On arriving at Tzintzuntzan, we easily found parking near the Presidencia. The siren's song was a taco stand, wafting tempting smells of onions and sizzling beef from across from where we'd parked. Little Alejandro was already hungry, so he, María, Amparo and Socorro each ate a few (about 3 each) tacos. With hindsight, I now realize that they knew something we didn't. To survive a big fiesta, you fortify yourself in the early stages.
We then strolled onto the beautiful church grounds amidst gathering wedding guests and slow-moving strings of guided tour groups.
Then we waited. The Padre had not arrived yet. After about 30 minutes, I went back to the gate to a tienda de abarrotes (small Mom 'n Pop grocery) and bought some cacahuates enchilados and a delicious "Doblón" snack cake to tide me over. It would be several hours before we'd eat again.
The Padre arrived, and he blessed the congregation, sprinkling all with Holy Water. La Misa proceeded well, with a chorus in the loft. It turned out to be a sincere and enthusiastic group of young mariachis. The wedding was an emotionally moving experience for me, as it always is. The whole ceremony lasted less than an hour.
We then gathered outside again to wait. The wait was made interesting by conversations I struck up with the mariachis, and with a young man, originally from Puebla, who's worked in Seattle for many years. We chatted variously, especially about pulque, its varieties and its health benefits. He claimed that his abuela lived to the age of 133, crediting her longevity to daily pulque consumption.
Una jarra de pulque
The Pulque drinkers
After perhaps 30 minutes, we left the church grounds and ambled along the streets of Tzintzuntzan to a small building, probably a tortillería, across from the PRD (a political party: "Partido Revolucionario Demócrato") offices, where chairs and light refreshments awaited us.
Then we waited. A long time. About 2 hours. It felt like more.
Time passed like inspecting lentils for pebbles.
Studying the surroundings. Cardboard wall partition to the right.
Chatting about making pizzas.
Going to the semi-open baño at the back of the still under construction building.
Wandering out to the street for relief from the occasional fumes of insecticide drifting in.
Looking at the several attractive women among the various others waiting.
Going out for snacks. (see below.)
Turning down offers of Tequila being passed down the line by our gracious hosts.
Another store, across the street, held more waiting guests. They also waited in chairs along the sidewalk.
After more waiting, the newlywed's party finally arrived, banners waving. While everyone else went to the Salón de Eventos La Diana, we walked the 6 or 8 blocks back to our car, in order to pick up the gifts.
Vendedoras with large baskets of pan dulce walked by, and we bought a few breads to hold off increasing hunger. I bought a largish flat brown bun that was too coarse and dry to eat without some beverage in which to dunk it.
Farther along, we were saved by a stand selling hot freshly cooked chicharrones—fried pork skins). They are in large, curly pieces and delicious with or without a dash of Valentina Salsa Picante. Hunger was relieved.
Good sense prevailed and we drove back streets to within one block of the Salón Diana. Maidens showered us from their baskets of confetti as we entered the impressively carved doors of the Salón. The huge interior, large enough for a livestock exposition, was beautifully decorated with festoons of white "stalactites" joined at the junctures by hearts. Far ahead in the semi-gloom I could see table after table. There may have been more than 50 long tables.
There were also several pre- main event diversions, which I'll discuss in "The Chicken Dance, Part 3"