No, I didn't find a Mexican girlfriend. Dolores Hidalgo is a town a short distance away from Guanajuato with considerable historical significance and, despite its closeness, I've only once passed through it once, earlier this year. From that brief glimpse, I thought it deserved a better look and since Kim wanted to see another town while she was here, we decided on Dolores Hidalgo in favour of San Miguel de Allende. Dolores Hidalgo is most notable for being the place where the village priest Miguel Hidalgo made his famous "Grito de Dolores", the "cry of independence", and kicked off the Mexican War of Independence. To give you a great example of Mexican naming, his full name was, Don Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo-Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor (8 May 1753 – 30 July 1811), more commonly known as Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. The town of Dolores Hidalgo's other, and lesser, claim to fame is it's ceramics and, to a lesser degree, weird flavours of ice cream which I wrote about in an earlier post. The bus ride through the mountains to get there was quite scenic and Kim and I both enjoyed the town.
It has a population of only around 22,000 and is in an agricultural area. One of the first things I noticed was the quality and quantity of nice looking produce starting right outside the bus terminal. Street vendors and shops carrying a huge diversity of lovely, fresh looking fruits and veggies and, of course, the big public market where I had a carnitas torta and Kim a gordita. We looked around in the main church, quite a lovely and opulent interior, and the other churches within walking distance
We had the obligatory ice cream and marvelled at the friendlyness of the people. I don't know what it was but people keep initiating greetings, or trying out their English, very friendly as if they didn't see very many foreigners. "Hello! How are you? Welcome to Dolores Hidalgo! You like our city?" I know this place is on both the foreign and domestic tourist trail so it shouldn't have been as if we were novelties. But later, as we were sitting on a park bench, a corpulent Mexican couple carrying their groceries came over to us where we were sitting on a bench in the park, and just started talking to us, in English. They had lived for over 30 years in Texas and now have retired to Dolores Hidalgo. He went on for a while about the health benefits of living at a higher altitude, then described his house here with the five car garage and, "hey, we have lots of space, why don't you come stay with us?" We explained that we were just there for the day but thanked them. They bid us happy travels and went on their way. We kind of looked at each other with a huh? Hard to imagine there wasn't some hidden agenda, kinky sex or kidnapping, or robbery but I really didn't think so. Maybe lonely people used to being around gringos, maybe just nice, generous people. I think the latter. Mexicans are generous and trusting in many respects. (On my second trip to Mexico, my seatmate on the bus, a nice young man, university student, put me up at his place and toured me around the city.)
The next day Kim left, the weather took a turn for the worse and I spent a few days huddled in my heatless room wrapped in a blanket, long johns and fleece on, hard, unrelenting rain falling for two days, 8 degrees Celsius.