Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Fine Spring Day in Patzcuaro

It was a good day to stroll to and around Plaza Vasco de Quiroga (Plaza Grande) in Patzcuaro. The temperature was perfect to lunch in the courtyard at Cha Cha Cha and listen to the fountain prattle. Then it was time for an after-comida coffee at Liliane's, to watch all the people see and be seen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Calling a Cell Phone Number in Mexico

Do you want to call someone with a Mexico cell phone number? This may not be for the faint of heart. Here goes:

From the U.S.
To a cell phone in Mexico, you must insert a "1" between the country code and the area (lada) code:

In Mexico

From a land line phone to a cell phone with a different area code:
Dial 045 before the area code and number - 045-888-888-8888

From a land line phone to a cell phone with the same area code:
Dial 044 before the area code and number - 044-888-888-8888

From cell phone to cell phone:
Simply dial the area code and number - 888-888-8888

Telephone numbers are usually broken into two-digit segments in Mexico. The U.S. convention of 434-342-8888 would be expressed as 43-43-42-88-88, but sometimes as 434-3-42-88-88. The different style of breaking up the numbers equally confuses persons from both sides of the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Patzcuaro: Good Friday / Viernes Santo

Plaza de la Basílica, Patzcuaro
Semana Santa / Holy Week

In the evening on Good Friday, in various neighborhoods of the high mountain pueblo of Pátzcuaro, people participate in and watch the solemn processions of the Crucified Christ.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Purhepecha Corn with Piloncillo

Semana Santa / Holy Week
Plazuela San Francisco, Patzcuaro

The Plazuela de San Francisco is blanketed with the smoke of fires in the late afternoon and evening. Purhepecha women cook tamales and corn with piloncillo (a coarse, flavorful brown sugar) until the corn kernels are plump and tender--the corn is tasty despite its formidable appearance.

Judas in Patzcuaro

Semana Santa / Holy Week
On the Plazuela San Francisco, Patzcuaro
When we went to a reception to see the magnificent woodcut prints by Maestro Francisco Oñate, we were greeted at the door of Zócalo Arte Popular by this giant Judas figure. Next Sunday night, after the Easter Resurrection of Sunday morning, there will be a "celebration" on this plaza--the burning of Judas figures.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday of Sorrows - Viernes de Dolores

Our Lady of Sorrows, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, is celebrated with processions, masses and altars on the final Friday of Lent, just a week before the Crucifixion of Christ on Viernes Santo. This Feast Day is a prelude to Holy Week, and honors the Mother of Christ in her anguish over the Crucifixion. In Patzcuaro a number of altars were built in homes and in businesses around the three plazas in the Centro to condole with Our Lady of Sorrows. Host households open their doors to share their altars and serve special refreshments to all who visit on the Friday of Sorrows. The altars remain on display during all of Holy Week/Semana Santa.

We walked from place to place to visit the altars, and were offered a sweet beverage made from chia seeds. This liquid represents the tears of the Virgin Mary and its sweetness represents her love and compassion.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Tu or Usted?

People often wonder just when they should use tu and when they should use Usted to address a person as “you” in Mexico. For an explanation, see