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Published: January 21st 2017
My day started with Spanish class, as usual. There was much sadness about the inauguration, and some attempts at jokes by the teacher. I left class early to join Bill who was waiting for me in the courtyard, and we walked to the Jardin (the main square) to join the Trump protest. After singing "We shall Overcome" (which moved me to tears) we all marched around the park a few times. There were about 100 people marching; all Anglos as far as I could see. A few Mexicans clapped for us.
In front of the Parroquia (the main cathedral) there are many posters and candles, in protest of the killing of three young children and the jailing of their father for the murders. It is believed by many that the police killed the sons. More on this later in the blog..
After the protest, we returned home for brunch, and then decided to go buy tickets at the library for the house tour on Sunday, followed by a bus ride to Atotonilco to the La Gruta hot springs about 13 km outside of town. I had gotten information from the director of the Spanish school on where to get
the bus, but she wasn't sure what time it came. We waited for nearly an hour, and were almost ready to give up, when the bus appeared! Less than 10 minutes later, the driver stopped along the highway and let us out, and gave us directions to the Gruta (or Grotto). We scampered across the highway, and walked a few hundred yards to the entrance of the complex, paid our $6.00 entrance fee, changed into our suits, and entered the pool complex.
"The area was considered sacred before the arrival of the Spanish because of the hot mineral springs. The name Atotonilco is common in Mexico, especially in the central highlands, with the best known in Jalisco. The name comes from a Nahuatl
phrase “in hot water” which refers to thermal springs. Chichimecas came to this particular place to perform penance rites, puncturing themselves with maguey
thorns and washing away guilt in the thermal springs." Wikipedia
The complex is pleasantly kitschy, and facilities are basic, but it is very clean, and the grounds are beautiful. We entered the second pool, and swam through the tunnel into the "grotto", where a stream of hot water enters and one waits
in line in the pool for a turn under the massaging waters.. It was very soothing, and not crowded as it would be on weekends and in warmer weather.
Getting a return bus was also a challenge. Bus stops have no posted information, but people are so helpful here! We asked an older, sun-baked laborer who was waiting at the stop if there was a bus to San Miguel coming soon. He confirmed there was, and we waited together. Once on the bus, he and driver asked us a few times if we wanted to go to the center or to another destination we didn't understand. We said "centro", having experienced enough bus rides to know that the worst that can happen is having to take a cab if one ends up in the wrong place. The bus took a road we hadn't been on before, and ended its route on a street we didn't recognize. Our companion from the bus stop in Atotonilco made sure we knew which way to walk the central plaza, and escorted us a ways...We were by the Jardin in a few minutes, and decide to eat dinner in one of the rooftop restaurants.
On the way to eat, we saw a huge stage being set up and were told the music would start at 6:30.
After a good meal, and margaritas for the first time this trip, we headed back for the concert. It was the Mexican Navy Symphonic Orchestra and Choir! We listened for an hour and were getting ready to head home (I was cold, having not dressed for sitting outside at night), when protesters angry about the jailing of the father I wrote about above arrived and eventually forced the orchestra to stop and leave the stage...no police intervention while we were there. We asked our seatmates ( a Mexican couple) about the incident, and they said that they too believe that the police killed the children and framed the father. People in Mexico are still very angry over the unsolved murders of 48 students a few years ago.
"The story behind the deaths of three children in San Miguel de Allende on the weekend is mired in contradictions between the state Attorney General’s office (PGJE) and the mother of the three boys and a scarcity of information." http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/father-charged-with-killing-his-three-kids/
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