Random photos from February

How did it get to be March already? I took a little siesta on posting, but still took photos. Here are some to share.

Plaza del Carmen, at night.
Plaza del Carmen, at night.
On Sundays, they close down Calle Carranza, the main drag, and make it a pedestrian street. Everybody walks their dogs, practices skating skills or bikes. It’s lovely.
Even the dogs get social on Sundays.

A local wrestler.
There’s an organization that puts together weekly bike rides in the evenings.
They are replacing most of the sewer/drainage in the older sections of town. Desperately needed since a single hard rain can turn the streets into rivers of sewage.
All this construction will be worth it eventually, but it’s a mess right now. This is Carranza, the main street of SLP.

A peace lily in front of my school. Love that there are flowers year around here.
Guavas are really tasty here and happen to be in season. They taste a bit like a pear and apple mix, with notes of orange.
We’d call them Popsicles. Ricas means delicious or tasty.

My new neighborhood

Some of the great Mexican landscaping, along Calle Reforma near Caranza, on the edge of El Centro (downtown).

I’ve just started to investigate my new neighborhood, Insurgentes. This is just the first glimpse. Also, a few photos of a party at Meliza’s amazing weekend house in Orquídea.

Still learning my new neighborhood, but this is near my bus stop.
This is the neighborhood market–jam packed with stalls that sell fresh fruit and vegetables, clothing, toys, household items and meat.
This is the one side of the food hall, serving antojitos. If you google it, it just translates as “snacks” but these are really heavy snacks, like gorditas, tacos and sopes. The other side serves cocina economico meals–full dinners at very reasonable prices.
There’s even a place to pray if you feel so inclined.
Everyone was very kind about my lack of language skills, but still attempted to speak with me. The food was great.
They are SERIOUS about their salsa here and there’s always lots of it. This particular one would have blown this gringa‘s head off with the heat, however.
Surprisingly, you often see dogs on the roof. They serve as part of the home security system.
I love the colorful buildings.

One Saturday, the family had a small party for teachers and the level 18 class, which Meliza is in. (The school has 24 level, each 4 weeks in length, so you can get through the classes in 2 years.

Meliza’s mama, in the kitchen at the weekend house. She’s heating up the tamales. Don’t you love the tile?
The tamales are so good here, but filling! Eat three and it’s like you just ate Thanksgiving dinner.
There’s some lovely landscaping at the weekend house, scene of a few relaxing parties. I particularly like this tree, in full bloom, and covered in tiny bees.
Eric, Josue, Alex and Marc, relaxing at the weekend house. Josue (pronounced Ho SWAY) is one of my level 18 students (now level 19!) and the others are teachers.
Marc, working on his banda (flag)–a shot each of lime (green), Sangrita (red) and tequila (white-ish).
One of the things I love about SLP–the landscaping. The trees and bushes are often sculpted into fantastic shapes.

I’ve moved. Again.

This is Ivan and Meliza, my new family! They let me teach their sons in exchange for room and board. They are here pictured in El Centro, Plaza de Armas.

I really didn’t have a concept of how many times I’d move during this adventure. It’s not always that I’m in a bad situation, but sometimes I just find something better. In this case, MUCH better.

The shabby rooming house I was living in was going downhill. There was always a plumbing issue. Usually at least one bathroom was always unusable. But lately the owners had simply stopped responding to requests–like the day we had no water, with no explanation or estimate as to when we’d have water again. It was over 12 hours and I never knew what the problem was.  Others had already left–half the rooms were empty–and I was looking for something better. One of my dear, dear students, Meliza, offered to let me live with her family in exchange for teaching her two sons English. It’s turned out to be a godsend–lovely people, a very nice home and a comfortable, safe situation for me. The boys even act as though they don’t mind my English lessons.

Sign on the boys’ bedroom.

The only downside is that it’s an hour’s bus ride to the main school branch. At least the buses run pretty regularly and are mostly clean and not too over crowded, but there’s lots of cobblestone streets and barely a shock-absorber in sight. I was working 26 teaching hours a week, commuting into the school twice a day (4 hours total commute time), all the usual (unpaid) prep time/paperwork/grading) and teaching the two boys daily. It made for long hours, less opportunity to blog and and a very tired girl.

This 4 week session I’ve landed a better schedule with half the commute time, so I feel much better and hope to come back to blogging more. I also hope to explore the new neighborhood more and—some please hold me to this–join a gym.

One event I didn’t post about from February: The Chocolate Festival! It was a small event, but it’s the first annual, so I expect it to grow.

Costanzo is the local chocolate maker in the area and a very popular choice.
Fortunately the festival had some nice samples. I particularly liked the mole bar–a dark chocolate with mole spices. It was mostly spicy with a hint of salt and sweetness. That’s a popular combination in Mexico.
Hugo and his mom, Meliza, pose with one of the chocolate sculptures.
all chocolate!

Looking down on the Chocolate Festival.
The building is right off Plaza de Armas, a perfect location for rotating exhibits. Last month they had King Tut.