Adventure Denture, Moria, dogs

My future.

Let’s cut to the chase.  Every old tooth in my mouth has to exit stage left and I will soon be sporting dentures.

Arrrrgh.

I’m seeing Dr. Gerardo Reyes Acevedo, trained at TUFTS in Boston, and an oral surgeon who also does cosmetic dentistry here in San Miguel. For my money (and it costs a third of what it would cost in the U.S.), besides being knowledgeable and bilingual, Dr. Reye’s greatest asset is the mild vanity he displays in his own person.  The man is an esthete, so I do not fear “apple mouth.”

In fact, I understand that the ultimate test of dentures is the ability to bite into an apple.

Is it possible that I too will be able to pose for "Modern Maturity"?

Is it possible that I too will be able to pose for “Modern Maturity”?

No, I am not looking forward to this.  But, if I’m forced back to the States you can be damned sure I’ll need a part-time job, and apparently nothing is so winsome as good dentition.

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The winter chills have departed.  Spring brings its lovely mornings – and afternoon wind. Dry as a bone, the surrounding countryside blows into San Miguel

dusty cowboy

and wafts up the streets, which is why merchants throw buckets of water on the sidewalk in front of their shops first thing in the morning and sweep them to a glossy, wet sheen.

For some unknown reason there’s more uber-dry dirt in my part of town.  The morning sidewalk watering ritual is made more difficult, but shop owners are not deterred.  Perhaps they will throw three buckets of water in front of the store, frequently rendering a thin red mud which I can slop through or circumnavigate by stepping on to the cobblestones in the street.  I don’t like to do this though because the stones are irregular and I am not a bird.  (Trying to flat foot it on the cobbles is begging for a twisted ankle.)

Ha!  We ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.  They may not call the wind here Moria, but last June I was turned back from intersections in Centro when I saw dust storms up ahead.  Soon I will ask Dr. Reyes where I can buy those surgical masks you see people wearing in Japan.

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My adorable and much loved foster dog Mia has a new playmate.

CIMG2249Raffi, a no-nonsense beagle boy, wrestles her to the ground and revels in her gruffy-mouth-I’ll-get-you!-stuff until they both drink a pail of water.

Oddly, it’s only when I’m watching dogs play that I’m truly in the moment.  Their faux-fierceness is so entertaining, their athleticism so mind-boggling, and their dedication to being in the present so inspiring, that I submit to being their cheerleader and just urge them on.

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Recent photo of Bobby/LINCOLN and forever Mom Bella:

Bella and Lincoln 2013

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I’ve been meeting some new people, lunching with (now) old friends, and teaching the kids next door English twice a week.  Nothing earth-shattering since now I’ve been here long enough to do same-old-same-old.

Hoping your life is just as tranquil, at least for the moment.

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San Luis Rey, Candeleria, Womens Night Out

If the centro historico district of San Miguel de Allende is known worldwide for its colorful buildings that’s probably because all the color has been leached out of San Luis Rey.

San Luis Rey 1

“San Luis Rey.”  It lies on my tongue like a penny .  I keep wracking my brain trying to figure out if swallows are supposed to fly back there, but of course what I’m thinking about is Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge Over San Luis Rey [which takes place in Peru.] This San Luis Rey is a working class neighborhood on the outskirts of San Miguel. I’ve set a project for myself to take all the bus lines to their final destinations, so last week I hopped on to Ruta 6 to see where it goes -before it goes to San Luis Rey.

These adventures are not without frisson, because the first thing gringos here will tell you is, “Stay away from San Luis Rey.  It’s dangerous up there.” ‘Up’ because San Miguel is ringed with hills so you ‘go up’ to a lot of neighborhoods, and ‘there’, I suppose, because it’s out of the (gringo) way. [Incidentally, I have a friend down here in the flats who lived in that area, and I know there is a small community of gringos who’ve built homes ‘up there.’]  And, try as I might, I don’t find the majority of Mexican people “dangerous”, though they are certainly puzzled when there is one gringa riding the bus into their colonia.

But, San Luis Rey is not for the faint of heart. Dry as a dessicated cow bone, sidewalks deserted at 2:00, precious few services, my overall impression riding around the community was -simply – beige.

mexico buildingThe earth is a chalky white strewn with rocks, the streets haven’t seen municipal services for awhile, the tiendas shrink back under their awnings out of the sun and even the flowers look tired. The neighborhood is growing, but the choice of materials is grey concrete or a reddish brick and, while everyone can afford metal grills for their windows, it looks like paint is the last line on the budget. [You can tell where the gringos or the wealthier Mexicans live because their houses are painted.] Swirl the neighborhood around – earth, dust, concrete, brick – and you’ve got beige.

And litter.  Beige litter.

Last year Jorge Castenada wrote Manana Forever? Mexico and the Mexicans. I read it and was struck by a passage describing Mexicans as (perhaps) even more individualistic than Americans.  He illustrated his principle by describing the disinclination of Mexicans to live in apartment buildings, saying given the choice, they would rather build a humble home with a fence or a wall around it than ever go into a high-rise. (Bursting-at-the-seams Mexico City being the exception that proves the rule.) When I look at poorer neighborhoods here and see all the public spaces – empty lots, culverts, arroyos, beneath the bridges, along the roads – filled with trash, I think he must be right.  I think that Mexicans retreat into their homes, and that litter is somebody else’s problem.

San Miguel de Allende has a new mayor and he’s on a tear to beautify the city.  It’s a crying shame that some of those dollars can’t be put in places like San Luis Rey – if just to pave the roads, paint over the graffiti, pick up the litter, and stick a few grow-like-weeds Bougainvillea into the ground. Or at the very least, seed some dollars into a neighborhood collective and give them the tools to beautify their surroundings.

On my bus ride around San Luis Rey I see proper little children dressed in school uniforms shadowing their mothers up unpaved streets, past ugly black scrawls of graffiti, trash strewn lots, and skinny street dogs seeking shade under skinnier trees.  Here.  In internationally revered San Miguel de Allende where people tell me there’s more money than Palm Beach. Where the spa’s want U.S. prices, you can get your chakra read, your low-cost plastic surgery done, your chi energy adjusted, and where you can enjoy the ‘laughter of ice cubes and the tinkling of women’ on rooftop wonderlands overlooking the indigo twilight and sparkling lights.

” …. makes me wanna holler, throw up both my hands.”

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Candeleria is basically a two-week garden show in Parque Juarez sprinkled with music and dance performances where all the farmers from the campo bring in flowers and plants and the entire city “marks the coming of Spring.”

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Though I’m fairly sure that globalization has hit the nursery market, I did see a couple of plants that were either new (to me), or I’d forgotten existed.

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What’s not to like?

While Mexicans and gringos were stalking the aisles for the next blossoming wonder, the kids blithely ignored the entire event and put the park into parque.  After being stunned stupid at the plethora, my next favorite part was watching them.

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Determined to break my self-imposed isolation (why do I do that?) I found out about a group of women who meet at the Bugumbilla on Tuesday nights from 5:00 to 7:00 and forced myself to go. [True to old habits, when I first found out about this group I giggled and thought to myself, “Oh. ‘Women Who Drink’. Sounds like my kinda crowd.”] But low, I had two (stiff!) maragaritas and, primed after only the first, found myself gazing at more than 35 gringas who wore interesting jewelry and, at my end, said interesting things.  About their volunteer work teaching English, about their dilemmas in leaving grandchildren behind in Canada or the States, about their painting and jewelry making, about their fierce desire to live full, creative lives … ha! women a lot like me.