There is an amazing difference between when something begins and when it ends. Last year at this time, I wandered alone, looking at the skeletons in El Centro, taking pictures, and just seeing what my new surroundings held. Now, that part of the city has been torn apart for repairs, which is good because it looks like it could collapse at any time. The squares around Catedral Guadalajara are all underground parking structures held up by a large series of “temporary” support posts. I’m pretty sure those posts were there last year too, but now they’ve started to excavate the structures and rebuild them.
Some things were moved, and I didn’t see the altars on Chapultepec like I did last year. There were still a series of skeletons, better made and more interesting than last year, but nothing much beyond that. There are still places to go, but there always will be. You could spend a lifetime in any city and never see but a fraction of it before you get jaded. It’s always about the people more than the place.
Over the last weekend I was almost everywhere. On Saturday I went out with the Emissary and Smiles to a presentation in El Centro. Smiles had a stake in it for school, but mostly we were just there for the dancing. There were a couple of traditional style dances with men and women in costume, a dance that was about a dozen people dressed as devils and one woman in a more traditional style dress, and a dance that was weird and confusing. It seemed traditional but all the men were dressed as bad stereotypes of women and the women were dressed as moderate stereotypes of men, but they were all wearing a variety of disturbing masks. The woman dressed as a cowboy with the mask with a tiny face on it haunts my thoughts. It was happy in a bad way.
From there we wandered a bit and they dropped me off at home. It’s always strange to see Chapultepec on a Saturday night, but on Halloween it’s worse. Poor lighting and facepaint are creepy that late at night. As the night wound down I found myself missing real candy and the Halloween sickness. And no, chile, lime, and salt on fruit is not candy, it’s a corrupted fruit salad.
On Sunday I went out with the Fighters from Tlaquepaque to see a play about the day of the dead. My Spanish still isn’t good enough to keep up with all the rhymes and the poetry of the stage, but I understood the concepts. Death is to be laughed at as much as it is mourned, and the devil is apparently flamboyantly gay sometimes. It was interesting, a college level play with basic costumes and concepts, but the words and ideas drew me in as I followed. It was also fun to abuse the two Fighters next to me. I’m pretty sure I won, but we had to stop when the play began.
Monday I was out with the Musician, watching a movie and complaining about the failed macaroni and cheese. He is an excellent chef, but you can’t cook without propane. I will always be annoyed by the lack of preparation and backup plans here. If the stove doesn’t work, you order food and complain. There is nothing you can really cook with a toaster oven before it melts under it’s own heat.
The problem for me is becoming more obvious as time goes on. I love people, but there is always a demon on my back slowing me down, keeping me from going where I want and doing what I want. Sometimes I am actually too busy, or I ran out of energy, but often I just don’t want to deal with the struggle of getting past the front door. I’m getting better at it, but I worry that no matter what I do for the rest of my life there will always be a drag behind me, like a bungee cord waiting to snap me back in. The analogy makes me wonder though, is it better to be pulled back or break the cord?