The days following the La Calaca festival and Dia de los Muertos in San Miguel de Allende are vastly different from those experienced by most tourists. They’re better.
This town, established hundreds and hundreds of years ago, holds history not particularly pertinent to many outside of Mexico, but at the same time you feel a part of the whole story. At least, I want to feel that way. You get like that in this town, culturally appropriative, wishing to find identity in this place.
Home Sweet Mexico
It’s nice to be a part of the San Miguel story, even if it’s as an outsider. Sitting outside today, I reflect. It’s been a nice day. This morning I woke up to the spectacular view of the city’s rooftops and after lazily rolling out of bed, eyes transfixed on the Parocchia in the distance, I meander down to the rooftop terrace below our bedroom. After a little hunting around, I locate a strong enough rug to act as a mat on the uneven, paved ground. Mat facing the sunshine I had some time to flow, get out of my head and back into my body. As if this trip wasn’t already relaxing enough.
Once yoga was all finished up, I changed into street clothes and comfortable shoes, we head down into town for a little exploration and a little painting for Amery.
Traveling with a painter lends a new perspective on the scenery. Areas I’d not think to explore, or even notice, spark something in her where she feels the need to check it out. Where she goes, I follow. Eventually, we land on something incredible, new, different …
Hanging with a painter also pushes social boundaries. Setting up a creative activity in the middle of the park, where everyone can watch you, is my idea of true torture. For Amery, it’s Tuesday.
The Tuesday After
So we separate for a bit. Amery heads to paint yet another gorgeous church in an idyllic jardin, and I’m off to talk to the language school about their need for English teachers next year. More on that another time. The meeting goes well and I bumble through my Spanish well enough to see they are in need of teachers and it’s a position in which I’m very interested. Something for me to chew on over the next few months and it never hurts to have an open door.
Door now opened, I head back towards the park to sit in the sun and watch he artist do her thing.
The church is surrounded by a well-manicured jardin (garden) with benches and high walls surrounding the outer edges. Most seats out of the direct sunlight occupied, I settle into a spot near the shops on the south side of the park, adjacent to a medium-sized shade tree. I pull out my iPad and unlock the keypad. Before I write, though, I take in my surroundings.
Sitting surrounded by people, today is Tuesday following the holiday. The tourists have all but left town for home, leaving this quiet town to get back to its regular movements. In front of me, on a bench, sits a little boy. He’s been watching Amery paint, interested but comfortable, presumably sitting next to his mother, he turns his attention to me as I sit. Not all that inconspicuous in a bright green and white polka-dotted dress, dark brown Havana hat, and gold sandals. My iPad feels like it has a laser beam shining from the opened screen out into the square.
Sights and Smells and Sounds
I know that home is tomorrow and a revisit is not near in my future. There’s a strong pull to draw in every sense I can before I forget.
Sweetness mixed with earth. The baking waffle cones across the street in the ice cream shop mix with the smell of pollution and gasoline. Both scents carried across the street to me on an easy breeze. My dress lifts and falls with the breeze and I keep a hand to my side to restrain it in place.
The little dog lying in the center of the square looks small but not malnourished. He’s presumably without a home but seems to have positioned himself well. He smartly rests directly in front of the pork skin vendor to my right. She draws a crowd of 3 or 4 people grabbing a quick bite, little mister pup must keep fed with accidental scraps and loves from tourists. He’s completely unfazed by the traffic of people or cars and soaks up the sun on his belly.
As an aside, I’m struggling to keep an eye on the pork skin vendor. Last night, Quinn brought home a bit and says:
“Hey Bri, I brought this home for you to check out.”
He spoke his words so casually. I should have known.
Obligingly, I scoop up a bite of the oniony, chopped-salad and tried a bite. It was actually pretty tasty, a nice savory aftertaste with an uncomfortably squishy texture. Octopus? Picked veggies? Nope. Pork skin. Brined and not cooked. I liked it well enough to have taken a few bites but then I stopped. Upon realizing what it was I couldn’t do it.
Now knowing all too well what she was selling, remembering the texture on my tongue, I divert my eyes back to the square.
Amery paints, I write, and I try a little harder to remember.