cemetery - Tour Guide with Blinking Ball on Sign (photo by Geoff)Night of the Dead - Arocutin - Church (photo by Lars)