Archive for December, 2010

Lights at night

It hasn’t rained for awhile. The green and foliage of summer has receded. I thought I wouldn’t appreciate the dirt and the brown and the bald, but I find that I do. When I walk the Bufa, if feels as if I’m on an asteriod. Cactus and colored rock… purple, camo-green, and mustard. There are shrubs with spiny thistles and the wind moves through them.

Last time I came back from Leon, the sun was setting. I was on a 2nd class bus so instead of a movie, I listened to the driver’s music. Ranchera and some of the old Mexican ballads. The music layered below the landscape washing by the window, and seemed to go perfectly with the mix of desolated dirt landscape punctuated here and there with elaborate Christmas lights. Kind of like the life here: famine then feast; long worry, then hope. Or the family that works hard to save up for a son’s baptism or a daughter’s quinceañera. The miner who toils underground all week so he can live it up on the weekend. Or even like Maestro Chuey… yesterday, I found out that Maestro Chuey and his wife had slept on a twin bed for nearly 50 years until they received a larger mattress. His shining light? Two of his daughters attend University and the third will also when she comes of age.

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Olmec Greetings

This Olmec Colossal Head greets visitors as they enter the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa, Veracruz. His buddy, Number 1, is somewhat reserved in nature and prefers the post outside.

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The Caterpillar

Fernando and I went to Leon yesterday. We take the bus there and once in Leon, we use the city’s public transportation system to get around which consists of buses and the Optibus bus rapid transit known as “La Oruga” or The Caterpillar. The buses, Optibus, and stations are always crowded. It’s great to see public transportation working so well and that it’s such a popular choice for many.  

The photo above is an Optibus station; these are usually located in the middle of a thoroughfare.

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My father would have turned 80 on December 6th if he were still alive. He loved trains, classic cars, road trips, maps, macaroons, Burl Ives, Johnny Cash, stamps, Susan B’s, $2 bills, magazines, the Drive-In, truck stops, diners, dogs, tall tales, and anything off the beaten path. So when a stray followed me home on Roy’s birthday, F and I decided to foster him in memory of Roy’s love of dogs. Maybe we would even keep him if we couldn’t find him a home.

Since then, I’ve been walking him as soon as there’s daylight. We go for an hour… down the narrow alleys of Pastita, through Embajadoras where juicers are just setting up their tables, down empty streets that will be filled with traffic and morning commuters in less than an hour, and up Tecolote and the barking roof dogs. By the time we reach the Panoramica Pipila-side, I’ve worked up a sweat.  We walk past the parking lot attendants and say Buenos Dias, past Pipila who is warming up with the first rays of sun on his back.  I look down and see the University, half covered in shadow. We continue and pass a chicken and rooster always out on the street at this hour. To the left, three massive Dobermans bark up a storm. The first time I saw them, I was grateful for the fence as they followed us, until I realized the fence simply stops at one point and the only thing separating us from them is 30 feet of space and a ditch.  But they just bark and we keep walking.

We’re in Cuarto de Gallo now and we begin the decent back into town. We walk-run down a steep hill.  On Sundays, neighbors gather outside a small church on this street to sing and pray in the street. We stop at these times to listen and observe the solemn moment. We move on. In no time at all, we’re at the Basilica making our way to Plaza Baratillo and then up one of the streets for freshly squeezed juice: mandarin, orange, cactus, carrot, beet, celery, apple, combo… I select something different everyday.  From here, it’s a straight shot up the last hill to the Prepa, and then a jump further to the Panoramica, and finally up the dirt hill to our place.

Yesterday, we went to the Bufa.  There was nobody there, just Farley and I.  It’s nice having this walking companion.  He often glances up at me on our walks, and it always seems as if he is smiling. Once at the top of the Bufa, I ate an apple and gave him some water as he sat as close to me as he possibly could.  We both looked over the cliff at Guanajuato, grateful for one another’s company.

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Wind, Sand and Stars

As for the future, your task is not to foresee it but to enable it.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Welcome to the first day of winter, to longer days and shorter nights.

These Kahlo-esque skeletons were painted outside the Diego Rivera Musuem during Día de los Muertos. The skeleton on the left has the symbol of Saturn on her forehead, while the one holding the bird has Jupiter on her’s which is fitting for this time of year. Today, the Sun passes from Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, into Capricorn, ruled by Saturn.

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Strange Milk

The town of Xico, Veracruz, commissioned a statue of a cross-eyed mother attempting to nurse her distracted son from breasts inspired by Victoria Beckham and placed it in the park just outside of its church dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

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