Shaken and Stirred
bond, gwenda bond

not for the completist
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This is not the completist version, just an abbreviated scree of thoughts from an Internet cafe in San Miguel. There's a giant painting of a multi-hued cat just above me. It has that perfect, "You're invading my space, aren't you?" cat look.

The art here is of shockingly high quality -- don't get me wrong, there's abyssmal stuff too, of the paint-by-skeleton-numbers variety. But for the most part, even if it's not to my taste, I can recognize the quality of the pieces we've seen. Most of it is far too rich for my blood, but I'm still hoping to encounter something for that blank wall in the dining room.

Last night Luz -- who takes care of the house Justine and Scott have rented and the people in it and is amazing and hilarious -- told Justine ghost stories about San Miguel, which Justine then related to us, and then we all told our little ghost stories. So, when the cat screeching to the edge of its voice range, hissing at something terribly vexing and silent, made itself heard in the middle of the night I'd say we were all a little creeped out. There are ghosts of aborted babies in the waterways of town, ghost mothers searching for their babies so they can get into heaven, little men who are "grown" fetuses stalking the streets, and hell dogs that move with you unless you pray fast enough.

Luz invited us all to a little fiesta celebrating the passage of a cross and elaborate flower arrangement from one house to another, and finally, to a church. Just like church ceremonies that happen at homes or outside Sundays back home, only women and children were in attendance -- the children trying hard to participate despite their natural tendency to boredom when stationary. Everyone chanted and sang together in a tranquil way for a few minutes, then they moved on to the next house with the cross. We stayed behind to talk to Luz and her mother and have a postre (delicious). They pointed out a giant "ugly" tree, bare of leaves at the moment, towering over the narrow household courtyard, actually more an outdoor hallway. It turns out the tree is 160 years old and has been declared an historic landmark because it was used to hang men during one of the uprisings, around 1918. The ghosts of the hanged men haunt the house.

Despite streets full of ghosts, or perhaps because of them, San Miguel is absolutely charming. The streets will kill you, as they are killing us; sheer climbs happen often. But the city seems perfectly situated within the mountains to make a vision at each sunset. Yesterday we hiked up to a tin cross on a hillside for an amazing view of it. More often we've been sitting on the terrace, which offers a great view all on its own, and drinking Veuve.

Much writing work has been done -- outlines, outlines, outlines. Today, we're going to see the insides of the amazing churches and the Museo downtown, and browse through the shops.

There are dogs and cats everywhere here. The dogs have the streets and the cats have the roofs, the saying goes. The dogs certainly seem to have agendas of their own, racing around town in packs of two or three.

I've had two massages so far, and a facial, and I'm thinking manicure tomorrow, and perhaps a deep conditioning treatment. Like all holidays, this one seems too short.


earworm: "Dios Mio Perdon"

rec: Lays Limon

namecheck: George Rowe The Dog We Really Miss You

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