I sit here on this third floor deck overlooking the high desert mountains, and the colorful houses stacked on the hillsides of Guanajuato. It is truly a spectacular view! Some time ago I set the intention that I wanted to live somewhere with a view of the sunset and the moonrise.
I just got here a few days ago, and the new moon was yesterday – so I haven’t seen it come up yet, but soon!! And the sunsets are exquisite! Unique each evening. Sometimes I sit here with a tequila and pineapple juice drink watching the sky flare into purples, pinks and oranges. And yesterday I did my yoga practice out here – while gazing at the fiery ball disappearing behind the mountain.
Yep, it’s the realization of a few different dreams. Ever since my journey in Bali and Thailand four years ago (somewhat chronicled on this blog) I’ve longed for more international travel. And … here I am! I won’t be traveling a great deal over the next three months, as this is a caretaking gig and I’m taking care of a couple of cute pooches, but .. that’s the other dream: to actually STAY in one place for an extended period of time really soaking up the culture and having time to just BE.
It’s already Day Six, and it’s taken me a while to get writing since my first few days were all about rest and assimilation. This first post may be a little long as part of the point of this is a travelogue and diary. So… feel free to skim or skip as you will. And don’t expect super polished prose. I’m just having fun here!
Packing for 3+ months presented a challenge. Normally I like to travel with just a carry-on, or at least only with what I can carry. But since I knew I’d be working here and want some of my reference books… and I had a stack of books I wanted to read with the down time I anticipated, well I decided to forgo my usual rule. Plus I wanted to be sure I was supplied with my supplements and preferred toiletries for the season.
Umm, didn’t work out so well.
I knew I had a 50 pound limit on my check through bag, and between that and the fact that my stack of crap couldn’t fit even into this hugest of suitcases I decided to just bring TWO check through bags – plus my Eagle Creek rolling carry on that converts to a backpack AND my daypack. Definitely more than I can carry. But… I was foggy brained with the flu and didn’t think the thing through.
I’ll blame it on the fog brain that I decided not to even bother weighing the bags – after all now that there were two of them surely they couldn’t exceed the 50# limit.
I found myself kneeling on the floor of Oakland Airport frantically moving things between bags trying to get my huge bag down from 68 pounds to the required 50. At least Oakland was a much mellower airport than JFK where I’d been through a similar scenario back in 2008 when returning from my 3 month internship in Manhattan. That time I was forced to offload some loved possessions such as my yoga mat.
I finally got the monstrous red bag to weigh in at exactly 50 – and I was off on the grand adventure!
Oops, did I mention I hadn’t thought through what it might be like to have more luggage than I could carry? Since I knew I was being picked up at the airport I figured all would be okay. What I didn’t take into account was – hi! – customs! We had to collect our bags and then take them through the gauntlet where some of us were selected to be searched. I glanced around for those carts… and none to be found.
Finally I saw a young fellow with a push cart and realized that we are in the land of people-powered labor. Fewer machines and more actual people who need your tips. So he loaded the things onto that cart and the poor fellow was forced to follow me around – unloading them to be searched (yes I was one of the lucky ones!) and then loading them back up again. Control freak that I am, I kept wanting to say, ‘I’ll get it from here.’ Um, no, it doesn’t work that way.
We wound our way through the airport once my bags had passed the cursory inspection. Before I could tip my guy I needed to get some pesos. I thought all airports had ATMs these days… but apparently not. Again – people power. I waited impatiently behind a man as he changed his money. The young girl moved at the speed crystallized honey dripping, and meanwhile I scanned the crowd of folks waiting to pick up the new arrivals. I spotted Liz – my landlady’s mom who had so graciously offered to pick me up and waved tentatively. I didn’t know it yet, but she was accompanied by her partner George, spry 78-year-old American who spends half his year here, and half in Utah with his kids and grandkids.
A good 15 minutes later, pesos in hand and my porter following along behind we exited the airport. He even loaded the things into the back of the truck. The 20 pesos I gave him was probably a bit skimpy, but I was still unsure how to convert
I Made It!
A half hour later we wound up the twisty road known as “Panaramica” which encircles the town, and pulled into the , well not really a driveway. That’s when I was introduced to the ultra secure locks and bolts that would keep me safe in this compound. Heavy duty iron doors protect every home here it seems.
Oh. Ooops, Another thing I’d forgotten to take into account when packing: I’m on the 3rd floor. After we’d unlocked and locked a second iron gate, poor George and Liz huffed and puffed up the stone steps with me, each of us dragging a heavy suitcase, while I apologized at least a dozen times.
The view! The view! The view! Lights twinkled on the hillside opposite the wraparound deck.
“Wow!” I said. “I’m so excited to see what it all looks like in the morning!”
Third lock – and then I was in my new home! Beautiful, just like the pictures.
And… a one-room place. Where exactly will I put all this crap, I wondered.
Liz of the saintly nature had purchased a few food items for me, she showed me the basics and they were off.
Wired and excited, yet a little woozy, I stayed up till past 1 am unpacking. (I managed to find homes for almost everything) and then collapsed into the comfy bed, listening to the unfamiliar sounds of the Mexican night. (Which mostly consisted of a cacophony of dogs barking and howling to each other across the canyons).
Well, that’s long enough for one post! Tomorrow’s another day and I’ll catch up on the adventures of Days 1 -6 here in Guanajuato. Including the Great Key Debacle and how I ended up in Panoramica Twilight Zone – due to my affliction of being directionally challenged.
Oh – and BTW, I haven’t seen the moon rise yet – but since I started this post I was blessed with an incredible view of the crescent new moon hanging in the post sunset sky alongside Venus. Wow!