So, what EXACTLY do Global Volunteers do in Querétaro, Mexico? As with all other GV projects, the volunteers do whatever our host asks us to do. And boy oh boy, are we well utilized here!
Five out of our group of eleven volunteers At the Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro (UTEQ), we spend four to five hours a day talking with highly motivated, enthusiastic students. Our schedule varies from day to day, to ensure that the early morning and late afternoon students also get an opportunity to interact with us. For example, on Tuesdays, we catch our cab for UTEQ at 7:20 AM for an 8 AM class and are finished teaching at noon. On Wednesday, we start teaching at 5:00 PM and are done at 9:00 PM. On the remaining days, our start times range from 9 AM to 12 PM. I’m here to tell Ya–I have even more respect…
I know that you are all on the edge of your loungers (please don’t tip over) just DYING to hear all about Queretaro and our work assignments. I promise you will. But first, breaking news.
My dear friend Sally came down with a killer cold a few days ago. Not to be outdone, I decided I wanted one of those too. So, here we be, dos Amigas in need of a cure.
Ginny from Worcester (pronounced Woos-TAH) heard me coughing and sneezing. She insisted that we IMMEDIATELY adopt her fool proof cure. She guaranteed that a hot toddy would get Sally and me on the road to recovery. (Or was that alcoholism? I forget. One of those. Or both.) So what if it is only 10 AM?
Being an obedient Catholic school girl, and wanting to protect the rest of the group from our germs, I immediately sprang into action. Despite being somewhat competitive, even I had to admit Sally won the sickness award. So off I went to the market. My sweet young fruit seller was glad to see me, despite my tiny order of only two lemons. I normally am good for a couple of kilos of bananas. He pointed me in the right direction for miel (Spanish for honey.)
Past the CDs and stuffed animals, beyond the floral displays, beyond the fruit and boots.
NUMEROUS Mexicans stopped what they were doing to help me. What a gracious, welcoming culture!
I left with lemons, honey and a bottle of what my Grammy would call medicine, except she pronounced it “med-SIN”). My black medical bag was now complete.
Take a look. The white plastic bag contained a cup half full of honey, scooped from a huge barrel. The big cup was from Woolworths. (They are getting to know me there. The cashier that kissed me last time asked me in English “you sick”?)
Did our “med-SIN” work? Well, take a look at Sally and you tell me.
On our first day at UTEQ, Julio, our coordinator greeted us with “Welcome to Flexico”. We were way ahead of him. We had already demonstrated our ability to ‘go with the flow’ on the day before. You see, although the National Holiday (February 5) fell on a Sunday, Mexico, like the USA, celebrated it on Monday. We were all ready, willing and eager to work on Monday morning, but we had to cool our jets and practice patience, because school was closed.
Some were under the impression that we were commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 2-15-1917 signing of Mexico’s constitution, but WE knew the holiday was REALLY to rejoice in the Patriot’s unprecedented overtime win on Super Bowl Sunday.
Either way, we ALL were celebrating an historic event!
Pam arranged for a Super Bowl party in La Llave, the hotel’s restaurant. We gathered there to watch TV, stuff ourselves with Mexican AND American snacks and hoist more than a few beers and margaritas.
My sisters and cousins would have definitely approved of Susan’s attire!
What to do with our unexpected free day? Pam and the University very thoughtfully arranged transportation for us to visit San Miguel de Allende, which is about an hour and a half from Queretaro. We spent a very pleasant day in this lovely colonial town, wandering through the narrow streets, poking into little shops and galleries. Check out the staircase in this pottery shop.
Kristy was fascinated by the exquisite carved doors, so Monday’s quest was to find a photo book either of the doors of San Miguel or of all of Mexico. Despite chalking up some pretty impressive numbers on Fitbits, we ultimately had to resort to Amazon.com to get what Kristy wanted.
Something tells me that she might be making her OWN book. She sure took a lot of door photos.
Here is proof of Kristy’s door obsession. She took this photo of me, sitting outside, trying to unobtrusively polish off a granola bar. Doesn’t look like I succeeded with the unobtrusive part.
Although San Miguel was lovely, I don’t understand why anyone would prefer it over either Queretaro or Guanajuato. We had originally planned to spend the weekend in San Miguel, but after Monday, decided that one day was sufficient, so we cancelled our hotel reservations for the following weekend. Still, to do the city justice, here are a few more photos.
Sally was determined that we all experience the heavenly delight of jicama tacos, so we embarked on yet another quest to find the one restaurant that makes this exotic dish. A very kind young Mexican man overheard us struggling to find the restaurant, stopped what he was doing, then in perfect English gave us directions. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the restaurant’s name, but did get a shot of the beautiful mural on the back wall. So, if you happen to be in San Miguel, and you spot this mural, be sure to order those tacos!
Art is everywhere, so although the uneven sidewalks make it prudent to watch where you are going, it is important to occasionally stop and look up at the top of buildings.
I’ve decided that this violinist is none other than St Michael the Archangel. After all, we ARE in San Miguel. I especially liked it because it reminded me of my very own violin maker. I’m not commenting on the angel part, but his name IS Michael.
As with most colonial towns in Mexico, churches and religious art are everywhere.
Look at the indigent person, so very grateful that the Spanish padre arrived to take his gold and save his soul.
I’ll end with a little contemporary humor from our lunch spot, a panoramic view of the city and a group shot, just in case the featured photo doesn’t post.