I am not an early riser by nature. However, here, I am always rewarded if I get up relatively early to exercise on the malecon. I see so many wonderful people and things. I am afraid the US will seem impossibly and unpleasantly sterile when we return there.
This week, I noticed:
— The man with a wheelbarrow full of ice and fish, hollering “Hay pescado! Pescado fresco!” (There’s fish, fresh fish.) He’ll clean them for you on a board that he carries on the wheelbarrow with the fish.
— Freshly painted polictical slogans, the overspray still dotting white on the sidewalks. All the signs in our nieghborhood seem to be for the Morena party — “Morena, La Esperanza de México.” (The hope of Mexico.) Elections are in July. Note to self: learn about the political parties.
— Two horses (with riders) hauling ass down the street, so fast that people were gathering their kids up onto the sidewalk and coming out of shops to look.
— Dogs. Mostly out by themselves or with canine buddies, going about their dog business. Sturdy German Shepherds, skittery chihuahuas, wagging yellow Labs fresh from a swim, handsome pit bulls, dirty little poodles. Today, I passed a woman on the sidewalk who was followed by a tiny brown chihuahua in a pink sweater. I must have startled her, the pink sweater pup, as she stood still, creating an impasse on the narrow sidewalk until her person called her.
— Men going to work, mostly carpooling in pick-up trucks. They are dressed for construction, in jeans and boots, and carrying water bottles, lunch containers and backpacks.
— Men not going to work, sitting in a small group in the soccer field or fishermen’s lot. They can look a little rough around the edges and are sometimes having a raucous discussion, perhaps under the influence of last night’s libations. Still, a smile and “buenos dias” is always greeted with a friendly response: “adios,” “buenos dias, “good day” or “good morning.”
— Kids running in their pajamas to/from little stores to get an item needed for breakfast, perhaps eggs in a plastic sack, a jug of milk or a stack of tortillas.
— Women setting up their food stalls in the street, kneading a big plastic tub of masa for tortillas or heating up a grill.
— A noise that sounded like a boat motor coming from the fruit and veggie store. A juicer, of course! Note to self: bring a little cash for fresh carrot juice.
— Flowers of all colors and scents, including the fragrant vines across the street from our house.
— White pelicans, egrets, herons, doves and parrots.
— A new mural at the skatepark on the malecon, a study in black, white and grey replacing the colorful stylized eagle that had been there.
— Lake Chapala!