Week 4 Good friends weddings and more fun Aguascaliente 6/21-6/28
Updated: Aug 18, 2021
After 3 weeks of working diligently on the house, we took a week off. We had a mini trip to Aguascalientes. It was less than 4 hours driving through the mountains and beautiful green valleys. We were heading to a wedding plus visiting a few other friends that we’ve met here in Mexico. We asked our realtor Priscilla to stop by and feed Gypsy as she lives close by. Chile and his associate Oswaldo were able to start chipping away at the red paint on the wall for the mural. Things were getting done and we were looking forward to time off and fun adventures.
We met Marcos and Elisa and many of their family members in Lo De Marcos a few weeks before we left. They came for the weekend at El Caracol and Marcos started chatting with Larry about traveling by trailer. He sat down for a beer and we chatted for over an hour. He told us about his upcoming 25th wedding anniversary and his daughter’s wedding in Aguascalientes. Marcos was very proud to show us the Tango he and his wife were going to do at the reception. I said it sounded like a great party and I would go…..so he invited us. Funny thing….we like to take people up on their invitations. We kept in contact and let him know for sure we would come.
We had tried to visit some friends Hector and Thelma in Aguascalientes back at the end of March. We decided to postpone our trip as we had just made an offer on the house and were waiting to hear back. When I asked them if we could visit this month, they opened their home to us. We were happy to have a place to stay and to get to spend some more time with their family. We met them when we were staying at Roca Azul.
We arrived in Jesus Maria on the outskirts of Aguascaliente just before 1pm. Thelma greeted us at the gate and showed us where to park. We chatted in the kitchen until it was time to pick the kids up from escuela primaria (elementary school). It was a short 2 block walk…..the dog, Vichi, was happy to go too! Both kids were surprised when they saw us….not sure if they remembered us or knew if we were coming. I got a hug from Indra….that was super sweet. We would be staying with them in their practically new 3 bedroom home. It is 2 levels with the bedrooms upstairs. We stayed in their daughter Indra’s room on a super comfy double bed. Indra had to sleep with her brother Abraham for a few nights. They seemed to do well with that.
We spent a lot of time with the kids after school….they showed us all their favorite things in their rooms. Abraham has a cool rock collection and he collects money, mostly coins from all over. Larry gave him some Canadian coins. I found a few quarters with the states on them for the collection. We took a walk to the park with the kids and played some soccer with them on a small field. I think they both were surprised when Larry and I were as good as we were. They had to take a few breaks too….I think we wore them out! The kids go to a school that teaches them english. At the beginning of the week, they were shy about speaking English...not knowing the right words. At the end of our time, I had forgotten that English was their second language…..they had gotten That good! I really fell in love with this family. They were so kind and generous. Thelma was always cooking something up to eat. Larry was in heaven! I think we ate 4 meals plus++++ a day!
When Hector got home from work, he took us to find Larry’s suit. This was an amazing success! In about 20 minutes he was fitted with a very sharp rental complete with a blue tie...that’s Larry’s color. It brings out his beautiful blue eyes. The cost was around $60 US dollars. Win! Thelma took us out the next day to find me a fancy dress and shoes. Hector was able to work from home and be with the kids. The school year had just ended when we arrived. We were able to find a dress at the rental place that was for sale….$24 US dollars. It was a better deal than renting for $30. We found shoes at the big mall in the centro for $25. I was a winner too but it was cheaper and I own the stuff now. Larry better start taking me to some fancy places now! The rest of the day was spent walking around the centro, looking at the churches and government buildings. I loved the architecture and all the murals. It was super fun and we both loved being chauffeured around. Aguascaliente is a big city but we found it very navigable.
It poured down rain for about 45 minutes in the afternoon, then the sun peeked through the clouds from time to time. Indra asked if we wanted to walk to feed the koi fish close by. Of course we did. We left in sandals, jackets and umbrellas. We walked through the flooded streets to get to the small shopping mall. I think Indra actually took us through the most flooded areas….but we didn’t mind walking through puddles. At the mini mall, they had a play structure and a nice pond for the fish. We bought food from a machine and had a blast feeding the koi. We made one other stop at the macaroon cookie store. Indra pulled out all her money and shopped for as many cookies as she could get. These cookies are not the macaroons that you would get in the states. They are super sugary cake cookies with icing in the middle. They had 10 or 12 different flavors and colors. Larry ended up giving Indra a few pesos so she could get 2 more!
