Thursday, January 31, 2008

Las Señoras Suben Al Cerro

Yesterday evening.
I'd just returned from an evening walk with the Señoras of the community, up the road towards Sta. Cruz. I'd gone out idly, just to take a little air. En route, I stopped by Sr. Santo's cow lot down the street, where there were two, newborn calves, a black and a black and white. They were eagerly suckling leche, while one mother cow licked her young, the other stood quietly, even as he lunged for the udder.

Down by the capilla, the ladies gathered prior to their walk. They receive a monetary encouragement from some governmental department. Their custom is to make this walk every Monday and Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

I'd gone with them about a third of the way up on a previous occasion, but this time, walking paso a paso, I found it quite easy. I was surprised when the vanguard turned around before la última subida.

They conversed quietly among themselves in their small groups, or walked silently. They were in every type of physical condition and ages were from a child to an bisabuelita (Great Granny, I'd guess.) All are invited to participate, but los hombres almost never do so. I'm the only one I know of. When I once asked about this, I was told "Ellos prefieran sus cervezas." —They prefer their beers.—

When I said to María, who recently lost her mother, that the walking was "Buena para la salud.", she answered, "Buena para la salud, y para el alma." She was correct.

At evening, the views of the valley and the mountains beyond, fill the eye with their beauty, and gladden the soul.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Dust of Tzurumútaro

Nose to the ground, north of the tracks, back on his feet...

(Where your blogmeister has an intimate encounter with La Tierra Mexicana.)

On the way back from getting a gas cylinder filled at Global Gas, we stopped in Tzuru just before the pollos asados al carbón place. I checked out the attractive watermelons nearby. The prices for them seemed high (I don't know, is 50 pesos a lot for a small one?) I decided not to buy any, thanked the man for the generous sample, and walked away.

Suddenly, the ground rose rapidly to meet me.
BAM! I hit the ground, my nose the impact point. I lay there a moment or two, assessing the damage. Susie came over and the watermelon man gave me a wad of clean toilet paper to stanch the copious bleeding. Mi sangre mezcló con el Polvo de Tzurumútaro.

I then went to the car, where I reclined, pressing a couple of wads of paper against my nose. After a little while, the bleeding stopped. There isn't much pain. I guess nothing is broken, gracias a Dios.

We went ahead and bought a chicken and a bag of ice to help if there's any swelling.

Once home, I cleaned up and changed clothes. Took a couple of Ibuprofen for starters. I don't think I'll need medical attention. (For a change!)

It was nowhere near as bad as the fall I took near Don Chucho's store in 2006. My appetite is unimpaired, and we're about to tuck into the great Tzurumútaro pollo asado al carbón.

I can't decide if I want a Tequila or a beer with it. Maybe both?


The pollo asado never tasted better. We ate the whole frickin' chicken. The salsa roja supplied by the roasters was unnecessary The accompanying slaw-like cabbage was clean and zesty.

Maybe this is a new technique for enjoying one's food to the max; something like burning down a house to roast a pig.

I had a beer, 2 more ibuprofen and a lie-down. Next, the ice pack.
Nose on the rocks, anyone?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mexican Fireworks

On the Thorny Tree Refuge forum, we were discussing what made us want to travel.

" Many of us have travelled whether we wanted to or not -- being hauled across countries or continents by our parents, or being forced to relocate for some other reason. However, the fact that we are on this website after having been on the previous one would appear to indicate that travel is now in our blood. So, what made you want to travel? - "Kerouac2"

This was my answer, which I'll elaborate here. It's not the only reason.
As a child, I lived/visited in Montreal, Quebec for a couple of years. Nothing exotic about that, really, except for a holiday to Quebec City.

But in another place, I was enthralled by a children's book, called "Mexican Fireworks" . (I'm sure that it was very romanticized and "unrealistic".) In my adulthood, I had the pleasure of seeing real Mexican fireworks.
Near the town of Tepoztlán, Morelos, I even saw the fireworks being assembled by coheteros create a "castillo".

The brilliant moment came the night of our arrival in Pátzcuaro, Sept. 28, 2005. It was my 63rd birthday and the 300-something years anniversary of the city. We went to the Plaza Grande just before 10 PM, where we stood amidst the cannonading and bursting pyrotechnics. It was a wonderful bienvenido.

¡Gracias, México!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Alcatraces y Cenizas

Yesterday, we experienced our first Mexican funeral. It was different than I anticipated. It took place in the small, somewhat isolated village of Sta. Cruz.

The deceased, the mother of a friend of ours, had died suddenly ten days before. It seemed odd that interment would be so long after death, but from our bereaved friend's laconic comments, we thought that perhaps the body was cremated.
This was the case, as we saw yesterday upon reaching the humble home of
la difunta y su viudo.

The mourners inside were gathered around a black box a little wider than a shoebox. In it were the mother's earthly ashes. The box was on a chair, flanked by tall candles and lovely, long stemmed
alcatraces lilies. A rosary was recited by the gathered friends and families.

We stood the entire time outside in the yard, then, when the prayers were over, went in to comfort our friend and her sisters and brother.

We then adjourned to the nearby church, where the Padre had already begun
La Misa. The church was incongrously still festooned with Christmas decorations, including pink and white balloons on the walls. The Virgen de Guadalupe looked upon the congregants with a benevolent smile.

We'd been to several masses since moving here, but I'm not familiar enough with Catholic liturgy (especially in Spanish) to distinguish the variant types. To me it seemed that only at the end of the service was attntion specifically directed to the deceased and her family. Afterwards came the usual announcements by the Padre about fiesta dates.

We returned to the house, where we took seats and were served
corundas de pollo con salsa y crema, y arroz.

When all had eaten, the debris was gathered and the folding chairs stacked inside. Most of the visitors left, except for the immediate family and a few friends.

We then carried several passengers to the
panteón near Las Cuevas and Nuevo Rodeo.

The interment was brief. The
viudo, an adult son, a young granddaughter and others scratched out a shallow hole in a grave mound. The black box was placed in the hole, and earth brushed over it. They said few more prayers, the Padre Nuestro, then a hymn was sung. The flowers were distributed over the grave mound.

The family then departed for Quiroga, some 20 minutes away, hoping to arrive in time for the next
misa. We, instead, carried two amigas back to Las Cuevas in our van.