Friday, June 24, 2005

Queretaro y San Miguel de Allende

We had a very easy time driving from San Juan Teotihuacan to Querétaro. The road was well signed and we didn’t get lost once. Imagine!! The scenery was simply amazing. Ribbons of green and spring green and brown on the bottom and grey and grey-blue mountains with overcast sky. Yellows and tans filled in the tierra and bright orange, sky blue, magenta and red homes dotted the landscape. We came down a huge amount of altitude from Pachuca and passed a large area of balnearios. These were HUGE water parks with numerous slides and tubes. The kids were dying to stay but the weather was cool and we were pushing for the border. Yeah. Were. Still not sure what we’re going to do, but we simply do not want to rush through this area. On paper it looked good, but we are loving the colonial architechture, the hills and mountains that Jamie can ride and the artesenia.

We are currently camped outside a Pemex station at a motel - no electricity or bathrooms, but for 30 pesos the family can get a key to a room and take showers. A wonderful restaurant is nearby and while some entrees are in the 85-100 peso range, they also have very reasonable 40 peso dishes. The kids have been introduced to enchiladas (nothing like the ones in the states) and absolutely LOVE them.

We took a daytrip into San Miguel de Allende yesterday. Besides being a huge gringo town, it is one of the towns that began the Mexican independence. The rebels were supposed to begin their fight for Spanish independence in Querétaro, but word got to the Spanish so Allende and Hidalgo began with the takeover of Dolores (then not named Dolores Hidalgo) then to San Miguel and then to Querétaro and San Luis Potosí. We visited art galleries and the Center of Bellas Artes (Fine Arts) where we saw sculpters, painters and other artists at their craft. The town of San Miguel de Allende is simply indescribable. It is absolutely The Most Beautiful Town we’ve visited yet.

We stupidly left with a light breakfast and were dying of hunger early on. We found a lovely restaurant but it was quite pricy. It did, however, lead us to a store of local craft that is dedicated to helping rural women earn a living from their craft. In the state of Guanajuato, many of the men leave to find work in the US and the women and children are left at home to suffer and starve. This store is trying to support the crafts of the women by bringing their craft to market and paying them upon deliver of goods (instead of upon sale of their goods). If you would like to support this store and can wait for me to ship stuff once we cross the border, let me know. They have lots of embriodered clothing (but it looks old style for girls) but pillows at 120 pesos, tablecloths and blankets at 800-1200 pesos. Little boxes (which look like they are made by children) at 25-50 pesos and paper mache bright colored fruit at 6 pesos each. Exchange rate is about 10.80 pesos to the US dollar. The prices seem a bit high, but we’re used to municipal market rates and bargaining. Knowing that the money is going direct to the families makes a difference.

Ellen fell asleep on us so we decided to take a trip to Dolores Hidalgo for some Talavera pottery. Lets just say the trip was a success. I could have purchased about 10 times the amount I did without a second thought. We never made it to the town and I really wanted to show the kids where the “grito” was made - the call to independence by Hidalgo. The pottery factory (it is a home and other outbuildings) is also a furniture factory and they had very very many carved horses. Sissy was in heaven.

There is so much more, but Jamie is out on the road and we need to go pick him up. We’re absolutely LOVING this part of the country and are loathe to zip through it. When I get to town (and post this) I’ll be researching vehicle insurance and trying to obtain a month more policy so we can amble through this area. Guanajuato, Querétaro, and Zacatecas are simply NOT areas to burn rubber through. We could spend months in each state.

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