Archive for the ‘Artsy Little Towns- ALTs’ Category

TGIF #20

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Packing Day by nep

This was my last Fri in San Miguel de Allende- for this trip anyway. So Friday was spent saying goodbye to many of the wonderful friends I’ve made here this winter. San Miguel is one of those magical places that just draws exceptional people. I feel very fortunate to have met so many of them.

Today I’m dragging out the suitcases for a test pack. If there’s any room left over, I can still go shopping 😉 Somehow, I don’t think that will be the result, however.

I thought I’d tried a good cross-section of market food, but last night was introduced to the seafood counter @ Ignacio Ramirez market. OMG. Seafood cocktails here are made with a sauce more like thinned catsup, but it’s very spicy. I had octopus & shrimp, topped with slices of avocado. I could live on these, except I need to save room for posole, green enchiladas, chicharrones… Yes, all I do is eat, and think about what I’ll eat next.

Friday links:

What I read in class today…

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
Tianguis Ropas

Tianguis Ropas

Learning the Ropas at Tianguis

Watch your wallet. Or better still, leave it behind, along with anything else you’d mind losing. What you need is a pocket stuffed with small peso bills and coins. That was Donna’s advice, and she’s been coming to Tianguis to shop for ropas (clothing)  for years.

Tuesdays in San Miguel de Allende are Tianguis day. Families go, sweethearts meet up, grannies and gringos, tourists and touts- everyone is there.

Overnight, the dusty deserted lot transforms with tarps and tables into a small city of vendors. There’s not much you can’t get, and cheaply if you’re prepared to bargain.

The first time, I went alone. I came home empty-handed, wide eyed and reeling from sensory overload. Meat frying for tacos, copal incense burning, a loudspeaker lady listing all the ailments cured by her potion, jostling crowds and tables with eye-high mountains of used clothes.

No one is sure where the clothes come from or where they go. They are all washed and the mix changes weekly and with the seasons. But if you lose your luggage, pack for the wrong weather or (in my case) your laundry comes back pink, Tianguis is where you replace your wardrobe.

We started way in the back, at Donna’s favorite booth. The tables start out fairly organized- children’s clothes on one, men’s on another and women’s taking several in the middle.

The process works like this- push yourself into a spot, don’t worry where. Smile and say “Buenos dias” to your new friends. Everyone is shuffling counter-clockwise, so you’ll eventually cover most everything. First use your eyes, and scan the clothing mountain for your colors. Then touch it. If you like the fabric, pull it out. What is it? A skirt, jacket, dress? If it’s not what you want, toss it back on the pile. Slightly to your left, for your neighbor’s consideration. If it’s a possible, hold it up against yourself. This is a chance for everyone around you to weigh in on the decision. Ropas shopping is a team sport.

San Miguel Writers’ Conference

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
BK San miguel

Barbara Kingsolver Keynote speech

Well, it’s day four of the Writers’ Conference, starring BARBARA KINGSOLVER! Yes, that’s her in the picture above.

The only time I was closer than that was in the line of the ladies’ room, with somebody yelling “No paper in the toilets! Put the paper in the wastebaskets!” (In Mexico, you do not flush down the paper. Most restrooms have signs to this effect, but this is a fancy hotel, so they have no signs, which means that out of the four toilets available to 400 or so women, several were plugged @ any given time.)

BK’s speech was absolutely amazing, so I’ve gotten a couple copies on CD. I was worried that someone with such a laser focus & an occupation that tends to draw the introverted would have trouble addressing a packed house. Au contraire. She knocked it out of the park.

And the other speakers have been equally effective. I’m learning so much my poor head is about to explode. Most of what I’m focusing on is creative non-fiction & travel writing. I’m skipping all the parties, which means I totally missed the excitement last night, “Disrespecting the Gourd” and “Art Goodtimes” reportedly having a conniption fit. Those d**d poets….

As the conference winds down, more and more people are showing up with black eyes, broken arms and canes, compliements of San Miguel’s cobblestones. The OXXO store across the street (Mexican 7-11) is doing a bang-up business since the hotel is not serving coffee after breakfast (coffee-drinking is not a concept in MX.)

I’ve had my own goodtimes, finding a very cool place to have Sunday morning tamales, meeting fellow nomads & generally having a blast, as is my habit. But I’m very very tired.

I give up!

Thursday, February 18th, 2010
Children asleep on bed

Children asleep on bed

Well, time is winding down, and so am I. I was actually glad that yesterday was rainy & dismal, so I could stay @ home in the casita and make lentil soup. Also did a lot of journaling, watched a movie (Amelie– FINALLY) and generally played hooky. It felt good to just catch my breath.

Tomorrow, the San Miguel Writers’ Conference starts. Just take a look at that schedule. I signed up @ the beginning of December, when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (I did get a hefty discount.) And now I somehow feel committed to attend all of the events I paid for- to “get my money’s worth.” I mean, shoot, it’s Barbara Kingsolver!!!

At the same time, last weekend’s workshop: Spacious Mind, Spacious Self, was all about clearing out the old, the extraneous, to leave space for the essential. And practicing extreme self care while doing it.

So I think this next week will be a good chance for me to begin learning to do that on a social level.

Then, of course, I’ll be doing it on a physical level, while I try to get everything to fit into 3 smallish suitcases. Although I’m already working on a potlatch-style giveaway party.