Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21

I'm so sorry it's been so long since I last wrote to you!  I've been having too much fun and not doing enough writing about it.  And what's more, I didn't notice a tiny control on my iPhone camera that screwed up most of the photos I thought I was taking, so I don't have enough pictures for you today.  Well, actually, it turns out I was taking video without realizing it:  useless if I wanted still pictures.  A very inadequate performance all around -- deep apologies.

Last Friday night Rick and I attended Kol Nidrei services for the beginning of Yom Kippur.  This is something I essentially can't do in the US without being a member of a synagogue, but here the services were open to all.  The music, which was the reason I wanted to go, was beautiful, and as expected I had trouble with the words.  Talking about God's love for the children of Israel is an obscenity after the Holocaust, in my opinion.  I'm glad I went, but won't feel the need to go again in future years.

Saturday we had friends here for the evening, all of whom we met through house-hunting for next year.  You may recall -- okay, you probably won't -- Liliane (Swiss) and Alfredo (American but living in Mexico for 50 years), who, after they showed us a house they owned which we didn't like, invited us back to their house where we had a wonderful conversation all afternoon.  Not long after that we saw a house owned by their friends Carmen and Abel (Mexican), and I remember writing that I thought these people too would become friends.  Well, it's been hard to schedule but we finally did and the conversation was stimulating, in both English and Spanish.

I continue to be astonished at how easy it is here to have wonderful talks with people, as opposed to the routine social pleasantries (usually, with one or two exceptions) on Camano Island.

Sunday evening Rick wasn't feeling well so I went alone to Gigi and Ken's house -- the house we will be living in next year.  They also invited a friend who will be acting essentially as the local property manager, since the owners live in Hawaii.  Perhaps it was the tail end of Hurricane Karl, but there was a storm going on with lots of brilliant lightning and dramatic thunder.  It was a spectacular sight to see all that spread out before me, for miles and miles.

Yesterday, in addition to my chorus rehearsal, I attended a meeting of the San Miguel Mac Users' Group.  This was the first such meeting I've attended anywhere, and had to laugh at some of the really geeky talk:  You take an SR12X cable and attach it through your router and modem to the Packet8 line next to the ethernet port, and such nonsense.  The session was on how to see movies and TV streamed from your computer but on your TV.  I learned that you can't (legally) get streamed Netflix movies in Mexico, so there are thriving businesses that hide your computer location to make it look like you're in the US.  This group means that I have found a source of technical help for when we move here in December.  It will be hard to replace Peter Dahl, who has been my computer savior since 1996, but we'll have to.

Today for the first time since I've been here I went with Rick to the Tuesday Market, held every Tuesday on the outskirts of town.  Rick has been there multiple times, though, when I've been working or sick or doing something else.  Vendors and merchants come from all over and set up temporary stalls selling everything.  And I do mean everything.  Clothes, produce, chickens (whole, gizzards, feet, and every other part piled up), makeup, rabbits and even an iguana, birds, fish that swim in tanks and fish that are ready to be eaten, tools, furniture, toys, blenders, gas heater parts, bicycle wheels, hair ribbons and barrettes and headbands, shoes, kitchen supplies (we bought a lime squeezer), belts, pet supplies (we bought a harness-type leash for our cat Lila Tov for the trip down here), and honestly, everything else.  Many of the clothing stalls had new clothes but a good number had used clothes piled up in huge heaps with signs that they were 20 or 10 or even 5 pesos apiece.  Many people, gringos and Mexicans, were going through the piles with great determination.  None of the clothes were the traditional Mexican style, but rather the same things one sees in the U.S.  This being Mexico, there were also many stalls that prepared food for people to buy and eat; the tables were always full and it was only 11:30 AM, after breakfast and before the day's main meal in early afternoon.  How can they eat so much?  And the market was HUGE, going on for aisle after aisle after aisle.  I am so sorry that I can't show you pictures of it.  The rabbits were especially cute.

This evening, to mark the occasion of our imminent departure from San Miguel -- which fills us both with sadness -- we had dinner with a couple of friends at a Spanish restaurant that featured paella, one of Rick's favorite dishes.  Fortunately, earlier today I figured out why I wasn't able to take pictures at the Tuesday Market, so at least I have one photo for you today.  The man on the left is Louis, who invited us a week ago to his house for the evening.  On the right is Stephen, the brilliant artist-lecturer whose talks on artists we have loved so much every week.

And of course, in the background on the left you'll see the guitarist.

Rick picked up the car today from the mechanic.  It's supposedly fixed, and we will find out soon if it is. Another scheduling hassle is our non-immigrant resident visas (as opposed to tourist visas), which we have applied for and which so far are not ready.  We just learned that because we must pick them up in person they can't be mailed to us, and hope they'll be ready tomorrow or Thursday, the day we planned to leave.  If not, we'll just have to hang around somehow until they are ready.  Well, as our friend Paul Petroff used to say, the important thing in life is to "ride the waves."

And we've chosen a mover.  The costs quoted to me varied enormously, from $5,600 to $15,400.  After checking references, we chose the second-lowest at $6,000.  We now have an official moving date:  November 29!  This move is getting realer and realer every day!

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