Variety is the Spice of Life

This morning was something different.  And, they say, variety is the spice of life. Rudy went down to the bakery to purchase bread for breakfast and came back with a chocolate croissant and an apple danish. He claimed that the bread was not yet out of the oven so our regular peanut butter on bread would not happen. Which was all good with me as I like to change things up from the regular routine. It goes almost without saying that Rudy is a man of routine and so could probably eat peanut butter bread for breakfast for the rest of his life. (Anyone who knows Rudy will be know how much he loves his regular lunch…. a ham and cheese sandwich with 5 chips and 8 grapes).

So when it got to be close to lunchtime, it was MY job to go for bread. Rudy insisted that a walk was good for me and sent me out the door. (Am I too annoying and talkative when he is trying to do his morning crossword?) Anyway, I headed out and by the time I hit the bakery I was in full stride and decided not to stop on the going out but, rather pick up bread on the return trip. I walked myself into Colonia Guadalupe, a suburb in the north part of town. I hadn’t been in this particular area yet and  I was surprised to find rows of brilliantly coloured houses. It dawned on me that perhaps El Centro has rules and regulations about building colours because all the buildings there share a similar shade of ochre. Kind of like the rules of suburbia back home, I guess, where there are only a few types of “bricks” or “stones” allowed on the front facade, each house allowed only 1.5 pillars (I know you have all seen these lopsided entrances and wondered) and the exterior colour palette  restricted to 3.5 shades of tan or brown. (Not to mention a 3-car garage dominating the front yard.)  I have always, not so secretly, laughed at these suburban development rules, but realize that the same can be said about historical areas when cities want to keep things authentic. So yah, I guess “authentic suburbia” is a thing too. Can’t allow a magenta or neon pink house on Wildblossom Cresent, just off Sunrise Bay, next to Montego Cove because the authenticity of the neighbourhood would be compromised.

Well Guadalupe had no such rules and I enjoyed all the colours of the houses. I was reminded of the delight that my daughter Ana had as a 3 and 4-year-old in Guatemala seeing all the pink houses there. Entire houses painted in her favourite colour. She didn’t even think such a thing was possible. There certainly were no houses in Steinbach that were painted a bright pink.

Well I loved it and every corner I rounded I found a variety of house colours and even painted murals and mosaiced walls.

Late afternoon found Rudy and me excitedly heading down to Teatro Santa Ana for a spicy flamenco show. Earlier in the week we had seen a poster for it  and Rudy thought it might be a good idea. He had seen a flamenco performance in Argentina years ago and had been blown away. The raw energy, the sheer speed of the footwork, and the sweat flying off the musicians and dancers had been almost unbelievable. (Although, he forewarned me that this  might just be some amateur cringy show.)

We hadn’t been able to buy tickets online, so we decided to take a chance that the box office at the theatre would be open before the show and that tickets would still be available. And so it was. We bought our tickets, and with an hour and a half before showtime, we figured we might as well go to a nearby bar for a drink before the show. Across the street from the theatre was a rooftop bar. We ordered a couple of margaritas (Rudy picked a chilli pepper flavour, Naomi chose the passion fruit one). It seemed an auspicious way to start such an evening.

Well, our flamenco show wasn’t quite as hot as Rudy’s margarita. The first indication was the theatre. It was old and small and somewhat tired-looking. And it appeared the patrons were of a similar vintage. We were a bunch of senior citizen tourists with our hearing aids, support hose, too much perfume, and not enough cell phone knowledge and etiquette (the old lady next to Rudy couldn’t figure out how to put her constantly beeping phone on silent for the duration of the show). The four performers (a guitarist, a flutist, a singer, and the dancer) were old pros (literally) and had clearly practiced their craft for many years. This was a senior’s event on all fronts.

Not to say that the show wasn’t impressive. It was just a little hard to get into it. The singer was amazing but initially hard to read. I wasn’t sure whether she was singing in tune or keeping the rhythm or what. But as time went on I realized it was a bit like hearing traditional Inuit throat-singing—not that it was anything like throat-singing, but rather, I just didn’t understand the “rules” of the music. As the show went on I started to understand and appreciate it. The dancer was “very experienced”; actually, her foot-clicking and stamping was incredible and I admired her expertise. But the performance lacked the excitement and sexual energy that one might expect at a flamenco show. Despite the professional execution of the moves, it just didn’t cut the mustard.

After the show, all the old farts slowly made their way out of the theatre and gathered on the sidewalk to ooh and aah about the concert. Speaking of farts, Rudy had seen signs advertising Pedos de Monja at several of the small candy shops we’d passed on our way to the theatre. I explained to him that Pedos de Monja are traditional and popular candies made here in Latin America and they’re very delicious. I also informed him that the name translates as “nun’s farts”. So on our way home Rudy stopped at a shop to buy a bag.

Over a late supper at a little restaurant on our way home, we discussed the evening. Spicy? No! But definitely the variety of experiences served up to me during the day had been more than satisfactory even if some of them lacked the level of “hot pepper” spice that I have enjoyed in San Miguel so far.

Back at the apartment, we ended our night with a delicious un-spicy dessert of sweet chocolate and cherry flavoured “nun’s farts”. Our day concluded with  the Mexican Saturday night sounds as the neighbourhood celebrated it’s own Flamenco concert: loud party music at the neighbours, the staccato of fireworks from somewhere downtown, and an appreciative audience of barking dogs.




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