Friday, October 30, 2009

Veraqcruz - Fri., Oct. 30, '09

After five days of increasingly hot, humid weather, the close atmosphere has finally started to consume me. After class this morning, we took the bus to the centro to visit another of the "city museums", this one with some very interesting and well-done historical exhibits. But with no A/C and only a few fans placed here and there, the heat sapped my concentration. I had little interest in discussing the exhibits or anything in English, not to mention Spanish. Sweat poured down my body; every step I made was checked by the sticking of my pants to my thighs. Just as I was about to rush out of the building for some breezy shade, a museum guide, recognizing Nancy and me as easy victims, grabbed us to use as models in her explanation of early 20th century social niceties to a group of elementary school kids. The poor woman and the other adults taking in her tour tried to make us feel part of the whole thing, but I must have looked as pre-occupied as I felt.

This afternoon, finally, relief! As the norte blew in, the sky clouded up, a fierce wind rattled windows and signs, wind-blown whitecaps shredded the Gulf, and by 4:00 the temperature had dropped to a refreshing 80 degrees.

Tonight, Jorge (the wonderful young charlante I'd met my first day at school) was back on duty in the student lounge. While I waited for Eric and Linda to return from their daily constitution and let me into my room (in which I'd locked my key) Jorge and I had a wonderful conversation on a wide range of topics. (While some of my sentences are still a bit halting for lack of the right word or tense, I'm really proud of the way my speaking and listening skills have been shaping up!) Then Jorge picked up the guitar Eric keeps in the lounge and quietly played several more of the gorgeous classical pieces he's mastered.

Tomorrow, I try to find my way up to Naolinco de Victoria, a couple of hours and a couple of bus legs north of here. I'd come across information about the mountain village on the web, saying that its Dia de los Muertos celebrations are unusually rich and welcoming to visitors. Luckily, I and Genny, who decided she'd like to join me, were able to secure, several weeks ago, the last two hotel rooms in town. It should be a real adventure— we might be welcomed with open arms into people's homes to see their elaborate, tradition-steeped altars honoring their difuntos (deceased loved ones). Or we might feel we're intruding, hold back and wish we'd not devoted our weekend to the effort. As the Mexicans say, sea como sea, we'll see.
Around here in Puerto Veracruz, we've already seen quite a few altars being built and decorated, pan de muerto (bread made only for this occasion), skull and skeleton costumes and trinkets, and of course the flor de muerto, the special marigolds (zempasuchitl in Náhuatl, language of the Aztecs) always used for decoration.

NOTE: I'll not be able to post for the next two days, since I've decided not to take my computer on what might be a pretty rough ride. But I promise to share whatever impressions and photos I come up with in my weekend in Naolinco.

By the way, Happy Halloween to all you norteamericanos!


DC said...

Hey Dad! Hope you are having a great time - just read all of your posts! Love you!

Hubbs Center said...

Muslima says she would like to visit you in Verz Cruz and meet new people and see a different culture.

Hubbs Center said...

Bawili is jealous! She would like to be in Vera Cruz, too. She likes the picture of the old ruin.

Hubbs Center said...

This is Kaw again. When you feel the hot weather in Mexico and it makes you sweat all the time, do you like the weather in St. Paul better?

Write us again if you see more amazing things. Thank you for taking time for us.


murciélago said...

Muslima -- Thanks for your comment! I think you might like it in Veracruz city. It's usually pretty hot here -- isn't your birth country hot too?
I think you'd like the people here. They're very happy and friendly, and the music is great.