A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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April 26, 2005, Bernal Queretaro — Yesterday we went to the nearby city of Queretaro overnight, to do some shopping, get to know the city better, and see what we could do about getting FM-3 Mexican visas, to replace our FM-T tourist visas. With the FM-3 from Mexico, we will be able to stay in Mexico indefinitely if we wish, or come and go easily, where only six months at a time is allowed on tourist visas.

We were going to catch an early bus from our village of Bernal to the city. The buses run once an hour and they take about an hour. But as it turned out, we weren’t ready till shortly before the 11:00 AM bus. We left the house, each with a small overnight bag, and started walking briskly towards the highway.

As we walked, we said hello to some neighors whom Kelly knows but I hadn’t met. They have a weekend place here and live in Queretaro. They followed us down the one-way street the wrong way (not that uncommon here) and called out to ask where we were going. When we said Queretaro, they offered us a ride.

So instead of the second class bus, we had a smooth ride into Queretaro with a delightful couple, chatting in Spanish about all sorts of things. They live not far from downtown and insisted on taking us right to the hotel we were planning to check out. As we circled through the downtown area, it seemed that every couple of blocks, the wife would mention that we were passing this church or that cathedral. I got a feeling of what it would be like for those churches to be living centers of one’s spiritual life rather than touristic places of interest.

Queretaro is a very nice city, both historic and modern, growing rapidly around its edges. We stayed at the hotel we’d planned on, and spent our time in the downtown area, walking here and there to mail a letter, buy an inkjet cartridge for our printer, buy some sandals, and generally get the lay of the land. We had been there once before with some other friends, but this time, with a map in hand, we got a good sense of the whole downtown area.

Around 2:00 PM, it was time for lunch, Mexican-timing. We wandered around looking at various places. Some were just sandwich-type places, others were too ritzy. We were looking at the menu board outside a likely-looking place when the owner, a gray-haired man, came out and chatted with us in English. We decided to try his place. We had a tasty bowl of vegetable and pasta soup in chicken broth, then a plate with a tender piece of chicken and some rice, beans, and salad. The beverage included was Agua de Tamarindo, or lightly sweetened tamarind water — a huge pitcher, very refreshing. Dessert was a small dish of ice cream. This was the comida corrida, or daily special, and it was 30 pesos ($2.70 US) each.

The owner had learned his very good English in Baja California, and as we chatted with him, we mentioned we were in town to see about getting our FM3 visas. As soon as there was a lull in the customers, he went into an office and made us a copy of a page in English, listing what we would need to get the visa! We were astounded. He explained that he’d had to help some foreigners get their visas before. Okay, there was a good reason we were in that restaurant!

There were a couple of things we didn’t know about — copies of every page of our passports and particular sizes of photos, black and white, face front and sideways, no earrings or glasses. Our host told us where we could get the photos taken, and gave us his card if he could help us any further.

So after lunch, we went over to the photography studio he had recommended. The woman said that she could have the photos ready for us by 11 the next morning. We explained that we had come in from Bernal and that we were intending to go to the immigration office early. She thought a moment and then said that the studio closed at 8:00 PM, and if we came at 7:30, she could have the photos ready for us by then. So we did and she did. The copies were no problem — downtown is full of copy places.q

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