Negotiations – San Miguel de Allende

At home I wake up, start my day with a cup of tea in the orange chair in the kitchen and make my list for the day.. Any negotiations I have for a day at home are negotiated between me and my list. I list everything. Unloading the dishwasher. Writing projects I would like to start or continue. Quotes or random thoughts I would like to develop during the day. Walks to take with friends. And of course, crafting projects. And the undesireable jobs too. I need to phone re internet bill. Also pick up chemicals for the hot tub. Most often these difficult jobs are not stroked off from the day before and I recopy them onto the current day’s list of activities.

Here in San Miguel, there is another person (Rudy) that I need to negotiate the list with. And, let me tell you, it takes a lot longer. For instance, this morning we needed to discuss each others’s peculiarities  before we could progress onto the list for the day. Because, of course, those foibles directly affect what and, maybe even more importantly, how the days tasks shall be accomplished. But maybe, tasks, is too strong a word to use for how we are spending our time.  After all we are on holidays.

Today we have started some of what will possibly become daily routines.

Naomi: morning cup(s) of tea, crafting small monsters, daily blogging, phone call to Ana as she drives to work, walks in the neighbourhood

Rudy: small web project for Koop, morning cup(s) of coffee, reading the news, setting up blog site for me, New York Times crossword puzzles

Together: breakfast on the roof patio

Yesterday, I left off reporting in the early afternoon. But the day was not nearly over. We headed out down to the main plaza and church (different park and church that we had discovered in the morning). The gardens in the plaza park are lush. Strange how a little greenery has such an effect on a person. (Should I assume everyone feels this way?) It is like there is a little more oxygen (scientifically true) and I breathe deeper and my eyes open wider. The parks have plantings of hundreds of poinsettas in with the general brushes and trees and I am assuming that this is left over from the Christmas decorating. The park/square is immaculate. This seems different from the typical Mexican and Central and South American squares where everything seems a little more worn and tired and the garbage more plentiful. A Mariachi band plays. A trumpet, violins, a large Mexican guitar (does it have a specific name?), as well as a regular guitar. The trumpet playing is big and bold and fills the space. The other instruments as well. Even the singer. They are used to filling up the outdoor spaces with sound. I sat out on the wrought iron bench, taking in the people and the music, while Rudy scouted out a place to buy real coffee. His experience with coffee so far in San Miguel has been less than pleasureable.

Afterwards we wondered down El Centro looking for the little restaurant we had spotted on our earlier jaunt during the day. And surprisingly we found it. We immediately determined that we would go out in the evening all the time. Not only is there live music to be found. (A jazz ensemble was playing at a bar that we passed.) But the apartment gets cool in the evening and the cool temperature and darkness makes me want to curl up in bed and go to sleep and, really, 8:30 is too early. It is much warmer on the street and a wonderful way to reinvigorate myself later in the day.

But back to today. Rudy is married to his crossword puzzle and determined to finish it. I set off on a walking adventure and go left instead of the usual right at the end of Huertas (our street). I wander down the typical cobblestone streets with narrow sidewalks. The house fronts are getting a little nicer and suddenly I am at the entrance to a big park (Benito Juarez Park). It is not as lush as the park at El Centro. It is a little more what I am used to. Lots of trees and bushes and plants but many of them are in need of water. There are fountains (half-filled with leaf-clogged water), basketball courts, playgrounds with mostly old metal equipment and even a fitness path with rusty activity stops. Couples sit on the grass on blankets nibbling snacks and eating. As I get to the other side of the park there are the stands selling candy and trinkets.

After a thorough search of the park I head out and end up finding a gallery. (San Miguel is full of art and music and dance). This gallery is featuring Peter Leventhal. The pictures are mostly big and there are wood carvings too. I learn that the artist moved to SMA (San Miguel de Allende) when he was 60 years old. He was one of the founders of La Fabrica Aurora (which I will visit tomorrow). What I find most interesting is the difference between two periods of his work. For the last 10 years of his life he suffered from Parkinsons and because of a tremor in his right hand he painted only with his left hand. The pictures from this last period of his life are wilder and looser and more impressionistic and give off the feeling that they are studies, rather than finished pieces. I love all of it but the later pieces especially.

After this I do some scouting for restaurant possibilities for tonight. I find two. One is almost “sports bar”-like with TVs showing soccer games and I have a feeling that Rudy will love to catch a little sports as we have no TV at our apartment.

And I am right. After happy hour at our place we head out to La Choperia for Thursday night 2-for-1 hamburger special. The hamburgers are sooooo good. Rudy declares them the best he has tasted. We order the Spicy Guacamole ones and they come with a hot pepper skewered into the top of the bun. They have melted cheese, tomato slices, lovely leaf lettuce, loads of guacamole and the buns are fabulous. Not only was the food great but Rudy learns that there are American football games on Saturday and Sunday so he is happy about that. We walk home and the air is getting cooler and the wind is up.

Seems like we negotiated a great day together.

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