Monday, September 22, 2014

Dia de Independencia and New Arrivals--all at the same time!

Last Monday, Sept 15, was Mexico's Dia de Independencia--the equivalent of our 4th of July.  The day was pretty quiet--with most people putting in at least a morning of work.  Tom and I got up and went to IHOP (we discovered an IHOP on University Ave.!) for breakfast.  When we got there, we discovered the place was packed with a long waiting line--seems we weren't the only ones who were thinking of pancakes, eggs and hash browns!  We had a great breakfast (which lasted us the ENTIRE day), then took a taxi to Plaza Hidalgo to see what was going on.  Plaza Hidalgo is the second most important plaza (after the Zocalo) in Mexico City.  We discovered a LOT was going on!  The place was packed.  There were numerous streets closed down for a carnival--where the owners (plural) of rides simply bring their trucks/rides in and park them.  No planning or organization, just a lot of carnival rides.  Most were small versions of tilt-a-whirls, etc.  Then there were the streets shut down for food vendors--LOTS of those.  There was a big stage being set up for the entertainment that evening, and another stage at the City Government building (Cortez' fort--only Cortez never used it) for the "Grito".  The "Grito" is the highlight of the day for Mexicans.  It happens at 10:45, and gives everyone the opportunity to shout (gritar) in unison, "Viva Mexico", or "Viva" whatever.  We stayed up to watch the Grito from the Zocalo, which was broadcast live, and several other Gritos across the country.  In the Zocalo, the President of Mexico leads the Grito, listing a long string of people, events or things that Mexicans have to be proud of.  Viva Independencia, Viva Mexico, Viva......  It was pretty neat.  However, the crowds become overwhelmingly dense, so we checked things out at Hidalgo, ate some pan from our favorite panaderia, strolled through the Mercado and bought a few trinkets, and then headed home.  As we headed out around 3 pm, the security forces were set up to inspect everyone coming in--and LOTS of people were heading in!

All this was complicated by the fact that 18 new missionaries arrived on Monday
--half of them in the morning from the CCM, the other half arriving at 10 pm from the US.  We welcomed them on Tuesday--after a good night's rest, and then got back to the work of getting things moving for the next group of 20 who arrive in 6 weeks.  It was tough to say goodbye to those going home--it always feels like we are losing our kids and grandkids, especially when we know we probably won't see them anytime soon.  We got some great individual pictures, but here is the group with the Valadez' at the Mission home....

Great Elders!  We will miss them all!

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