One Wednesday night, back in December, I decided to go to Tequisquiapan early Thursday morning. Spontaneity adds excitement to life. Caley and I had previously researched the popular vacation spot finding out that it was famous for its wine and cheese and spas with thermal waters. I imagined that we would arrive around noon, eat a nice lunch, relax in the thermal waters and finish off the night taste-testing regional wines and cheeses. Does not sound too bad, eh?
Three of my four expectations were met. We pulled into Tequisquiapan just before 12, dropped our stuff off at the hotel and went on to hunt for a place to eat. On a side street, near the plaza, we found a simple spot where we ate sopes, gorditas and quesadillas in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. We left feeling satisfied and ready for a dip in the thermal waters.
Since Tequis is known for its thermal baths, we figured that any taxi driver would know where to take us. Just to make sure that he was not going to rip us off, we asked the owner of the hotel that my friends were staying in, where would be the best place to go. He gave us two recommendations. We mentioned them to the taxi driver and he knew right where they were.
On our way to the thermal baths, I pictured us sitting in hot springs in a valley somewhere passing away the afternoon under the hot, bright Mexican sun. My expectation could not have been more wrong. The taxi driver had taken us to an empty water park filled with Disney character- decorated trashcans. Only three of the pools were open: one being the kiddy pool. Only one water slide was functioning: the blue slide that the manager turned on for us. In shock, I asked the manager if there were any hot springs, or natural thermal waters in which we could swim. With a defensive look on his face, he reassured me that the water in the pools came from the mountains and was naturally warm. I did not argue.
As the sun went down, we headed back to the center of town to look for a restaurant that served wine and cheese. We found a quiet one overlooking the town square. First, we ordered the regional sparking wine that was accompanied by complementary baked provolone cheese in a rich tomato sauce. To follow, we tried a bottle of the local red wine to accent a sample cheese plate with three different types of fresh panela: plain, chipotle and epazote with jalopeño. As I am a huge fan of spicy foods, my favorite cheese was the queso panela with epazote and jalopeño. For the little that I know about judging wines, I truly enjoyed them both. Who would have known that Mexico produced good wine?
From the restaurant, I took a cab back to the bus station where a three and a half- hour ride back to the city was awaiting me. The last leg, the taxi ride to my apartment, was the highlight of the ride as I watched hundreds of people walking to the Basilica of Guadalupe with their statues or portraits of the Virgin of Guadalupe in hand (the following day was the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe). It was a cultural phenomenon that I had never seen before.