23 October 2014

Jerusalem: The Biography

One of my favorite things is when I find a new history or (best of all) autobiography of an ancestor.  It doesn't matter if I know a lot about them or almost nothing; it's always fascinating to read a different take on their lives and also to read again about the best parts.

That is exactly what I felt like when I was listening to this book.  Bridget recommended it a while ago and I thought I ought to read it, but didn't and forgot about it, till a few weeks ago when something jogged my memory and I checked it out.  I hadn't read much about Jerusalem for the last 10 or so years at least, but reading this was like meeting an old friend again.  The stories, the history, the dates, everything, were all familiar, but also refreshing and new.

I wouldn't have told everything in the same way, of course, and the reader mispronounced a lot of Arabic words (and has picked up the unfortunate switching of "g" for "q" so Qaytbay was Gaytbay, for example), but I love listening to this.  It's long and might seem a bit rambly, but so good.

Monday Night

We went back to the Basilica on Monday night because the festivities were still going on.  There were long lines of people to go in the church, lots of danzas, and all your normal Mexican fiestaness.

22 October 2014

21 October 2014

Majd Again

I was having a chat about the word/name Majd with Bridget and remembered that I didn't mention one more time we used it in our wedding rings.  You can see mine below and I hope you can see that it says majd if you know Arabic.  It's also engraved on his ring.  Neither of us ever wear jewelry, but we still like our rings. :)

One More Sunday

20 October 2014

19 October 2014

The Book of Life

I wanted to see this film because Mexico. The plot isn't the best, but that was good because my Spanish is only up to a simple plot.  I also wanted to watch it in Spanish with a Mexican audience even though it's aimed at an American audience. So we went last night and I really liked it.

You read and hear so much that's negative about Mexico, but this is a beautiful, colorful, and creative look at one of the many positive parts of the country and I hope lots of Americans see it.

The Pilgrimage

Sunday morning was dark (obviously) and rainy (unfortunately) before dawn, so we skipped going back to the Cathedral (also because a million people, literally) and drove to about the halfway point of the pilgrimage and watched everyone streaming by when we were a little more awake.  We happened to be near the church along the route where the car for the Virgin stops briefly.

A lot of these photos from the Romeria are of danzas. Some groups walk, some dance the entire way, some carry drums along, others roll them, some wear very elaborate clothing.  A ethnomusicologist friend of ours told us after last year's Romeria that these groups are mestizos using dancing created after the Spanish conquest that were specifically designed to be part of Catholic worship in Mexico.

Most of the route is along Camacho which is a divided road.  People walked along one side the danzas and other groups were on the other side, with the Virgin following them at the end.  When we were watching near the Basilica last year, we only saw the danzas coming in.  The walkers went in a different way.

A huge number of people participate in this.  We had people streaming by completely filling a 6-lane highway, for two hours.  Then there are all the people watching, the city employees from both Guadalajara and Zapopan, volunteers helping to make everything run smoothly, people who work for the churches, and vendors galore.  I can easily believe that 1 million people are involved in some way (I've seen crazy high estimates of 2-3 million people, but that seems unbelievable.  But one million I can believe).

I think we lucked out in how we saw this even both years.  I liked going to the Basilica and being on that end very much, and I'd probably recommend that option for people going just once, but I loved going to the Cathedral the night before when it wasn't so crowded (and you have to get there really early and hope you find parking).  Watching along the route was good too because I felt like we were part of it a little more.

Also, I liked the man handing out oranges to everyone.

18 October 2014

16 October 2014

Romeria 2014

It's probably going to take me a week to get through these photos.

Our Romeria watching started on Saturday night when we went down to the Cathedral at around 9 PM.  There were lots of people but it wasn't insanely crowded.  The line to get in the Cathedral was long so we didn't try to go in, but we talked to people and took photos.  Lots of people were planning on walking in the morning, and some told us they were going to walk during the night when it wasn't so crowded.

Also, lots of food.  Including steamed vegetables.  I've never seen steamed vegetables as street food at something like this.

15 October 2014


The current Lego design.

14 October 2014

We drive by a wall that just got some new art.  Here's a photo of the painting in progress and one of the finished art.