Not quite. I’m glad to see you’ve been enjoying our pictures. You know that if you want to see all 53 million of our pictures, you can click on any of these and it will take you to David’s flickr site where we are storing our pictures. Not that you WANT to see all of the pictures, but that is where they are if you have the desire and a few thousand years to spare.
So. Now we’ve come to December 26th. Only 3 days left. Time flies, doesn’t it?
We got up. I cooked breakfast, consisting of eggs and bacon with optional toast, for the family.
This is the actual picture that I took of the actual bacon cooking. Maybe there’s a career for me in food modeling. Maybe?
So, after breakfast, Peter and John had arranged for a private tour of Querétaro IN ENGLISH. We were to meet at a certain place at a certain time and get on board a trolley vehicle for a few hours of Querétarian history. It was very interesting.
We started out at the Cerro de las Campanas, or Hill of the Bells, so called because if you bang two of the rocks together, they sound like bells (I don’t know exactly why you would want to do this, but that is the reason for the name). This is the place where Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and 2 of his close buddies/generals were executed by a firing squad in 1867. Now there is a small chapel over the execution spot. Here is the chapel and the view down the hill towards the back of said chapel (Look, Ma! No handrails!):
Here is the trolley we rode in around town:
We also got to see the 74 arched Aqueduct (you can sort of see it spanning across town in the background of the photo above), built in the 1730s. Juan Antonio de Urrutia y Arana built this contraption with his own money, hoping it would please the nun at the Convent of the Holy Cross with whom he was in love. In the end, she decided that she had a commitment to the church and to God and could not marry him. But at least the convent now had fresh water.
More aqueducto pictures:
Here are a bunch of us on the trolley (I believe Elizabeth took this picture):
After the trolley tour, there was an optional walking tour (given by the same people). So while Elizabeth took Leif home for a nap and Kevin headed off on her own, the rest of us walked with Cesar, the guide, around the historical district. He took us to one of the plazas where long ago two guys battled for who had the biggest house (someone else can expand upon this, if needed). Then we went to the large house where it is thought the battle for Mexican Independence began with Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez. She gave signals to the rebels and I can’t remember what else she did, but there it is. Again, I’m sure someone else can expand on this. By this time in the tour, my brain was all used up. Anyway, inside of Josefa’s large house (her husband was a magistrate), there was a prison. We saw the beam upon which many people were hung. Under this beam, Cesar helped Mark to demonstrate how a prisoner died without the help of a rope:
As a person was chained up in this little alcove (there were many such alcoves around the jail), they were boxed in with something over the front of it and Cesar’s hand is marking the spot where your own filth would fill up and if you had any open wounds, you would die of massive infections. So, slowly die by massive infections or strung up with a rope? I don’t think you had a choice, but those were your only ticket out. Nice.
After the tour, we all split up in various directions. I went with Luke and David back to the house, but Mark and Peter and the girls decided to check out some old churches around town.
That evening, Elizabeth fixed a very tasty dinner for us and since we were all pretty much worn out, we went to bed. Another great day in Mexico.
The next day was to be filled with a little bit of travel, the making of new friends, and a whole lotta fun. Stay tuned for another exciting adventure!!
Still hanging around, eh? This is like watching someone else’s home movies, isn’t it? Well, I hope you are finding something interesting, at least!
So, Christmas morning? Is that where we are? I think so.
Not to alarm anyone, but sometime during the night of Christmas Eve, we had one more “driver for the porcelain schoolbus”. I didn’t want to bring it up, but this was the final occurrence. There will be no more talk of vomiting. Lucky you.
We woke up and Peter had some gifts he hadn’t opened yet.
We walked back to VIPs for breakfast.
Elizabeth and Leif know to watch for cars.
Peter and Susanna ran off energy on the way.
We ate a yummy breakfast. And you know what? This picture might have been taken Christmas Eve. Well, it’s really the thought that counts, right?
Merry Christmas from the Dishmans!!! (This is one of my tippy-top favorite pictures of the whole bunch.)
After breakfast, we took a leisurely stroll back to the homeplace, just for fun. The “historical square” (right in front of VIPs) was set up with different biblical scenes, of sorts…. (Think about life-size mannequins and paper-mache animals. It was great.)
The Nativity Scene
Satan among the poinsettias
And finally, the large rat with a pipe coming out of his mouth…???
Ah, well. I’m sure it fits somehow.
