Saturday, May 27, 2023

La Purisima de Jalpa - Hike Through The Canyon

Last week I messaged Les to see if he wanted to get together for dinner or a hike.  He recommended a hike and we were in.  We met just down the street from our house in front of the OXXO.  We drove out towards Queretaro and took the turn off to Jalpa.  The actual name is La Purisima de Jalpa.  The road to Jalpa is the old highway to Queretaro.  A good road that changes to a decent dirt road.  The first thing you see is the church, recently built and parts are still uncompleted.  The window frames are in, the typical Gothic style, but the stained glass is still in process.  The church I grew up in was built with the help of my grandfather and all the stained glass windows had the name of the family that donated it.  This is a huge church for such a small town.

After, we drove down by the presa.  This time of year, the water level is very low and things are pretty dry.  Off we went to the starting point of our trip.  Les and Juan both have some good pics as well on their Facebook pages.  

We walked across some ranch land and headed up toward the canyon.  Beautiful scenery and I wish it had been a bit overcast or cooler but the heat was really starting to beat down.  We passed a guy who was keeping an eye on a small group of cattle.  He had been sleeping on the ground under a tree.  He had two vicious dogs with him and they were ready to attack.  We picked up rocks and sticks just in case and the owner began calling them.  I was bringing up the rear and one of them bit me on the back of my calf above the ankle.  We put some water on it and it looked okay.  I was thinking then about a tetanus shot and remembered I had one three years prior in San Miguel de Allende.  I had been bitten by a dog then as well.  I guess they think I taste pretty good!

These boulders are huge.  I would say that they are easily 2 meters tall and as wide.  You wonder how long ago they had fallen.  The water rushes through the canyon slowly forming them into perfectly rounded boulders.  Nature is truly amazing.

This photo doesn't do the pool justice.  It is easily one and a half meters wide.

We continued on for about another half hour and stopped for a break.  We had water, Les shared a great piece of pan dulce and we had some graham crackers along as well.  We headed back the same way and again passed those little rascals and this time we were well-prepared for battle.
Now that I am on Juan's state social insurance, I took advantage and went to the ER as he had a doctor's appointment.  The doctor said no worries and that most people get rabies from human bites and that the states here in Mexico have patrols on ranches that offer rabies vaccines to the animals.   She gave me some antibiotics and said I'm good for life.  I did do some growling last night but no signs of foaming at the mouth.  😼

I wanted to share a very good restaurant that is on the outskirts of San Miguel.  It is called Gorditas de Don Ciro.  It is located on the road to Dolores Hidalgo at the 5.5 km mark.  There just happens to be a very small strip mall on the corner of the highway where you would turn to the right and drive 200 meters.

Excellent rustic Mexican food including quesadillas, gorditas, volcanes, and much, much more.  The best part is the price.  We had two quesadillas and two gorditas fully loaded and the bill was $5.50 USD.  You can't beat the food or the prices.

On my daily exercise, I pass many interesting places.  This is a house near the Parroquia or main plaza where the landmark church is located.  This house was the birthplace of Jesus Maria Sollano y Davila, who was a well-known bishop ordained by Pius IX.  He was born in 1820 in the heart of the city.  He worked for many years as the first Bishop of Leon and was in charge of teaching and training seminarians.   I find it interesting that someone lives in the house that the person was born in over 200 years ago.  

I always say, "if only the walls could talk"-

Sunday, May 21, 2023

A Quick Tour Of Queretaro

We took a day trip to Queretaro to shop at Home Depot and Walmart.  We're looking for glass shower doors and a new front door for the house.  We got a couple of estimates from local carpenters and decided to buy a new door and install it ourselves.  We'll have the spaces cut for the hinges and the locksmith has to come anyway so that eliminates expense and time fiddling with carpenters.  We purchased a television for the spare bedroom so it is all set up now and ready for visitors.  My oldest niece will be coming in October.

Driving around Queretaro is easy with Google Maps or Waze.  The streets and highways are in excellent condition and it makes driving a pleasure.  Sure there is a learning curve especially when you don't live there but after a couple of trips, you get a good idea of what and where things are and how to get there.

The chart below shows the increase in population for the city of Queretaro.   The first census was taken in 1895 but you can see the sharp increase from 1970 through today.  I was shocked to see the city has grown so much to 2.3 million people.  The hills along the side of the city are now covered with middle and upper-middle-class homes.

We took advantage of the drive to do a little sightseeing.  We went to the centro area first before shopping and took some pictures of the sights.  Such a clean city and everyone is friendly and helpful.  Our first stop was the main plaza where we ate our breakfast that Juan had prepared.  Some good egg and chorizo burritos.  Things were just starting to open up which was a bit surprising.  It was already 10 o'clock.  

It was nice sitting under the shade of the trees in the plaza.  By 10 a.m. the sun was beating down pretty hard even though the temperature was 20C.

We walked over to the city offices where we found a smaller plaza with many shoe shiners.  We were in need of one kicking up all the dust in SMA on our walks to town.  The guy shining our shoes was very friendly and gave us some tips on things to see and do.  We had been to Queretaro as tourists many years ago but he was eager to fill us in and we thanked him.

With the city offices starting to open, traffic picked up and people began filling the square and forming queues at copy shops and papelerias.  Everyone had a folder or folders filled with the papers they were going to deliver or have changes made.  I know there are other offices in the city but this is the main office and old habits die hard.  

