Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Things are even weirder than usual today: the street's closed to traffic, indians are dancing in the plaza, there's a big stage in front of the church, and 50 cowboys just clopped past our front door on horseback. Today is Querétaro's 476th Anniversary. (I'll defer to the Latinists out there, but I believe the word we're looking for would be "Terquasexequadricentennial"?)

That's the Mayor, in the pink tie. The guy in the jaguar pelt is, I believe, the Secretary of Education. Why this ceremony would be held at 8:30AM is a mystery to me, and the only reason I came upon it is that it was held on the exact spot where the perro likes to perform his morning ablutions - something the mayor's advance team appears to have overlooked.

So on this day back in 1531, our dog's regular poop spot was the scene of the final battle between the Chichimeca indians and the conquistador Hernán Pérez Bocanegra y Córdoba, who had the backing of the Chichimecas' rivals, the Otomís. But the battle never got bloody because, you see, St. James the Great himself appeared in the sky, accompanied by a great burning cross. The Chichimecas threw down their arms, embraced Christianity, and promptly died out. Four-hundred seventy-six years is not that long ago - Henry VIII was king of England then - but this still struck a lot of people, then and now, as a perfectly rational explanation of how their city was founded. The full name of the town is Santiago de Querétaro, in honor of St James.

We'll keep you posted if anything interesting happens, but we're pretty sure that whatever happens will be ridiculously noisy and smell like fried food.

Bonus In-Depth Photojournalism: In case you were wondering what the conch-dancers wear under their silver-lamé loincloths, now it can be revealed: Fruit o' the Loom tighty-whities ("blanquitos estrechos" in espanol).

[EXCLUSIVE... Must credit Burro Hall...]

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