After we arrived at the homeplace, I don’t remember what we did. I’m pretty sure the boys/men and the kids (except for Leif, he took a nap) went off to play the Annual Dishman Christmas Football Game. Kevin went shopping and Elizabeth and I hung out on the roof terrace/patio and read books like little old ladies. I’m pretty sure I was reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and I think she was reading a Patrick O’Brian novel. She’s way tougher than I am, can you tell? Here’s what our view was like from the third floor rooftop:
Nice, eh? Very relaxing and it was probably about 70ish degrees Farenheit. Yessiree, very nice. Oh and we ate chocolate, Elizabeth and I.
Skip ahead to dinner, because I don’t remember what happened until then….
The lady who owns the house lives next door and runs a bed and breakfast. She offered to fix us Christmas dinner and bring it over. She is a former chef, so we were excited to see what dinner would look like.
Salads, of course…
We dined like kings. I couldn’t find any pictures of the main course(s). I was probably too busy stuffing my face to take a picture. There was pork roast and chicken and brisket and lots of yummy veggies and crusty bread and lots and lots of sparkling apple juice (to which the kids became addicted) and this for dessert (I think it was peach cobbler with whipped cream):
Here we all are (again, John is taking the pictures. Sad, really, isn’t it?):
And here are Kevin and Luke playing reindeer games before the meal (Funny people in our family) :
After dinner (which lasted a long time), we were milling about when we heard popping noises coming from outside. Someone ran to the roof and hollered for everyone else….it was……
FIREWORKS!!! CLOSE BY!!! And of course, the only pictures we have of said fireworks have half of the building blocking the shot, or I would show them to you. They were very close and very pretty and very sparkley (and very loud and made all the neighborhood doggies go crazy).
We put the kids to bed and then stayed up late to play Family Uno. I take it you might not be acquainted with this version of the popular Uno game, no? This is the game whereby if you win a round, Your Favorite Brother immediately christens you with a quick blow to the head. This schmack is accompanied by Eggshell Confetti. Eggshell Confetti (eggs that have the goopy stuff blown out of them and are filled with confetti) hurts when administered by YFB. Unfortunately, there were no pictures to commemorate this brand of familial fun.
This entry is taking up a lot of space, so I think I will write more later. I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of “Christmas in Mexico with the Dishmans”!
I’m almost finished with Part 4 of The Best Vacation We’ve Ever Had–NOW WITH MORE PICTURES!!!, but while I’m touching it up a bit, go to John’s page and see his latest post about his south ‘o the border car rental experience. That guy cracks me up!
Get it? “MeXmas”? It’s “Mexico” and “Xmas” together. I made it up myself. But you probably figured that one out on your own.
So, I think I left off sometime around Monday morning (that’d be Christmas Eve morning, in case you’re keeping track). Earlier that day (like 3 or 4am), David, Elizabeth, and Leif flew into Mexico City and Peter and John picked them up. The plan was to drive to Queretaro Monday. Everyone was really exhausted from our adventures thus far: Mark and I, from dealing with sick child/children all night, Peter and John, from picking up airport people and arguing about minivan rental specs in the wee hours of the morning, and David & Family from being delayed in a New York airport and then flying internationally in the middle of the night. But surprisingly, we were all very friendly and no one got pushy or mean, as physically exhausted people can sometimes do.
Stressful times did happen on our drive. Some of us almost got run over in the parking garage while walking to lunch at El Porton (Denny’s-type place owned by and next to a Walmart). The kids were still feeling yucky, so I ordered my meal and zipped over to Walmart to buy a thermometer (and a few other items). When I got there, I searched and searched for a thermometer. Couldn’t find one. Finally, after looking for a LONG time, I decided I had to ask someone. But I was by myself!! Peter (the only fluent Spanish speaker among us) was eating his lunch in another store. I had to do it myself. Ugh. I didn’t know the word for thermometer, so I guessed. And I probably looked like a stupid gringo idiot, but my babies needed a thermometer!! I had to do it. Whatever the cost. So here’s what I said:
Me: Eh..Uh..Umm…..Tiene Ud. tayr-mom-met-tro?
I said this while using my finger as a visual aid, of sorts. Pointing my finger to the back of my throat, like a thermometer.
It must’ve worked, because the nice Walmart lady sprang into action. She turned around and grabbed two choices from the wall behind her and showed them to me. I looked at them (they didn’t look any different) and pointed to one. Turns out, I chose a thermometer that measures only in Celsius. I think they probably all do that in Mexico, right? It worked out fine and now I have an extra souvenir! Lucky me. It was then that I realized that the smallest bill I had was a 500 peso note. That’s about $50 US. So they had to send Some Important Looking Guy to the front for change, which took at least 15 minutes. By that time, the family was wondering what had happened to me. Most of them had finished their dinner already, but I hadn’t even started yet. Still, it was a good experience for me to be out of my comfort zone. It was scary, but good. I think my hang-up with using a foreign language is that I know what I WANT TO SAY, but I am scared of what the other person would say back to me. How can I be sure I will understand the words they use? Can I understand what they say when they alltalksoquicklyIcanhardlybreathe? And I’m not very quick with a pocket translator. I’m sure that’s a post for another time.
