Hot black girls in Morelia

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But instead of fake, swirling white snowflakes, substitute butterflies -- hundreds, thousands, millions of orange-and-black monarchs -- flying around like autumn leaves in a gale. Each fall, million of the butterflies set off from the northern United States for the highlands east of Morelia. They take on this annual migration -- about 2, miles -- to winter where the oyamel fir trees grow. From November through March, they gather to mate and feed on the nectar of local flowers.

Last winter, I began to envy the Hot black girls in Morelia, which each year leave the cold and gloom for warmth and sunshine. How nice it would be to huddle together in the morning air of a mountaintop, then enjoy the midday sun in a forested preserve under an innocent blue sky. Among them: a long stone aqueduct, which provides a series of graceful arches for games of hide-and-seek, and an 18th century fountain where three statues of women hold cornucopias of food.

My favorite was two fried eggs, one with red salsa, one with green. It looked like a spicy traffic light on a tortilla. Bells at the Cathedral of the Divine Savior rang as the world passed by our table. The 18th century cathedral, whose exterior is pink, starts off simply, its lower level built of unadorned blocks. Then it gets Baroque, with balconies and niches for statues and pigeons, crowned with two foot bell towers.

The morning Janice and I toured the cathedral, it was busy, even during a weekday hour when Mass was not being said. Cleaning men polished gold trim and dusted statues of the saints. A woman trimmed chrysanthemums behind the altar, creating floral confetti. A little girl dipped her fingers in the holy water font and, unafraid of offending the pious, giggled.

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Two praying, middle-aged women advanced slowly on their knees down the center aisle toward the altar. A line of women waited for their turns in the open confessional. Appropriately, I had an almost holy experience with a shoeshine on the sidewalk adjacent to the cathedral. The shoeshine man, exceedingly polite and neatly groomed, crossed himself as I hopped into his raised chair. The room smells deliciously booky.

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A large, modern mural at one end shows likenesses of Albert Einstein and other representatives of scholarly fields. An academic building on the same street is deed so that each classroom opens onto a large central courtyard. Students often eat on the go, so I was not surprised that good tacos, gorditas and other fast food were plentiful. My favorite discovery was gaspacho, a sort of juice, sort of salad. The Morelian version consists of chopped pineapple and jicama, crumbled cheese, two kinds of peppers, salt, and lime and orange juice.

You use a straw for the juice and a spoon for the crunchy remainder. I found two other standouts. We settled on amargoan intense chocolate, with milk. It was like drinking a fudge brownie. At Los Mirasoles, a restaurant that specializes in regional cuisine, we tried ixtabentuna Mexican Hot black girls in Morelia flavored with anise and honey, so penetratingly aromatic that I repeatedly set down the snifter, lest its vapor fill my brain and turn me into an anise-scented bee.

A large covered market, it supplements craft items and predictable tourist pieces with candy. We saw and tasted citrus con coco candied whole lime peel stuffed with sweetened coconutbirds nests of coarse-grated coconut and caramel, and brittles peanut, sesame seed, pumpkin seed.

We were here for more than just the cuisine, however. The monarchs spend their winters in only a dozen or so spots in Mexico, and many are accessible from Morelia. We hired a guide and made the two-hour journey by van to the Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca, which is up about 10, feet.

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The road plays out near the peak, and Janice and I did the last mile on horseback. At first, I rejected the horse, determined to hike with Paul. As we neared the summit, the butterfly situation looked disappointing. Only a few stray monarchs clung lethargically to the trees. But the farther we went, the more we saw, swirling in the air, alighting on fir branches. Soon, they were as thick as swarming bees and seemed to be flying in formation. But they were silent; we could hear only a soft wind caressing the evergreens. And my own exclamations of frustration. Photographing butterflies in flight is difficult, particularly if, like me, you depend on the idiot-proof camera settings.

What you get are perfectly focused shots of the sky with butterfly-colored blurs in the foreground. Photography probably would be easier on cool mornings, when the sleepy butterflies envelop the trees, seeming to transform firs into maples.

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Males die after mating; females return to the States to lay their eggs, then die too. Their life spans are made even more precarious by predatory birds and bad weather -- freezing rain can kill them off by the millions -- and illegal logging in their oyamel fir tree habitat.

How they navigate is one of those mysteries that make the natural world so satisfying. As I stood on the forested hilltop, it occurred to me that they might have similar questions about us. That evening, we returned to Morelia in time for sunset and some grazing among the street-side vendors.

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Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options. By Jerry V. Special to The Los Angeles Times. Morelia, Mexico I now know what it feels like to be inside a snow globe. How nice to be a student here, I mused. Or an American visitor. Or a butterfly.

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