Friday, February 3, 2012
Last Sunday, the cap’n and I caught the bus into Merida for the day. We went to the English Mass at the Cathedral de San Ildefonso. The cathedral was completed in 1598 and is the oldest Catholic church in Mexico and it is breathtaking. Afterwards we went for a refresca at one of the sidewalks cafés. There is a fiesta in the Centro Plaza every Sunday with food booths and local artisans and music and dancing. And just for a moment, on that perfect morning, with the sun shining and the music playing and children laughing, I thought, I wish I could have a glass of wine.
Yesterday evening I dropped the cap’n off for a dentist appointment in Progreso and I went to park the car and wander around downtown, popping into the various tiendas to find some items I needed. They are never all in the same place, the papeleria on the corner has the tickets for the rifa (raffle) I need while the papelaria two doors down has the protectores (plastic sleeves) I need for my fundraiser posters. Of course, there is a paleteria or two on every block and I was lucky to find one that sold the best and cheapest coco helado (ice cream) I’ve found yet. It was 6:30 pm and the locals were just finishing their work day and making their way toward home or wherever. They stopped to mingle and talk with friends on the sidewalk, several turning to look at me as I walked by. A tall, (by their standards), blonde walking the streets in the evening gets noticed in Progreso, I even got a few catcalls in broken English. Hell, if you put a blonde wig on a mud fence post and paraded it around Progreso at night, it would get whistles. The lights and music and laughter were spilling out of the swinging doors of the corner bars. And just for a moment, in the warm twilight, I thought, I wish I could stop in and have a cold beer.
This morning I walked into the village. I met a friend along the way and we stopped to chat for a minute. I stopped at a panaderia I hadn’t been to before and put some sugar cookies, flan, and some kind of sugared flaky pastry thing stuffed with queso and jamon (obviously the sugar cravings have not abated) on my big bread tray for the senora to ring up. Here in Mexico, when you go to buy bread or baked goods, you get a big round metal tray and a pair of tongs from the counter and go through the bins and pick out what you want. I threw a half of a sugar cookie to the two church dogs as I went in the church in to say, “Hey” before I stopped at the Mercado to buy a couple of litros of fresh squeezed jugo de naranja. I had the senora there pop a popote (straw) in one of the plastic bags of juice so I could sip on it on the way home. I hollered up “Hola” at my friends’ casa as I strolled by.
When I got home I called a few amigos and we made plans to meet down at the square tonight at Popular Pich, our favorite little taqueria, for salbutes and refrescas. We’ll sit there, they with their cervazas and me with my Coke-lite, and watch the locals celebrate the end of the week. The tired fishermen will come alive with their caguamas of Sol, the chicos and chicas will shyly hold hands under the watchful eyes of their madres and the ninos will chase each other around the village. And I’m sure for just a moment I will wish I could pour a portion of the caguama that my friends are sharing for myself.
Even still, in my overflowing abundance, there are times I find myself missing what I don’t have. Just for a moment.