We (who traveled in the car as opposed to the minivan, at least) had a delightful 2 hour (not including stops) car trip from Mexico City to Querétaro. We saw the Mexican countryside. Here is a small taste:
Pretty great, eh? There was a donkey eating out of a trash can along the side of the road, but I couldn’t get my camera out in time for a picture. I have regretted it ever since.
This is us winding through the narrow streets of Querétaro looking for our bed and breakfast place.
By the time we found our accommodations, it was time for Christmas Eve dinner. We walked to VIPs (which is sort of like a Dennys, are you seeing a trend here?)! And, once more, John is missing because he is taking the picture. I’m not sure why none of the rest of us thought of taking a picture of all of us. Hmmmm….
And for proof here is my napkin:
Something you must know is that in Mexico, Christmas Eve is a super grande celebration. They have parades, pageants, fireworks, and all sorts of party-type fun. Querétaro is no exception. Here are some pictures of the parade:
We had to leave after just a few floats because the kids turned into zombies. We walked back to the house (it was not far) and gathered together as a family in the living room and sang a few Christmas hymns. Such a meaningful time in front of the Christmas tree with its blinky lights. Well, the blinky lights were somewhat distracting. But the singing part was nice and cozy-happy-Christmasy-feeling.
It was late. And even after we were tucked away safely in our little beds, we could hear the neighbors whooping and hollering, various dogs barking in every which direction, and the sound of large fireworks booming nearby. But we were so tired, it didn’t really matter much. Zombies, remember?
In the next post, we will discover how we celebrated MeXmas (hee hee) 2007, what we ate for Christmas dinner and finally, how to relax on the rooftop terrace with a tasty drink and a good book (I think I just told you how). So until next time….
So, where was I?
Oh yeah. (Saturday night) We went back to the place we were staying, put the kids to bed and settled ourselves down for the night.
Sometime during the night, we awoke to coughing sounds. Yes, THOSE kind of coughing sounds. The kind of coughing sounds that strike fear into the hearts of all parents in the middle of the night in a foreign country. We sprang from the bed to aid the victim of The Coughing, which happened to be Lydia. We helped her to the bathroom (YES, THAT kind of coughing) and then cleaned her up after the experience was over. Miraculously, her environs were not affected. She had The Coughing one more time before morning, but that was quickly and cleanly dealt with as well.
The next morning was Sunday. And we had planned to go to church with Peter. Since I had been to his church once before and I wasn’t feeling too spry as a result of the events of the previous night, I volunteered to stay with Lydia while everyone else went to church. Which was fine. We played many rounds of Guess What Time It Is. This is where SmallPukeyPerson has a cell phone with a clock on it and she quizzes TiredSleepyPerson to guess what time it is.
SmallPukeyPerson (holding cell phone): Hey, Momma! Guess what time it is.
TiredSleepyPerson (with pillow over head): I don’t know. What time is it?
SPP (happily): 11:19!
TSP: That’s terrific, sweetie.
SPP (wasting no time): NOW, guess what time it is.
TSP: Umm, 11:20?
SPP (surprised TSP can think clearly): How did you know?!!
Very small amount of time passes…
SPP: NOW guess what time it is.
SPP: NOPE! It’s still 11:20!!
Game continues until TSP falls in and out of consciousness or until rest of family returns. Quite the fun, it was.
When the family did return, we got ourselves together and decided to go eat lunch and then to tour the city via the Turibus (which Lydia holds to this day as The Cure For The Pukes). What, exactly, is a “Turibus”? Exhibit A:
And this is our party (minus Pop, he took the picture) on the Turibus: This is about the time it started getting cold. The sun was going down and the mild 70-degree temps quickly dropped to 50 degrees. Can’t you almost see my teeth chattering (and Lydia holding a barf bag, just in case)?
The Turibus is a big double-decker bus with an open top that tours around the city. They give you ear buds to plug into the sockets behind the seats so you can hear all sorts of exciting information about what you are passing by as you pass it. Very cool. This is the spot from where most of our Mexico City pictures were taken.
