Thursday, July 7, 2005

Dolores Hidalgo

We keep coming back to Dolores Hidalgo. The town is so tranquil and lovely; I completely disagree with the Lonely Planet Guidebook representation. We had contemplated staying the night in Guanajuato, but after making multiple trips to Dolores, decided we’d spend a hotel night here. We’re currently at the best hotel in town, right on the plaza, have a King, a double and a twin with two balconies for 500 pesos. All rooms face an inner courtyard that has been converted into a restaurant and the third floor is a terrace bar and restaurant. This is the first town we’ve been to that I could definitely consider living in. Very few gringos, a very real town and the few hotels that exist cater to vacationing Mexicans (as this town is something of a pilgrimage site to Mexicans).

It has been so lovely to visit the town; we went to our favorite eating place in the municipal market and had yet another wonderful meal. Ninety five pesos for six quesadillas, five hot shredded pork (and many other ingredients) sandwiches, seven glasses of jamaica. Absolutely the most food we’ve gotten for that amount of money.

The kids made fast friends of a local family (and their kids) and we talked til sunset about families, life in the US and life in Mexico. The kids were so sad to find that their friends didn’t spend the night in the plaza waiting for them to return this morning.

But the best thing about staying in a hotel in town? Jamie is enjoying Tour coverage via one of the ESPN stations. He now realizes that he could have been watching it all along if he’d taken my advice and asked the restaurant next to our camping spot if they carried ESPN International. (they do)
Jesse had an amazing birthday. Pike was absolutely certain that Jesse would get absolutely NO presents and it would be a horrid day. We started the day with a release of the toys (the boys enormous quantities of toys have been in isolation for a couple weeks) and Jesse said that was the best present he could hope to get. He and Pike spent hours playing with their long lost toys and stuffed animals. We then headed to la Bodega (a giant superstore) that he wanted to visit and got a few presents. Much earlier in the day he had asked if Mexico had anything like “The Jungle” (a playarea we used to go to in the Bay Area) and I told him no. Believe it or not, as we left the Bodega store, and I took a different route to avoid some toys that were keeping Ellen captive, we found a “Jungle” like place. Simply amazing. So, I bought socks (just like at the Jungle ) and they played for an hour.

We had dinner at the restaurant and I snuck a cake and candles in earlier, so Jesse was enormously surprised to have a cake brought from the kitchen to finish the meal. Both he and Pike admitted that it we pulled out a wonderful birthday.

Dolores Hidalgo is the birthplace of the Mexican Independence (from Spain) movement and the entire town is steeped in history. It is quite colonial and the town square (and surrounding area) has beautifully painted homes and businesses. The boys and I headed out and explored the area and found a second municipal market and made some purchases. Jesse must have smelled this dulceria. A dulceria is a sweet shop, but on a grand scale. Generally, almost all items for sale are bulk quantities. It is simply a wonderland for the kids. In this last picture, note the flavors of ice cream.

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