Every vacation has its end. And sadly, this one was no exception. On Friday, December 28th, we 11 Dishmans prepared to leave a beautiful city full of history. David, Elizabeth, and Leif were going to spend one more day with Peter in Mexico City before they left on Saturday. And of course, Peter wasn’t really going anywhere except to Mexico City where he lives. So the remaining 7 of us (T5OU plus John and Kevin) were to head to the airport for a late afternoon flight out. But I am getting ahead of myself….
After we packed up our stuff, we went up on the roof for one last view before hopping into the cars.
Susanna was very sad to leave.
John and Kevin got invited over to the house owner’s BnB place to climb up onto her roof (it was higher than ours).
After all the luggage was loaded up, we hit the road.
Our carpool buddies in the Dreadfully-Difficult-To-Rent-Minivan with Captain David driving:
More Mexican roadside scenery:
There are cute little nursery-rhyme-type haystacks in this field (CUTE, I tell ya!):
Unfortunately, that is where our picture taking ends. I don’t have anything after the road trip. I can tell you that we hit the outskirts of Mexico City a little after lunchtime. We went to a mall to have lunch at a place that I can’t remember the name of–I remember that it looked a lot like a Cheesecake Factory. It was yummy. By then, we figured out that we had JUST ENOUGH TIME to make it to the airport for check-in for our 5pm flight. We drove like crazy people and got there JUST IN TIME. Just in time to find out that our flight had been delayed until 7-something PM. Ugh. But American Airlines gave us some vouchers for dinner at The Freedom Bar in the airport. So we went there and ate (even though we had just finished eating lunch about an hour or so before. Doesn’t traveling make you hungry? Plus, it was “free”). I got to try out some more Spanish without a live translator by ordering from the dessert menu. Apparently, “Strudel de Manzana” (Apple Pie) and “Jugo de Manzana” (Apple Juice) sound a lot alike. So we drank apple juice. Ah well. Probably didn’t need that extra 5 pounds anyway. And we ordered “Cheese Fries” by pointing and grunting. Well, maybe not so much grunting. But the pointing seemed to work better than the speaking.
Then we went through security. Then we waited some more for our flight. I snuck off and bought some chocolate and hid it in my bag. Finally, we boarded and left the beautiful country that we had all come to love. That sounds cheesy and dorky, but it’s true. We (at least, T5OU or some fraction of that) hope to return within the year.
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at our vacation slides! If you get the chance to go to Mexico, say “Hola!” to it from us!
That’s all, folks!!
So, lessee….I think we were about to grab some lunch. BUT WAIT!! Instead of grabbing lunch, we decided to eat a snack and then drive to Bernal (link 1, link 2), a small touristy-type town without all that many tourists. Sounds good, right? The plan was to eat gorditas (which, I am personally convinced, are absolutely the tastiest thing in all of Mexico) in Bernal, shop a little, then travel a teensy bit more and visit our friends, the Martinezes.
The kids and I downed some corn tortillas slathered with peanut butter and honey (Luke’s new favorite food) and we (all 11 of us, that is) were off. Along the way, we met up with the lovely Ruth, who works with Peter at the UNAM.
And closer up:
Pretty, eh? And I never noticed the cloud formation in this shot before…Hmmm.
So we got to the town around maybe 2pm (waaaayyyy past an American lunchtime) and went immediately to the gordita place. Gorditas are these pancake/sandwich/flat dumpling sort of things that are really yummy. These particular gorditas were made of blue corn flour and stuffed with everything from nopales (cactus) to carne al pastor (yummy meat) to chicharrónes (pork rinds) and I can’t remember the other stuff. It was all good, though. Mine was a bit spicy, but it tasted so good, I didn’t really care that my mouth was on fire. We washed it all down with warm Coca Cola in a bottle. I’m sorry that none of us got pictures of the gorditas. I think we were all too hungry by that time to bother with it!
After “lunch”, we walked around, shopped a little, and took in the sights.
Some of us clowned around a little.
Mark is wearing Ruth’s hat and and attempting to document his experience. Weirdo.
And what would a Dishman Family Trip be without a trip to the ER? So David threw Leif up into the air. Repeatedly. But no blood was spilt.
After we bought our purchases (when it gets warmer, I will wear my purchase, ha!), we got back into the cars and headed to Ruth’s parents’ house, Casa de Martinez.
My lands, people! Those Martinezes are the nicest, warmest family!! First, Ruth’s nephews, David and Isai (not sure I spelled that correctly, please forgive me!) made us all nametags and performed a “show” for us, a tae kwon do exhibition, of sorts! They also made us all sweet little cards in English like this:
This is David (who is right in between my girls in age):
And this is Isai, who is a few years older than Susanna:
Luke and Sr. Martinez (Raul, with an accent mark) got in on the action:
Meanwhile, our David and their David began to spar:
After all that fighting, it was time to line up by height for the hitting of the piñata. Leif first.
