JUEVES 13 JULY
Today we gave ourselves permission to rest. We had a leisurely morning a la casa, then a leisurely stroll down to the plaza(s) for desayuno, then back home for an “administrative” day at our respective computers.
The day completed rather inelegantly with a mediocre meal at one of the Mexican restaurants just off Jardin Zenea (in spite of encouraging Yelp revues).
We notice a common item on many menus to be grasshoppers, and I am determined to try it (however disgusting it might sound) but Dorothee isn’t yet sold on the idea!
VIERNES – 14 Julio
Things we have observed thus far that differentiates Queretaro from home:
- Drivers are incredibly polite and orderly here, in spite of the constantly crawling pace on the narrow, mostly-one way streets. One contribution to this phenomena as Uriel explained, is that Mexican traffic laws dictate the Uno a Uno (one by one) method. This means, at any intersection, regardless of the existence or not of stop signs, cars must be allowed ingress one at a time. I.e., one car going west crosses, then a car going north crosses, etc. One almost never hears a horn honking, unless someone just leaves a vehicle blocking the roadway.
- Trash is picked up EVERY morning. Just leave your refuse parcel on the sidewalk outside your door, and it will be gone the following morning (Yes EVEN on Sundays, where, surprisingly, most all the shops and restaurants are open as well)
- The sidewalks and streets are swept clean by a cadre of municipal workers daily, using their own homemade brooms.
- Birthdays are NOT celebrated with OUR traditional “Happy Birthday” song. Instead, a very long song entitled “Las Mananitas” is sung, and most every citizen knows all the words (there are actually a number of additional verses, but this seems to be the most common):
Estas son las mañanitas,
que cantaba el Rey David,
Hoy por ser día de tu santo,
te las cantamos a ti,
Despierta, mi bien*, despierta,
mira que ya amaneció,
Ya los pajarillos cantan,
la luna ya se metió.Que linda está la mañana
en que vengo a saludarte,
Venimos todos con gusto
y placer a felicitarte,
Ya viene amaneciendo,
ya la luz del día nos dio,
Levántate de mañana,
mira que ya amaneció.
This is the morning song
that King David sang
Because today is your saint’s day
we’re singing it for you
Wake up, my dear*, wake up,
look it is already dawn
The birds are already singing
and the moon has setHow lovely is the morning
in which I come to greet you
We all came with joy
and pleasure to congratulate you
The morning is coming now,
the sun is giving us its light
Get up in the morning,
look it is already dawn* (birthday boy/girls name usually inserted here)
VIERNES 14 Julio
To make up for our lazy Thursday, we struck off early on this morning, back to the Plaza (Jardin Zenea.. our favorite go-to spot). First stop was the Museo Regional de Queretaro. I’m not a big museum fan, but I have to say this one was well worth the approximately $3.00 entrance fee!
Afterwards, it was a wide walking loop to explore other plazas we hadn’t seen, most notably the Plaza Alameda. It is just amazing how many beautifully landscaped and tree-covered parks and plazas are in the Centro.
The best part of our day came at the end however, as we have vowed to attend as many of the Queretaro 2017 Annual Jazz Festival performances as possible (ALL, incredibly, free of charge). First was a 5-piece “Bossa Jazz: group performing at the Teatro De Republica just 3 blocks from our house. This beautifully-designed small theater features 3 separate u-shaped balconies, and, as might be expected, the house was pretty full!
On the way to the next performance, we were treated to street artists in the Jardin Zenea:
Next it was on to Plaza Fundadores (Founders), where we saw and heard what has to be one of the most incredible jazz/funk bands I hve ever seen! Called “Ensamble de Jazz de la Sedena” (yes, that’s the correct spelling). Words can’t describe this group, so instead I urge the viewer to check out each of these videos of partial songs I made at the event (Hint.. Press the “X” symbol in lower RH corner of the video playback for full screen viewing):
We learned afterward that all of the band members are actually active “enlisted’ personnel in the Mexican Army, which underwrites their full-time PR mission as musicians. (US Air Force Stage Band.. eat your heart out!)
After that mind-blowing performance, it was on to a wonderful late-night meal at a sidewalk cafe on the Plaza de Armas, with music groups playing at almost every outdoor venue around the Plaza.
Finally, at almost midnight, on our way home, we encountered a crowd being entertained by yet more street performers. The choices are sometimes overwhelming: