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.