It’s 9:30 p.m. and both Christine and I are delirious with exhaustion as we climb the steps to our room at Quinta Las Acacias in Guanajuato. It’s been a long and eventful day and as we reach the top of the stairs we are laughing uncontrollably for absolutely no reason.
It all started with our decision to visit the Museo de las Momias (Mummy Museum). The museum is one of the more popular sites in Guanajuato, and looked a tad morbid and strange (after a Google search), so naturally I wanted to go.
The plan was easy. Enter the address of the museum into my Google map app on my phone, then follow directions to museum, close app, all is well. The execution of this plan was very different.
As we neared the museum location on the map we were directed to drive past a bus parking lot and make a sharp right turn. Soon the cobbled street became a dirt road with cars parked on either side. Okay, looks not too bad. We keep driving. Then the road thins out and becomes more of a dirt track, there are rocks, bumps, and pot holes, and one look around tells us that we are now in a very poor part of Guanajuato and after a few minutes Google suddenly changes its mind about our route.
“Make a u-turn”.
Really, Google? You want us to make a u-turn NOW? There is no way we can make this 1990s Dodge Caravan do that safely and backing out to where we started is also not an option. We began to laughing almost manically before slipping into a semi-serious silence, and this is where I truly start to realize that I should have done the Mongol Rally with Christine.
Christine continues to drive ahead, and then stops. There is a cobbled road ahead, and we’re almost back on track, but before we reach the street we have to drive across a dodgy bridge. We stare at it. The bridge is a little wider than the van and appears to have mismatched wood boards. I look out my window and see concrete supports, but we still don’t know how sturdy the bridge is.
“We’ll be fine. The bridge looks good”, I say to Christine. She doesn’t believe me, but we don’t have a choice. We both unconsciously hold our breath as she drives over and breathe out very slowly.
“Google is fired. I’m navigating us on my own now”.
Back on normal streets, I navigate us towards the museum. Soon we’re driving up a small steep street and I can see that we’re close to the museum. Yay! When I spot the word ‘momias’ spray-painted on a wall, I suggest we park. The next street is one way so we can’t drive it, and the street ahead of us appears to be a one way as well. So, we park.
And then the Coca Cola truck comes and tells us we have to move as there is no way he can navigate the turn without hitting us. Okay. No problem. Except the gear shift light on the dashboard doesn’t work, and instead of slowly driving forward, we slowly reverse and kind of break a weak wooden table outside a tienda.
Christine gets out of the van and apologizes profusely in Spanish, but the shop owner is kind of pissed off with us and tells us go away and drive up the road to park.
Apparently the road ahead of us wasn’t a one way street after all. Guanajuato, this is where street signs come in handy. Just saying.
This could technically be the end of the tale, but we still had to park the van, and wouldn’t you know that there were very few parking spaces where the van would actually fit. It took two tries and the help of a local before we were able to park. Not because Christine is a bad driver, but because making tight turns in an old vehicle with a stiff steering column is a challenge in the best of situations, but when you add narrow parking spaces to your right, and steep stone stairs going down the hill to the houses below on your left, parking is like playing a super intense video game.
It was an intense hour of driving, which was probably more like 35 mins, but felt like an hour. By the time we left the museum and made our way back to the van we were slipping into an almost zombie like state. Getting out of the parking spot became just as challenging as getting in, and after driving around for a little bit to take photos, we were beyond normal exhaustion, making ridiculous jokes, and laughing uncontrollably about the dumbest things.
And despite Google, the dirt track, and the crazy parking situations we are both in love with the town of Guanajuato. I could definitely see myself living in a place like this.