Friday we all went out to Aguascaliente to see some more sights and museos(museums). Hector flew to Mexico City for the day for his job. We would see him in the evening. The museum that I was really interested in was unfortunately closed. The museum of death. Sad Face! We made our way through the Gardens on the way to the museum, we stopped by a rock shop….I bought a souvenir for our house. It’s a really cool mask made out of rock inlay. On the way back from the museum, we made an Ice Cream stop. It’s fun hanging out with kids and Larry! We walked around the site where they have the national fair in April. It was cancelled this year. It normally brings 7 millions tourists to Aguascaliente during the 4 week duration. That was amazing to hear! They have the bullfighting ring at this location too. One more museum to see before we headed home was the train museum. We had some lunch at a nearby restaurant and then walked a few blocks to see the trains. Again, another closed museum but we could walk around and climb on the trains on display outside. We saw lots of young people dressed up in fancy clothes taking pictures and gathering with family. We guessed it must be a High School (escuela secundaria) graduation. We had a very busy day and walked about 6 miles.
We returned home to get some items to take to their other house in Villa Juarez. We had to drive by to get my fancy dress as we had it shortened to fit my heels. Next, we stopped by her parents' home, Hector and Lety to say hi and get a cousin, Sofia. We all packed into Larry’s truck, kids, dog, personal belongings and drove to the other house in the country. It was a fabulous drive through hills, green farms and vineyards. It was close, only a 25 minute drive. This home is a little hacienda with a courtyard in the middle. There is a big house and a smaller casita in the back. Her Uncle and Aunt live next door. Thelma grew up in this house her father built and eventually bought it from them. She has lots of family here in the little village. We really loved this house a lot. It had great character and warmth from many years of family gatherings. We felt honored that they wanted to share this with us. At this house, we got to stay in Abraham's room. Nice comfy bed too! We relaxed around the courtyard as the kids played with cousins everywhere. Hector finally arrived about 10:30pm. We played games with the kids (and adults) for a while. They have this game that shocks you….gradually as you turn the knob from 0 to 10. I only got to 3 as my hands began to curl inward. Larry made it to 9 plus twice!! It was a crazy game. I wondered if it could be purchased in the US or Canada. Seems likely not. At 12 midnight, Hector said we should go get food! What??!! It’s already past my bedtime. LOL We loaded everyone in the truck, many in the truck bed and headed 3 blocks to the calle principal (main street). We all had street tacos and they were amazing! The young lady that had the food cart used to be Thelma's mom’s housekeeper. I think we all got a free meal. We stood around chatting with some of the town folks….it was a unique experience and I was glad I stayed up. Before bed, we looked at many family photos of their vacations and favorite places in Mexico to visit. I told them next time, invite us on your family trips. They are a super fun family and we love them!
Saturday was our big event day. It was Wedding day! We hung out with the kids til noon at the park across the street. It was a fabulous park and I would have loved to see it packed with folks...maybe another day. We drove back to the empty house in Jesus Maria to get ready for the wedding. The housekeeper had cleaned it top to bottom on Friday and now we had it all to ourselves. This Leal family is super generous and they were staying at Villa Juarez until Sunday afternoon. We could even sleep in Sunday morning. Thelma had already shown us where the church was so we knew we could easily find it and the parking garage. It’s only 20 minutes from the house. The wedding was at Temple De La Merced. and the reception was at Lago del Marques. We got to the wedding early and Larry parked the truck. On his way to the church he ran into Marcos. Larry had him retire his tie and things were great! Today was Marcos and Elisa’s 25th wedding anniversary. And today his daughter will get married. He called it “el dia para celebrar el amor”. (The day to celebrate love) The wedding ceremony was lovely. I didn’t cry as fully expected. I suspect that was because I didn’t understand much of the spanish except for words that were similar in English. The church was not overly packed and very comfortable. I watched people and was glad to be there. Larry looked spectacular in his suit and I had fun getting fancy too. We watched the couple get into their car after the wedding and we headed to get the truck.
The reception was the best party that I’ve been to in a long time. We were seated at the table of 10 folks, half spoke good English. We had many others come up to introduce themselves and tell us they could translate for us if necessary. We made some new friends and exchanged phone numbers. We got invitations to Houston, Texas at Elva and Oscar’s home if we are ever in the area. Nice couple that know Marcos from his formal wear business. We met Jose at the next table from Zacatecas. He asked us to come see his town and he’d show us around, plus his mother would cook for us. We will definitely go to Zacatecas some time in the future with an invitation like that. While we were getting to know folks, sipping our drinks, they had a Mexican band playing. After the band, Marcos’ niece sang with a few little kids that followed her around….not sure but they could have been her kids. We had a lovely dinner and then the DJ started to play dance music. We were surprised and super happy that the music they played was 80’s and 90’s club stuff...in English!! Larry couldn’t sit still for very long so we got to dance a bunch! It was a free-for-all and we changed partners, danced with the Bride and Marcos. I went to the restroom and unfortunately missed Marcos and Elisa dancing their Tango…..I was sad. I’d say this was such a great celebration and I’m super glad we were invited. Thanks Marcos and Elisa!
