This past weekend was magical. My friend Alyssa (another fellow BB) and I ventured off to Guanajuato, Mexico for the 42nd annual Cervantino Festival! Cervantino is a music and arts festival, and according to Wikipedia, “El Cervantino has grown to become one of the most important international artistic and cultural event in Mexico and Latin America, and one of four major events of its type in the world.” This festival, funded by the Mexican government, hosts a different country each year. This year’s host country was Japan, so we were able to see a ballet from a Japanese dance company that was very interesting. Aside from viewing grand assortments of artwork, dance and food, we were also able to explore the beautiful city of Guanajuato!
Guanajuato, a World Heritage Site since 1998, is a gorgeous colonial town that has prospered due to the mining industry that had produced 30% of the world’s silver for over 250 years. Presence of the mining industry can be seen everwhere: systems of underground tunnels for vehicles, ornate detail of precious stones in the walls of our bathroom, and tons of silver and gold shops among the winding streets of Guanajuato. If you haven’t noticed, I fell in love with this place. The weather was gorgeous and the city was small enough to walk around to see all of the sites without feeling overwhelmed.
Some of the must-see sites within Guanajuato that we had the pleasure of visiting are: Teatro Benito Juarez (cultural center of Cervantino), Mercado Hidalgo (a huge artesanal market), Pipíla, many churches, Callejón del Beso, and mines among the outskirts of the city. Lucky for you all, I have pictures.
Before we departed on Sunday, Alyssa and I toured one of the mines on the outskirts of the city. Although this mine tour wasn’t originally planned, we felt fortunate to understand the miners’ harsh and painstaking working conditions, whose efforts led to the success of the city. The amount of effort put forth to produce precious minerals is astounding, and it definitely made us think about the jewelry we frequently wear and the impact our demand has on the supply of these precious metals.
This past weekend was one of those weekends that made my heart sing. I can’t explain it, but there was some type of refreshing energy coming from the people among the streets of GTO that was so different compared to D.F. Maybe it was because of the festival, or maybe everyone was in such a great mood (because how can you not be in this city?), but my weekend in Guanajuato really changed my perspective on my time here in Mexico. Now that we’ve approached (almost) two amazing months here in Mexico, many of the Fulbrighters have had many instances where they could picture themselves living in Mexico for an indefinite time after the Fulbright program concludes. I hadn’t hopped on that train until this past weekend. There’s something beautiful about the Mexican perspective of cherishing time with one another over long afternoon lunches, Saturday morning coffee or while roaming the streets of GTO during an arts festival; a token I hope to bring back with me whenever I return to states.