Monday, November 14, 2005

gringos in paradise

I've changed my mind about heaven. No mansions, no white robes, no fluffy clouds and stuff. I'm pretty sure it looks more like a small Mexican town, where tequila and beer are plentiful, people smile a lot, there are fireworks on any given day, and there are costumed fiestas full of dancing and music for no real reason at all.

There are moments when visiting here in San Miguel de Allende is a bit like being a member of the Griswald family in European Vacation: a family stroll through the market yesterday found all of us wearing near-matching straw cowboy hats that smacked of the embroidered matching berets worn by America's favorite vacationing family from the movies. Cheesy (and unavoidable) gringo moments aside, this place is pretty near heaven.

Things are cheap. A black leather belt for less than $9. Cowboy hat for about $12. A leather/metal cross for wall decoration $5. Beer and ice cream each about $1. More than anything, it's near perfect just strolling around town. Steep up-and-down roads, narrow and cobblestoned. Brightly painted walls and buildings. A general sense of stillness. Comfortably warm during the day, comfortably cool at night - so much so that the weather is almost unnoticeable. Never too hot or too cold.

I have to admit, we are completely dependent on my dear sister. Her fluent Spanish is a Godsend. My parents and I are like three old, crippled people in wheelchairs relying on Leslie to push us around - we can't express anything without her help. It is so frustrating being unable to speak the language, and I am becoming more and more certain that I will make a concerted effort to learn Spanish in earnest when I get back to the States. In the meantime, I remain in awe of and dependent upon Leslie's language capability. (She has also been really helpful telling me about photography stuff, but more on that in a later post.)

There have been a number of fun (and funny) moments so far, but too many to recount now. The margarita sitting next to the keyboard is getting warm, and we leave for dinner in about 10 minutes. I miss home a little bit, but I'm pretty sure I could stay here for a long, long time and not be unhappy.

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