A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Feb. 7, 2007 — Monday, February 5, was Constitution Day here in Mexico, a national holiday. Some of the local foreigners organized an excellent event, an historic tour of our town of San Juan Cosala. The purposes included raising money for soccer uniforms for boys and increasing the cultural awareness of those of us who come from other places. On both counts they succeeded.

There were two similar tours, and I happened to be in the 2PM group. About 40 Americans and Canadians (from various parts of the lakeside area) walked around town for over an hour, following a man named Gerardo Tolentino who spoke good English. I asked him about his background. He was born and raised here in San Juan Cosala and lives here now. He had studied tourism at the university in Guadalajara but it seems that his main occupation is that of a teacher at the middle school (secundaria) level. He teaches English and computers. Aha, I thought to myself, serendipity strikes again! I told him I would enjoy coming to his English class sometime, and he graciously said of course.

From the plaza, we went down Calle Cardenal towards the lake, with a stop at the coffee shop I love, Cafetto Saga. My friend Claudia who owns it offered us tastes of homemade ice cream. I’m not a coffee drinker but Kelly loves the lattes there and it’s the only place in Mexico I have found chai! Claudia is a biologist who decided she would rather be running a coffee shop, and it is a delight. She has a wonderful spirit. We received little flyers (her sister has a graphic design business getting started next door).

With my Spanish as fractured as it is, I have appreciation for how English comes out here: I loved a bit on her flyer which said, “Dare yourself to flood your senses of a world, where everything can happen.”

Hmm… not a bad description of Mexico!

At the lake, we heard some history of this area, but I don’t think I got enough of it straight to write any. We then walked a block east along the lakeshore and headed back up towards the Plaza. We stopped in at the bakery Panaderia San Juan, which still makes the tachihual bread that has been made for 400 years in this area, but I didn’t find out what it is as there wasn’t any there just then.

We continued straight past the church and plaza up to the highway, where Gerardo pointed out the school he had gone to, built some 30 years ago by the priest at that time, Alberto Macias. I had heard of him as for many years he has run an orphanage here called Ninos y Jovenes, which still continues. He is now retired; I think he may be in his 80s by now, and I think he still lives at the orphanage. Bit by bit, the rich texture of life in this town reveals itself.

We crossed the highway and went a couple of blocks to a place where there was a cross by the side of the road. This had been a place of human sacrifice which the Catholics transformed in the 1500s. Mass is sometimes done there.

Back below the highway, we went to a restaurant called Mi Mexico / Tia Lupita’s, on Porfirio Diaz just east of Vicente Guerrero Sur, a few blocks west of the plaza. I know this place well, and I greeted my friend Jose who runs it… he and Kelly have a regular English-Spanish exchange every week.

The tour returned to the plaza in time for some live mariachi music. The newly-elected Delegado (maybe kind of like a city manager?) was introduced and said a few words. This interested me as I know his assistant. There were booths of handicrafts and other things set up in the plaza. AMSIF, an organization which does much for the community, had snacks for us. There was also a peformance of the Ballet Folclorico Contemporaneo de San Juan Cosola, going on around the corner in front of the remains of the Hospitalito built in 1529.

As I wandered home, I reflected on how I did have more sense of community from this event. Too bad I had rushed out without my camera.

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