Sunday, July 03, 2011

chatting it up

I need a robe.  At the beach, the mornings are hot enough that shorts will do.  And with the promise that the day will simply be hotter.

Not so on this July morning in San Miguel.  This is the second morning I have been up to revel in the cool.  But cool requires something more than shorts.  And my robe is hanging in an Oregon closet.

The most obvious difference between Melaque and San Miguel is the weather.  But it is a superficial difference.  Weather is weather.  It is something to be tolerated.  To be adjusted to.  To be thwarted.

A difference just as superficial are the large stores that service this area.  The Mega is huge.  But it does not seem to carry anything more than Walmart, Soriana, and Comercial Mexicana in Manzanillo.  Just more of the same stuff.  Ditto for the massive Bodega Aurrera.

That is not what is different about San Miguel.  As I mentioned yesterday, I am finding this trip enjoyable because of relationships.  On Saturday night that was exemplified by a dinner party to welcome me to town.

Babs and Billie are both bloggers.  I knew both of them electronically before I came to Mexico.  Knowing that I like being around people, they arranged a party starting at Billie’s house for drinks and then off to a local restaurant for dinner.  Twelve of us.  Just the right size for a gathering like this.

Billie and Ned own a stunning house in the hills of San Miguel.  Those of you who read her blog know she is an outstanding photographer.  But she has used that same eye to collect art objects that truly complement the spirit of her home.  They are good people.

Babs and I arrived early enough to chat with Billie and Ned – letting me get caught up the type of things that do not always show up in blogs.  And then the other guests started arriving.

John Woods and his wife, Laura.  I had never met John or Laura, but I felt as I knew them through his blog.  He stopped blogging while he battled brain cancer.  I was extremely pleased to see how well he is doing with his medical treatments.  He was every bit as engaging as I had expected.  Laura is also a writer with a wide range of interests.  We had one of the best conversations on poetry I have had in some time.

Jennifer Rose I had met before in Morelia.  She is always a pistol.  I think I learn more about the personal level of Mexico from her than I do from anyone else.  She also introduced me to a non-blogger.  A lawyer friend of hers, Robin Page West, who splits her time between San Miguel and Baltimore, and is a published author in her own right.

I thought I was meeting Suzanne, another blogger, and John for the first time.  It turns out that Suzanne and I shared email while I was still in The States trying to decide where I wanted to move in Mexico.  We laughed about how most of the questions simply have no answers.  She is also very interested in her family tree.  So, we shared some genealogy tips.  On top of that, they also run a folk art importing business.

Stewart and Alfredo, also bloggers, moved here from Chicago after retiring about five years ago.  I didn’t get to talk with Stew much.  But Alfredo and I sat next to one another at dinner.  He is Cuban-American.  That gave us an opportunity to talk about my trip to Cuba and the Salvation Army’s work.

Conversation in gatherings where people do not know one another often seeks a rather low interest level.  People try to stay within safe boundaries.  And that was true of this group, as well – at the start of the evening,  But we quickly got to the meatier topics.

And the proof of that is I feel as I learned something about each of the guests that night.  Something that lets me better understand the human condition.  And isn’t that what life is about?


Felipe Zapata said...

You would flunk Journalism 101, amigo. Who are the characters in the photo?

You brush off lightly the weather difference. It is very important. It's why folks flee Melaque half the year, and in San Miguel they stay put. It's nice there.

tancho said...

Sounds like you are fitting in to the SMA social scene, I figured you would have been booked for a speaking engagement at least as a program at the local Rotary...

The main difference between the stores is usually only with the non chain places, otherwise they all have a few buyers that buy up for all the stores and hardly ever have any real local product presence.

A robe?  A telltale sign that you have gotten accustomed to the warm beaches.

ANM said...

And to follow Felipe's lead:  What elements of the human condition precisely?  And what is the relationship between the weather and these conditions?  And if so, can man's intellect understand them well enough to have meaningful moral control over his destiny?

I think not.  Your robe is hanging in Oregon.  That says it all.  I rest my case.


Rick said...

Nice to hear that John is OK, I always enjoyed his blog with his very technical observations and his exotic travels.
Also nice to hear that your electric pals love to socialize and party in their unique little town.

Steve Cotton said...

I am not certain flunking Journalism 101 would be such a bad thing.

The fellows in the picture are Stu and Al looking at the fountain in Billlie's courtyard.  But it was meant to be more mood than journalism.

I am sticking with my weather point.  If I had been looking for my favorite weather, I would never have left Oregon.  And I am not going to find that here.  But I do want to experience things I haven't. 

Steve Cotton said...

You certainly do.  Now, I am flunking Metaphysics 101.  It's going to be a great report card this semester.

Steve Cotton said...

Funny you mention Rotary.  I just had lunch with one of the founders of the local club.  No applications were submitted.

You ar correct about the warmth of the beach.  If I am not accustomed, I am a bit more sensitive to cold.

Steve Cotton said...

I am far more sociable than social.  But I am truly enjoying the circuit.  It could become habit-forming.

Glorv1 said...

And that's all that matters Steve. you learned something about each of the guests and life goes on. It sounds like it was an interestng evening and Billie's house looks great.

Tafreeburn said...

i too wondered who the men in the picture were. so alfredo is cuban american.  do you know if he was born in cuba like me or in the states like theresa of merida? not that it matters, just curious.

i was also glad that you mentioned john woods. i e-mailed him a while back and he responded but he did not reply to my more recent e-mail, so i was a bit worried about him.

it must have been nice meeting all those folks.  

enjoy the rest of your time there.  have a safe trip to melaque and back.


happy 4th of july!  will the americans there celebrate?

John Calypso said...

What fun - I too know most of that crowd - however only electronically. Lucky you and glad to read John is doing well.

Steve Cotton said...

Billie's house is not only nice -- it is incredibly comfortable.

Steve Cotton said...

I am not certain if he was born in The States or Cuba.

John is doing well, but I would not expect an email response.  I could be wrong about that.

Amazingly, there are Fourth of July parties here.  I will attend one.  But it strikes me as rather odd to make a show of patriotic fervor in a foreign land.  On most of our overseas assignments, we avoided any display like that.

Steve Cotton said...

There is nothing like selling the deal in person.

Laurie Matherne said...

I think you should live there. It's a better climate, and that's important no matter what you say otherwise. And...friends!!!! That's the best part. 

Steve Cotton said...

The ability to throw together a dinner pasrty for friends is an inestimable asset.

Islagringo said...

One word sums up my feeling about this entry......Jealous!

Steve Cotton said...

And you have good reason to be jealous. It was quite a night. I passed on your greeting to John Woods.