Toluca Gringa

8,700 feet does more than simply turn you into a cheap date

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Saturday I was nearly struck by lightening. I saw the bolt on a nearby pyramid at the ruins of Teotenango and felt a surge of electricity enter through my feet, rattling my bones and tingling my fingertips for several minutes. My first thought was that I had angered the gods. [Quick mental inventory -- was it the fact that I had strolled the cemetary, taking photos of the crumbling headstones and peeking inside the cracked tombs? Maybe I was cursed by the blind indigenous woman whose photo I snapped without asking. Or maybe it was the fact that I had been drinking entirely too much tequila and shitty Mexican wine the night before. ] I apologized for all my possible wrongdoings and continued roaming the ruins, strands of hair still gravitating aloft from the surge, taking my time on the tiny steep steps to the top. Teotenango isn't as impressive as other ruins in Mexico, but for me...ruins are ruins. The vision of something that was built and populated more than a 1,000 years ago has always blown my mind. My psychic aunt insists that my soul is new, so this could explain my dumbfoundedness at the sight of piles of old rocks. We watched the storm continue on the village below and returned later to drink fresh pineapple juice ruined by two pinches of chili pepper.

Here's a photo of my capoeira instructor (with calzones showing) playing capoeira in Parque Arawal a few Saturdays ago.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Yea -- finally got internet in the casa. Hopefully I'll get busy and post more photos. Here's one I snapped from the window of my classroom the other day. It was my first time to see a complete rainbow so I got a bit excited and rushed off to eat some Lucky Charms.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Rabbit for sale -- alive or dead

Yesterday, as I dropped my underwear into a pot of boiling water and stirred them with a wooden stick I realized that I've been horrible at keeping in touch. I'm blaming the shoddy internet situation and my overwhelming work schedule. So, my apologies for the mass mail.
My grandmother always said that people are like magnets. You'll meet the ones you are meant to meet. I've always believed that. Here in Toluca, I've fallen into a group of friends that are odd parallels to my friends in Denton/Dallas. Musicians, poets, capoeiras, sassy women, eccentrics, and freaks (you know who you are!) -- they're all here. So, in many ways I don't feel far from home. It's the details that make the difference.

The other day while walking to a coffee shop, I was nearly run over by a clown in a late model sedan. He barreled around the corner like Bea Arthur on a 4-day bender. He didn't even flinch. His painted on clown-smile couldn't hide the disturbing scowl on his face and I'm pretty sure this was the clown from my childhood (the one who hid in my closet while I was sleeping). Clowns and mimes are everywhere in Toluca. And people actually laugh at them.

My house is in a very decent neighborhood. I can walk everywhere and buy fresh fruit, warm tortillas, amazing coffee, and poorly made formal wear (think about the tackiest bridesmaid dress you've ever seen. Those are the displays in the window on mannequins with missing fingers.) Anyway, there's a school nearby, so we have a policeman who sits on our block 24 hours a day. Sometimes he stares at the sky. Sometimes he reads the free advertisements that fly around in the street. Sometimes he lifts up his shirt and shoves his hand down his pants. But, lately, he's been our personal messenger and mail keeper. "The gringas aren't here," he'll tell friends who stop by. "They usually come home at 8:00." Then, he'll take the person's name and give us the message when we arrive. He even held some mail for us and waited in the street (pants up and zipped, thankfully) to hand deliver it.

I've seen a bow-backed indigenous woman clipping her fingernails with a pair of garden shears; a gaggle of nuns blocking traffic as they stroll single file (languidly) across a major intersection; a man making pulque from a freshly cut cactus. When I go out at night, I'm competing for sidewalk space against thick swarms of tight-pants mariachis. So, as I said, it's the details that make the difference.

When I walk to work, I pass a pet shop. I aways poke my head in to see the puppies. Usually, the owner is grooming a dog. This morning there was a sign in the window that read "Rabbit for sale -- alive or dead." I guess the dead ones are easier to take care of.