Thursday, February 14, 2008

"What ever happened to Sandra?" I hear you ask. Well, I've had a severe case of Writer's Laziness, coupled with some technical difficulties, so it's been a while, and I may not be able to remember much beyond the day before yesterday. A couple of days this week, I wasn't feeling well, so I didn't get up to much anyway. Then there was the annual Tour of Homes on Tuesday. It cost 200 pesos per person. The money went to the Rotary Club. (Public education here is free only through grade six. After that, money is required for books, uniforms, and maybe tuition, though I'm not sure about that. The Rotary Club provides scholarships to help local kids get through secondary school).

So Chantal and I went on the tour. We hitched a ride to the country club with Joyce and her sister. At the country club, we were to get into one of the "buses" provided. The buses turned out to be cars, dozens of them. The drill was to wander up and down the lines of cars, asking at each one whether they had room for you (room for two, in the case of Chantal and me). We were unimpressed with the organization, but we looked forward to seeing the houses. The caravan did move out on time, to our surprise, and there ensued a tour of San Carlos - some of it was part of the plan, and some happened because the lead car got a bit lost! We didn't really mind that, because we saw parts of San Carlos that we didn't even know existed.

We visited six houses, all belonging to expatriate Americans. They were very grand. I felt terribly out of place. At a couple of the houses, I made the comment that I would much prefer to live in the guest quarters rather than in the main house. The second place we visited had an open plan on the ground floor. We went past the kitchen into the living room, looked to the left and saw the bedroom, which was sitting on a marble platform about three feet higher than the living room. There wasn't so much as a railing. If I lived there, I would get up in the middle of the night, head for the bathroom, and walk off the edge of the world. Of course, if I were lucky I would fall into the rec room instead of the living room, and land on the pool table. That would require a bit of a swan dive, though.

My favourite house was the last one, which I described to its owner as "immensely cheerful". There was colour everywhere - brilliant, brave colour - in the garden, in the paint on the walls, both interior and exterior, and in the tiles used not only on counters and in the central fountain, but as decorative elements on the walls. The lady of the house apparently makes and sells jewelry, and I look forward to seeing her work at the bazaar this coming Saturday.

Yesterday morning, Robin and I cycled up the road to check out the SBPA book sale in front of Sagittario. Apparently this sale takes place once a month, but I only found that out the other day - so I only get to attend one more this year. There's basically a front yard full of books "filed" in cardboard boxes on the ground. They're sorted by author's name, for the most part. The idea is that you wander around, picking up books, and when you've got all you want, you go to the desk and make a donation to the SBPA (the local spay/neuter group). Robin chose three books, and I chose eleven, greedy reader that I am. My find of the day was Island of the Sequined Love Nun, which I've actually been looking for. It's written by the same man who wrote Blood Sucking Fiends: A Love Story. I also got Looking Backwards by Colette and an old copy of Crime and Punishment in case I get to feeling really ambitious (or depressed). It was amusing to paw through the boxes and see books that I remember from my mother's bookshelves - not classics, just books like The Robe that were in fashion in the fifties and early sixties.

On the way home, we stopped and had breakfast at Rosa's Cantina for the first time. It was very good. Robin didn't feel well afterward - I think he's doomed to have only homemade food when we're in Mexico - but I felt fine. You see, he had sausages and eggs and toast and hash browns, whereas I had a poblano chile and cheese omelette with frijoles and tortillas and pico de gallo. When in Mexico.....

In the afternoon, there was Maria's cooking class. I hardly had time to breathe yesterday.

Today was the park's Valentine's Day party. I made quesadillas with corn tortillas, Chihuahua cheese, diced tomato and onion, and sausage. I think they went over well. Getting to the party on time was a bit of a challenge, because I had spent most of the day working on a chicken curry for dinner, and I left the quesadilla building to the last minute. The upshot of that was that by the time I got to the party and stood in line and finally got up to where the food was, I had missed Maria's Mexican Cheesecake. She says it's not actually Mexican, it's Texan, and she will try to give us the recipe. I gather it's not a dessert, as it contains chiles - but I could be wrong. I was watching the news from Tucson tonight, and the newscasters were sampling chocolate-covered jalapenos that had been sent to them by a company in Texas. One of them bit into her pepper and said "I sure hope these aren't hot". Oops.

That brings us up to date. Now I'm going to do a little work on the stuff over on the right side of the page. I've decided it would be a good idea to write a one-line description of each book I read, for some reason - so I'll do that. I'll also rate the books. Five stars would be Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance. I've never read a more wonderful book, so I'll use that as my benchmark. Also, it occurred to me this morning that I should start a new list - of all the things I should remember to bring with me to Mexico, but usually forget. Like turmeric. Who thinks of turmeric when she's packing? Not I - but it would be very handy. Garam masala, too, and sweet paprika. Mostly spices on this list-to-be, at least so far.

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