La Manzanilla de La Paz

After an abortive attempt last Monday, I finally made it to La Manzanilla yesterday. It was surprisingly easy. The secret which no one will ever tell you is to travel in a counter clockwise direction from Sahuayo to get there. The little known reason which I discovered by trial and error is because the majority of buses run that way.

manzanilla map
The Junction of Hwy 15 and 405 (upper left hand corner) is at the small, unnamed town of Tuxcueca

So to get from Sahuayo to La Manzanilla is not clockwise through Jiquilpan to Mazamitla then up to La Manzanilla. Oh, no.

The fastest and most direct way is to go counter clockwise from Sahuayo through Tuna Manza to Petatan (where the Pelicans winter every year on the south shore of Lake Chapala) and then on to Tuxcueca (unmarked); the Junction of Hwy 15 and 405 (at the upper left hand corner of the map) where one can then pick up another bus heading south to Mazamitla from where one can then get off at La Manzanilla bus stop. One then returns to Sahuayo by traveling the remaining 20 km. southeast to Mazamitla to catch another frequently available bus back to Sahuayo.

Note: I had an epiphany about the lines of travel yesterday. I remember the coyote that went bounding by me while out for a run a couple of years back and it never occurred to me to ask myself if it was being chased or if it was chasing something. And then it all fell into place as I recalled his line of travel was in a straight line. He was running as hard and fast as his short little legs would carry him but he was running in a straight line. What does that tell you?

It tells me he was being chased. If he was chasing something – the rabbit or whatever it was would have been running in an evasive pattern and so too would have the coyote as it followed behind its prey. Hence, the coyote was being chased because he was trying to get to a safe place (his den?) in the most direct way possible – via a straight line.

People, animals, and plant life are all very predictable. You just have to apply some reason to the situation.

But offices, administrations, and governments are not predictable. Building something as simple as a road, choosing the erection site for a particular building, constructing zoning ordinances are more times than not politically driven and hence do not necessarily follow any demonstrably logical pattern.

Although it appears that I am seriously digressing from my travel story, my point to all of this is to highlight the fact while a given route may in fact be circular, the traversing of which can be anything but intuitive.

So logistics and costs (I am writing this for my own remembrance): Sayuayo. The bus, Sur de Jalisco, leaves for Guadalajara from the terminal on the blvd. at approximately 10:30 am. (There are several others but this is the one I took.) It cost 70 pesos and took an hour to get to Tuxcueca. I actually missed the bus’s departure by something like 30 seconds so I had to hunt down a cab – where is a cab when you need one? – to give chase to catch the bus before it left town. Surprisingly the bus from Tuxcueca to La Manzanilla arrived at the crossroads about 20 seconds after I came out the bano for a quick pee (3 pesos). The 20 km. bus ride to La Manzanilla was 37 pesos and it took about 20 minutes. And surprise, surprise again – leaving La Manzanilla – I no sooner reached the highway and the bus to Mazamitla pulled up. I think it cost about 50 pesos. Both of those buses were big Mercedes luxury buses owned and operated by the company, Sur de Jalisco while the bus down to Sahuayo via the Valle de Juarez bus company was a very old American school bus style ‘chicken bus’ meaning it had cracked windows, a fussy transmission, and little to no suspension. Oh, and it made frequent (as in very frequent) stops. But it was 60 pesos and left 30 minutes earlier than a nicer bus and it took maybe an hour and 15 minutes to do what the luxury bus would have done in 50 minutes. But the luxury bus would have dropped me off in Jiquilpan where I would have to have had to get yet another bus for the 7 km. trip to Sahuayo which would have cost another 9 pesos.

Note: I find it interesting –  this whole pesos vs. dollar vs. kilometer vs. mile thing. I talked about the money difference aspect of the culture in another post. Here I would like to note that travel seems to average – at best – a kilometer a minute, while in the US highway travel seems to average a mile per minute. So that’s like 36 mph here vs. 60 mph there. Not a totally unworthy observation.

Now a few words concerning the beauty of La Manzanilla; the puebla is simply a gem. And just as importantly – undiscovered. Yes,  Jiquilpan is a Pueblo Magico – but that’s just politics because Lazaro Cárdenas was born there. And Mazamitla is also a Pueblo Magico, but in its case it’s gorgeous, so the distinction is well deserved.

La Manzanilla – A Partial NW View of the Central Plaza

La Mazanilla de La Paz should a Pueblo Magico if for no other reasons that it too is so simply gorgeous but more importantly also retains that true authenticity of character that many Magico Pueblos have given up (via the gentrification) that goes hand in hand with the upgrades that these highly acclaimed towns feel that visitors both want and need.

PS My next post – ‘A Typical Hacienda’ takes place in the brownstone building on the left hand side of the courtyard shown below.

La Manzanilla – A Small Courtyard (just one building south of the main plaza)

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