July 8, 2016
If you’ve read my post about my first margarita, then you know that I have never partied before back in the states, much less gone to a club on a Friday night. But, ¡Cuando En México! I am experiencing so many new things in Mexico and last Friday night, it was the Querétaro night life.
I met my host cousin in the Plaza de Armas around 9pm. (I am still getting used to the cultural differences about timeliness.) Once she arrived, we strolled about the plaza while we waited for a couple of her friends to show up. My host cousin was celebrating her last weekend home before she goes to Poland for a month next week. Once her friends arrived, it was about 10pm and we slowly wandered our way through the streets.
It has been a long, long time since I have hung out with only a group of girls. All my friends from college are guys who, except for one, are current or past gruff military men who are now dads in their late 20s. They all have become my older brothers. And they could not be less like a group of young 20 year old Mexican girls trotting through Querétaro. While hanging out with my host cousin, Diana, and her friends, there were lots of “aayyyyYYYYYY”s and “Haey! Haey! Haey!”s (it’s hard to spell sounds in Spanish) and screams of glee that were random, but somehow perfectly synchronized between the five of them. Also, I am not used to sauntering slowly and walking with a group of girls who walk like a heard of cats. I am used to being in college where I know it takes me exactly 9 minutes to speed walk across campus and class starts in 8 minutes but then I make it to my seat a minute early. Being forced to slow down, not worry about if we had a destination, and enjoy strolling through the streets of Querétaro was challenging at first, but in the long run exactly what I needed to do and was fun.
We finally ended up at a restaurant and two more friends arrived. My host cousin and all of her friends are gorgeous, super sweet, and a blast to hang out with. We ordered food and drinks for cena around 10pm. I had another semi-new type of food: Enchiladas Queretanas. It is just a different type of enchilada in addition to enchiladas rojo and verde. But, these enchiladas are only available in Querétaro. I continue to be surprised that enchiladas in Mexico are small and taco sized, not large and almost burrito like the way I am used to ordering them in the USA.
A little before 11pm, my host cousin and I left before the others because we had to get to the club. We had a reservation for 11pm. Now, I cannot really compare this night life experience to the US because I have never experienced a night at a club, or even a bar, in the US. So, I am not sure if it is normal for people to make reservations at clubs, but from what I would guess, people do not usually do this. Anyway, we had a reservation and when we arrived we walked straight to the front of the line. There was a large group of people waiting to get inside already, but we passed them right by. I followed my cousin, ID in hand as instructed, and our purses were quickly checked, but never our IDs. As we walked into the main room, it was dark aside from the colorful lights dancing all around and the large projection screen featuring the music videos of the songs that were playing. As I followed my cousin through the crowed, I could see the haze of smoke that filled the air and the orange, glowing cigarette tips that speckled the crowd.
Our reservation was for a semi-private balcony area that over looked the main floor. My cousin and I sat there and waited for her friends to arrive. While we waited, I noticed that the songs only played for about 30 seconds each before switching to another. My cousin scream and clapped, sometimes jumping up to dance each time the song changed to then sit back down and say she was going to save her energy for when her friends arrived.
I took in the whole scene. To the right and down a couple steps from our balcony was one of two main bars. The main floor was not a dance floor. It had tons of smaller bar-height tables and chairs with people filling in all around. There were fake smoke machines that added to the haze creating a canvas for the colored lights to paint in beat with the music. As I looked around, all of the sudden I heard this sound that I first thought was a fire alarm. But no one else seemed to think so. It turns out; there was just this really loud sound that would go off very often. To me, it sounded just like a fire truck siren. The music was super loud, but the party was just getting started.
When the rest of the girls arrived, our private bar tender (not joking, we had our own cute balcony bar tender) came over with a flash light and menu in hand. The girls huddled around and discussed. Before I knew it, I was contributing my share of $200 pesos and had no idea what I had just chipped in for. It ended up being 8 cans of soda, half coke/half sprite, a bottle of what I think was tequila, brand name: Azule, and a bottle of black spiced rum, brand name: The Kraken. For starters, our bar tender mixed us all drinks with the sprite and tequila. For me, it was not a drink I would go looking for again, but it was tolerable.
The first hour, my cousin and her friends mainly danced and drank. Drinking glasses make great microphones, by the way. I was at a slight disadvantage knowing none of the words to the songs, even the ones in English, but I played along and tried to take sips of my drink. Every time one of the girls finished their drink, they would wave over our bar tender and he would mix them another right there in our balcony. This seemed kind of silly to me because I feel like it would be plenty easy to just mix your own without having to bother someone else to do it, but perhaps this is the service we paid for, so it’s what they did.
