From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!
Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
I woke yesterday morning to a warbling trumpet and what seemed like hundreds of snare drums – perhaps it was the beginning of summer session? It was rent-paying day (I make a deposit to my landlord’s account at a bank in centro). I also did some shopping there (coffee from La Ventana, yogurt from Santa Clara) and performed a few errands and finished the afternoon with lapsong souchong tea at Casiopea. The seasonal shift is on: visitors are younger, either college-age students coming to study Spanish or perhaps to pass through on their way elsewhere or 4-unit families vacationing now that school is out, or returning summer residents. One hears more American accents on the streets, hears the preteen girls complain “are we WALKING there” softened by a parent’s reply of “no, we’re just walking to the car, dear.”
At the same time that the western U.S. is enduring a heat wave and New Jersey is inundated with water and wind, the weather here has been perfect: cool mornings that warm to the low 80s, beautiful high clouds. The photo was taken Saturday at the
retreat workshop that was held outside of town. It was extremely strange to be surrounded once more by so many A-types, Stanfordites, and the like. The organization draws on some very capable volunteers, is well-run, and as evidenced by one of the staff who was part of my workgroup, helps some talented young Mexicans get through university who probably would not have the opportunity to do so if it were not for the scholarships provided by the organization. I have doubts about my willingness to work as hard as the function requires.
Making San Miguel more like Kansas City
I bought a copy of Atención, the local bilingual paper published by La Biblioteca and I’ll get to the reason for buying it – which I haven’t done in more than two months – in a bit, but there were two pieces of information that caught my attention.
The first was an article about “SMA First Friday event coming soon.” San Miguel already has a First Friday event (which will take place this Friday) at the Fábrica de Aurora, a factory that is now full of craftspeople and artists. The San Miguel resident who wrote the article was beguiled by a visitor from Kansas City who extolled that city’s first Friday, which is city-wide and where “all the shops, galleries, restaurants, hotels, taxi companies, street vendors, and performers realized that a united city would bring visitors from all over.” I think this describes San Miguel on every Friday since I’ve lived here. I don’t know Spanish well enough to come up with something alliterative that includes viernes (Friday). Formalizing it with a name will probably create job security for marketing people.
Kansas City has a population of about 465,000 and San Miguel is 62,000 for the city proper.
The second article of interest stated that June had hotel occupancy of 91 per cent. A city-wide First Friday will probably pump that number up to 98 or so.
There was one other morsel. The mayor hopes to turn the region into a Bordeaux-like viniculture center. Us old folks already have enough problem navigating the cobblestones; all we need is for the younger folks to start stumbling, too. He took a trip to Paris and Bordeaux to see what a viniculture society looks like first-hand. There is at least one difference between here and there that will be hard to duplicate: the wine trade in Bordeaux is two milennia old.
The reason I bought the Atención
was to get the lowdown on a fund raiser for La Biblioteca in Atotonilco on 4 July. It features music and games, a raffle, hotdogs, hamburgers, brisket and ribs, drinks and dessert; I feel very Sheldon Cooperish (Big Bang Theory) about this – it has no interest for me, but I bailed on D for last week’s gathering of ancient hippies and feel like I should accompany her to this event although she’ll have friends there. The Que Pasa section of Atención has a big headline Celebrate Independence Day. The headline means U.S. independence and it brought on another Sheldon-like moment, because 1 July was Canada Day and, jeepers, this is Mexico. There’s another widely advertised event that is sponsored by the Democratic club scheduled for the day.
Yesterday was Canada Day and here’s a partial list of the many Canadian musicians I’ve enjoyed over the years: Oscar Peterson, Glenn Gould, Joni Mitchell, Shania Twain, Gil Evans, Anne Murray, Lucy Blue Tremblay, Corneille, Neil Young, Buffy Ste-Marie, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Avril Lavigne, Ian & Sylvia, Mylène Farmer, Jane Siberry, Sarah, McLachlan, Chantal Chamberland, Leonard Cohen, Nelly Furtado, Jesse Winchester, Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn, Rufus & Martha Wainwright, and yes, Céline Dion and Justin Bieber as well as Galt MacDermot (who wrote the music for Hair). There are others.
The unofficial Canadian anthem.