***You might be asking yourselves…Where are David, Elizabeth, and Leif amongst all this excitement? They did not get to Mexico City until late late late Sunday night/early early early Monday morning. Hang on, they’re coming…***
We also saw a fun performance in the park on the way to the Turibus…can you say “Mariachi”?
So we toured the city via the Turibus. Beautiful, the city. Many people (including some I know personally) consider Mexico a 3rd world country (it isn’t in the slightest) and by that assumption, they would probably also believe Mexico City to fall into that category. Well, here’s the news, people…Mexico City is a VERY large, very old city with approx. 19 million people and founded sometime around 1325. It’s filled with beautiful old buildings and wonderful, friendly, intelligent people. That “3rd world country” belief is similar to the one where metropolitan folks think Oklahoma is full of cowboys and Native Americans and no working plumbing. It’s just wrong. And there ends my soapbox for now.
After our Turibus fun, we ended up at The House of Tile Sanborn’s (that link is in Spanish–sorry!) for dinner at about 9pm (or later, I can’t remember now). All I know is that Luke fell asleep at the dinner table. And I ate my dinner with him thrown over my shoulder. Not easy, but who could blame him? He was tired. Here is Sanborn’s–House of Tile:
Beautiful, no? Not to be crude, but it’s something similar to a Cracker Barrel ONLY in that when you walk in, there’s a gift shop/pharmacy/emporium-type store and then around the corner or up the stairs is the restaurant. They are reputed to have the best Suiza Enchiladas. They were yummy. (And yes, I see the irony, since I just got through saying that Mexico is not a 3rd world country and then I throw in a reference to the Cracker Barrel. ::rolls eyes:: I ironized it for effect. Whatever.)
After dinner, somehow we drug our tired selves back to the accommodations and into our little beds (all except John and Peter, who went to the airport to pick up David & family for their late flight which turned out to be even later, but that’s another story). A happy end to another fun-filled, exciting, and tiring day.
Which was followed by more middle-of-the-night coughing. I’m not kidding. This time, by Susanna, quickly followed by Luke. Yessiree! This is when we thought the Plague had hit us. Luke had only one “incident”, but Susanna had a few, resulting in another long sleepless night for the three of us (Mark, Susanna and me).
But by the time morning came, things were looking up. For most of us, anyway. The next morning (Monday), the plan was to drive to Querétaro–seven of us in a rented minivan (which was a delightfully stressful experience which John will have to tell if you want to hear that) and the other 4 in Peter’s car. I ended up in the car and poor Mark had to deal with all of our 3 kids, one of whom had a puke bowl in her lap (never used it, thankfully). He’s a good man, that Mark.
This is turning out to be a rather long post, ya think? I will start another one. But it might be tomorrow before you hear more. Then again, maybe you didn’t think I would ever post anything again and you won’t even check this blog for another week or two. It’s ok. I don’t mind.
Alternately titled, “International vacations for gringos: good or bad?”. Or more boringly, “Christmas in Mexico”. Whatever.
So! We Dishmans had a little bit of a family reunion, of sorts, this past Christmas in Mexico. About a year ago, we all decided that we should visit Peter in Mexico City for Christmas 2007. “We” includes Pop, Kevin, David, Elizabeth, Leif, and the 5 of us (hereafter known as T5OU).
We began planning out what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go, and how we would get there. Mark and the kids got passports. The decision was made to fly into Mexico City, spend a few days with Peter, go to church with Peter, meet some of the students and tour Mexico City a little bit. After a few days of Mexico City, we would then drive a couple of hours and stay the majority of our time in the “country”. We chose Querétaro. Just 2 hours north of Mexico City, it’s a friendly town with wonderful character and an intriguing history.
To make the story short: I found a house in Queretaro to rent and Peter worked out the details for Mexico City and Queretaro. The others bought into the plan and we were set.
Fast forward to December 22, 2007, when T5OU left our cozy house in the cold, early morning to sit at DFW airport for a few hours. There, we met up with John and Kevin, who (thankfully) were on the same flight with us. The last time I flew with small children, there was only one small child and she was not yet a year and a half old. So really, all 3 of them were flying for the first time. They loved it, which was a relief to me. I can remember flying for the first time as a 12 year-old and embarrassing myself and my family half to death, because I was so scared (think: screaming, crying, carrying on, etc….not a pretty sight). I’d like to think I’ve matured since then.
After an uneventful 2.5 hour trip, we made it to Mexico City. We (remember, there are 7 of us now) found immigration, made it through there, then found customs and successfully managed to (somehow) find Peter and the bathrooms, both of which we were glad to see. Peter’s car could only hold 4 of us, so he took Mark and the kids. John, Kevin, and I got to ride in an Authorized Taxi. And boy, was it fast!! And breezy because the windows were down. The weather was nice and sunny, about 65 or 70 degrees Farenheit (which it was for most of the week).
