Monday, September 10, 2007

Just When I Think I've Seen It All.......

Just when I think I've seen it all here in San Miguel, I find that there are new things to discover. Last weekend was the Celebration for Our Lady of Loreto. Part of the celebration was at the Oratorio Church on Saturday but on Sunday the celebration moved up the hill to the Templo de la Ermita. La Ermita is a tiny chapel on Salida a Queretaro that was constructed to commemorate when the figure of the Virgin was brought to San Miguel and she was declared the Exalted Patroness of the City. Now the figure is in the Santa Casa chapel next to the Oratorio church. But La Ermita still considers the figure, Nuestra Senora de Loreto, or Our Senora of Loreto, as their patron saint.

I can't believe that we haven't been up to La Ermita before to see this celebration but we have certainly "heard" the festivities. Maybe we haven't been up there because it is such a climb up the hill but Sunday we decided to go check it out.

When we arrived at Salida Queretaro and Loreto, Mass was underway in the tiny chapel and it was full. We hung out on the little terrace of the church and watched the traffic and the people still going in and out. Over an hour later when the service was complete, I slipped in an took a few pictures of this jewel of a chapel. We were told that the traffic would be blocked off on Salida from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM for the festival. Of course when we were told this it was already close to 2:30 and the buses were still rumbling by. Salida Queretaro is one of the main entry roads into the town. We wondered how they would ever be able to close this road.

What amazes me is the amount of organization that these festivities require and everyone seems to pitch in and help get it done. While we were waiting for the street to close we did some exploring on Salida and decided to try out a place we didn't know about. It was a tiny hotel, restaurant and bar by the Mirador called....what else?....El Mirador. Up the stairs to the bar and we were the only ones there but the beer was cold. We ordered guacamole. By this time a couple of trucks carrying children's rides had pulled up blocking some of the traffic on Salida. The guys from the church had walkie-talkies and they were telling the bus drivers not to come this way again because they were getting ready to close the street. Now to add to the scene from the windows in the bar, a huge storm cloud was coming in from the North. This was all pretty interesting to watch so we ordered quesadillas and watched some more. We paid our check and headed back for the church. The traffic had been stopped and the trucks with the children's rides were unloading and putting them together. Some more booths had been set up near the church selling pizza, chips, cokes, clothes and stuff. A kid's dance troupe was dressed and ready and soon the Indian drums started in and they were dancing in the streets. The sun disappeared behind the clouds and it was looking more and more like rain. Another dance group, this one adults in elaborate costumes, feathered headdresses and anklets of shells were dressed. But before they performed they headed into the church to sing and chant. I though I would get a picture of them as they left the church but they backed out of the church en mass and all though I took some shots, it wasn't what I was hoping for. Almost as soon as they started to dance, the rain started. Lightly at first but then harder. We ran for the hotel beside the church, the Posada de la Ermita and had a drink and watched from the windows while the dancers continue on in the rain.

The rain let up and about 5:00 PM we headed back down the hill toward home even though we knew that there was much more to come but we had been up there since around noon. The Mexicans just have more stamina than I do. Still all evening after we got home, we heard fireworks from time to time and if the wind was just right you could hear the drums.

The Salida was suppose to open again at 10:00 PM but I don't think it did because the castillo and fireworks at the end of the festival didn't start until after 10:30. Next year we'll go to La Ermita about 6:00 PM and see the other half of the festival.

I don't think I'll ever get bored here. We've been coming here for years and have lived here for about five years.....still we haven't seen it all.

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