Home » On The Road » Estación México » Sunday in Valladolid

Sunday in Valladolid

On Sun­day morn­ing, we decided to check out from Don Luis Hotel where beds were hard, the hall­way noisy and the room cold. We found another hotel, San Clemente, con­ve­niently located just at the cor­ner of the zócalo.

While Feng was park­ing the car, I stopped by the cathe­dral where the mass was start­ing. “It starts early!” I com­mented to the father of a boy Mark was play­ing with. “Early? It’s 9 a.m.! This is the sec­ond mass of the day,” he replied. “The first one is at 6 a.m.”.

Wow. I’m not exactly an expert on Mass but I think in France the tra­di­tional Sun­day Mass is held at 11 a.m. And it cer­tainly doesn’t draw the crowd like it did in Valladolid!

Feng felt sick with the plague—or more likely a com­mon and benign cold—and it soon became obvi­ously he was out of ser­vice. I might have com­plained that I had given birth with­out painkiller and that he’d bet­ter drag his ass out of the bed (with a few exple­tives thrown in) but it didn’t work.

Alright Mark, let’s go explore the city.”

It was still early and I didn’t feel like hav­ing break­fast any­more. Per­fect time to head to the mar­ket, I thought.

We walked all the way up to Calle 59 & Calle 32 and the atmos­phere grew pro­gres­sively more chaotic, from empty side­walks to street cor­ners packed with peo­ple, turkeys and chick­ens. It was noisy, smelly, dirty and oh-so-fun. The indoor mar­ket had stalls sell­ing fresh veg­gies and fruits, includ­ing bananas, coconuts, man­goes and dozens of kinds of chili pep­pers, as well as meat and seafood. Other stalls sold clothes and shoes—a local obses­sion appar­ently, con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of zapa­terías.

Mar­kets used to gross me out, espe­cially the food sec­tion with all the meat on dis­play but I don’t mind it any­more. It’s actu­ally com­fort­ing to see fresh food! Nowa­days, pre-packaged prod­ucts with their end­less list of preser­v­a­tives scare me more.

I fed Mark some bananas and yogourt, con­ve­niently bought at the mar­ket (seri­ously, who needs ster­ile Ger­ber food?) and we walked back to the city centre.

Val­ladolid has some of the friend­liest peo­ple I have ever seen and Mark, with his spon­ta­neous grin, is an easy ice-breaker. As he waved at peo­ple or run toward other kids, I found myself chat­ting with locals about the weather, edu­ca­tion meth­ods, our tod­dlers’ respec­tive quirks and life in Mex­ico ver­sus life in Canada.

It sounds like a tourist brochure gim­mick but as a trav­eler, I enjoy immers­ing myself in the coun­try I am vis­it­ing, even if only briefly and super­fi­cially. In this trip, despite being in a touris­tic part of Mex­ico, I felt treated as a friend rather than a stranger with dineros to spare. Part of the rea­sons why I dis­like Thai­land so much was because I felt locals resented tourists and would always try to scam them or take advan­tage of them—it was really a “us vs. them” world. In Mex­ico, as long as you try to blend in a lit­tle bit (i.e. if you are not sun-burnt, drunk, wear­ing a som­brero and say­ing “yo quiero Taco Bells”).

On Sun­day, the zócalo was packed. There was a band, a bouncy cas­tle for kids, food stalls, a small mar­ket and many other activ­i­ties. Mark and I hung out there for a while, absorbed in our favourite activities—picking up stuff from the ground and chas­ing pigeons for him, tak­ing pic­tures and chat­ting with peo­ple for me.

In Val­ladolid, people’s lives seem to revolve around food. They grow it, they sell it, they eat it. They drink too, con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of can­ti­nas around…! And walls has mes­sages such as “say no to drugs”, which is prob­a­bly why the city looks a bit rough at the edge.

I kept on explor­ing the streets. The busy shops, sell­ing leather goods, shoes and clothes, the chaos of street food around the bus sta­tion… it was fas­ci­nat­ing. Shops seemed to open and close at ran­dom hours. The panadería that came highly rec­om­mended opened at 5 p.m. but the one by the zócalo closed at 3 p.m., while some restau­rants were sim­ply closed for the day, as shops re-opened after 3 p.m. What a strange “Sun­day schedule”!

I vis­ited the “house of choco­late” where Mayan choco­late is made and I sam­pled it. I vis­ited the “tequila house” and learned more about the drink (but didn’t sam­ple… I had to be respon­si­ble with Mark!). And I walked every­where, chat­ted with half of the city and enjoyed this fun Sunday.

At night, the fun didn’t stop. Peo­ple lin­gered at the zócalo and there was live music. We stood there, on a bal­cony above the square, observ­ing peo­ple hav­ing fun.

You can see the full set of Estación Méx­ico on Flickr.

The Mass

The Mass

By The Cathedral

By The Cathedral

At The Zocalo

At The Zocalo

At The Zocalo

At The Zocalo

Mother and Son

Mother and Son

Bootleg DVD at the Market

Boot­leg DVD at the Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

At The Market

Kids in the Street

Kids in the Street

Streets of Valladolid

Streets of Valladolid

Tequila Tour

Tequila Tour

Shops

Shops

Food Stalls

Food Stalls

Food Stalls

Food Stalls

At the Zocalo

At the Zocalo

At the Zocalo

At the Zocalo

At the Zocalo

At the Zocalo

Streets of Valladolid

Streets of Valladolid

Nighttime Fun at Zocalo

Night­time Fun at Zocalo

Nighttime Fun at Zocalo

Night­time Fun at Zocalo

Nighttime Fun at Zocalo

Night­time Fun at Zocalo

4 comments

  1. When I was young, in my neigh­bour­hood of Mon­tréal, mass was held three times each Sun­day, one at 9 AM, one at 11 AM and the other one I don’t know. I’ve always felt that the later you went in, the less dog­matic you were.

  2. The mar­kets in Mex­ico were a cor­ner­stone to my expe­ri­ence liv­ing there… every­thing is just so gritty and real, straight out of an Alfonso Cuarón movie. I can’t help but chuckle at you get­ting mad at Feng and think­ing about your deliv­ery… I’m already not the most sym­pa­thetic per­son to peo­ple when they are sick (I’m talk­ing colds and stuff… not long term or ter­mi­nal ill­ness) and that’s because I can tol­er­ate a lot being sick. If I ever have a kid, I will be a mon­ster… hahaha! I don’t think this card ever works on men unfor­tu­nately. Dammit. I am basi­cally this woman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0umLwBBypYM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>