Tuesday, February 10, 2015

V. Vista en la Puesta del Sol

"Sunset Vista": View to the western end of Lake Chapala, from the malecón in Ajijic
Even though a just concluded week-long visit didn't exactly match our expectations, it ended with muy amable spouse and I more committed than ever to our Mexico move. This picture was taken last Friday—viernes—as we relaxed together on a bench at the malecón. The photograph exemplifies what we love about Ajijic.

The geography of this little town favors sunsets like this, framed by palms, calm waters, and mountains meeting at the western end of the lake. The vista suggests spaciousness, beauty and the romance of this place. 

It's not too much of a stretch, once you accept the unfamiliar or unexpected, to see in the approaching charro and his follower a resemblance to Don Quijote and Sancho Panza, be reminded of the whimsy, loyalty, and idealism their relationship embodied, and ponder how these qualities pretty much apply here and now, as well.

Meanwhile, behind us—and outside the frame of this shot—is a magnificent stream and jumble of humanity, on the malecón itself and on its grassy grounds:

A juvenile drum and bugle corp is practicing enthusiastically, if not too well—its conductor occasionally offering instructions to the many remarkably attentive players. Attentive, that is, except for the youngest fellow twirling his trumpet at the end of a line, who, in the way of all ten-year-old boys, is having a hard time standing still. 

Several toddlers, barely out of arms, are emphatically lurching to the incessant beat, trying to keep time without completely compromising their balance. Older children play at soccer; young lovers nuzzle and stroll arm-in-arm. 

Shirtless guy, with his beaming cronies, plays bandleader to the drumbeat as they march down the broad walk. I grin at him, pump my arms like a conductor; he smiles back and nods in recognition of the shared moment.

Families lounge at tables or on blankets, the air still warm, even at this crepuscular hour, and calm. A gaggle of small children tumbles and laughs in an inflatable bouncy house. Pop-up food stands sell ices, tacos, what-have-yous; itinerants peddle an assortment of crafts and gee-gaws, even the classic hardcovers of Carlos Fuentes and Octavio Paz. 

An ancient man, impossibly thin but agile enough, slowly pedals his bike up, and then back down, the malecón. His conveyance is cunningly jury-rigged to accommodate a roasting pan and the sacks of hot peanuts he is vending. With an oft-repeated, hoarse and unintelligible—at least to us—bark he advertises his wares.

A multitude of boom boxes—their music thankfully almost swallowed in the spaciousness—adds to the soundtrack. Rattling pickups on nearby streets announce, through small—but loud—and scratchy loudspeakers, what they have for sale—propane tanks, or perhaps fruit juice.

So: spaciousness, beauty and romance, whimsy, loyalty, idealism, and ever-surprising and life-affirming humanity.

That my wife and I deeply share an appreciation for all these qualities makes it possible for us to have become even more enthusiastic about our plans to move here in the primavera—the coming spring. Although our recent visit did not yield firm plans for any particular casita to move into, we've figured out a way, on which we wholeheartedly agree, to move forward.