As the hour wore on, the girls we getting hyped to start dancing but our balcony was suddenly unsatisfactory and too small for all of us to have room to dance. Luckily, there was another larger semi-private balcony right above ours that our bartender moved all of our drink fixings to after my host cousin asked if we could move. The balcony did fit us all better. Also, it provided a slightly higher vantage point of the main floor. I looked all out and about. Every once and a while, large flaming fire balls would flare up at tables on the main floor. I don’t know what they were exactly, but they were some sort of flaming alcoholic drink (according to my observations and conclusions).
As the clock struck midnight, I could definitely feel a not dramatic, but significant shift in the atmosphere of the club. More people flooded the main floor from outside and the music changed pace a bit. All of the girls began dancing along to the songs and were having a great time as they finished their second and third drinks. I was excited to have half of mine gone so that I had room to add ice to water it down. I figured, as soon as I could get the first drink down I could pour myself some straight sprite and be good to go without the alcohol.
We danced, and laughed, and sang, and danced more and more. There was no way that I could dance like they were, but now and then they would try to show me. They reminded me of hula dancers; somehow only moving their hips whereas when I tried everything from my waist to my knees moved. There was no way that I could be more suave (smooth) like they told me to. But, it didn’t really matter; we just laughed, raised our glasses and said ¡salud!
Now, for some reason I was under the impression that our reservation was only for two hours and that we would be done by 1am. I have no idea how I miss translated this out of something my host cousin told me, but I sure did. I was mentally prepared to last for two hours at this club, but when 1am came around and I realized we weren’t leaving any time soon, I knew I was in for a long night at the club. I was beginning to feel a bit…different, a bit light headed and removed. I think it was a combination of the little I had had to drink in addition to the atmosphere of the club.
Right around 1am, tons of pool noodles were distributed on the main floor. We continued to dance and dance. I was happy to finally be sipping my sprint-only look-a-like drink while the other girls finished their fourth and fifth drinks. One of them came up to be and excitedly asked if I was drinking. I said, “Por supuesto” as I looked down at my glass half full of sprite and ice. As my host cousin ran to each of us serving mouthfuls of tequila as we tipped our heads back, the bottle ran dry. But no one had to worry; we still had plenty of spiced rum.
The first couple hours at the club, my host cousin was very good at keeping our semi-private balcony exclusively only for us girls. However, as the night wore on and more drinks were consumed, I could tell my host cousin was getting a bit tipsy herself. More people packed into the club and filled in the balcony adjacent to ours. Fairly quickly, my cousin’s keeping boys away turned into accepting guys’ invitations to dance as her friends did the same. One of my host cousin’s friends seemed to be a lot like me; really enjoying spending time with friends and más o menos enjoying the club scene. I was dancing along with our group that had become a blend of people I knew and didn’t know when I turned to my right to talk to who I thought was one of the girls in our group. It ended up being some random guy. I had just accidently created the bridge he needed to strike up a conversation and ask for a dance. I shouted back in Spanish replies to questions he shouted to me in English and accepted his invitation to dance as a way to be dancing without having to come up with my own moves.
The entire time, I was thinking to myself, while I was have a great experience and all, and very thankful to be spending time with my host cousin and her amazing friends , I have no desire to return to a club in the future without my boyfriend. By this time, I felt like myself again and continued to wonder how people could keep drinking and drinking without breathing in-between.
Around 2am a live band started playing Spanish club music that had a different rhythm to it. As the random guy dancing next to me was struggling to hear my shouted replies, I was relieved when I saw my host cousin walk up. I figured she’d help me out. Buttt, not this time. Instead she had brought another guy along to dance. A semi-slow dance and a few twists and turns later I was free again. But, when the guy turned to leave, he reached down and picked up my glass half full of sprite that I had worked so hard for! Surely he must have thought it was his own and was probably wondering why it tasted so weak. Either way, I had lost my glass, but I wasn’t too bummed.
Finally at three o’clock the lights brightened and everyone began finishing their drinks. My cousin explained to me in cute, in slightly slurred Spanish, that it’s a law in Mexico that the clubs have to close at 3am. I was really glad to learn of this law; without it, I have no idea when we would have left.
Once we left the club, we called an Uber and waited in the cool, fresh, smoke free night air. Once I got home, it was around 3:30am. I walked into my bedroom and felt like I had brought the club home with me. I could smell the smoke in my hair and on my dress and my fingers were sticky from the drinks. My heart was still pounding to the ringing of the music that remained in my ears. I took a quick shower and was fast asleep in my bed for the next six hours.
Although I could have slept for longer, I did not want to waste my Saturday in bed when I could be out exploring Querétaro. Over all, I had a really fun night with my host cousin and her friends. I am glad to have experienced a night at a club in Mexico and there are very few others who I would have agreed to go with. To be clear, Diana told me several times that she never drinks that much or goes to clubs unless her friends from Monterrey are in town for a special celebration. It was totally a night I am thankful to remember and won’t forget anytime soon.