We went to the place we were to stay (Peter’s friends’ apartment) and rested there for an hour or so.
Here is the view from the dining room window:
Then we went to Peter’s apartment for a Christmas party with some UNAM students. We had such a great time getting to know the students. They are a lively bunch and some even spoke English.
Some pictures from the party (these are John’s…I chose not to have to keep up with my camera that night):
We played some games and then had a yummy dinner. After dinner, the group went outside to break the piñata.
As you can see, they were successful.
But not T5OU. Right after dinner, Mark and I decided to take the kids back to our place for the night; we were all exhausted from the day’s activities. Little did we know, the real exhaustion was about to begin…..
TO BE CONTINUED…….
Yes, the always-friendly Jennifer has tagged me again. She is very sweet, including me like that, don’t you think? Thanks, Jennifer!
So…here we go…
1. Are you rooting for the Patriots or Giants?
a. Go Giants!
b. Go Patriots!
c. No strong feelings either way, but should be a good game
d. The what?
My answer is that I have great disdain for professional football. So you can throw me in the “d. The what?” camp. I don’t even like the stupid commercials, so great is my disdain. Interestingly enough, my youngest child was rooting for the Giants. However, when he saw that the Patriots were winning, he switched sides (gasp!). Then he went to bed. Imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth the following morning when he learned that he should’ve stuck by his original pick.
2. Seven choices of vacation. Pick one:
a. Beach house, white sand, great waves
b. Condo in the mountains; view of snowy peaks
c. Nice hotel in New York City with tickets to the latest Broadway show
d. Tour of historic sites and museums in Greece and Italy
e. Bed and breakfast with time for antiquing
f. Home–sleeping in, hanging out, and doing stuff you don’t usually have time to do
g. I prefer not to take vacations.
I would have to say “b. Condo in the mountains”, but I could do without the snow. Just the happy, green, delightful, temperate mountainous peaks, thankyouverymuch. And a few weeks to relax. And money to blow. Ha!
3. Coffee drinker? If no, why? If yes, sugar, cream, or neither?
Yes. Black. Sometimes, if I’m feeling wild and crazy, I’ll toss in some sugar, but that’s it.
4. What’s the last book you read (or are you in the middle of reading)?
I’ve been reading a few really good ones…First, Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande. It’s very similar to another book I finished–Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Both of these are really hilarious. I really enjoy writing and the detail-type obsession in me (see: accountant) has issues with poor grammar and punctuation. Of course, it’s not like I’m a very good example of the Right Way to Do Things, but whatever. Just for fun, I found Flirting With Pride & Prejudice edited by Jennifer Crusie. This is a collection of essays of writers with different perspectives on the famous chick-lit masterpiece by Jane Austen. Really great stuff. My favorite is a “Cosmo Quiz” that asks questions to find out if you are Jane Bennett, Elizabeth Bennett, or Caroline Bingley. Funny and interesting.
5. You’re at the grocery store, waiting in the check-out line with a cart full of stuff. You glance over your shoulder for a moment, wondering whether you should have picked up an extra package of waffles. When you turn around, you notice that a lady has cut in line in front of you. Your eyes meet. She glowers and starts to put her items on the belt. You:
a. Grumble to yourself but don’t say anything out loud. You dislike scenes.
b. Say, “Excuse me, ma’am, but I was next in line.” That’s about as far as you’d take it, though.
c. March over to the belt, push her items onto the floor, and tell her that she and her cream of mushroom soup can go get in line like everybody else.
d. Grab your cell phone and snap a picture of the lady, thinking “Yes! I’ve got something good to blog about!”
In the spirit of honest disclosure, I would probably “a.” But my inner self would like to “c.” A few years ago, I would have been happy to “d”. (Which reminds me, as of a month ago, I’ve been blogging for 5 years! I forgot!!)
6. Please share two or three links of things that made you laugh. Out loud. A blog post, a cartoon, a YouTube clip–whatever.
I’m not very good at clicking around, but I’ll try….
PSA, New Jersey, 1985. Mark grew up with this public service announcement and when I came home from a Women’s retreat this past weekend, he was showing it to the kids who thought it was really funny. I agree.
I’ve found a few more bloggers to add to my “Links”, but haven’t done it yet. Hmmm. Confessions of a Pioneer Woman is one of them. She’s always good for a laugh.
That’s all I’ve got. Thanks, Jennifer, for letting me play! It was fun!