We were out an about a bit more this past week, although we still tended to feel tired and worn out by early afternoon, both from the altitude and the heat. We would have normally considered Tuesday’s 30-minute walk over to Centro for hot chocolate and churros easy by any measure but by the time we arrived on Tuesday we were both very tired, overheated, and I was struggling to catch my breath. We followed our chocolate treat with a long visit to the big Tuesday market and completely wore ourselves out. We felt better on Wednesday when we met with the Senior Nomads, although once again the heat turned out to be our nemesis later in the day and we returned home exhausted once again. Thursday we did our weekly supermarket run but took a taxi back to our apartment and spent the rest of the day cooling off. On Friday we changed our brunch destination because we didn’t want to face another walk the heat, and yesterday we decided to skip a visit to the organic market in favor of staying home and staying cool. We still ended up having a fun and interesting week that included meeting the Senior Nomads, touring the Fabrica Aurora to enjoy the art, antiques, and other beautiful goods for sale there, and visiting the giant Tuesday municipal market.
A tiny fraction of what can be found at the Tuesday Market (plus the produce we bought).
I have been on a quest since we arrived to find a simple clay pot for cooking beans, an olla de barro or olla frijolera. They’re widely used in Mexican households, so you’d think they would be an easy thing to find, but locating one in SMA took some effort. Brett and I were sure someone would be selling them at the big Tuesday municipal market, the San Miguel Allende Tianguis, but even there they were not to be found. Although we came up empty-handed with the olla, our visit to the market was still quite an experience. First of all, the market was HUGE, set up in four giant halls under tarps, with quite literally everything for sale: clothing, tools, garden supplies, candy, spices, produce . . . everything and anything you could think of. I think the only things we didn’t see were live animals or bean pots. We visited all four halls and looked at everything, asked several people about where to find an olla and were pointed toward possible vendors, but a bean pot was not to be found. We did fill two shopping bags with produce while we were there that included two melons, a kilo (2.2 pounds) of fresh strawberries, a bag of onions, another of potatoes, four avocados, a giant head of garlic, and three mangos, all for less than $10 USD.
After a delightful visit with the Senior Nomads on Wednesday morning, Brett and I walked through the Fabrica Aurora for a while, enjoying all the art on display and for sale and the many other gorgeous items available, including fabrics, jewelry, ceramics, antiques, and more. We fell in love with and purchased a very small (4″ x 6″), affordable piece of original art that will easily fit into our suitcase and didn’t break the bank. We then headed back to the Mercado Artesanias as we’d been told that’s where we’d most likely find an olla, and at the very end of the market, in one of the very last stalls, there they were! The vendor had several beautiful painted ones that were unfortunately way too big for our needs, but we found a smaller, simple clay olla and for just $5 USD brought it home. I bought some Flor de Mayo beans on Friday and tonight I am going to cook up a first batch in my pot!
This past week the Fiesta en honor a la Santa Cruz del Valle del Maíz passed right outside the gates of our complex. The group visits various neighborhoods around the city before their main fiesta and last week was our turn. The festival has not been held for the past two years because of COVID.
El Valle del Maiz is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. The majority of its inhabitants are of Chichimeca or Otomi origin, and during its festival, which takes place the last weekend of May, people venerate the Santa Cruz, in a mixture of Catholic and pre-Hispanic traditions.The celebration venerates a Catholic symbol, such as the cross, but also performs indigenous dances and rituals like the blessing to the four winds, part of the Chichimeca culture before the Spanish domination. The main objective of the festival is to give thanks for the blessings received during the past year and ask for a good rainy season and an abundant harvest.
The costumes were colorful, fascinating, and some were a bit scary. Almost everyone in the parade was dancing though and the participants threw candy to the audience. The whole event was incredibly noisy, and we were glad when the parade passed to another location.
The video was taken by a neighbor. The music was actually VERY loud, and there were also VERY, VERY loud mortars being repeatedly fired. Although the parade and costumes were interesting to watch, the whole complex was VERY happy when the parade had moved on and quiet returned.
This morning I am thinking about:
- What we accomplished this past week: We did a lot of walking this past week even though it was hard at times – we still haven’t completely adjusted to the climate here although Brett is coming along faster than I am. I’m thrilled with my olla frijolera – it’s just the right size for the two of us. Fingers crossed I don’t burn the beans tonight!
