Friday, May 4, 2007

The Last of San Miguel?

Caitlyn says goodbye!

Thursday & Friday – Week 10: You might have noticed from the blog that San Miguel does a lot of celebrating. Tuesday was a holiday to celebrate world wide Labor Day. The San Miguelese do it one better with a celebration today of Holy Cross Day (Dia de Santa Cruz). You know it is a beloved holiday as the firecrackers and rockets started about 2 a.m. this morning. This is a kind of a construction holiday also referred to as the day of the masons and builders. The workers take altars and crosses to be blessed at a morning mass and then erect them at the construction sites (see photo above). Employers are supposed to provide food and refreshments, and then disappear, and naturally no work will get done today.

As Friday will be the final packing day, on Thursday we transited all the favorite handicraft spots and did some “cultural” buying. Some things we had delayed purchasing so as to confirm that our tastes at the beginning of our visit would still be something we would still want just before we left. How did I know that one of the purchases would be another pair of San Miguel sandals? I think that we have just about bought out the town. We will be well stocked with gifts, and handicraft decorations for the Chelan condo.

Thursday evening in the Jardin was starting to look pretty classy, as Rotary District 4160 was starting their District Convention. Looked like a reception or check in at the Municipal Palace and then an outdoor cocktail party around the bandstand in the Jardin. Looks like it will be a busy and liquid convention for the Rotarians. We also succumbed to the Jardin vendor we have been fending off for 10 weeks. We bought one of the foam US and Mexico State puzzles. A little parting gift for Caitlyn to play with.

Friday is finish the packing day. Will it all fit in the Maxima? Will I be able to see out the back window? Why didn’t I buy a rocket box? Will I be able to walk after carrying the suitcases and boxes from the upper floors? Stay tuned to see if we actually leave San Miguel. I think that Mary Ann wants to pack up the lap top. I will try to post something along the trail to home, assuming we find an internet connection at some hotel. Check up on us. I have been writing an inventory of Quirky Living Notes and I have some left over. Thus you get to see all that remain:

Quirky Living Note: A very practical solution has been provided for all the San Miguelese who do not own cars, but need to haul things to their homes. One of the options for a taxi is a Nissan combination crew cab/truck. The vehicle will fit as many passengers as one of the regular Nissan Tusuru cabs, but also has the open pickup back end to haul larger items. One day we saw a family who was having a refrigerator hauled to their casa. These combination vehicles are painted identical to the regular taxi’s, but as I haven’t needed to use one (Mary Ann just hasn’t bought anything big enough) I don’t know how much they charge.

Quirky Living Note: When walking along Zacateros Street one day, and looking in the open doors, I came to a complete stop. The business was a funeral home and in the open area they were constructing a wooden casket. Obviously a full service mortuary and they certainly offer a discount box! Now this is something that Jones & Jones and Telford’s in Wenatchee need to look into.

Quirky Living Note: I can assure you that I am not addicted to Mexican wrestling, or U.S. wrestling for that matter. However, here in San Miguel you can buy versions of the masks that the wrestlers wear on TV. I guess they are to show ferociousness or maybe to remain anonymous. To my surprise, my son-in-law, while visiting, bought three of them. He explained that he and two of his friends are going to be a real hit at Halloween parties this year.

Quirky Living Note: On most of the street corners of San Miguel, near the street name (they are very good here with putting up the names) there is often a reference to “Manzana” and a number. In Spanish this means “apple” but I don’t really think they are promoting Washington apples, although we see Central Washington apple boxes all over the Mercado. Apparently, prior to naming all the streets, or at least putting the names on the buildings, each block was numbered, thus a reference to Manzana #.

Quirky Living Note: As part of the scenery of San Miguel you see ancient Indian grandmother types, often with grandchildren, sitting on the sidewalks, with their hand out begging for donations. Sometimes they will be selling some unrecognizable vegetable or small native dolls. I do not see a lot of people who give to these women, but it must be a worthwhile pastime, as there is obviously an agreement about location and space between beggar ladies. You see the same ones in the same location every day, however moving with the shade from one side of the street to the other. It seems very sad, but it must work or they would not spend hours and hours doing it.

Quirky Living Note: When walking the sidewalks of San Miguel you find early on that two people cannot pass without turning sideways. This is due to very narrow sidewalks, in most cases about 2 ½ feet wide or less. The sideways passing is known here as the San Miguel tango.

Quirky Living Note: Upon our first arrival in San Miguel I was convinced that they did not have home mail delivery. I know, everyone has a mail slot in their door, but I thought that was just a historical anachronism. In addition I saw all the lines at the Post Office (on our way to the Jardin) so naively thought everyone had a box or picked up their mail as general delivery. Besides I knew most of the gringos received their mail through a mailing service where their mail actually went to Laredo and then was trucked to San Miguel. But aha, we have actually received two letters at the casa, and I saw a mailman…he was delivering on a motorbike. Take that US Postal Service!

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