Christmas time is slow here. All but one of my classes was cancelled for the year. Businesses that close for a week around the holiday are scrambling to get the month’s work done in three weeks. I wish they had all cancelled. I would have gone home a couple weeks early, but as it is I picked up an extra class from another teacher. It gives me a reason to wake up in the morning.
I still have a lot of free time, and I’ll probably take a local vacation for a day or two. I was thinking of visiting Chapala, or maybe seeing what is out East. If I find a cheap flight I may hop on a plane and do a weekend trip somewhere. It’s nice to not have to plan these things.
I have a vacation coming up. Home for the holidays, then a few days in Sayulita for surfing and naps. It will be nice to see everyone again, but I was just home so it’s not as big of a deal as it could be.
The joyful task of the VISA continues. I went to check on it on Friday, and apparently it is a holiday here. Dia de Virgin Guadalupe, I’m told. It’s a local celebration for Mary from when she appeared in Mexico to a man named Juan Diego. It’s not really a federal holiday, but many businesses and, apparently, government buildings are closed. I will go back on Monday, and hopefully I can get the paperwork completed. It will be nice to be done with it for a while.
The good thing is that the holiday allowed the street market crowd to come alive. There were random stalls around too look at and interesting things to eat. Many of the girls were dressed up in traditional dresses and the boys wore dirty yellowish-brown karate uniforms. That may have also been traditional clothing, but it looked very karate-ish. There were small ponies for the children to sit on for pictures and random religious objects everywhere. There was even a small carnival with children’s rides.
I wandered for a while, bought a few things for Christmas, and ate tacos. I was quite surprised by these tacos in the best way possible. They were massive, for here, and had the best flavor I’ve come across in a while. The carne asada was actual meat they chopped in front of you like back home and the al pastor was cooked until it was black and caramelized. It stuck to my teeth like wonderful meat flavored jujubes.
On my way out I picked up a random cup of peanuts that looked to be honey roasted. It turned out to be more like trail mix. It was mostly peanuts, but there were some other nuts, something that must have been fruit, and something that broke like an eggshell when it was chewed and stuck to my teeth like an evil jujube that got a hold of my crown and wouldn’t let go. All of them were honey roasted so there was no way to tell what was safe and what wasn’t. I left those on top of a trash can. There are a lot of homeless people in that part of town, and I’m sure the locals are used to the pitfalls of that cup o’ danger.
I’m almost done with my first semester at Southern New Hampshire University. I have to say, it’s been good. I hated my English class because the it was a research paper writing class, which I can do easily. I wrote the nine page paper for the class in four hours, including citation. The only benefit is that I could write it in APA format, the standard for Sociology. I have already used that format in my Sociology class. I’m glad for the practice, but I hated that class.
We had the company Christmas party tonight, la posada. It had the best food I’ve ever had at a Christmas party, and they replaced your beer or tequila before you completely finished it. The presents were weird though. Pajama bottoms, fuzzy slippers, underwear, and large bottles of liquor, in addition to the normal things like candy and cash. There were a couple of smartphones too. I won a calendar. I traded it for a bag of tamarindo candy. I hate tamarindo candy, so I gave it to my handyman. He seemed very pleased.
Even with all the alcohol around no one was falling down drunk, no yelling or fighting occurred, and everything ended quietly at the end of the night. I spent most of my time talking to a Mexican, a Brazilian, the Arabic teacher. I didn’t catch the name of where he was from, but it was close to Africa. I was working on my fifth corona at this point. It was a good time, but I still miss the states where they give away televisions and playstations.
The year is winding down, and there are some Christmas decorations up, but, like most things, the best stuff is always hidden from public view. If you walk down the right street you will see an open door and the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas peek through. I have seen a few things going up, like the giant Christmas trees here and there, but there has been nothing complete enough to take pictures of. Hopefully next week there will be something when I’m trying to get to the Immigration office.
The Spaniard has to leave for Guatemala. The VISA process has taken more than six months for him and now his tourist VISA is about to expire. They are still trying to get it taken care of, but he has to spend at least a few days drinking tequila and reading Don Quixote by the pool in someplace warm. It will get sorted out soon enough, but I’m glad I didn’t get caught by that same problem. I still have six months left on my temporary work VISA now, and I’ll have the final one in a week or so. Hopefully. If the holidays don’t interfere. I’ll probably get it next year.