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Shawn Brock

 

Posts: 271
Joined: Sep. 19 2011
From: Louisville KY

Anyone want to travel to Paracho? 

ParachoI have been thinking that I would love to plan up a trip to Paracho. I wonder if any of the foro folks would be interested? My Spanish isn't near good enough to go it alone, and my wife is just a little fearful about traveling down there, so there you have it... I'm now reaching out to other guitarists to try to plan a trip. It seems that if a few of us went we could play the strength in numbers game...

Maybe I'm talking out of my ass here, I have only been to the tourist destinations in Mexico and haven't experienced the roughness everyone talks about. I have been in most ghettos here in the states, and a few in Europe, so I'm not one of these delusional people who thinks the world is this safe and wonderful place. By the same token, I know a lot of things are over played and not as bad as some would make it out to be...

It would be great to go down there and meet some of the better makers and perhaps pick up a guitar or two. If nothing else it seems this could be an interesting topic. I have read the accounts of others who have made the trip, but I just want to hear more!

Any thoughts?
Shawn Brock
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 3 2011 3:04:56
 
JuanDaBomb

Posts: 189
Joined: May 18 2011
 

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Shawn Brock

Having been there, I can say that I'd definitely want to go again some day....just, by the looks of things, not any time soon! The odds are too high that something could happen to me, in my opinion, and I'm Mexican for cryin' out loud! It's like the wild west these days. For example, the tiny pueblo where my parents are from is supposed to be the kind of place drug lords don't care about. It has one tiny little federal police booth manned by a couple cops, and they got machine-gunned to death last year, for no apparent reason that could even begin to make sense. And now there's no security at all in the town, weee. The time I went to Paracho, we stayed at this nice hotel in the historical center of Morelia, a really nice area, very safe, lots of families, and lively even at night. Then something like 2 years ago during Mexican Independence celebrations some degenerates rolled a few grenades into the crowd, right in front of that hotel. **shakes his head** To say nothing of the headless bodies found near the airport, and the all-out hours-long machine gun fight at the city police station where some cartel members were being held. And Morelia isn't some border town; it's about 2 hours away from Paracho. Everyone sees the news and the stories they report, but it's all the local events told to me by friends and family members that tell me to keep the hell away! It just ain't worth it. Personally, I'm gonna wait until the U.S. military rolls through there and wipes all those fools out. That oughta buy a few years of peace, at least. Then, I'll go get my negra LOL!

If you do go, my only real recommendation would be to appropriate enough of your budget to transportation costs. Avoid the bus and taxis like the plague. Use a well known tourist company to get around. They'll be happy to basically serve as your taxi, from anything to a night out on the town or moving from city to city. And you'll get a street-wise driver who realizes he doesn't get paid unless you stay safe, and who doesn't want to get shot any more than you do!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 3 2011 5:57:59
 
turnermoran

Posts: 391
Joined: Feb. 6 2010
 

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to JuanDaBomb

quote:

Personally, I'm gonna wait until the U.S. military rolls through there and wipes all those fools out. That oughta buy a few years of peace, at least. Then, I'll go get my negra LOL!


This might give birth to a new guitar: "the super SUPER negra" - made with woods burned from the aftermath of warfare.

Oye vay..
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 3 2011 15:21:00
 
Shawn Brock

 

Posts: 271
Joined: Sep. 19 2011
From: Louisville KY

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Shawn Brock

@JuanDaBom: holey ****! I was thinking that as a person traveled from the airport, you would have the most risk in the beginning of the journey. I didn't know these small towns had the troubles you described. It kind of makes me wonder how the hell a guy could make guitars with these kinds of goings on? I have read about Morelia, and that a lot of folks who traveled to Paracho had stayed there. Lucky for them they must have missed the action.

I'm still game to go, but its nice to hear some true accounts about how things work. I don't know if I'm willing to wait until U.S. military rolls in, don't know if that will ever happen. Plus if they ever did, the Mexicans may be pretty pissed with us after!

All I know is its a shame that things are like that. Maybe I'm just a white boy with rose colored glasses... When I think of Mexican culture, I always think of happiness. I have always respected the high energy and spirit of the people. Just lucky for me that I have never ran into any cap popin cartel members I guess!

There are a few of these guys who I would love to buy guitars from, and it sickens me that a few here in the states are profiting so much off those makers. I know some of the importers are fare about it all, and I expect everyone to make money. At the same time though, some of these guys are paying the luthier $500 for a guitar, and selling it for $2000 or more. All because they can run a cheap web site for the maker, and speak just enough Spanish to communicate with him. Don't get me wrong, I never bitch about how much a guy sells his instruments for, its his business, but I'm not one to contribute to the poverty of a Mexican maker, while some white dood gets rich off it. I would rather go down and pay the guy in person, at least then I know he was taken care of.

