Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, last day of the Bicentennial

The rains and cloudy skies continue from the hurricane. We enjoyed Miss Scarlet's company for breakfast and some of her great Cuban coffee, so strong it must be cut with 50% milk. She is a most interesting character. Her job consists of living somewhere (anywhere) in the world and checking in periodically with her company when she feels like being 'on call'. She uses a Vonage VOI (voice over internet) system. They forward calls to her from doctors and hospitals who need a medical translator. She is fluent in Spanish, almost fluent in French, and can switch on Italian in a pinch. She's been all over and has dozens of funny, multicultural stories to tell, in her charming Southern Belle accent. We've gotten into the habit of a large late breakfast, maybe some ice cream later in the afternoon, and then a light dinner or appetizers with wine later in the evening. I like that method of eating, but it doesn't do well when you have to be at work by 8:00 and have a hungry teenager at home for dinner. 

The Instituto de Allende is a large fortress on Ancha de San Antonio, just up the street from the apartment. We wandered through the craft fair again and this time I tried a 'tuna' ice made by a vendor from Dolores Hidalgo. I can't remember the exact name of the sherbet, but it's made from the fruit of the large cactus trees that are ripening now by the thousands. It was not a very strong flavor but it had a clear claret wine color and pleasant taste with tiny seeds that gave it some crunch. The 'tuna' I've harvested (carefully! They are loaded with spines and stickers.) in New Mexcio have large hard seeds that must be culled from the fruit before eating. Ours taste a lot like a cross between peaches and strawberries. This fruit had more of a tart raspberry taste. 

I had never been to the Mercado de San Juan. For some reason I'd walked past it several times but didn't recognize it as a market since it's inside a large building. It's John's favorite and it is huge. The selection of vegetables and fruit is not as good as the Nigromonte but it has a greater assortment of clothes, electronics, bootleg CD's and DVD's, and regular stuff like plastic containers, leather goods, pet foods, pet clothes, pet leashes and collars, poodle accoutrements (bows, perfume, nail polish!) and the like. It's fairly obvious that people in San Miguel love their animals!! In the little towns near Patzcuaro, there were also a large number of animal stores, but they sold vaccinations, insecticide, chickens, rabbits, Purina livestock chow and maybe a leash or two. Very different relationships with animals. 

We drifted over to Nigromonte too, though I was pretty 'shopped out' by then. My mesh bag was getting damned heavy. It began to rain again, a downpour just like the afternoon before at the bull fight. The thunder and lightning was amazing but they didn't lose electricity even once. A pleasant and charming last day in San Miguel, where there is still so much to explore, so many neighborhoods I've not walked through or past, and such a proliferation of artists and interesting people. It's a lot like Santa Fe in that regard. I tend to go to the same old places and forget to go visit the plaza and all the wonderful galleries and nice restaurants. Living here in February, I noticed that I had developed some habitual places and stopped branching out as much. It has been nice to have a different person who has different favorite places along for the challenge. I'm feeling sad that I have to leave tomorrow for Guadalajara.