Thursday, January 05, 2006

¡Qué viva la siesta! * Long Live the Siesta

To see photos from my visit to Colima, click on the title of today's entry or copy and paste the following address into your browser:

After awakening very late in the morning, I had some scrambled eggs, orange juice and coffee cake from Sam’s Club. Azul took the first shower this morning and when she was done, Blanca went to take a look at the water heater out back. She then announced that my shower had been “canceled” since there was no hot water – not a drip coming out of the faucets. She and Blanca Yazmin walked up and down the block and found that we weren’t alone; none of the neighbors had hot water either. It was supposed to come back on around 6:00 p.m., but by then instead of the hot water being restored, the cold water had been cut off too. No water – no toilets to be flushed, and still no shower to be taken.

After breakfast and then sitting and watching TV for a couple of hours, at 1:30 I summoned the energy to go get a hair cut and a pedicure. I stopped in the tiny shopping mall, Plaza Country, but forged on when, because of the fumes, I couldn’t breathe in either of the two locales. I then checked out the place where I had gone when I lived in Colima and where another student of the Master’s program went for a massage every morning before class. Unfortunately, the hours posted on the door indicated that they are closed from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. So I forged on in search of a suitable salon. I walked down the street, towards the McDonald’s and then turned towards Colima’s center. A giant banner that said “uñas” (nails) hung from a salon’s window, so I climbed the stairs, slid the door open and asked if they do manicures or pedicures. The 20 year old, dirty-blond sitting behind the desk said they didn’t do either. I left wondering what it is then that they do to nails. When I walked in the next place around 2:15 p.m., there was a receptionist and two beauticians hanging out in the waiting area. There I was told that they work by appointments and that I could have one at 3:00. I left there a little taken aback since there were two workers sitting around and no other clients in sight. Still hopeful that I could at least get my hair cut and return to the house for lunch around 3:30 p.m., I continued down the street. The next beauty salon had three employees sitting around and they said that I could have an appointment at 4:00 p.m. I finally clued in and gave up, acknowledging the fact that I was in a small town that still honors the tradition of the “siesta” when businesses are closed during the lunch hours, generally from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The climate dictates the way a town goes about daily life. It is so hot and humid here, even now in the winter, that it seems people need a break in the middle of the day. By the time I made my way back home, my capri khakis were weighted down by the humidity. I began to notice that even girls and women wear shorts here in Colima – I had forgotten that it’s perfectly fine, since in Mexico City it’s almost never seen, even in health clubs.

It was even warm tonight in the movie theater, to which Scarlett, Azul and I each brought a sweater. Scarlett’s boyfriend Enrique also came with and we saw “Más Barato por la Docena 2” (Cheaper By the Dozen 2). It’s a light, funny, predictable movie that was unfortunately dubbed, as Steve Martin and Eugene Levy have distinctive voices that add a lot to their characters’ emotions and personalities. This was the most comfortable movie theater I remember being in since the “old,” or original, theaters of Old Orchard whose seats were broken, allowing viewers to rock all the way back and relax their feet up on the seat in front.

When we came back home, Scarlett and Enrique took me to see a giant nativity scene in front of a house decorated with bright lights for Christmas. Unfortunately, it had all been taken down and there was nothing to show for except a pretty, brightly painted house. We drove around for a bit and saw a couple of other houses with lights and nativity scenes. When returning to the house, Blanca then took us to the center to see the giant Christmas tree all lit up and the decorations on the government building and down the main street. From there, we drove for a bit and I saw so many of the new housing developments and the land that is cleared to put in a big department store, Liverpool, and probably a Sanborn’s too.