I really wanted to sleep in this morning. I was dreaming of ten hours of sleep and not opening my eyes until 9 AM, but at 5:30 I was wide awake. I guess there’s still a lot of adrenaline coursing through my body from being on performance mode at the conference. It was still completely dark in my room, yet I could tell, that without pharmaceutical support, more sleep was impossible. And it was too late to chip a little piece off the Ativan by my bed. I didn’t want to wake up three hours from now, groggy.
I thought about how nice it would be to lay in bed, put on my earphones and listen to my audiobook of The Goldfinch for a couple of hours until breakfast was served. But then I remembered my father and how, whenever we traveled together when I was a child, he’d always get up at dawn and set out alone while the rest of us slept, often returning an hour or two later when we were just waking up, with a little treat or a story.
Venturing out alone, armed with only a smile and a Buenas Dias, was a little scary, but with my Dad by my side, I got up and quietly dressed, pulled a brush through hair badly needing a washing, and pulled a fleece shirt over my head. I stepped out onto our patio, holding my hotel keys, my phone camera and a small notebook in my hand. A wave of cold and the sound of many roosters greeted me, encouraging me on my small morning adventure.
When I let myself out onto the street, I smiled at the intricate sidewalks made of volcanic rock—large slabs of it and then small broken pieces patterned at the edges.
The 2/3 moon was still above me, the sky just beginning to lighten. People dressed in hoodies, shawls and track suits walked purposefully around me—they were going somewhere—to work, to school—their days were beginning. Deep resonant church bells tolled behind me, filling me with pleasure and awe. A surge of joy brought a smile to my lips. I was so happy to be out here looking, noticing, being, delighted and surprised by everything I was seeing, hearing, feeling. And I felt like my father was with me. I only wished I could speak Spanish—how that would open this world up to me!
When I reached the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga (also known as Plaza Grande), just a few blocks away, people were jogging, stretching, or just getting where they were going. An old man in a white wide-brimmed hat swept the path with a large branch:
As I meandered up some of the side streets off the Plaza, I noticed this tour bus:
Suzy had told me yesterday that busloads of Mexican tourists come here to buy the local crafts and I guess she was right. Cars drove by, headlights still on. Madres and abuelas walked their children and grandchildren to school. And the long narrow cobblestone streets were full of shops with the red doors still closed, the promise of the day’s commerce as yet unfulfilled.
Many of the doors had beautiful knockers like this one:
Some of the walls were aging:
When I looked closely, I could see that the adobe walls were made of mud and straw, and in this case, held in place with wire:
I passed lots of the limed trees I told you about yesterday:
I loved the gate surrounding this old church:
The sky had grown light and the day had begun. I walked home to the sound of roosters. The church bell was tolling again, its deep resonant reminder of grace.
When I walked through the front door of my hotel, I was greeted by beauty. I loved the inside-outsideness of the inner courtyard. Aside from the senora making our breakfast in the kitchen, the whole place was still asleep: