Today, I headed out to walk around town. I had nowhere to go and had nothing I needed to buy, or so I thought. I was just free to wonder. Though I headed out about the same time, which I had been going out since I started getting up early, by the time I got to the champurrado lady, she was all out. I told her that I would come earlier next time. It was still early enough that the streets were empty, but I still took the back alley route to the center of town.
As I walked down the street, I saw the Museo Casa Diego Rivera , which I had seen many times on my walks. Since I was headed for nowhere, I went in and bought a ticket. Once past the reception desk, I turned into the first gallery. I was astounded by the art work there. I had no idea that Diego Rivera had ever done anything like the art I was viewing. It took me a little while to realize that the art was a special exhibit and not the works of Rivera.
Unfortunately I did not note the artist’s name, beyond being sure that when I Google him, I would recognize the name. No such luck, as soon as I got home I did an extensive internet search, without finding him. If anyone knows his name let me know. Had I known that I wouldn’t be able to find him on the internet, I would have coughed up the extra money to be able to use my camera in the exhibit.
His works were painted on slabs of stone. There was a looping video at the start of the display, which showed how he created his works. He goes to building suppliers and examines the offered stone slabs until he finds ones that he can see images in. He said, in the video, that it was like seeing images in the clouds. (Though I didn’t find the artist on the internet, I found out that seeing images in clouds is called Pareidolia.) he takes the stone back to his studio, he paints on it, to enhance the images that his eye saw.
I found the works very profound. When I stood back I could see images. When I moved in closer I could see different images. All the images told a story. In one, you could see an array of skulls, but when you move in close, you saw faces. It was really amazing. I guess I am going to have to go back and see the exhibit again.
I had not planned to take any photos inside the museum. There are so many photos on the internet of the Riviera exhibits, that there is nothing I could add to the conversation visually. Even if I had been inclined to replow that ground before arriving, I don’t think I would have. I really didn’t find it too terribly interesting after having seen the stones first.
After leaving the museum, I continued wandering around aimlessly, until I decided to head to the market and buy some lunch. I enjoyed seeing the streets so empty, with only people heading to lunch. I wondered if it were just the time of day, or if now that the holiday season was over the crowds downtown would not be so bad.
As I headed down one small street, I glanced up an ally and saw a lot of people standing around a food stand. I went up and joined them. Edging in, until I was able to get the cook’s attention, I watched and saw that one woman was making little corn patties and placing them on a wide flat metal cooking surface, called a comal. The woman next to her was picking up the cooked dough and after slicing it open like a pita, filled it with cheese and other fillings before placing it back on the grill. I got into line and when it was my turn, I asked, “cuál es eso?”
She told me that it was a gordita. I ordered one with potatoes, cheese and beans. It was served on a heavy plastic plate slipped inside a thin plastic bag. Once I had my plate, I realized that she wasn’t ready to take my money, so I stepped back to stand with the other people who had already been served. We all stood there in the street eating and watching as more food was cooked. I saw that when people were finished with their food, they handed the plate to a man next to the ladies and paid at that time.
I really like the set up, the crowd was local, the food was moving fast and only the man handled money, so that the food wasn’t contaminated.
After I headed down the street, wishing that I had taken a photo of my food, and that I had bought two gorditas, I looked up another alley and saw another food stand with an even bigger line. I went up and ordered two gorditas, this time Gorditas de Chicharra. When I got my food, this time on a paper plate, I went and sat on the curb where all the other dinners were settling in with their food. The Chichara was wonderfully delicate, with an almost creamy texture, not tough and chewy as you might think it would be.
As I walked, I began to feel thirsty, so I walked over to the Mercado Hidalgo looking for something to drink, practicing silently saying, “Me gustaría beber algo.” When I got to the market, I didn’t see anything I wanted to get. I am still missing the markets in Cuenca. There I had all my favorite vendors mapped out.
As I was leaving the market I saw a man selling hats. I am traveling with a hat, but what I actually like to wear is a simple visor. He was over to one side talking to someone. When I spotted a black visor just like I like to wear, I made eye contact with him. “Señor, me gustaría un sombrero.”
I bought the visor, and spent a while practicing my spanish on him. He was very friendly, and seemed to enjoy my efforts. I told him where I had traveled and where I was going to travel. He didn’t correct me when I used trabajar instead of viaje. At least I got “Voy a Warsaw” right.
When I have a conversation with someone, as soon as I get home, I immediately look it up and see what mistakes I made. I think it is helping me speak better. Before I go out, if I have the time, I try to imagine what things I would need to say and use Google’s translation feature of search to prep.
By the time I said goodbye to Carlos, I was ready to go home. I was almost there, when I realized I didn’t have much beer left, and I had not planned on going out the next day. I stopped by the small shop at the end of my road and spent too much for some beer, but practiced my spanish on the lady there before coming home to work on my writing for the rest of the day. She told me that I was a Pensionista.
Oh, who am I kidding? I spend most of the remainder of the day doing jigsaw puzzles and watching Youtube. No hurt, no foul, after all I am a Pensionista.