Come Josephine in my driving machine…

Heading out of town. Might be fun to do so in this.

Care to go for a spin?

Blue Bear and MG, MexicoPretty isn’t she? Now that is a caro carro!

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I’ve got the sun in the morning and the moon at night

In Annie Get Your Gun, Annie Oakley sang about all the things she did not have, but she had the sun and the moon to brighten her day and was glad of that.

Life really is not about how much money we have or the things we accumulate, it is about the intangibles like love and friendship and of course starting the day like this.

Sunrise over Taxco de Alarcon - PanoramaWant to watch this morning’s sunrise unfold? Here it is

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And what day would not be complete without the moon at night.

Moonrise over Taxco

The Four Amigas

OK, I know. You are thinking I have that title wrong, it’s Three Amigos, right? (The movie with Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short)

Well that was a funny movie but no, I mean Four Amigas, the Mexican chickas who adopted Blue Bear for a day of Taxco adventure.

Four Amigas, MontetaxcoBeing a gringa, with a poor command of the Spanish language, it can get rather lonely at times. One might be surrounded by people, talking, laughing, and having a good time, but you are all alone because you do not understand what anyone is saying. AND because they think you do not know the language, no one makes much of an attempt to speak to you other than to kiss you on the cheek and ask, “Como esta?” (How are you?) After the mutual “Biens,” they do not know what else to say, and since you do not have enough Spanish to ask a question that would start a conversation, which you probably wouldn’t understand much of anyway, that usually puts an end to the interaction.

So imagine how pleased I was to be invited to join my friend, Vanessa, and mutual friends from Chilpancingo (all of whom speak English) on an afternoon on the town. Just what I needed – eye candy views from the top of town and ear candy — English conversation!

Though I am nearly twice their age (it’s the blue that keeps me looking young), we had a great time laughing and joking and just enjoying being together.

Thanks for a great day amigas!

Sky Candy

If you have followed my adventures for any time, you know that I LOVE sunrise. Sunsets are awesome, but there is something about a dark sky evolving into light — sometimes with riotous color and sometimes soft pastels — that just makes my day!

Taxco being a mountain town with many ups and downs, there are many vantage points for overlooking the city. My room though, located on the fourth floor overlooking the valley to the East, offers the perfect vantage point for viewing the sunrise over the surrounding mountains.

I could lie in bed and watch the sun come up, if I wanted to, yet stepping out onto my terrace balcony, where I have an unobstructed  view of the “puesta del sol,” while breathing in the fresh morning air, is almost a spiritual experience. Each new day is a fresh palette, painting a new masterpiece never to be seen again. How can I miss even one?

I share with you here some of the more spectacular daybreaks. Grab a “cuppa” and sit back and enjoy the show.

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Mucho Frio

I know it is nothing like the weather back home where snow, ice, high winds, and bitter cold are blasting the northern tier of the country, but we are in the midst of a  cold snap of our own. Usually sunny and high 70s or 80s, the last few days have been cloudy and overcast, with highs only in the low to mid-50s during the day and rain — cold, incessant rain. (I’d rather have 20 degrees and snow.) That is frio, our own version of an arctic blast.

I woke up this morning and looked outside to find a cloud hanging off my terrace balcony. I could almost reach out and touch it, that is, if I even wanted to go out there. With no heat in houses here, I’d rather not let the cold air in.

This weather reminds me of being in Cuzco, Peru, one January. The bed was piled high with about 6 alpaca blankets. They were heavy and scratchy. I thought who wants to sleep under all these? Yet in the middle of the night, I would add another, then another, and another, until by morning I was burrowed under all six with only a breathing vent. Since inside it was warm and cozy, and outside I could see my breath, I was staying put until it warmed up a little.

This trip, I did not bring my winter coat or hat because, due to an unusually warm fall, I did not need them before I left. And, I “never” need cold weather clothes here; it’s always 70 degrees or more and sunny.

Never say never right?

I did bring my raincoat and fleece, and layered they are enough, but I miss my hat.Now where is that extra blanket?

Blue Bear in RedPssst. Let me know when it warms up out there.

