I sit here in a small intimate restaurant somewhere in Centro. I enjoy breakfast alone. The sun is shining. There is life on the streets. I can feel it. It vibrates. Shops are opening, the cobblestones are being swept, families walk by together, old women sit curled in the doorways with their huge brown eyes turned upward, their hands thrust forward waiting for a peso or two. Is it begging? Is it survival? Do some of them return home to their families at night with their 'contribution' to keep the family solvent. Is that their 'job'. Are some of them old and homeless? Where do they go when the day is done? No social assistance here. Who takes care of them? When touristos walk by, most cannot bear to glance in their direction. Is it so bad to ask for a few pesos? Would it break some ancient touristo rule to put a little something into that once hard working hand? Why can't most of us look at them? Why must we look away. It scares the hell out of us, that's why. There, but for the Grace of God go I. In our culture, sitting in a door way with our hands stretched forth would be shameful. Perhaps it's time we reconsidered. It's tradition in this country. There is no shame involved.
No rules, no street signs, no four way stops, no street lights. Good golly, people have to use their brains. The person behind the wheel has to actually 'think'. Traffic is heavy. Are their accidents? Some. Not as many as the same sized city somewhere else in North America. Drivers are still courteous in San Miguel. If there were not, chaos would surely reign. They are patient. They are pleasant. There is no need to be anywhere five minutes ago. There is no road rage. Drivers smile, stop and wave pedestrians across the street. Are pedestrians killed? I haven't heard of a death since I arrived.
Do people come to help in times of trouble trouble? You bet. I am a testament to the kindness of new friends. Are people soft and compassionate? Yes. Is the family still a strong unit? Do the old and the young still know each other? Are they aware of each others existence? Yes! The sense of community and family is very strong here. We are loosing, or in some cases have lost, that concept. I detest it. It riles my guts. It angers me. We have thrown our elderly out with the garbage. They are not even recycled. Do most young children really, and I mean really, know their grandparents. Do they interact. Do they converse and play on a daily basis. Is there story telling. Is history passed on from old to young? Is the wisdom of the elderly respected and used? Do the generations help each other? Do they learn from each other????? Well, don't even get me going on that one. I will never get off my soap box. Most seniors in 'our' North America have become totally invisible. Stuck behind cloistered walls with others 'there own age' to see the rest of their time slip by without purpose. We no longer see their value, their wisdom or their knowledge. It is not respected or used. Indeed it is of no consequence in so many instances. Our society has become one of fools.
Is there corruption in this country of mine? Yes. Is it obvious? Yes. Are you innocent enough to think there is little corruption in Canada just because it is mostly invisible? What do you think the Hells Angles are all about - brownie cookies? They play with the big boys. In many cases, they are the big boys. Does all the 'drug cartel' news from Mexico hit the press. You bet. That's the way they want it. It's all in the design. Making others look bad makes our country look good. It causes us to think we are 'better than'. It helps to keep us at home, which in turn keeps our money in the country. It is fear based. Governments' and the press love to cause us to be afraid. It's called fear mongering. We buy into it. How stupid is that.
Does the straw in your drink come with a cover on it? : o )
Does the history appeal to me? Does the architecture make my heart sing. A reverberating yes to both of theses. A history where you can peel away layers upon layers until most of the onion has disappeared is an extremely interesting one to me. Every culture leaves its' unique mark. A thousand years later you have a culture filled with so much magic it oozes out into the streets and trickles down the cobblestones. It's palpable.
Sometimes here, especially when I am in the Jardin, I feel like I'm in Paris. Others, in the deepest parts of old Spain. Still again the domes and arches speak to me of the Moores and transport me in a split second back to Casablanca.
This is an amazing place for me to experience. It stimulates my imagination. It gives new meaning and joy to my senses. I assimilate differently here. Sights, sounds, aromas, tastes and textures are all somehow more pronounced in this place. I am on high alert. Church bells and fireworks. Gardenias and Jasmine. Chilies and spices. Old rough plaster walls and cobblestones. Sometimes on the street I see a face straight out of an ancient Aztec tribe. The exquisite straight nose, the chiseled cheek bones. I don't want to stare, but oh how I long to study that face. To photograph, to sketch, to paint, to record, to dig back into the mists of time from whence it emerged. It's all mystery and magic. It pulls me in and embraces me. Besides, the orange juice with the straw in it is fresh squeezed and they have the best bacon here. I'm staying. This my fireside, this is my home.
Do not fear the winds of adversity. Remember: A kite rises against the wind rather than with it.