Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday Madness in Mexico

Tomorrow is the four-week anniversary of my arrival in Queretaro. To recap, here are some things I have done in that time:
  •  Learned to drive a stick shift
  •  Found a book group
  • Bought and read a book in Spanish - my first Vargas Llosa! 
  • Eaten a lot of tacos. 
  • And tamales. 
  • And enchiladas. Especially the local dish, enchiladas queretanas
  • Sung karaoke (duh) (although, this was actually kind of a fail in that we went super late after the evening was kind of already over and I was out of cash and in fact super exhausted and I kind of need to redo my Mexican karaoke inauguration)
  • Stood at the very table where the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed
  • Graded tests
And, you know, lots of other stuff besides. Not to mention my Spanish speaking! It's fun to speak a little español again.

There was something weird about today, though. I don't know what it was -- a post-election hangover? That would be ironic what with the election day dry laws and all. A full moon? Maybe. But there was just something about Queretaro this evening. First of all, on my (forced, stick shift) drive back from my last duty of the day there was no traffic. There is always at least one time I must slow to a crawl, but not today. I stayed in fourth gear through the police checkpoint! THAT is how little traffic there was! (Why, yes, there IS a police checkpoint on our evening drive returning to Queretaro proper, but it's just a little official one and so far -- and please join me in knocking on some serious wood here -- we have always been waved through and/or they are already looking in the back of someone else's vehicle, usually a truck or U-Haul-type thing.)  Anyway, where was I? Right, today was weird! First there was the whole fewer-cars-on-the-highway thing, and then there were fewer cars in my Queretaro streets too, and I was wondering if people took the day after the elections off, or something.

Then as I was about to arrive back at the Institute, the destination for the car and myself, I came across the remains of a pretty nasty car accident -- you know, loads of police cars, a small crowd, people with furrowed brows, and a car totally crunched under the back of a bus. No vehicle occupants in sight, having already been taken off, alive I hope. So, after being traumatized by that accident right by the school, Brian and I got home and at the intersection by our place a street was blocked off by police, who were shooing cars left and right and not letting them pass, and I could only see that there were more police cars behind them, and I couldn't tell if someone got shot or something exploded or what. Then, Brian was about to head to his weekly soccer game with other Institute peeps but his ride called to cancel so he was going to drive by himself, and we decided (roundaboutly) that I would also go along and be a soccer spectator, partly for companionship and partly because I had been idly meaning to go see the weekly soccer gig at some point (even though they won't let girls play) but mostly because seriously I was like, with all these random acts of police around Queretaro tonight you're going to probably get stuck in some roadblock somewhere and need my Spanish. Ha ha, but we saw several more cops in our 'hood on our way to the game, including an 18-wheeler randomly pulled over on our busy road and stuff like that. I'm convinced something big and bizarre was happening and the police were hot on someone's trail.

OK, cheap thrills, cheap thrills, I know. It's actually been an interesting day even without the weirdness because it was interesting to discuss the results of the presidential election with people, particularly the predicted (enabled?) election of Enrique Peña Nieto as president over Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador and Josefina Vázquez Mota. (Here's a sketch of the basic people and results, very basic, if you'd like to learn a bit. But it's just one prism through which to view the situation, and some people I've talked to would tell the story differently.)

Anyway, as usual time is flying but I am happy every day to be surrounded by so much delicious food.  I realized that I've been going about this all wrong -- clearly I should have been teaching one year in Asia, then hanging out in Mexico for a few months eating, then another year in Asia, etc. My timing has been off. If only I'd hit on that perfect plan sooner!  Yum.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun. The checkpoints are somewhat apprehension-causing, although I never had any trouble at any of them. Does Queretaro have any "Quatro Alto"'s? (4-way stops). La Paz BCS is full of them, but it is fairly squarely laid out like Phoenix. I don't remember them in Mexico City or Morelia. Tenga cuidado y no tome algun pesos maderos! Pepe