Home is…

“Home is where you hang your hat,” according to Leon Redbone. Which is a good definition, since as a musician, I am sure he has hung his hat in quite a few places.

Rachel Brosnahan has a different take on home; to her, “Home is where your butt rests.” As an actress there may be plenty of butt resting going on between takes.

Since I have hung my hat, and rested my butt in quite a few places in my life, I think that Pliny the Elder hit the mark when he said, “Home is where the heart is.” By that definition home can be here, there, where you are, or where you wish to be.

At the moment, I have come “home” to Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico.

This beautiful city, “The Silver Capital of the World” — all cobblestone streets and white washed buildings with red tile roofs, tumbling up and down the mountainside — captured my heart the first time I saw it. And it continues to do so.

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What a beautiful sight — morning, noon, and night.

Waltzing Matylda

Matylda overlooking Taxco de Alarcon, MexicoThis is Matylda. She is a cute, little spitfire of a young woman from Poland, who is currently living in Central America. The son of a family of friends, who is living in Guatemala, met her there, and when he came back to Mexico to visit family, she invited herself along. Thus began a whirlwind tour of central Mexico to accommodate her insatiable desire to see and do everything possible. In a brief 48 hours in Taxco, she shopped the tianguis (super silver market) from one end to the other, hung out at the zocolo, tasted foods she had never tasted before, went to the top of one mountain to get the best view of Taxco from the base of the Cristo statue, then down to the bottom and up another mountain to the upscale resort, Montetaxco, where she climbed on the back of a horse for a photo op, then down to town again.

And that was just Taxco. I think she put more mileage on their car and more photos on their camera in 10 days than they do all year.

It was a blast getting to know you Matylda. No one can accuse you of waltzing through life.

 

Cuidado

That is “Be careful” in Spanish.

One thing I am not fond of about Mexico is the drivers. The pedestrian does NOT have the right of way here. Oh, sure, a taxi or combi might stop and signal for the gringo to cross a busy street but that does not prevent someone behind from speeding around him and hitting you.

With all the processions clogging the streets these past two weeks and all the vacacionistas in town, it has been particularly peligroso on the streets. Cars, taxis, and motor bikes are more plentiful than usual and all are in a hurry to get somewhere, so pedestrian, be aware.

You might start crossing the street without a car in sight but before you reach the other side, a car comes zooming up and passes mere inches behind you. That is scary! What is even worse is when the driver misjudges or you slow just a bit to negotiate a pothole or curb and well….

I had a taxi hit my bag once and a few of those “give me a little space” moments but that is nothing compared to a friend who is currently laid up because a car hit his foot or the two friends of friends we lost this week because of a pedestrian/car accident.

Time and unforeseen occurrence may befall us all, however, it is always wise to be careful out there.

Motorbikes, Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico

What goes up…

It is said of Taxco, that the only streets that do not go up are those that are going down. And that is very true. With the exception of Benito Juarez, the main tourist street that winds along a ridge halfway up and halfway down one of the mountains the city is perched upon, the streets climb steeply up or down. And, even Benito Juarez heads significantly uphill as it reaches the zocolo in the center of town.

Originally designed for donkey carts, everywhere there are streets so steep that I wonder how the cars and taxis get up them. Sometimes they don’t and they have to back down, rev their engines, squeal their tires,and burn rubber before succeeding. (This is a common occurrence at my corner.)

Once, I was climbing up one of these roads, with a hand rail attached to the house wall to help pull myself up, when a taxi came down. In navigating the 90 degree turn, it locked its brakes and slid on the oil and rubber slicked and smoothed cobblestones, diagonally across the street right toward where I was standing. Suddenly, the wheels caught and the taxi veered away from me. (Whew! I thought I was a goner for a moment!)

You get used to walking up and down, sometimes on the cobble stone streets, and other times on cement ramps, and if you are fortunate (or not) a set of steps. Coming back into town the other day on our way to a lunch invitation in Los Jales (at the bottom of town), we had to negotiate this set of stairs.

Yeah I know, gave me vertigo, just looking at it. It is a loooooonnnnnnnng way down.