Weekends (or mine, at least)
Time is a funny thing. Humans are the only creatures that are bound by these somewhat self-imposed concepts of time, being on time, being late, hours in a day, weeks in a year, years in a lifetime. We’re so driven and motivated by it, time is more precious then gold some will say, that we need to take self enforced vacations to get away from time.
Lost time. But is it lost if it is spent lounging around the house all day in your pajamas after a 60 hour workweek, or if it is spent camping out on the beach with loved ones? Time well spent. Is it well spent to come to Mexico to learn to speak (read/write) Spanish instead of pursuing instead other perhaps career advancing opportunities?
Time goes fast, time goes slow. Standing at a checkout line can feel an eternity, and spending a brunch with friends goes by in the blink of an eye.
In a big oopsie – both my grandmother and aunt forgot to wish my uncle a happy birthday a few days ago. In my defense I hadn’t a clue. We did mend fences however.
Today I had the pleasure of meeting some of my aunt’s friends for what is a sort of bi-weekly get together in which henceforth I will affectionately call a hens club. It was about 14 women- none with the sold expectation my aunt who were under 60 years old – for a brunch get together.
I suppose the qualifier for the get-together was that of my aunt’s birthday, but this did not stop any of them from buying small chinches and gifts for the rest of the lot. Things from candle holders to hand towels, and my aunt even got a new frog statute to put into her new garden. (One which she is very proud of, and rightly so for it is beautiful). We arrived about 10.00 and did not leave the restaurant until past 13.30.
Somehow the time slipped away.
Not that most of us had anywhere to be anyways, and I have taken to wearing less and less my wristwatch, for the lack of a need to know specific times.
Nonetheless not that we weren’t pleased with the brunch-eon where they brought coffees and sweet breads and fruit and then the main meal to be topped off with sparkling cider. (I was glad I went for my morning run, because even as I write this at 18.00 I still feel full).
The hens clearly know each other from a long time ago, and they speak in double meanings and laughing amidst bites. My grandmother thinks its a riot. (Which, if you met my grandmother, you you understand why I find this so funny.)
They also think I speak a nice Spanish, which is flattering, although I feel I have a long ways to go yet, as my tongue still trips over many words, and somehow things sometimes become Francoenglanish when I’m not sure of the correct word. PreocupAs v. preocupEs, for example.
Everyone greets another with a warm embrace and a kiss (Mum: Chapis sends her love), and I am cloaked in various perfumes.
The restaurant was good, the fruit even better (oh how I love fresh tasty fruit), and the company pleasant. And in order to debut the new garden (new statute included!) there will be a potluck held here in about 10 days time. All the hens will be present, and my aunt even said to bring pajamas so they can drink the night away. (is it wrong of me to want to see this rumpus?)
Yesterday also seemed to have blurred right past – because what are weekends when one is on vacation – as we headed into the historic and cultural center of Mexico where the Presidential “palace” (??) is, with the big square, aka the same image they always show when highlighting Mexico City in tourist reels.
The architecture is heavy, stonework that is slowly sinking and makes the buildings crooked. Mexico city once was a lake after all, and I guess the ground is still mushy. You can still see the ruins highlighted around the center of where the cathedral is, and indigenous people dressed up in all sorts of spectacle with body paint and feathers and peddling a dizzying array of things. (My aunt says that my blonde blonde blonde cousin used to dance with the best of them, paint and all)
My grandmother is a religious type so while we left her at the grand cathedral of Mexico, my aunt and I took the tour up to the bell towers of Mexico. 80 some odd stairs to get up there, and you feel like you can see the entirety of the city.
The bells are huge and wonderful and they toll them to this day, every day.
But what caught my attention was the spiraling ladder made of some hard red wood that at 14m tall was one piece of wood. The ladder was originally made without any nails or screws or anything, and it is beautiful. Bright red and ancient and I wonder where they found the wood for such a ladder. (I think the guide said that there are only 5 of these ladders in the world, 2 of which are in Mexico, and those 2 are the sole ones on the American continent).
The other thing that made me laugh – as it was lost to time – was the story of “la castigada” – or “the punished one”. This is a bell that rotates 360 degrees when it gets going, but it takes a bell man (whats the correct word here?) a year of training before hes allowed to ring it. Its heavy and has counter weights and you need to be quick not to be knocked on the head.
Except in this case, this bell once upon a time was allowed to be rung by a tourist teenager because the bell man had said “go on right ahead”, and because the boy didn’t have a clue what he was doing, the bell struck him right on the head and knocked him dead.
And wouldn’t you know it – for the fault of the bell – they scrubbed any traces of the bells name from all of history. Burnt any mention of if in any paper, and put a bright red cross on it and it was not allowed to ring until the year 2000; or the year of pardon.
For fault of the bell;
To this day they haven’t a clue of the bells name, although now it rings (and on Sundays for 13 minutes) with the best of them, the biggest of the girls coming in at what I think/remember is 14 tonnes.
The square is too somewhat lost to time because as soon as you leave those few blocks, modern Mexico blooms up and out, and swells of people are walking on a Sunday afternoon taking the sun and the company of others. The architecture changes dramatically from heavy stonework to new windows towers.
We ate lunch at El Cardenal, and I had a steak filet smothered in goat cheese cream and if it wasn’t one of the most delicious way to prepare steak ever, I don’t know what is.
I am seriously having a love affair with Mexican food and I regret nothing.
Monday is now winding down, and it soon will become la hora de la comedia; or, soap opera hour. (to be discussed at length later)
Mayhaps tomorrow morning I can actually get my aunt out for a run, and no more excuses on her part. The lake really does provide a lovely trek.
PS: listen to the new vampire weekend album. you won’t regret it.