Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Pilgrimage

My step daughter and her fiancé, Luis, were visiting Mexico for a variety of reasons. Firstly, Luis, the fiancé, recently obtained his residency in Canada, finally allowing him to travel. He is Mexican, and had not been home in three years. Secondly, he and Alison are planning to be married in Mexico City, so it was a fine time to do some research.

Ralph and I headed up to Mexico City to meet his parents and see the area where they were considering for the wedding. A few mentionables: The drive was about 5 hours long, all on toll roads. Toll road costs between Oaxaca and Mexico City was 354 pesos one way. At the toll plaza on the way through Puebla they sell puppies on the side of the road. Puppies, candy, drinks, oranges. You know, normal things that one would buy while driving from Oaxaca to Mexico City. Driving in Mexico City was not that crazy, though we really only drove in and out, most of the rest of the time we took the metro, which was great. Easy and convenient.

Alison and Luis had asked if there was anything in particular we wanted to see. The first thing out of my mouth was the Virgin of Guadalupe Basilica and Shroud. Evidently the original shroud is there, the one that originally appeared on Juan Diego's blanket on December 12, 1531. I had decided it should be a destination of choice, a pilgrimage of sorts.

Sunday morning we drive to the area of Mexico City where her basilica stands. After taking the moving sidewalk under the altar to get prime pictures of what is evidently the shroud, we go to wander the market that surrounds her basilica. We had seen some bracelets we thought we could get cheaper in the market. Never before had I seen a market entirely dedicated to one icon. Stall after stall, for what fills at least 2 square kilometers, are vendors selling bracelets, framed photos for the front of your car, T-Shirts with various virgin images on them, stickers, statuary, candles and pendants for both windows and necklines. We bought a sticker for the car, and a Virgin in a Nutshell on a suction cup.

The shear madness and volume of vendors and marketing around the Virgin is a thing to be experienced. We are surrounded by her image in Mexico, I am glad we have been to "The Source".

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