Friday, November 26, 2010

Noticeable Exchanges Around Town

Each day there are small exchanges, observations, and interactions that remind me of the vast differences between our life in Baltimore and our life here that are sometimes overlooked.

The doorbell rang.  Mason was very excited, thinking it was his friend, Manuel, coming to play.  He ran to open it, then returned.  "It was a just guy selling wood. On a donkey."

I went to the local gourmet shop, La Cava, to order our Thanksgiving turkey.  The owner asked if I could come back the next day, because the birds were coming on a truck from Chihuahua and he didn't know what sizes he would be getting.  The next day I forgot to go.  Later though, when I arrived back home, Luzma, our maid told me a girl had been by from La Cava, and they had a turkey waiting for me.

There is tapiceria (upholstery shop) out my back door that makes cushions and pillows and reupholsters furniture (beautifully).  I dropped by to ask the owner, Jose Luis, if he could come to the house of a friend to measure some windows for curtains.  Sure, he said, happily.  "Get on the back of my bike."  And the two of us roared off, that instant, through centro, to Hidalgo where Jose Luis spent a while measuring for window treatments and bench covers.  A friend of Bo's from school was walking down the street with his dad.  They spotted me on the back of a motorcycle with a strange man; they stared for a little bit, wondering with whom Mrs. Hillers was cavorting.

I went to a taco stand for breakfast that I had never been to before.  Two tacos (puerco con papas y huevitos con frijoles) were 14 pesos. I tried to pay with a 100-peso note but they had no change.  (No one in Mexico ever has change.  Where does it all go?)   The lady waved me off, and just told me to come back tomorrow and pay.  Which I did.

Twice this fall a note has come home in the kids' backpacks explaining that school is cancelled for the next day.  The school apologizes for the late notice but the government has declared a day off because of "all the festivities" associated with the bicentennial (the first time) and Day of the Dead (the second time).  A second notice is taped to the side of the bus in case you didn't get the word.

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