Shawn
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 3 2011 16:34:44
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3435
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Shawn Brock

I began traveling to Mexico when I was four years old. I would go to Matamoros or Reynosa with my parents or grandparents. They would give me a silver dollar. I would trade it for eight silver pesos at the money changer, and be the richest four-year old in Mexico. I had a great collection of Mexican toys I bargained for in the market.

I went to Mexico by myself when i was seventeen and spent all summer. I have travelled to every state and territory in the country, dozens of times, over a period of more than fifty years. I speak serviceable Spanish. I live in Austin, Texas conveniently close to Mexico. I don't go there any more.

My last trip to Paracho was in December, 2006. I love Michoacan--Morelia, Patzcuaro, Uruapan, Paracho....I stayed at the Mansion Cupatitzio in Uruapan, a luxurious hotel. One evening I asked the concierge where would be a nice place to go for a drink. He suggested the Bar Sol y Sombra downtown. They had nice live music. The decoration was tasteful and luxurious. There were upscale couples and a few well-dressed singles. I found a beautiful, intelligent well dressed girl who didn't mind dancing with an old gringo and having a few drinks.

Back home a couple of months later I read the New York Times. In an article about the drug violence in Mexico they wrote about the murder of the police chief of Michoacan six days after he took office. They said one night recently a guy showed up at the Bar Sol y Sombra in Uruapan with a burlap bag. He rolled five human heads out onto the dance floor and said, "This will teach you cabrones to play both sides of the fence."

The Times quoted the bartender as saying, "It pretty well ruined the whole evening."

Last year I had a fairly close call in Morelia. About once a month I hear stories from friends of some other atrocity, not to mention the events that make the news.

Mexico is far more prosperous than when I first started going there. The people are still marvelously friendly and hospitable. I love the culture. But just about anywhere in the country, it can suddenly hit the fan.

It breaks my heart.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 3 2011 18:08:12
 
RTC

Posts: 667
Joined: Aug. 20 2008
From: DFW Area, Texas

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Richard Jernigan

It is sad that we are even having this discussion. We can sugar coat what is happening in Mexico as much as we want. The reality is that it is dangerous. I have many friends across the country and all of them have become prisoners in their own homes, they are even scared to go to the taco stand!

I find it very ironic to see that we as a nation (Government) send millions of dollars and military equipment to help the Mexican Authorities fight a drug war. On the other hand we as a society send millions of dollars (by consuming illegal drugs) to the Drug Cartels to fight a drug war. What is wrong with this picture.

It is a shame that a country with so much to offer is slowly going down the drain with no positive indications in the horizon, and like with any war the innocent are the ones that pay with their suffering.

As one of my Mexican friends told me “ at this time I am sad to say we are very distant from God and sadly so close to the US” every day that goes by and read of the human tragedies across the border, the better I understand what I was told.

If you travel to Paracho, please be very careful, I am sure you will be welcome with open arms and you will be treated like a king, Mexico has a way of making it's guests feel special.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2011 2:17:53
 
ArtZumer

Posts: 67
Joined: Aug. 4 2010
From: Brisvagas

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Shawn Brock

IMO it would definatly be better to tackle the source of the problem, the demand. The majority of drugs in mexico (not sure about this but pritty sure) are sold to America so if more attention was played to decreasing America's problem then Mexico wouldn't have such a huge problem.

_____________________________

“I’m retired now so the practice is down to just 4 hours” - Julian Bream
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2011 5:17:12
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14984
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Shawn Brock

My mexican friend is up for it. he works for the US gov, but is street smart mexicano and loves flamenco too. He plans to go to Paracho in Dec if you want to go with him. Now he is not the blend in the background tourist type, he is a loud proud mexicano, and he is not terribly afraid of gang stuff, but he respects it. Even though it might not seem safe, I can guarantee you will come out alive and with a nice guitar or 2 for a good price. He is a marketing guy so he likes to deal with people too. let me know if you are serious.

Ricardo

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2011 22:07:53
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3435
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

My mexican friend is up for it. he works for the US gov, but is street smart mexicano and loves flamenco too. He plans to go to Paracho in Dec if you want to go with him. Now he is not the blend in the background tourist type, he is a loud proud mexicano, and he is not terribly afraid of gang stuff, but he respects it. Even though it might not seem safe, I can guarantee you will come out alive and with a nice guitar or 2 for a good price. He is a marketing guy so he likes to deal with people too. let me know if you are serious.

Ricardo


Going with someone who knows the country and culture is a good idea. Dressing modestly and blending in are good ideas, too. Although the stories of violence are gruesome, Mexico can still be a wonderful place to visit.

My main reason for not going to Mexico is my traveling companion. She is a 30-year old fair skinned, blue eyed blonde. At 5' 7" (170 cm) she is a head taller than many Mexican women. She dresses well and we stay at the best hotels. Those are not the only reasons she turns heads when she walks down the street. I think the danger of kidnapping is just too great to be worrying about it all the time.