Kids ran everywhere to pick up their treasures.
Then we went inside for the meal.
Adults (or some of them) table:
I don’t think I got a good picture of Ruth’s mom or sister the whole time, but here is her dad:
Dinner turned out to be Mark’s ABSOLUTE favorite: Pozole. It is a soup that contains hominy, some kind of meat (chicken in this case) and is served with lettuce, radishes, limes (!), and Mexican oregano:
The story is that when Mark and Peter drove through Mexico 3 years ago, Casa de Martinez was a stop for them. Sra. Martinez served pozole then and Mark (who LOVES oregano) doused his soup with the Mexican oregano. They told him that he didn’t have to eat it (I guess they thought he spilled the bowl), but he loved loved loved it. He became something of an oregano legend that day. And that’s the story.
We were very sad to leave our newly found friends. Friends, I might add, who do not speak our language. We communicated mostly through Peter and Ruth and Ruth’s sister, Ester. Otherwise, we just laughed. It was really wonderful. Almost like heaven, how we will be with people from every nation and all there for the same reason.
We drove back to Querétaro ready for a good night’s sleep. We would be returning to Mexico City and on to Dallas the next day.
To be continued….
PS-I think that when I see pictures of our time in Mexico, I am in awe of the sky. The color, the clouds, pollution? Whatever. It’s really an awesome and photogenic sky.
Seriously, the whole trip WAS fun. I’m not kidding about that.
So, when we woke up on Thursday, December 27, it was snowing. HA! I kid. At a temperature in the mid-60s, it most definitely was not snowing. I was just checking your awakeness. hee hee….
Yes, anyway….I don’t know what everyone else did, but Mark and the kids and Peter and John and Kevin and I went out looking at more churches. When Mark was helping Peter move to Mexico City 3 years ago, they passed through Querétaro on their way and they found a very interesting church and convent. They couldn’t remember anything about it except that families brought young girls to the convent and grew them up in the church. They could see their families once a year–on Christmas–and only through a small opening in a door. Mark and Peter wanted to find that church, because they said the architecture was really beautiful and the story of the young girls was very interesting. So, the search was on.
We checked here:
Here is the inside:
And we found St. James’ cross (Cruz de Santiago) inside the church:
While there was a convent there, it was not the “right one”. Hmmm… But we did find this plaque:
A translation would be nice right about now, ya think? Here’s one (via Babel fish):
“To the memory of the heroic missionaries who during two long centuries left this convent to take the civilization to vast regions of America. Thanks to Querétaro.”
Across the street from this church was yet another church where the first baptism in Mexico is reported to have taken place:
We did not go inside of it. I know you are shocked.
Ok. Well, John and Kevin decided that Convent Hunting was not their thing, so they took off on their own. Peter, Mark, the kids and I continued the search. We walked and walked and walked. Along the way, we met many people. Most were charmed by Luke’s strawberry-blonde hair color. Funny, that was. We stopped here and there for a warm, freshly-made tortilla and a drink (Manzana Lift, anyone? It’s like apple juice and Sprite together. Yummy.)
Finally, a hundred thousand years from where we started, we found it. Very interesting architecture, indeed!
Look! It’s the Coordinating Tourists! Coming soon to a theater near you…. And yes, Luke is sticking out his tongue at the camera. Kids these days…..
The inside of the church was equally as stunning:
And a picture of the inside of the tippy-top round part on the top (steeple? turret? Me no expert.) where the artist had thoughtfully painted his own picture:
And facing the back of the sanctuary:
Peter later tested out the acoustics by singing in Latin for us. I have no idea what he was saying.
Peter boldly gave himself a refresher tour around the place and found the storage room where we saw the Apostles waiting for the post-Christmas season:
And the place they keep the Holy Water (the naughty child belongs to me–he can’t seem to keep that tongue in his mouth):
As we were leaving, we looked up at the clock tower, which also has some interesting architectural details:
We were starting to get hungry by this time, so we began to figure out what/how/when to eat and just where the heck we were in reference to our house. Mark kindly pointed out our location:
We rightly concluded that we were WAAAAAAYYYYY too far away to walk (see: Luke’s attitude in the previous pictures and tired, hungry, complaining people), so Peter hailed a cab and we were off. One thing about Mexico and driving is that child car seats are not really used. Just throw the kid in the car and go. So Mark and the kids and I crammed into the back seat of this little compact Nissan something-or-other while Peter sat in the front. Easy. And fast–Mexicans apparently like to go fast. And we didn’t even wreck.
We passed a lot of this:
I was hungry, don’t ya know?
Since this is becoming a lengthy post, I will continue the rest of this day in the next entry. Stay tuned!!
***I’ve been out-of-town over this past weekend (by myself!!), so my blogging has been stifled. But I’m back now. My plan is to finish up Mexmas ‘07, so that I can get on with the exciting happenings of ‘08. Which, in actuality, won’t be a long blog entry and probably not all THAT exciting, but who knows?!