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Wednesday Market Revisited
Feb 25th, 2010 by Les

Don’t look back, somebody might be gaining on you — Satchel Paige, American baseball player whose pitching in the Negro leagues and in Major League Baseball made him a legend in his own lifetime.

Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.
Steven Wright,
American comedian, actor and writer.

It was Wednesday…again….consequently we decided to go to the market.  When we first arrived in Ajijic I made a resolution to be spontaneous…unfortunately it usually happens tomorrow.

All one has to do is go to the Wednesday market to see how driven the majority of us gringo’s seem to be.  Please do no think of this as a critique for I include myself as well….both gringo and driven.

It is difficult to forget old habits….especially if they’ve been part and parcel of your ENTIRE life.  Someone 20-something probably wouldn’t understand that.  However, most of us over middle age shouldn’t have a problem.  Take me for example, most of my life I’ve gotten up at between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. and hit the ground running.  It has come as a major shock finding myself in this little village of Mexican Nationals who certainly work hard but also believe in Siestas.  Many of the little stores that are open at 8:00 a.m. close between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. or 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. so that a leisurely lunch can be partaken of each day.  This is, in my estimation, a very healthy attitude toward life which seems pretty difficult for me to learn.

Getting back to the Wednesday market….extremely fast paced.  People are in a hurry.  Goodness knows to do what?  I get lost easily.  Heck, I am constantly losing thoughts because they are definitely in unfamiliar territory!  If you slow down to take a look at items in the marketplace it is easy to become separated from the person you’ve traveled to the marketplace with….like David.  Well, I guess David isn’t a good example as at 6’5” it pretty hard to lose him, but you get my drift.

Pulling over to the side will often put you “knee deep” in people anxious (for lack of a better word) to make a purchase….particularly near the fruits and vegetables, the fish market and most assuredly near the local software dealership (hee, hee).  Get in and get out seems to be the mantra.  A lot of the colorful beauty is lost in an effort to move at a pace more suited to a New York street at mid-day.

I did notice, yesterday, one thing seemed to slow everyone…who noticed it…down a bit.  There, in the middle of all this chaos, was a lovely little Mexican girl carrying a yellow mesh bag cradled in her arms and a huge smile on her little face.  As some of us looked closer we were delighted – almost as delighted as she appeared to be – to see a tiny little newborn kitten.  As this little girl traveled through the market next to her mom and younger brother, she turned many a head.  The smile is what got you first – the kitten was a bonus!

Please enjoy more of David’s great photographs which clearly show what a wonderful adventure the Wednesday market can be!  In closing I’d like to quote George Carlin who said “I think I am, therefore I am.  I think….” and add to that trying to gear down a bit!  Wish me luck.

Aren't the blues beautiful in the picture?

Aren't the blues beautiful in the picture?

Working hard.

Working hard.

The food smells great and is authentic.

The food smells great and is authentic.

A mixed crowd.

A mixed crowd.

Fruits and vegetables...a popular place.

Fruits and vegetables...a popular place.

The cactus is not for sale.

The cactus is not for sale.

Preparing produce for sale.

Preparing produce for sale.

More nautural color.

More nautural color.

We saw this little girl as David and I walked home from the market.  Isn't she lovely?!  It is about a mile walk..up hill, down hill, on cobblestones and we truly enjoy every minute of it.

We saw this little girl as David and I walked home from the market. Isn't she lovely?! It is about a mile walk..up hill, down hill, on cobblestones and we truly enjoy every minute of it.

Wednesday Market
Feb 23rd, 2010 by Les

In Mexico we have a word for sushi: bait. Jose Simons, American humorist

Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I’m halfway through my fish burger and I realize: Oh my God…. I could be eating a slow learner. ~Lynda Montgomery, humorist

David and I have fallen in love with the Wednesday Farmer’s Market.  It is odd when we lived in Dallas we walked often through our neighborhood.  It had wonderful walking paths, a cute pocket park and lots of activity.  We were near Baylor Hospital and loved walking through Landry rehab park just behind the hospital.  Why do I say it was odd?  Well our neighborhood bordered some pretty rough areas of Dallas.  People often wondered how safe it was to walk there.  It was safe.  There were many people out walking and we met many “walking friends” – you know those people who nod, wave, say “how you doing” without need of response.  These were walks on which we did nothing more then walk.

Now that we are in Ajijic we have fallen in love with the idea that we do not have to take walks simply to walk – though we do that too.  I’m not kidding folks; we can walk to pick up almost anything we need without getting in the car, driving somewhere and parking. 

Hard to believe?  When we first came here I mentioned the small shops that dot every street in this village.  They are not the boutique shops you see in the big cities…believe me.  They are tiny little shops crammed full of fascinating, unique, mysterious and lovely items.  You don’t have to go far to find bakery, vegetables, fruit, meat if you need groceries.  We have also found many a papeleria’s – they are shops with paper, art supplies, crayons, ribbon, inks, everything the mind can imagine.  There are Internet shops and printing shops.  One of the best frame shops is “right up the block next to the casket makers shop” is what we’ve been told constantly.  And, low and behold, sure enough – right next to the casket makers shop is the frame shop that David and I use to get the matting done our his exquisite photographs.  We mentioned the farmacias (pharmacy) and ferreterias (hardware stores) in the past.

