Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Virgin Passport User

San Ignacio, Sonora, Mexico

This is the first time in my life that my travels involved the use of a passport. I've never had one before, just got my first one ever, and I was anxious to use it. So imagine my excitement when I was invited to go to Ignacio, Sonora, Mexico. Well, excitement isn't a complete picture when it comes to me going to Old Mexico. Yep, I'm one of those people afraid to go to Mexico. The only news coming out of that country is about drug cartels, crooked 'policia', and kidnappers that take your families money then kill you anyway.

What changed my mind? Number one is we were going on a bus. I felt like there would be safety in numbers. Number two, and most important of the two, is I wanted to use my brand new, never before touched by foreign hands, nor stamped with a foreign insignia, passport.

This is Lea, our fearless tour guide, organizer, leader.
The reason for the trip was to celebrate Chata's 95th birthday. She is the keeper of the key for this particular Catholic Church (pictured above). Everyone on the bus knew her except for me. My friend knew her because she had studied, and written authoritative books about, retablos and ex votos, so she had spent many hours of research in this very church. Everyone else on the bus had some similar interest. I know one was a restorer of these types of historic churches. 

Mass in Mexico
Soon after we arrived we were invited to attend Mass. It was awe-inspiring. The congregation radiated faith and love so strongly it overtook me. My heart swelled up with what I thought must be heavenly peace. So beautiful!

Chata's granddaughter sang from a galley above the entry door.
If I could buy a CD of her singing I would. 

Mass is over and we are off to the party.
This is Linda Ronstadt's parents. They do a lot
of philanthropic work for this church.
I sat behind Linda Ronstadt's parents, in a pew right beside one of her brothers, Jeff Ronstadt. There was a part of the Mass that the congregation as a whole all joined hands. My claim to fame on this trip was that I got to hold Jeff Ronstadt's hand during Mass. SO COOL!

Chata and her birthday cake. Let the party begin!
Chata has a great sense of humor. People were presenting their cards and gifts. One card had a picture of a monkey on it, and she said, "That looks like me." That's the part I got. They were speaking spanish, I don't, but I can recognize people when they are genuinely having fun. There was a lot of jibbing and laughing - a universal language.

Chata killing the pinata 

John Ronstadt and friends and family were the band at the party.
They were really good and had us joining them in
a sing along. 

Here is me partying away.
Great trip! Great people, great fun, but my passport remains untouched by foreign hands, void of any foreign country's insignia. Our bus was waived through the Mexican border check station on the way down. On the way back the bus driver was told to pull over, and have the passengers get their passports out, that a border patrol officer would be boarding our bus to check our passports. I was so excited.

The border patrol officer stepped on the bus, and standing by the bus driver in the front of the bus he told everyone to hold up their passports, then he quickly walked up and down the aisle feigning interest in one or two passports out of all of us. How anticlimactic!!!!!!!!!! My passport remains untouched by foreign hands. 

Anybody want to go to Spain?  I've got a virgin passport just itching to go.


Zane Varnum said...

Love the story and pics, MA!

IN regards to the stamp on your passport, I can relate to how you must have felt. On my 21st birthday I went out with ID in hand ready to order drinks (legally this time!); to no avail, I was not asked for my ID! Totally anticlimactic!


Anonymous said...

Great article thanks for posting it and the pics!

Anonymous said...

Great article thanks for posting!