Friday, April 11, 2014

Guanajuato Holidays: viernes de dolores

My viernes de dolores  (as written in Spanish without caps):

10am: I take a bus from Pastita to Mercado Hidalgo. Bad decision. The trip takes an hour with all the people crossing in front, but through the window I do see the throng of students in the Baratillo and happy holiday-makers buying souvenirs in Plaza de la Paz.

11am: About to board a bus for Cata when I realize IMSS at Cantador will close in an hour. I need to arrange an appointment, so I walk over to IMSS which, I had been told, will not be open next week. Wrong. It will be open next week Mon-through Wed.

As I leave, I ask one of the guards whether I am too late for the merry-making at Cata. He says I can make it. I pay 35 pesos for a taxi to eat free ice cream at Cata (but I am going mostly to enjoy being with the miners' families, although I admit to anticipating the tamarind-flavored ice I ate there last year).

The day means hard work for these young women who may have been out dancing all last night

Detail from the seed & bean portrait of the Virgin at Cata

Worth the long wait, boys?

1pm, nearly: I arrive while Mass is underway. I must have arrived even later last year as all I remember is an uncrowded space of happy ice-cream eaters. I recognize The Lord's Prayer, taught to my high school Spanish class by our teacher. A man asks if I want to take photos. I say, no, not during the Mass, but I would like to sit down. He brings out an extra chair. A woman comes over to suggest I move it to a patch of shade.

1:15 pm. The stampede begins for the ice-cream. Much too my disappointment, except for the popsicles for the children, all the flavors are variations on strawberry, but when my turn comes I manage to eat a cup of vanilla with strawberry swirls.

2-3pm: I head downtown, do a few errands, take photos of the new benches at the tarted up bus stop in front of the market, and catch a Sprinter to Embajadoras.

Pedro Acevedo's shrine
3pm: I buy the last bunch of purple flowers for sale at Embajadoras Park, then start walking home. In front of a fruteria, I pass a shrine, I take a photo.

I see that the doors to Pedro Acevedo's carryout loncheria are open. When I go in, I see his shrine, on the counter where he usually places pots of food, is more elaborate than the day before. I ask whether he always has the portrait of the Virgin hanging there. He tells me no, it is precious, from the 18th Century. A priest gave it to his father. He has had it restored.

I go into an abarrotes to buy yoghurt. On my way in, I see I could have bought my flowers there. Same price, same condition.

3:30 pm. Am relieved to see the tepache man at his stall. I need a drink. He asks if I want it with limon and chile. I say limon y poquito chile. I start sucking in the coolness as soon as I can set my other purchases down..

4pm: I realize I haven't seen any of the big altars. There's always tomorrow. I'm tired, hot, and need a nap.

To read about the history of viernes de dolores. click (in Spanish).