By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better.
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Comida is lunch. Desayuno breakfast. Cena, dinner. Yesterday I was at the Jovenes Adelante office working with D, A, and P as well as S, one of the Board Members. I had made prior arrangements to buy the office staff lunch, which is often at 3 p.m. So I went to Pollo Feliz, was at the end of a line with 30 people ahead of me, and bought two grilled chickens (with tortillas, salsa, and chips – no salad from this location). When we sat to lunch P said, “Why does an important person like you have lunch with us?” Then, she mentioned that no one has sat and had lunch with them. Her viewing me as important says much about culture here, the view of workers towards bosses, of Mexicans towards gringos, of … I’ll let you figure it out. We had a good lunch, outdoors, swatting moscas away, and we laughed a lot about people and things, families and friends, language miscues and rescues. At the outset neither said she was hungry, and they thought that two chickens were way too much, yet we picked away until there was just enough for them to take home.
My walk home goes past S’s house and at the end of her street there is a set of steep stairs that lead down to the Parque Juarez, our version of Golden Gate or Central Park, but on a severely more modest scale. Unlike those parks I sense more tranquility in Parque Juarez. There was a Mexican gentleman running up those steep stairs, walking down, and running up again. What stamina! I wondered if he was in training … I hadn’t seen him there before.
The stairs end at the Cultural and Arts Center, which has practice rooms for musicians. There are so many world-class musicians who visit San Miguel that one wants to just sit and listen. But it was after work and I was on my home for cena.
Just before the Parque and in front of the Cultural Center is a little plaza that has the tubs of the common laundry area. Often I see Mexican tour groups there, sometimes I see women washing their laundry, but yesterday was the first time that I saw a musician serenading the tour group.
I’ve never had a more pleasant walk home from work than this walk.