We got to sleep in on sunday. It was so restful. Larry wanted to take a drive to the mountains nearby and hike a bit. We drove for about an hour through beautiful mountains to El ocote. The road was good and there was plenty to see along the way. I wore a tank top and shorts because the days are warm here. It started out a clear day but then as we got closer...the ceiling fell and it started to sprinkle. The place we were looking for was closed...I guess because we never found it. We did see some amazing mountains so we parked on the side of the road with other cars. We hopped the fence and headed to the trail….maybe a cow trail but we ended up getting to places to climb. It was spectacular and easy to get to. Larry was much braver than me and went all the way to the top. I had a thin poncho for the rain….cuz now it was raining pretty good on and off. It made it difficult to climb plus I had my phone and camera in my hands. To climb all the way up, I would need both hands free. I was happy to get where I got. I will definitely come back here but better prepared next time.
We got back home to Hector and Thelma’s house at three just as they were getting home too. Larry and I both needed a nap so we skipped their lunch. When we got up, Thelma’s mom and dad were still there and they were playing games at the table. This family plays games every night...I’m not sure if they watch TV at all. LOL They taught us this new game called Rummikub. I really liked this game...it makes you think a lot plus I won the first game! Beginners luck….Larry won 2 games. I might need to buy it because it was that fun!
We left our friends early on monday morning to drive to the town of Calvillo. We were meeting our new friends Trini and Amelia in the Plaza principal. We met this couple at El Caracol in Lo de Marcos during our 2 month stay on the beach. Trini worked in San Diego for many years at Rockwell and Lockheed. He worked on the assembly line for L101, C5B and B1B aircraft. There children still live in the states. They moved back to mexico when Trini retired and live in their hometown of Calvillo. We thought it would perfect to visit them when we came to Aguascaliente because they are only an hour away up in the mountains...close to where we hiked the day before. When they found us at the colorful Calvillo sign, they wanted to walk us around. We headed to the main church on the square called Temple of our Lord of the Salitre. It was exceptionally beautiful. Trini knew a lot of the history of the church and explained that it had one of the largest domes in the world. Cool! Unfortunately they were restoring it and it was totally covered by scaffolding and tarps. I liked that when Trini talks, he really thinks about what he’s saying and thoroughly exhaust the topic. I feel like I’m getting smarter just by being around him . He’s very observant and his way instantly puts you at ease. He’s just a super great guy! Amelia was concerned with feeding us. We walked to a nice little restaurant a block away. As we walked, they both told us the history of each business and who owned it. Larry was particularly interested in the bakery (panaderia). LOL Amelia helped us with the menu and I tasted some Gorditas that were delicious. We walked many more blocks, hearing stories about how this little town began and where it is nowadays. Calvillo is the world’s biggest producer of guavas! We talked about what we were going to do next and I asked to find a restroom. We walked a few more blocks and went to Amelia’s mom’s house. Amelia introduced me and her mom offered my food! Mexicans are always feeding us! Larry loves it.
Next we drove to the top of a hill in town to a large cross and church. It was closed for construction but we walked around outside. There was a cameraman and lady interviewing a man. We found out later it of the president (major) of Calvillo. After the cross, we headed to Trini’s cousin orchard. It was a short drive to the top of the hills. We could see a patchwork of orchards and farms. Everyone grows guavas but since this area has been in a drought for many years, alot of the orchards are unplanted. Guavas need lots of water. The view was beautiful. We parked at his cousin’s house and his family came outside. Pedro has many hectares of guavas plus many more fruit trees. He lived in Seattle Washington at a chef in a high end seafood restaurant for many years. His English is very good. His wife Lupita, son Juan and daughter Fernanda spoke very little english. It was ok because Pedro loved to talk. And he loved to feeds us….he had a holder for his handy knife and kept cutting fruit for us to try as we talked. My list of fruit will probably be missing some stuff but here goes: we had guava, tuna (prickly pear)persimmons, pomegranate, avocado, sweet lemons, limes, and my favorite….figs! He fed us and then we walked through the orchard picking some to take back. He was so generous. We had 3 bags full of fruit when we left. He runs his property with one other person….he says it’s a lot of work. We asked when the guava picking season was and he says it starts in November. We offered to help if we could park our Airstream at their place. I think we have a deal….guava picking this November in Calvillo with our new friends Pedro, Lupita, Juan and Fernanda….We can’t wait!
Trini left early to check on their cows. We drove Amelia back to their home. It was lovely as it sat on a hill overlooking a green valley. He even started a vineyard and was adding more vines soon. We met his cows, a pig and many dogs….I lost count! Our time with this wonderful couple was very good but ended so quickly. Our 6 hour visit and tour was over before we knew it.. We will see them again in November for sure! We drove home from calvillo and the road avoided Aguascaliente and the traffic of a big city. We were home in less than 4 hours! As I was unpacking my tie dye backpack, in one of the many pockets, I pulled out a beautiful painting that Indra had secretly packed inside. What a super surprise from Indra! To Larry and Rhonda Love Indra Looks like we have a new family in Aguascaliente!!!