November 27th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
The cathedral

A bad day today.  Said goodbye to Henry, but the Germans were either asleep or out.  We headed off once more to the Australian embassy, but there received a fairly severe setback to our hopes, since the woman there insisted that it was impossible to apply for a working visa outside of one’s country of nationality.  And yet the LA consulate had issued us with application forms.  In any case, they hadn’t yet received our forms, + the consul was away + wouldn’t be back until Tuesday, so all we could do was leave the matter hanging + say we’d be back.  It did make us both feel pretty fed up tho’, that can’t be denied.  Went back briefly to the hotel, left a note for Franz + Anita, then set off to visit a couple of Mexico’s historic buildings. 

First was the Cathedral, + we were taken in by a self-professed “guide”, who offered to show us the “catacombs”.  In fact, they turned out to be boring underground corridors, + he was patronising, tedious, + generally uninformative.  And we were charged $2US for a wasted half-hour.  Rum ti tum.

We then took a quick look at the National Palace – an uninspiring building – then made our way back to the hotel (stopping briefly at our favourite panaderia) to collect our bags and move on out.  Then, once again, the walk to the station, tho’ it was nothing like as far this time, as we were able to walk straight there by the most direct route.  I spent ages queuing for a ticket when we got there only to discover I was in the First Class queue (how silly of me!)  The train left at 6, so we still had a couple of hours to kill, so we sat outside in the sunshine on the grass.  Until, that is, Val remembered she’d left her shoes behind in the hotel.  My Spanish being the better, I trotted back to fetch them – fortunately, the room was still unoccupied, so there was no problem.

We were able to get ourselves fairly comfortable seats on the train – tho’ partly at least because we found our way to an older, less popular carriage.  It was our fear that we might do as we did before, + miss our stop, but the conductor saw us right.  So, at 11.30 or so, we arrived at Queretaro station, where we rolled out our sleeping bags, + slept.

Not sure I know who Henry is/was – presumably one of our fellow-travellers.  And our experience with the Australian embassy was entirely typical of the somewhat haphazard way we were approaching our travels, just seeing what was available.  Though it could have its drawbacks…

And leaving things behind was another repeated motif of our trip, mostly, as in this case, with no serious consequence.

And yet another example of our using the stations as impromptu (and, crucially, free!) sleeping places.  Have my doubts that it would be quite so free and easy nowadays.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I spent New Year’s Eve in Queretero 2018-19. I loved the town. I hope you found it more welcoming than Mexico City. I thought the National Palace was where all the Diego Rivera murals are–a truly amazing experience to walk through them. I love Mexico City, despite its dirt and noise. It looks like you didn’t get to see the good parts of it, you were so intent on getting your work visa!

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