Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If I Can't Dance I Don't Want to Be Part of Your Retirement Community

Because kissing The Man's ass requires a hands-on, personal touch, we've been out of town for something like 26-and-a-half of the last 28 weeks. We usually don't like to leave the people of Querétaro unsupervised for that long, and with good reason. We've returned to a city bitterly divided. On one side, young libertines who want to go out and have fun, to shake the small-town dust off their shoes and dance the night away, to taste the forbidden flavors of life beyond the city limits. On the other, a band of conservative crusaders looking to preserve a traditional way of life, seeking to consign the rabble-rousers to eternal damnation. Readers of a certain age may recognize this as the plot line of "Footloose."

Querétaro's Centro Historico has a lot of problems, but as far as we've noticed, "surfeit of good bars and restaurants" isn't one of them. Judging from the profusion of orange "ENOUGH! NO more bars!" signs covering our neighborhood, this is not a universally held opinion. In our absence, the Women's Christian Temperance Union has apparently opened a local chapter, and has been leading midnight marches through the streets of the Centro, city inspectors in tow, to make sure local businesses have all their papers in order. This is in response to an epidemic of "loud music you can hear from the street, drunks wandering in and out and keying cars...vomit and defecation on the sidewalks."

We're all in favor of an Anti-Defecation League, of course, and would proudly endorse a "No Shitting on the Sidewalks!" campaign. But "No More Bars!" strikes us as seriously misguided. Aside from a few overly raucous places on Cinco de Mayo (which is Spanish for "Bourbon Street") we have no idea what part of the Centro is so excessively bar-choked that "No More!" is a reasonable response. Beyond that, a "No More Bars!" policy essentially means "No More Liquor Licenses!" which essentially means "No More New Restaurants That Don't Totally Suck!" Over the past year, a handful of new, non-enchilada-serving establishments have opened in the Centro (some of which, in the interest of disclosure, have done business with our subsidiary, Burro Hall Packaged Foods and Confectionery Industries, S.A.). Very few of these places have liquor licenses, and the process of obtaining one is about as complicated as adopting a healthy caucasian baby. Papering all the neighboring windows with big orange "No More Bars!" signs probably won't make that any easier.

Santiago de Querétaro is a city of 730,000 people - bigger than Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Las Vegas or Denver. It's bigger than Miami and New Orleans combined. It's a college town. It aspires to be a high technology center. It's a major tourist destination. The fact that life in the center of such a town can get noisy and crowded should surprise exactly no one, and should certainly be taken into consideration before one decides to live there. That's why great cities are surrounded by great suburbs, where no one shits on the sidewalk and residents can sleep peacefully after enjoying the nightlife in the city center.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I suppose the great benefit of those big orqange signs is that now the apparent hoards of drunks and unwashed know which cars to key and in front of which doors to throw up.

Burro Hall said...

After all, what is shitting on the sidewalks but the body's way of saying ¡Enough! NO More Bars!

Anonymous said...

Now you have competition BH. CNN launched their cnnmexico.com

There are only 4 editions of cnn.com: the US, the international, the Arabic, and the Mexican.

They are pretty good at publishing reader's comments. Censorship is still not a big issue there, like on most Mexicans newspaper websites.

Midwesterner in Mexico said...

That is depressing. I vaguely recall having a meal at a "Greek" restaurant there about a year ago where we were concerningly sober throughout... Definitely does not bode well for Queretaro's progress up the trendy-restaurant-ometer.

Burro Hall said...

That's a block and a half from here. Still sin alcohol. Still, is there anything more endearing than the way they call souvlaki tacos griegas?

Anonymous said...

The clunk of electric gates closing, and the jangle of the private security guards keys can also be annoying to those residence forced to live in the suburbs. So where pray are the great and the good of Qro supposed to live?

Burro Hall said...

I'd usually suggest San Miguel, except they've actually got a pretty great collection of bars and restaurants there.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty depressing. These people want to live in the heart of a city but want to enjoy the peace and quiet of a small town. Well, there are some really peaceful streets around Jurica and Juriquilla so why don´t they get the hell out if they´re so concern about not having the small town atmosphere!!! It´s like me wanting to move to Jurica or Campanario and expecting to find great nightlife. Some people really need to get a life!

Mario said...

As far as I know the only people defecating and urinating on the streets are the homeless Indians who sleep under the portales across the street from Plaza de Armas. Since they don´t have a bathroom nearby they take care of their needs around Venustiano Carranza, 5 de Mayo, Libertad and Independencia streets. Perhaps the drunks are being blamed for that.

I don´t think there is anything wrong with people wanting to make sure the “antros” follow the rules or that we don´t have any drunks vomiting outside our homes at 3 o´clock in the morning but there is a fine balance between wanting to live in an orderly town and having an anit-business attitude. Part of the reason why many of us under 50 like living in El Centro is because we like having the option to try different restaurants, visiting all the little shops, going to art exhibits and feeling the vibrancy of living in the middle of town, so we want to make sure that we don´t scare away businesses in the area.

Yes, I don´t particularly think we need a lot more bars in the hood but I definitely welcome more new restaurants, especially if they are the non-enchilada type. :-)

Anonymous said...

Written like a true ignoramus! Weren't you just complaining about all the church bells? the fireworks? the noisy schoolchildren? the drums? the street dancers? Inconsistency, thy name is Burro Hall.

Burro Hall said...

If by "just" you mean "sometime over the last three years," then yes, I was just complaining about those things. But if by "complaining" you mean "trying to get the churches, schools and street dancers shut down," no, not so much - though on the matter of the churches, we're open to any reasonable proposal.

By "inconsistent," I assume you mean "multifaceted."

Jorge Arturo said...

I agree with you burro, I want more night life, and that will always appear in downtowns, because, this are the centre of all activity in the cities.

And they should be thankful of the bars, that keeps the downtown alive, while other cities like Celaya has no nightlife and nothing in downtown which makes it the most dangerous part of the city and always dark.

Jorge Arturo said...

By the way, you should visit College Bar in Independencia St. almost with Circunvalación, near where Encrucijada Rock used to be. They had one of the greatest burgers in town.