Oasis in the Desert

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Drive to Jalpan de Serra (not for the faint-of-heart)

One cannot see much from the photo, but a few hardy men hang from a rope on the side of the mountain and with a sledge hammer and pick, mine the slate off of the cliffs and stack the slate along the roadbed.

I don't think that there is even a twelve inch gravel shoulder on this curve

A view of the road through the mountains

I think that they forgot to put a guardrail here

The mountain views were awesome

Now that we have made our fortune trading opals, we journeyed to Jalpan (home of the oldest of five missions in the area). We left Tequis, drove by Bernal’s monolith, and took a scary ride over the mountains to view the five missions and then travel on to Xilitla from Jalpan.

The road did have a few guard rails, but most of the time when you navigated the hair-pin curves, there was nothing between you and your maker, except a twelve inch gravel shoulder.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Opal mines in La Trinidad

One of the village casas where opals were sold in their homes

Did not know that dogs ate avacados, but this one sure did!

Cindy retrieved limes from the yard of one of the opal vendor's home

Resting at the public wash house after a tour of Tequisquiapan

With the arrival of our friends, Homer and Nancy, one of first journeys we made was to the opal mines in La Trinidad, a small village 7 miles south of Tequisquiapan. We did not take the tour, so we did not actually go in the mines, but we did go to several homes in the village that advertised opals for sale. Of course, being experts in appraising opals we snatched up the good ones for only a few pesos.

Monday, August 17, 2009


What's a fiesta without fireworks?

The cathedral at night

A carnaval joined the celebration

More Fireworks

Dinner with our amigos (left to right) Papa Gene, Herb, Cindy, Joanne, and Jimena

A great performance!
This sleepy little Pueblo was crowded overnight!
Dancing in the Plaza

Beautiful costumes were worn by the Dancers

The weekend has past and so has the “Day of Assumption”. It has been a typical three-day Mexican celebration. I don’t know how they can celebrate for three days and nights continuously, perhaps they go in shifts. Anyway, the music finally stopped this morning, Monday, at 2:00 am.

An interesting part of the festivities is the “Prayer Rockets”. A person writes an note asking for a favor, a prayer for the sick, wishes for good luck, or just a thank you and attaches the note to a rocket and sets if off. The rocket soars through the sky and it is believed that the Virgin Mary reads the messages.

Saturday night we went to the square and joined in the Festivities. We met our new amigos Joanne, Jimena, and Papa Gene for dinner at a balcony restaurant overlooking the square. The restaurant featured a duet. Unfortunately, the plaza brass band played so loudly that we could not hear the singers even though we were only three tables away from the stage.

Our friends from the Aransas Pass left today for Tequisquiapan. We will probably see them Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Then it is off to Xilitla for a 3 day/2 night excursion in the State of San Luis Potosi. We will see many missions, ruins, and Edward James “Enchanted Garden”.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another day in Tequis

Cindy doing her laundry at the public lavanderia (Mexican Bendix)

Spending time at the Plaza and enjoying the afternoon

Time is flying by. We have hardly hung our hats and it is already Tuesday, August 11. Daily walks have been invigorating and we are enjoying the moderate temperatures. We took a day trip to Bernal (home of the second largest monolith in the world) and forgot to bring the camera. We shall return with camera in hand. We had a terrific lunch at a restaurant in Bernal. Again, we will capture it on our camera next time around.

Today we went to the Tiendas (a group of makeshift tents displaying everything from bicycle parts to exotic plants and herbal spices). We picked out our veggies for a delicious salad that Cindy will prepare tomorrow. We also visited the Mercado near the plaza in Tequis and we had lunch at a nearby restaurant serving enchiladas and burritos. Fruits and vegetables are so fresh and reasonably priced at the Mercado, we hesitate going to the Mexican supermarkets.
Just kidding about the laundry. We did not use the public wash houses, but took the laundry to someone who washed, dried, and folded our clothes. We, of course, need to support the local economy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Arrival into Tequisquiapan

There are numerous parks and walking trails in Tequis

A morning walk in the Park

Catheral in the Plaza

Our early morning walk found only a few people in the Plaza

The Plaza in Tequisquiapan

View from our restuarant de jour (note the blue sky)

We made our journey to Tequisquiapan without any problems (well, except for a speeding ticket in Monclova, Mexico - $20 USD). We spent the night in Eagle Pass, Texas and crossed the border Sunday morning (August 2). The border crossing office was 36 miles inside the Mexican border. We received our visas (good for 180 days) and car permit (12 months) and went on our way. It all took about 30 minutes. We drove on to the city of Matehuala, S.J.P., Mexico and spent the night at the Las Palmas Midway Inn. The Inn was very comfortable and we had a much needed good night’s rest.

Monday afternoon we arrived at Tequis and met with our new American amigos that had helped us find a place to stay. The efficiency apartment was only ½ block from their house. Photos of the efficiency apartment are in our previous blog. Our friends, Pete and Jimena, introduced us to Alicia Valle. Alicia has rented us the apartment for the month of August ($270 USD). The rent includes all utilities and cable TV. We forced ourselves to stay awake and visit for an hour or so with Pete and Jimena, then went to our new home. After a light snack, we quickly dropped off to sleep. After two days, I think we are now rested.

There is a lot to see and do here. Friends from Texas are coming to visit on August 17 for one week. They want to go to Mexico City – take a city tour, visit the ruins in MEX (one of the largest), and visit a museum or two. It will take about three days. We might go with them. Also, Charlotte (Cindy’s sister) is going to visit us here at some date in the future. We should be able to stay busy.

Tequis is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the State of Queretaro. I will tell you more about it as we visit the area. Close by Tequis is the second largest Monolith in the world. It is said to have mystical powers. Also, Opal mines are nearby.

We had the internet installed at the casita. Now we should be able to use Skype and keep up with events.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

287 Miles from Tequisquiapan

We arrived in Matehuala, Mexico today from Eagle Pass, TX. We are staying at the Las Palmas Midway Inn. 799 pesos for a nice room for two personas. This puts us with one day from Tequis. We will catch up on our rest when we arrive.