Tuesday, February 16, 2010

to see -- and observe

I had dinner on Monday night with friends who moved to Guanajuato a few months ago.

It is always good to see them.  They are witty, analytical, observant -- the very embodiment of raconteurs.  When they converse, I listen -- because they always have something valuable to pass along.

The obvious topic of conversation was their impression of Guanajuato.  And their answer was exactly why I like seeing them.

Depending on what you are seeking, there are good things and bad.

Before you reject that as some sort of Zen obfuscation, listen to it.

We are all seeking different things in life (despite what our professors told us in Psychology 101) and we all have individual priorities. 

They love the cosmopolitan feel of the city.  It may be Mexico's most European-looking city.  And it certainly sounds cosmopolitan with the polyglot conversation between its language students throughout the city.


It is also the home of one of Mexico's premiere cultural events: Festival Internacional Cervantino -- the International Cervantes Festival.

Of course, no place is paradise.  They dislike the cold, wet weather this winter.  And they lack adequate internet -- solely due to their current living arrangements.

Every time I speak with a resident of Guanajuato, one topic always arises: walking.

There is very little space in the city to park or store a car.  As a result, daily errands are usually by foot; occasionally by taxi.

If you have not seen a picture of Guanajuato, imagine a large natural bowl with the city climbing the sides of the bowl.  That is Guanajuato.

To walk to my friends' house from the shopping area is the equivalent of climbing the lower ascent of Mt. Hood.

My errand walks in Melaque are flat -- and far warmer.  I thought of that tonight as we walked to dinner and back to my apartment.

If I drove, as I do in Salem, to accomplish the same tasks, I would weigh what I did when I was living in Oregon.

More importantly, if I drove, I would miss the older boy wrestling with his younger brother, and allowing him to win.  The sounds of the local laundry.  The splash of my crocodile as he scurries to safety -- away from me -- back into the silence of the laguna.

I was recently discussing film scores with a friend.  He said music tended to affect all of his emotions.  That is why he enjoys it.

I responded that I have a tendency to analyze music.  I often get a pleasant feeling from a well-executed piece, but music does no affect the external manifestations of my emotions.  Of course, I have four decades on him.  At his age, I may have given the same answer.

We all tend to process our experiences differently.  As much as I admire my friends, I suspect I will experience a different Guanajuato than they have.

I just need to get up on the highlands to see what it has to offer -- and have my own Cartesian experience.


Tulum Living said...

I have heard so many great things about Guajauato. That is where my husband is originally from. I cannot wait to visit.

I know what you mean about seeing the town differently. Mood and situation has a lot to do with it.

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful city! it's one of the many i would like to visit on my next trip down, possibly summer of 2011.

when are you heading back to oregon? have a safe and enjoyable trip.


Croft said...

We spent a few nights in Guanajuato this winter. We had a room in a hotel right on the Centro and I agree with all your friend's observations. It was cold, wet and also noisy at night but then but then every Mexican puebla is noisy at night! It is also very cosmopolitan! Walking down the streets, you can easily visualize yourself in Italy or France.

Internet is fine. We connected from Starbucks on the Centro with no problems so it must be a particular problem at your friend's residence as a good connection is available.

It sounds like you are thinking of exploring and spending time in some other cities before you settle in Mexico. Guanajuato deserves to be on this list!

Someone, it may even have been you, suggested the best scenario for living in Mexico would be to have two residences: one in the mountains for the summers and one near the coast for the winters. For me, this would be the ideal situation.

VisitLaManzanilla said...

Hi Steve,

On your explorations try Cuernavaca. Lovely weather, things to do, and you can drive your car. :)

Rick said...

Driving into Guanajauto is virtually impossible with all the old water tunnel roads. If you can park before entering town and then go walking or by taxi or bus it is wonderful.

Steve Cotton said...

Tulum Living -- If all goes well, I should be there in a week or two.

Teresa -- I hope to soon have my impressions of where I will next live.

Croft -- I like the summer-winter solution. But it will prevent me from establishing the type of community roots I crave. We shall see.

VisitLaManzanilla -- If I have time, I will get down to Cuernavaca.

Rick -- Thanks. I have heard that. But well worth the effort.