If you like religious art, the Ex-Convento de Guadalupe is the place to go. It’s a 30-minute bus ride from Plaza Bicentenario in Zacatecas. Bus fare is 5.5 pesos (39 US cents), and admission to the museum is 41 pesos (not quite US $3). You can sail through the museum and give everything a cursory once-over, or you can examine each painting and artifact carefully and spend hours in the place. The choice is yours.
Somewhere on the second floor, I am surprised by a sudden blast of mariachi music—live music. There is a little glassed-in alcove where I can look into the cathedral, and I see a wedding in progress. When I finish my tour of the museum, I decide to stick around for the end of the wedding. Maybe I can get a few photographs.
In blue jeans and sneakers, I am hardly dressed for a wedding. I feel like I’m living the biblical parable about the guy who shows up at a wedding without the proper attire. The king is offended, and orders the intruder to be thrown out into the darkness where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (You can read the story in Matthew 22.)
I hover near the entrance to the cathedral for at least 45 minutes, waiting for the wedding to end. No one asks me to leave, so I stay, and snap photo after photo, and I give thanks once again for the multitude of ways the people of Mexico welcome strangers into their midst.
Text and photo © 2011 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved