On Friday we decided to watch a game of fútbol (soccer) because it is a very popular sport in Mexico. I have to admit, I honestly didn’t enjoy it a ton. It was fun, but it was my first time watching professional soccer and I didn’t understand what was going on half the time. Also, people just weren’t all that energetic and excited in the area we were sitting. I kept comparing it to hockey in Alaska, where the whole arena is often screaming and chanting, and there is loud music at every pause. Most of the soccer audience was fairly quiet, although there was one section that was loud, and they all were dressed in team colors and on their feet for most of the game. I kinda wanted to be in that section, because at least then it’s more exciting.
On Saturday Ayat and I went to a Mexican BBQ with some friends. It was fun to get to go to a real fiesta, and the food was delicious, if a bit spicy. I tried the chorizo first, which wasn’t a very good idea because I felt like my mouth was on fire for about a half hour after. They also had carne a la brasa (grilled meat) and nopales (cactus) that were delicious and not spicy. After eating everyone sat around talking and drinking, and when most were a bit tipsy the dancing started. The dancing was really fun, mostly Cumbia and Bachata with some other styles mixed in, and some “American Style” too. The party was in someone’s backyard, and thankfully it was partially covered because it rained a ton.
On Sunday we went to a water park not far outside of Querétaro. It was cloudy and mild, so not exactly the warmest day to get wet, but there were a surprising number of people there. It made me wonder how crowded it gets on a hot and sunny day. The group only went on two of the rides at the park- first a roller coaster, and then a water ride. I went on the water ride, which was a bit chilly, but it was humid enough that we warmed up quickly. After the water ride I walked around in my swimsuit (I didn’t want to get my clothes wet) and I got stared at a lot, which caused me to notice that mostly only pre-teens and younger were wearing only bathing suits. I’m really not sure why, but it could be a modesty thing. After that we walked to the poolside though, so then it didn’t matter as much.
On both Monday and Tuesday I went to a popular gathering spot called College Bar. Now, College Bar is interesting, because it offers a wide range of very American foods and drinks, yet is popular with the Mexican young people. On Monday nights they have very cheap beer and the place is filled to the capacity, quite literally. They have a huge crowd outside waiting to get in, pushing and squeezing and so tightly packed that they can’t move, and new people are only let in when others leave. I found it interesting how much closer they are willing to stand than Americans do- and for long periods of time. I got caught in that crowd on Monday, and it was my second time in two days being pressed against strangers in a crowd. On the way home from the water park on Sunday we rode an overcrowded bus, and ended up standing and jostled against strangers for the better part of the trip. I hadn’t noticed much of a lack of regard for personal space before that, but the tight squeezes obviously bothered me more than the people from Querétaro. Those from Mexico also have little compunction about shoving their way through a crowd, which in the US would be considered rude.
On Wednesday I went to a summer Jazz festival, which was really quite neat. It was a free concert and there were a ton of people who gathered in the Plaza to listen. There were two different groups who played, neither of which I can remember, but one of them was Latin American and the other was from New Orleans (and sang in English). Audience behavior in Querétaro was very similar to audience behavior in the US, clapping after solos and at the end of pieces, but quiet during them. Both groups got called back for encores, although there everyone chants “otra otra.”
Thursday was the anniversary of Querétaro, and there was music and festivities everywhere. In the afternoon there was a large banda in one of the Plazas, I think it was a Mariachi group, but I don’t know for sure. At night there were beautiful fireworks over the Centro Historico. I wasn’t able to be in the Plazas at night, but I could see the fireworks from my bedroom window.