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Teaching English in Queretaro, Mexico

An interesting weekend

Monday - 4 Feb 2002
Bernal , Queretaro - Mexico


the doorway to purgatory

El Purgatorio

I have a few pictures now to go with this section. On the right is a daytime shot of the outside of the "El Purgatorio" disco.

Friday night I didnt do much because I had to go to a meeting and teach a class on Saturday. I watched the movie Traffic, with subtitles. The only problem is that this is Mexico, so the subtitles were for the English parts! I was on my own for the Spanish segments. Luckily, Benicio del Toro speaks pretty slowly for the most part. Some people have taught me a few swear words (thanks Angel!) so I caught those, even if I dont know how to use them properly myself.

So on Saturday I had to get up and be to PLI at 8AM. I left at 2, like I usually do on Saturdays. I had been determined to go to a disco since the previous weekend. (Disco in spanish just means dance club, for any music, not just for Kool and the Gang type stuff.) I had told various people that I wanted to go to a disco, but evening rolled around and no one had gotten back to me about it. Bertha told us (Jennifer and me) that the nightlife starts rolling around Midnight. I took a nap after cena (dinner) and woke up about 11PM, feeling very groggy. I told Jennifer that I didnt really feel like going to a disco if it was just the 2 of us, and we should just go get a drink somewhere instead, just to get out of the house on a Saturday night and all.

So we walked to the nearby bar and club area, and went into a place that Bertha had told us has live Mariachis. When we got there, we had to stand around outside the fence waiting to be let in. There was a pretty big crowd, everyone yelling to the security guys that they wanted to come in. We stood in the crowd for a long time, trying to figure out the system. Well we finally got past the fence somehow, but I still have no idea how they choose who gets to come in and when. Luckily our USA drivers licences were valid ID to get in.

Once we got past the first entrance, we decided not to go into the Mariachi bar but instead to a different door where another big crowd was waiting to get in. Same deal- no apparent system. We stood there for a long time until finally I got myself up right next to the door. After a while there, Jennifer suggested that we switch places. (Jennifer is a cute, thin gringa with blondish hair.) Sure enough, as soon as the security guy was able to see her, he let us both in right away. (Its sad that the world works that way, *sigh*)

So we went inside this old colonial looking building and up the stairs. There was a neon sign that said "El Purgatorio", which made me hope it was a Goth club, because lots of y'all at home would be jealous of me if that were the case! The music was just regular club music, but it was cool. Some of the Latin club hits are much cooler than their USA counterparts. It turns out we had gone out to a disco after all.

It was another confusing venture to get ourselves some Cervezas. It took about an hour from standing at the front fence to holding a "Sol" in our hands. *Cheers*.

So we were grooving and drinking Sol and having some fun for a few hours. Jennifer and I stuck together, but I wasn't dancing with her or anything. Toward the end of the night, some guys started hitting on Jennifer and stuff, asking if she was my girlfriend, is it OK if I dance with her, are you guys from USA, etc. (I couldnt really hear what they were saying, because of the language barrier and there was loud music.) I think I tried to say at first that I was with her because I thought she might appreciate it. Then I asked her if everything was cool and she said yes so I quit worrying about it.

From there, other guys started talking to us, and I met a few guys- one named Luis and his girlfriend who's name I forget, and another guy named Jesus. This pretty girl started talking to me at one point also, which was cool, but I never know how to react in that situation, especially in Mexico. Is she hitting on me, does she just think I'm interesting because I'm from USA, what? There's talking, there's flirting for fun, there's flirting with intent to get phone number- I can never tell the difference between any of those 3. If anyone reading this can give me any advice on that subject, I'd really appreciate it. I'm 26 and I should have a clue about that by now, but I still never know how to react.

So Luis invited me to hang out with him and his friends the next day, and got my number. Maybe he called on Sunday, but I wasnt home as I will talk about in a bit. Jesus walked us home and said that he would come and meet us the next day at 1:00.




the rock at Bernal (thanks Kika!)

Jesus, Bernal, Fiesta, Rams vs. Patriots

So sure enough, Jesus shows up on Sunday at 1, with his car. We get in the car. "¿Donde Vamos?" "Oh, um, I dont know, uh . . . no se" We end up going to see this famous rock formation next to the town of Bernal, maybe 40 minutes outside of Queretaro. It was certainly cool of Jesus to drive us out there. I totally would have brought my camera if I had known we would be heading out there when I got in the car.

Queretaro looks nothing like the American stereotype of Mexico. Bernal, however, was straight out of a western movie. Its in a dry, rugged area- lots of cactus, burros wandering around, guys in cowboy hats. The rock formation is really cool. Many people believe it is a comet that fell from space. They also believe that it contains spiritual energy. There are other mountains nearby, but the formation looks different. We walked up a ways on it, and then went down and checked out downtown Bernal. It was a very cool town. Lots of crafts and handmade clothes for sale.

After that, we drove back into town. Jesus took us to a fiesta that his family was having for his cousin who was turning, I think, 3 years old. I felt kind of uncomfortable being at a birthday party for the 3 year old cousin of a guy I met yesterday in a club! But after 2 Coronas I kind of relaxed about that. I don't know if thats normal for Mexico or not, I hope so.

Then I came home and watched the super bowl (american football is popular here) with some relatives of Berthas, most notably Alicia and Miguel. I'm not sure if I have mentioned them in here yet. I should, because they have been really good friends to me and Jennifer. They have taken us around town a lot and stuff. Alicia is Bertha's daughter. She is 25, and speaks very good english- in fact, she is going to start teaching at PLI where I work. Miguel is her husband of 8 months.

We were cheering for the Rams, but as you all know the Patriots won. Not that I care- I'm not a good American when it comes to my attitude about football.




candy bee!

The cardboard bee thing was filled with the candy you see. Jesus's relatives gave it to me as I was leaving the fiesta. Isn't it a little bit reminiscent of the Mexican "bumblebee man" from the Simpsons?

Thats it for my crazy weekend. Tomorrow (Feb. 5) is a day off for Mexican Constitution day. I'll post again the next time something interesting happens. Hasta Luego . . .



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A typical day
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Museum Photos
  Joseph M. - Bio and Journals
  Teaching English in Queretaro, Mexico - Intro Average Rating of 128 Viewers
Chapters of Teaching English in Queretaro, Mexico
  Preparations
  Starting out
  More pictures, etc.
  A typical day
  An interesting weekend
  Museum Photos
  Another weekend
  The Awful Truth
  Tequisquiapan
  San Miguel de Allende
  Mazatlan
  Adios Joseph
  The best part
  Epilogue

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