So, we were not sure what to expect at the Wednesday market.  We have been pleasantly surprised.  This market has the simply best fresh fruit – bananas to die for, oranges and tangerines fresher then we’ve either had in our lifetimes, apples, and some vegetables and fruits I’ve never seen or heard of before.

There’s, of course, the fresh fish booths, fresh flowers the colors brilliant and the fragrances hypnotic, clothes so colorful you often are caught staring at the designs.  Beautiful pottery – bowls, dishes, plates and statuary that takes our breath away.

You do see more gringos in the market then Nationals.  Because there are more gringos’s the travel through this narrow cobblestone street with booths on both sides can be a little more hectic then the markets set up in the plaza.  I admire the Nationals ability to walk slowly and look.  We have had to learn to slow down and enjoy the sights.  They tell me there are still a lot of “snowbirds” down here right now and the market will not be as packed once April and May hit. 

There are other items you can find that cannot be described in this blog but are a lot of fun to peruse and even more fun to buy.  

Picture us, not only walking for our health, but also walking to shop, go out to dinner, go for an ice cream (helado) or a margarita.  (Okay, my friends can stop laughing now – I’ve actually learned to live without Pick N Save!…a Wisconsin thing.)  All we have to learn now is to grasp the fact that we are now a part of a slower – but not quieter – society of passionate, parade loving, church going, party at-the-drop-of-a-hat people and we’d be even healthier.  Thank goodness they are patient with us, for this is a place where you actually can slow down and smell the roses….beautiful roses!

Viva Mexico.

Wednesday Market

Wednesday Market

Busy, huh?

Busy, huh?

 

Fresh fruites and vegetables.

Fresh fruites and vegetables.

Carry alls.

Carry alls.

Candies and nuts.

Candies and nuts.

Fresh fish.

Fresh fish.

Fresh flowers.  A popular booth.

Fresh flowers. A popular booth.

Fat Tuesday
Feb 19th, 2010 by Les

“Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, and of course, this being America, it will be followed by Even Fatter Wednesday, Obese Thursday and Fat-Ass Friday.” –Jay Leno

Festivities – the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany, when the three kings are supposed to have visited the Christ Child, and build to a climax on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which always occurs on the day before Ash Wednesday. The parties and parades will continue until Lent begins at the stroke of midnight on Fat Tuesday.  Mardi Gras (“Gras” is French for fat and “Mardi” is French for Tuesday) begins 46 days prior to Easter.

Guess what dear reader….another parade took place in our village as, I am sure, it took place in all surrounding villages.  No surprise there.  What is interesting is everyone seems to stop what they are doing and join in the festivities – smiling, waving, and joking.  Water, soda, beer are offered to the participants by the spectators as they traverse the cobblestone streets.  Dogs bark in cadence with the music and roosters (yes, one of my favorite topics) cackle at the top of their lungs as though they were practicing for sunrise.  Quite honestly, I don’t think any of the rooster within our earshot have ANY idea when sunrise is!!

David managed to get out and take more pictures.  Since most of the major parades take place on the street where we live – we rarely miss them.  This parade was no exception.

Beside the bands there were numerous floats and it was a somewhat family oriented parade.  No one shouted the mantra of New Orleans (its not “Go Saints”) – though young, well-endowed women were a prominent fixture in the parade, they remained clothed.  Children ran beside the floats, up and down the street or simply jumping in place trying to get those in the parade to either pepper them with confetti or blast them with flour.  It is my understanding flowers or perfumed water can also be thrown, however flour seems the most popular item here.

As always excitement prevailed and the culmination of the parade, in the town square, was met with booths of food and drink accented by music and much merriment.

An observation about living in Mexico: It certainly helps to have tapped into your inner child.  The child of your youth.  The child who welcomed whimsy with open arms, great abandon and laughter that emanates from the diaphragm and bursts to life as music to the ears of those around you.

Viva Mexico!

Lovely Lady One

Lovely Lady One

Lovely Lady Two  -  Don’t you just love her chapeau?!

Lovely Lady Two - Don’t you just love her chapeau?!

Lovely Lady Three

Lovely Lady Three

Lovely Lady Four

Lovely Lady Four

Conjures up.....Mystic, Eerie, a bit Bizarre

Conjures up.....Mystic, Eerie, a bit Bizarre

Not sure what this has to do with anything!

Not sure what this has to do with anything!

A gaucho and his trusty steed.

A gaucho and his trusty steed.

Yet Another Lovely Lady

Yet Another Lovely Lady

Notice her selection of eye shadow.  She also had lovely crimson painted hoofs

Notice her selection of eye shadow. She also had lovely crimson painted hoofs

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