- What we’re looking forward to next week: We don’t have anything set on our calendar other than brunch on Friday. We’ll probably head into Centro or another neighborhood once or twice for something – we want to check out the organic market on Saturday, for example – but otherwise plan to stay home to rest, save money, and keep cool.
We’ll definitely be returning to this cafe again: two cups of creamy, spiced hot chocolate with freshly made churros (three each) for just $6.25 USD.
- The ways we saved: We purchased a couple of things this week beyond groceries (the piece of original art and the bean pot), enjoyed a delicious brunch on Friday, drank Mexican hot chocolate and churros on Tuesday, and made a couple of stops for coffee, but still stayed within our spending limit. We ate leftovers most of the week and no food was thrown out or wasted.
- Good things that happened: Meeting the Senior Nomads was the highlight of the week, and we wish we could have had a longer visit. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet again before they leave SMA in June. We found some new places to eat, I found a bean pot, and we tried out a great new supermarket (La Comer), which can best be described as a high-end cross between Target and Costco with prices like Aldi.
We may be in Mexico, but Brett and I have spent most of the week feeling sad, depressed, and incredibly angry following the horrific mass shooting event in Uvalde, Texas last Tuesday. What’s made the incident worse beyond the horror of the children’s and their teachers’ deaths is the constantly changing story of what happened that day, especially why it took anyone in law enforcement so long to confront the shooter. The United States has become the alcoholic who refuses to admit he or she has a drinking problem. I have to wonder what has happened to this country when an 18-year-old, who can’t buy alcohol (including beer) or a handgun or even a single bullet for a pistol, can’t rent a car or legally take on many other responsibilities, can still walk into a gun shop and purchase two high-powered, semiautomatic military-style rifles and a huge amount of ammunition in order to go shoot up an elementary school (58 magazines were discovered at the school, over 1,650 bullets). Why does anyone need to own a semiautomatic rifle such as an AR-15, guns whose design and sole purpose is to kill a lot of people in a very short period of time? I am not opposed to gun ownership for hunting, personal protection, or sport, but I draw the line at the easy purchase and open carry of these weapons of mass death. Last week’s tragedy has nothing to do with reinforced doors, or a good guy with a gun. Ten people were massacred at a grocery store in Buffalo the week before this, and the good guy with a gun, a former police officer, was killed by yet another 18-year-old shooter wearing body armor. Are we supposed put in place door control and bulletproof plate glass on every public building in USA? The Las Vegas shooter fired from a hotel window; do those need to be controlled as well? Last week’s tragedy may have been the result of a mental health issue, but every other country in the world has citizens suffering from mental health issues, and mass shootings happen extremely rarely if ever, and when they have occurred, laws are put into place to restrict further tragedies. What these countries have that the U.S. lacks are sensible, well-regulated, sane gun ownership standards and laws. The reason for repeated mass shootings in the U.S. is the enhanced availability of guns and a culture that venerates the ownership of them. Think of all the many things that require effort and registration in our country, from getting a driver’s license to buying Sudafed or having certain prescriptions filled to being allowed to vote, and compare those to how easy it is to buy a gun, especially a semiautomatic rifle, even if you’re only 18 years old and perhaps have some mental health issues. I pray that the beautiful children and their teachers who were slaughtered last Tuesday, and the 10 that were killed in Buffalo, will not be forgotten, that we as a country can finally admit we have a serious problem and the direction we’ve been traveling has to change. There has been sweeping legislation passed that has cut drunk driving deaths in half. There are penalties for underage drinking, overserving, and driving under the influence. Sellers are closely monitored & taxed. We can do the same with guns and stop this madness.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, when we honor those service men and women who gave their lives serving our country. Brett and I are planning to watch Saving Private Ryan on Netflix tomorrow evening, but there are other great movies to watch that honor the day and the sacrifices of those who died: Glory, Courage Under Fire (a personal favorite), Platoon, Gettysburg, The Hurt Locker, and many others. I hope everyone will at least take a moment to remember the service members who died in defense of our country and honor them in their own way.
This past week was fun but busy, and also somewhat exhausting, so we are planning to slow down this coming week and keep outings to a minimum and enjoy our surroundings at the complex. Temperatures will be in the 90s again this coming week, and as has become obvious these past two weeks, I don’t do well in this kind of heat (especially when altitude is added to the mix). I’m grateful we’re staying in a place where we can retreat, relax, and stay cool and comfortable. I hope everyone had a good week as well, got a lot accomplished, and are looking forward to a great week coming up!