The house of Lorenzo de la Parra, was an essential patriot of the Mexican Independence evolution of 1810.  On September 13, 1810 (later known as the Conspiracion de Queretaro) his house was used as a secret meeting place for the conspirators of the revolution; Ignacio Allende, Miguel Hidalgo, and Josefa Ortiz.  It was just three days later that Miguel Hildago y Costilla stood on the steps of the church in Dolores Hidalgo and gave his speech later known as the Grito de Independencia.  

The aqueduct was completed in 1738.  Nuns at the local convent complained to the then-in-charge Marquis about the quality of water and the contamination caused by old pipes but mostly butcher shops dumped their waste into the sewers.  At that time it was a major infrastructure project built to bring water into the main parts of the city.  They first asked for donations.  Later, the marquis donated a larger sum which came from his wife's inheritance. The aqueduct is 1,280 meters long and is listed as part of Queretaro's UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is truly something to see as you're coming down the avenue.  

In this picture, you can see the extreme scale of the aqueduct.  Truly an engineering fete. 

After all that walking plus the trip to and from Queretaro we decided we deserved a treat.  This is something we hardly ever do.  It used to be our routine on return trips from San Antonio stopping at the Batesville, Tx Dairy Queen, also known as the Texas stop sign!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Hike Around The Presa San Miguel de Allende
Sunday morning we decided to take an early morning walk around the presa.  We had house-sat there three times.  Good times at that house with the two dogs Sky and Bonnie.  The views from the house over the lake were impressive even though during certain times of the day the water lilies would take over the waters.

We drove over to Los Frailes and parked near the house-sit.  Our friends were probably not up that early and we don't like to surprise visit people without previous notice.  As we walked along we recounted our times there.  We noticed that there were no hot air balloons this weekend.  Not sure yet what is going on with that.  I remembered though the time I was on the walk by the presa and the hot air balloon had an emergency landing right behind me.

As you can see, the presa is now becoming an arid wasteland.  The rains should be coming soon but I don't know how long the city will be able to hold out.  Water also comes from the underground aquifers but there aren't enough wells and the city doesn't seem to be doing much about it.  I could be wrong but looking at the lake it isn't very promising.

The neighbors in the area are taking their animals out there to feed on the grasses and dead water lilies.  Here are some sheep taking a respite from the sun under a tree that is usually partially covered by water.

It wasn't the most exciting hike but it was important to get out and go somewhere.  We want to get around to the other side this next weekend.  On the way back we came across this mural (damaged by graffiti) of a train depicting the revolution.  In the engineer's cab, there is a catrina taking charge and you can see the prisoners in the picture below.

Not sure why this sculpture sits here on this lot next to the mural but it has been there for a few years.

Later that day, we were out and about and saw this wonderful rainbow.  It must have rained up in the hills although we only had a few drops while driving around town.

This is the libramiento near our house.  You can see how fast the city has grown.  With the severe drought here in Mexico it's a shame that the city continues to give building permits to large gated neighborhoods that require water.  That said, even in Monterrey, you hear no talk of composting toilets and water catchment systems. We are considering both of those options for our places in SMA and Monterrey.  It surely won't do any harm.

We drove to Queretaro on Monday to do some shopping at the Home Depot.  While there, we took a couple of hours to walk around the centro area and the city market.  We will be going back soon I'm sure and to Guanajuato and Peña de Bernal.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Time To Take A Trip

Juan and Emelia 1980s (Story of the rooster going after the hen playing hard to get)!

Juan and Emelia 2023

It was an event to end all events in terms of Mexican folkloric dance.  Over the weekend we celebrated the 35 anniversary of the Fiesta Mexicana Folkloric dance group.  I was there in the beginning, not dancing just following the group around.  That was in 1984 in South Padre Island.  Since then, the group has danced in international dance festivals and competitions in Europe, Mexico and the United States.  Looking at the photo below, it is obvious that everyone is older amongst other things that I won't mention.  Overall, though they all look pretty good.

The Fiesta Mexicana Juniors group put on quite a performance held in the Theater of the City in downtown Monterrey to a sold-out auditorium.  It was really something to see the dance as well as all of the dancers, their spouses, children and in some cases grandchildren.  Several of the original dancers are still dancing along with their children.  One family, husband and wife also have their two daughters in the group.   

The dances in these pictures are from the state of Nuevo Leon.  Below you can see Saddleback Mountain, the symbol of our state.  

The other day I found a mistake in an official document and I had to have a correction made.  I went to the state offices.  It didn't take long but we were prepared with all of the proof necessary to make the correction.  Talk about a money-maker, this state office is filled with hundreds of people every day that pay a minimum of $25 U.S. to take care of some official business or document.  For a country where people pay little to no taxes, I guess it's one way to get the money.

For six months on my daily exercise route, I have been watching this fungus grow next to a tree.  It was much smaller in the beginning and really had no color whatsoever.  I tried to identify it using Google image but it is not an easy task to weed through all the information and you don't know in the end what is fact or fiction.  

We arrived in San Miguel de Allende yesterday afternoon.  It was a nice drive and no traffic stops or checkpoints.  Lots of good music, conversation and our lunch we brought with us.  The house is fine and today we are off on some adventures.