We expected Brian and Mike on Saturday evening, but they didn’t arrive until Sunday morning. That’s the trouble with the airlines these days. If you arrive at LAX just five minutes late, your plane takes off without you. Then it’s another ten hours to the next flight. No grace in the operation.
Anyway, they got here and we are glad. It’s been fun showing them the sights.
By Thursday I realized I had adopted a pretty proprietary attitude, doing my best to impress our guests with “our city.” We’d only been here three weeks when they came, but we already feel like natives.
Unfortunately, Brian showed up with the hint of a cold which pretty quickly became an infectious fact. I am the only one he shared with, but for a couple of days we became an antiphonal chorus of sneezes and coughs and complaints. Mike and Joy didn’t seem grateful for the entertainment.
All of us, though, did enjoy the treasures of this remarkable town.
We dined at some of San Miguel’s finest (Tio Lucas, Hank’s New Orleans Café and Oyster Bar, La Azotea, etc.), but we also took full advantage of little taco shops and even street vendors.
We made sure they saw the major sites:
the town center
the art galleries, the remarkable churches, and so on—and they had to endure our (my) constant chattering about the virtues of the place.
And of course we took them to the market (Tiaguis de los Martes). After going our separate ways for awhile in the maze of stalls, we met for lunch at one of the many prepared food stands.
This time we had Brian’s Spanish to help us.
He did the ordering: tacos and tostadas, quesadillas, chips, horchata (rice milk and cinnamon) and agua de tuna (a prickly pear cactus beverage). Delicious food and drink. And cheap. I blanched for a moment when the drinks were delivered with ice cubes (“Don’t drink the water” was ringing in my ears), but not wanting to disappoint either our orderer or the helpful vendors, we indulged anyway. We got away with it. It must have been bottled-water ice.
The week with these longtime Velcro family members passed quickly. Mike and Brian and I have traveled to the far corners of the world in days gone by, so when we get together we quickly fall into a familiar routine.
Having Joy join “the boys” introduced the artist’s eye into the mix. She took us to Eucled Moore’s studio to see his beautiful wood vessels. (You can check these out at http://www.kazistudio.com.) We had been encouraged to get acquainted with Eucled when we got to San Miguel. It was good advice. Eucled proved not only to be an excellent artist but a new friend who took pains to be sure we would have a good experience in our adopted town.
Speaking of Joy’s artistic eye. Her cataract surgery was only partially successful. Images are brighter and contrasts more distinct, but her brain has had trouble adjusting. Having one eye seeing up close and the other farther away didn’t work for her. So, she sought an optometrist in San Miguel. He did her a favor. On Tuesday Mike drove us to his office to pick up her new glasses, which gave us another chance to see the doctor’s beautiful children again.
With her new glasses Joy’s eyes are still less than perfect, but she is quickly adjusting to the new prescription.
Early Friday afternoon the boys left us.
They only had to return once to retrieve a power cord they left behind.
Discretion forbids me to say which of them forgot the cord. Just let me say it’s part of that travel rhythm I mentioned above.
Their return was serendipitous, though. As I waited for them at the gate our next door neighbor drove up in his four-wheel ATV. (These are popular vehicles for negotiating our cobblestone streets.) We saw him when we moved in but haven’t laid eyes on him since. That’s our loss. Joe’s a full-of-life 65-year-old Italian ex-pat from New York by way of Louisiana. He and his wife were forced off their farm there when Katrina struck her blow in 2005, burying it beneath more than a foot of “the most disgusting water I’ve ever seen.” He cleaned the place up well enough to sell it and two years later they settled permanently in San Miguel. Like so many other ex-pats we’ve met, he luxuriates in this slower-paced way of life, where taking time to live has replaced living at the mercy of time. It’s a lesson I’m learning to take to heart as well.