We enjoyed Brazil and Peru year before last. We had a great time on our last trip to Spain.

But I really do miss Mexico....

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2011 22:26:46
 
Shawn Brock

 

Posts: 271
Joined: Sep. 19 2011
From: Louisville KY

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Shawn Brock

Ricardo,

December is a little to soon for me. I was looking at planning something for this coming spring. If I made the trip in December, I probably couldn't afford to lay out much cash on guitars. This is a great offer and is truly appreciated! If your friend thinks he will be going down again in the somewhat near future, please let me know.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories. I need to make it to Spain soon as well. My travels there were before I got into flamenco, and I cry when I think about the lost time and experience.

As a lot of you know its truly a special experience to go and meet all the great craftsman who share our passion for these instruments. I hope to be able to visit more of the great shops. Sadly it seems a lot of the makers here in the states are becoming more shut in. But you know how it is, as a country we have changed a lot, and I'm not sure its for the better...

Shawn
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 8 2011 22:05:32
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14984
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Shawn Brock

quote:

December is a little to soon for me. I was looking at planning something for this coming spring. If I made the trip in December, I probably couldn't afford to lay out much cash on guitars. This is a great offer and is truly appreciated! If your friend thinks he will be going down again in the somewhat near future, please let me know.

Ok I will let you know.

Ricardo

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2011 20:07:24
 
HolyEvil

Posts: 1240
Joined: Nov. 6 2008
From: Sydney, Australia

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan


My main reason for not going to Mexico is my traveling companion. She is a 30-year old fair skinned, blue eyed blonde. At 5' 7" (170 cm) she is a head taller than many Mexican women. She dresses well and we stay at the best hotels.


I'd say "you lucky dog".. but in view of u being so much older than I am and my cultural need for respect.. I'll say "you lucky sir" =)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 9 2011 20:25:17
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3435
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to HolyEvil

quote:

ORIGINAL: HolyEvil

I'd say "you lucky dog".. but in view of u being so much older than I am and my cultural need for respect.. I'll say "you lucky sir" =)

Thanks. But the point is, if you're going to Mexico, dress modestly, blend in as well as you can, use public transportation (but choose wisely), don't flash money, don't consume conspicuously, be careful who you associate with..

Last year in Patzcuaro Larisa and I met a young Dutchman, in his twenties. He followed all the tips above, chiefly because he was traveling economically, with one exception. A tall, very fair skinned blue eyed blond, he was conspicuously a foreigner.

A very nice lad, we invited him to have lunch with us, and to accompany us on a few short excursions. We asked him how long he planned to stay in Mexico. He replied, "Until the money runs out."

Unfortunately his luck ran out first. A few months later we heard from his parents in Holland. He had mentioned us to them in an e-mail. They had our e-mail address. They asked if we could give any advice, or help in any way.

The police in southern Mexico had contacted his parents, saying he was found dead, with no money on him, but with his identification. The police said they had no leads. They were vague about the cause of death.

I gave the parents contact information for a couple of fairly well connected people in Mexico City, but as far as I know the police "investigation" has produced no results.

My ex-wife is a 5' 7" (170 cm) blue eyed blonde American. When we were young, she turned heads when she walked down the street. She speaks fluent Spanish, and went to university in Mexico one summer. When I first met her she was engaged to the son of the Mexican Minister of Agriculture--their families broke it up.

We used to go to Mexico two or three times a year. We took our children when they were old enough. I used to enjoy the attention my wife attracted.

These days, on our only trip to Mexico, the attention Larisa attracted set the alarm bells ringing loudly in my head.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 10 2011 4:57:46
 
Escribano

Posts: 6422
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Richard Jernigan

For what it is worth, my Mexican wife would not visit Paracho with La Familia Michoacana around and she is not easily scared. She certainly wouldn't go with a non-Mexican like me drawing attention and I would tend to listen to Mexicans on this matter. It is all so sad.

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Foro Flamenco founder and Admin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 10 2011 9:36:40
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14984
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Anyone want to travel to Paracho? (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

December is a little to soon for me. I was looking at planning something for this coming spring. If I made the trip in December, I probably couldn't afford to lay out much cash on guitars. This is a great offer and is truly appreciated! If your friend thinks he will be going down again in the somewhat near future, please let me know.

Ok I will let you know.

Ricardo

Oh the Bruce lee thread reminded me of this.

My friend said "Don't be a sissy"....then he said "ok, which guitar do you want...." he will maybe pick one up for you. And then he said it could be possible to go again later (after I told him HE would have to front the money for it plus his own guitar purchase), so keep in touch about it. And now he wants ME to go too, unless I am too much of a wuss too!

Mexicans!!!

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 17 2011 5:15:31
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