Monday, September 22, 2008

Escape from Michoacan

Driving at night in Michoacan is not recommended, per the Lonely Planet. So we pull off at San Illu…, a small beach puebla outside of Manzanillo. Off the one main dirt road through town stand an assortment of brightly painted hotels, with dark windows, and empty enramadas with table upon table set for dinner with no one around. The place is deserted. Not sure what to do next, I pick the white hotel with the pretty pool. (it was such an oasis in PV). As we drive by a woman with dark hair and blue eyes waves us in to park. Behind her, in the doorway of her personal house, sits a boy who just stares at us. She overcompensates for his moroseness and greats us with such Spanish enthusiasm that I have to ask her to repeat slowly as my travel tired brain can hardly translate. Yes, she has rooms.

Excitedly she leads us past an algae-green pool (not quite the refreshing oasis), half finished palapa, surrounded by half-finished tile, and stacks of dusty shuttered table umbrellas and down a tall (twice Nic, I swear) but narrow hallway with no lights or windows. In the dark, there’s light once she opens the door to a gigantic, musty white room with a tiny window and the only decoration of two big beds. It was simple, it probably would have been fine. But there was no accounting for the strange feeling of being there. She looks at us expectantly when she asks for 600 pesos. Nic asks to see the other room, she looks at him funny. I try to ask to see the other room and she takes us to see something more strange. A maze of 3 or 4 rooms all connected through dark corners, more tiny windows musty smells and ill-placed beds (including one single bed in the main entrance). We’re both trying to imagine sleeping here. Later Nic notes it’s all like something out of a bad remake of The Shining. But he politely tells her we will go to see other hotels first. She looks at him funny. I try to tell her we want to go look at other places first. She lowers the price on this, her finest room to 700 then 600 then 400 pesos and waits. I thank her as we escape. She continues calling out after us after we’re in the car.

Her son still sits on the doorstep and stares at us as we drive away.

Sorry to disappoint but so happy to escape the strange, deserted dark town.

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