November 29th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
The cheerleaders!

A good night’s sleep – we were tired – then after a snatched carbohydrate breakfast, decided to pack up our things + take them straight to the bus station.  That would take us through the centre of town, so we could take some pictures of the more interesting plazas, buildings.  We liked Queretaro, especially around the historic centre of the town – because there are so many surprising little courtyards, popping their heads up at you as you round a corner.

On our way into town, however, we discovered there was a carnival procession on in town, to mark its 450th anniversary, so we found ourselves a spot, dumped our bags, + watched them all go by – rich Queretaro parading before poor.  It was a bit slow-moving, but there were some good items, my favourite being the drum-majorettes, who were all very good-looking – I suspect a professional import.  As is often the case, the carnival suffered somewhat from not having constant music.  There were bands, but they were too few + far between.  I would have had a mariachi band every third float (but then, it wasn’t my carnival.)

A more sombre group

When it was all finished, the crowd dispersed a little, we walked to the centre, rested a little with a couple of cokes, Val took a picture or two, + then out to the bus station.  Only a half-hour wait there, then on a bus to San Miguel de Allende – not much more than hour away.  Once off the bus, first stop was lunch – rolls filled with un poquito de cheese + some onion – then, once again, the accommodation search.  First place was $250, + very nice, but decided to check elsewhere.  Plodded up the hill to the town centre, then, wisely decided to split up – 1 to look after the bags, the other to search.  First Val looked, then me, when she returned hotel-less.  Tried 2 suggested in our guide – 1st full, but lucky with the 2nd.  Still $248, but really very luxurious.  Fetched Val, then we strolled around the market + a bit of the town till early evening.  Sat around reading, showered, then out again.  Town square was very lively, + were able to eat cheaply from an open-air stall – enchiladas, then syrup pancakes.  PS I forgot – we drank margaritas tonight.

And so, as is our usual practice, we are off on our travels again, desperate to fit as much as possible into the time, with none left to linger.  However, always on the lookout for any opportunity , we caught the parade.  Mildly embarrassed to read my appreciation of the obvious charms of the cheerleaders…

Probably the first example of what was to become a regular approach when arriving in a new place: one to sit and watch, the other to look for accommodation.  Much better than both of us lugging heavy bags around, and becoming short-tempered as a result.  We thought we were being very clever… but then discovered it was common policy with backpackers.  Ah well.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    Your entry today inspired so many memories for me. On my New Year’s Eve in Queretaro, we observed a repeating dance, some of the dancers dressed as Aztecs and others as Spanish soldiers. I suspect it was a history lesson in dance, but I don’t know Mexican history that well know the story. And I’ve stayed many times in San Miguel! Once for two months, when I studied Spanish and fell in love with the town and all its beauty. I have a friend who bought a house there, so I can rent it when he’s not in it, but haven’t since Covid. Its expatriate community began as an artist’s colony right after WWII, and unfortunately there are too many Americans there now, but it still has a vibrant community of artists. One of my favorite towns, after, of course, Paris and Rome. And Mitilini. Maybe you have to live in a place for a while to make it a “favorite.”

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