Archive for the ‘Artsy Little Towns- ALTs’ Category

A Quiet Day

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Christmas Market Poinsettias

Christmas Market Poinsettias

Well, as Brad O. pointed out in the comment from yesterday, quite a bit of my time in SMA is spent tearing around town ingesting stimulants.

Which might explain why some days I just hang around the casita, catching up w/myself. I’d planned to do the tour of the botanical garden here- El Charco del Ingenio. But it was cold & rainy (well, ok, relatively cold. And it was raining.) And the tour is every Tues & Thurs, so I can do it another day.

If I can’t take a break now & then, I may as well be one more crazy Yanqui, working myself to death.

So today was devoted to domesticity- cleaning the casita, airing the linens, moseying down the street to the tiendita for supplies. On the way, I stopped at the little carnita stand that’s been tempting me daily. They have huge hunks of roasted pork, and just carve off a hunk. They also sell manteca (lard) so I guess this is a full-scale operation.

It is really, really good roast pork. I ate several pieces as soon as I got it home, and then made some tacos w/fresh tortillas, guac & some really good salsa. Followed by a screwdriver made w/fresh-squeezed OJ, listening to Jack Johnson & reading Jimmy Buffett.

Took a nap listening to the little “NY birds.” That’s how I think of them. I’ve never seen them, but their conversation goes: Shaddup! Scat, Scat! What? Shaddup!

Tomorrow will most likely involve yoga & a showing of Food, Inc @ the Biblioteca. Unless I play hooky again. Hasta luego!

Mexican Hot Chocolate!

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
Chocolate Johfrej in San Miguel

Chocolate Johfrej in San Miguel

Last night was the only time it’s rained since I’ve been here. In fact, there was quite a nice thunderstorm rolling thru the valley.

There was even a little rain today & some mist on the mountains, so a lot of people seem to have just stayed home.

For me, it was the perfect day to go exploring. The rain had stopped, but the temperature was great. So I took a taxi in to Centro & started wandering.

One thing I found was a wonderful chocolate shop. I was kind of peering in & a very suave Mexican gentleman on his way out told me to go on in- I wouldn’t regret it. He was certainly right! It’s not the sort of thing I could do every day, and thank goodness I’m not a chocolate fanatic like some. This was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

All the cocoa used comes from nearby Tabasco (where our friend Cain is from) or Chiapas (which is where my favorite coffee originates.) There is just a hint of cinnamon, and maybe some vanilla as well, and it’s not overly sweet. The colorful bowl  has raw sugar for those who like it sweeter. Notice that the table has a glass top, and there are cocoa pods under it!

The same shop also has counters of chocolate candies & ice cream as well (The usual ice cream flavors plus tequila, coffee, and fruit of the day.) Here are more pictures.

I should mention that there’s a bookshop across the street. I have a feeling I’ll be haunting Calle Jesus quite a bit.

Another clue…

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Dinner is served

Dinner is served

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”  Martin Buber

For as long as people have been asking me why I wanted to go to San Miguel, I’ve been giving unsatisfactory answers. For the food, for the climate, to practice my Spanish. All of those are true of course.

But the answer that is the most true is also the least satisfactory to the people who care about me: I don’t know. I just know that I’m supposed to be here, and I’m going on instinct.

I have a feeling that it will be important to my future to have been here, and to be able to speak Spanish. But I think the real reason(s) will unfold as I’m down here, if I put one foot in front of the other.

Today I got a taste of that. I was waiting in the library’s gift shop to speak w/Michel, who coordinates volunteers for the Biblioteca here, and noticed a whole section of Barbara Kingsolver’s books (one of my favorite authors.)

I recalled an article in the paper about her latest book, The Lacuna, & asked the shop’s director about it. “Oh, yes,” she said (she speaks better English than I do Spanish.) “Here it is. You know she’s coming here?” No, I didn’t.

So then she pulled out a “San Miguel Writers’ Conference” form. Barbara Kingsolver will be the keynote speaker, 2 wks before I leave. Hmmm….

Can you say “synchronicity”? I knew you could.

Top 10 reasons I may actually be Mexican

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
  1. My favorite clothes sparkle
  2. I think fireworks are a reasonable way to celebrate a funeral
  3. I think fireworks are a perfectly reasonable way to celebrate: funerals, weddings, homecomings, losing 10 lbs, finding your lost dog, etc.
  4. I cried when Tostitos discontinued Chile/Limon tortilla chips
  5. Winter makes me turn gray
  6. I think Doctors & Dentists should answer my questions
  7. I’m perfectly willing to share my favorite tunes w/the whole neighborhood
  8. I could probably live on horchata
  9. Tu, usted & ustedes make perfect sense to me. (You, Ma’am/Sir, Y’all)
  10. Siestas aren’t just a good idea; they’re the law.