I am now in Tlaquepaque and will be here until the pre-dawn hours of Saturday – two days from now, so I will wait to describe all that is happening here and tell you about my final 24 hours in Cofradía.
Tuesday morning started out with a brisk 7am walk. The weather cooperated as far as no rain, but it was still cloudy. The volcano was visible, but it was still cloudy enough that it was not optimal for taking photographs of it. We went up past the bull ring as far as the Temazcal sweat lodge and then back again. No one fell or was injured, so it was a good outing. At the end of our walk I put my shoes into a plastic bag and donated them to Project Amigo. I’m definitely looking forward to getting a really good pair of hiking boots when I get back to New York -hopefully something with good foot and ankle support, so that if I should fall again, torn-up muscles and tendons and broken bones will be avoided as much as humanly possible.
PS – I never did make it to the sweat lodge this time, but hopefully when I return I will. With the local one, there is a ceremony before going in to prepare you to be in the proper “zone” and the heat is increased slowly, so all should be OK.
So, back to Tuesday. I am no expert on anything, but having lived here for almost 6 months, I have learned a few things. One of the volunteers is staying on for an extra week, and we were talking about things like buying clothing and pottery and cooking on your own. I introduced them to Doña Meche, and afterward suggested they bring along a student or maybe Stephanie since Donña Meche speaks no English and they would need someone to translate exactly what they wanted to buy.
Also, the volunteer who is staying has specific dietary needs, and was asking about restaurants. I suggested that she would be better off cooking for herself, as there are not restaurants or luncheonettes like they have in The States. They are small establishments, many right out of the person’s kitchen in their home, and the food is purely traditional Mexican, so there are no substitutions if you have food sensitivities, except for maybe no bread or no hot sauce. That is why, when my friends back home asked if I would want to go out with them to a Mexican restaurant – or was I sick of Mexican food – my answer was that 95% of the time, I have been cooking for myself, and the past 2 or 3 months, I have had very little traditional Mexican food.
I spent most of my day doing laundry and packing up my things. Two large suitcases will stay here, and I will only be going home with a carry-on bag and my canvas bag with my laptop. It is amazing how much stuff you accumulate in a place, and living in one room, it really wasn’t that much, but did fill an extra suitcase.
At 6:30pm we all left for a Project Amigo fundraiser at a cervecería called Jardín Trapiche in Colima. It is a very nice micro-brewery. They actually make beer there and there was an oven outside where they made food (the two choices were a hamburger made with meat and a vegetarian burger made with mushrooms). The only choice of alcohol there was beer, so I had mineral water instead. I used to like beer, but after my son was born, I haven’t been able to tolerate the taste of it. I guess the pregnancy hormones did something to my sense of smell or my taste buds, which makes it a bit difficult in places like Mexico or Cameroon when the beer is safer to drink than the available water.
Anyway, the food was delicious, and a band called Colorado Felix played as part of the benefit. I bought one of their CD’s and had a nice conversation with one of the members, Jaime, yesterday, since we rode together in the Project Amigo van to Guadalajara, a 3-hour trip. They live in Guadalajara and it was a short taxi ride for me from GDL to here in Tlaquepaque.
They named the band after the Colorado River and an “old-time” actress – Jaime’s words, not mine – (I think from the 1950’s) named María Félix, who apparently is very famous here in Mexico. As an aside, I can’t believe I just wrote “old time” regarding something that happened around 1950. I was one year old then, and I also can’t believe that it was 65 years ago. It just seems so recent in my mind… And for any of you younger people laughing at this, some day, if you’re lucky and live a good, long life, you will be in the same position – feeling in your mind that you are the same person you have always been, but when you look in the mirror, it begs to correct you.
Also attending were 4 members of the Rotary E-Club of the Southwest USA, also known as RECSWUSA, and a future member, who I like to refer to as our presumptive nominee in honor of our crazy U.S. election this year. The current members are me, John, Jenna and Sandy. Jenna’s husband Alex will be a member when the membership process is completed. So we basically had a mini-Rotary meeting.
In addition to customers, Rotarians, Project Amigo people and staff, there was a poor dog walking around with one of those plastic shields on his neck. I presume it was to keep him from biting his tail, which looked like it had been shaved and had a wound on it. Whatever happened to the poor thing was memorialized on the chalk board at the restaurant.
So that’s about it for now. Time to go to the Festival of San Pedro which is going on this week. I’ll probably write up about my stay here either tomorrow night or Sunday, as I have to leave this hotel at 4:45am to get to the airport on time for my 7am flight on Saturday.
As always, if you click on my photos, you will see explanations, and if you still have any questions for me, please feel free to comment.