October 30, 2014
Finished up at Escuela Internacional early today which gives us extra time to explore more of Querétaro. Dia de Muertos continues to loom large. Our taxi driver related this story, which comes from the taxi drivers of Querétaro:
In La Seccion Amarilla of Querétaro there is a plaza where the Mariachi musicians all go to hangout. From there they often travel to the bookings that they get, and for this reason it’s not uncommon for taxi drivers to linger there as well, hoping for work from the musicians.
One day such a taxi driver was waiting at La Seccion Amarilla when a group of mariachis engaged him to take them to a gig. They explained to him that they would be going to a private residence and were to begin playing a specific song before they entered the house and continue playing as they entered. One or two more songs and they would be done, could the taxi driver wait? The cabby assured them that he could indeed wait, and if the musicians didn’t mind he would follow them into the house to enjoy the music.
So the cabby drove them all to the address the musicians gave him. The door to the building was open and the musicians began playing the requested piece and then marched into the residence. The cabby followed only to discover that they had all come to a wake. Very quickly a man approached the musicians and asked them what they were doing there. The head of the mariachis told the man they had been engaged to play this specific tune, but he had not been told what that it would be for a wake.
The host told the mariachis that the wake was for his father and that the tune was his father’s favorite song. But he couldn’t imagine who would have engaged the musicians. The head of the mariachis began to describe the man that had booked them and the son turned pale.
“You are describing my father,” he said, and took the musicians over to the casket.
Sure enough the head of the mariachis looked into the coffin and saw the face of the man who had only just that afternoon engaged the services of him and his musicians.
There are so many legends surrounding Dia de Muertos. Catrinais a major icon for the day. Originally created by José Guadalupe Posado as a vehicle for poking fun at the aristocracy she’s become an integral part of the festivities. Everywhere we go we see women of all ages, sometimes even men, dressed as skeletons in elegant gowns. Her image is common in kids drawings and artwork. These were created at La Escuela Internacional.
Plenty of churches here as well. The diocese at La Iglesia San Francisco, which has the clock tower is particularly beautiful inside.
Across the street was some potted cacti which sported some local wildlife.
We’re in the historic section of Querétaro, which means that all of the buildings are maintained in a more or less antiquarian way. Ditto the roads. This means some pretty high level maintenance even by hand. Road construction takes on a whole new meaning.
It also means that this is an area that relies heavily on tourism. They do a pretty good job of keeping the crass advertising to a minimum. But there are the occasional signs describing tour routes, like this one here, which was mighty tempting.
Tomorrow it’s off to DF (Mexico City to all you gringos) and three days of exploring.