Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Evening in Queretaro, Mexico

I love this traditional Sunday evening custom, dancing under the stars to the music of the Municipal Band. It strikes me as a sweet, nostalgic souvenir of, perhaps, the 1940's. You can see in the photo, the couples get dressed up for this weekly outing (including men in Panama hats). Whole families come out to sit in the park and enjoy the free entertainment. In my book, it beats lying on the sofa watching the Sunday night movie.

Snapshot: "Are you Brazilian?"
First time I've ever been asked THAT. I was in a shop, checking out at the register. The girl behind the counter is intrigued. Clearly, I'm speaking Spanish. But with a funny accent. Blond hair. Hmmm, must be....Brazilian?

Snapshot: I find it strange that when you go to a stand to buy a juice, they serve it to you not in a plastic cup--as you'd expect, but in a plastic bags. The vendor does a little slight-of-hand and ties a straw into the knot....and off you go, carrying a bag of liquid with a straw in it. For some reason, reminds me of an IV bag in the hospital.

Ecumenical: On Saturday, I got up early and went to the temporary exhibit of Buddha's Relics at the local art museum. A very long line. I got blessed by a Buddhist priest. Then I went over to my volunteer job at the shelter for abused kids. There we sat through Catholic catechism class. I figured I was doubly blessed that day.

Snapshot: Every time you order a hamburger here, it comes with a slice of HAM. Must be something lost in translation...after all, the word "hamburger" has "ham" in it, right? It's weird, but OK.

Snapshot: I was sitting in my favorite lunch restaurant. At another table, the husband gets up, walks over to the beverage cooler (can't wait), helps himself to a cold brewskie. Comes back to the table. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out his keychain...WITH A BEER OPENER ATTACHED ON THE END! Like a Boy Scout, always prepared. The wife, totally unphased by it all. I bet she's seen it before.

Snapshot: in Spanish colonial times, the political chief in Queretaro wasn't a "governor," but was titled the "corregidor." An interesting word, it means "one who corrects or reprimands." So much for representative democracy. Spain ruled with an iron fist.