At Denver International Airport, before boarding the plane from Denver to Los Angeles, I downloaded a Henry David Thoreau book called Walking. I figured a philosophical slant on things would help keep me balanced. Also, I thought that perhaps reading about walking would help me cope more effectively with being folded up into tight spaces for the ensuing two days (or it would have the opposite effect on me…I wasn’t sure).
I still haven’t read the whole book, but I did get up to the part where Thoreau talks about the virtues of walking west. There, he lost me. But everything before that point was inspiring and thought-provoking. Thoreau purportedly spent up to 4 hours a day just wandering around on foot. He would spiral outwards from his home and explore someplace new every day. I thought that I could make it a goal to walk for two hours a day. This seemed like a sufficiently vague and unproductive thing to do; just the sort of thing that might lead me somewhere I wouldn’t expect. At LAX, I propositioned Lydian to walk with me, but unfortunately, my timing was off.
“I don’t know, Mom.” She said in a huff. “I just kind of had other plans, ya know?”
Lydian is a nester. She likes to know where her “home” is, specifically, her private space, and she likes to arrange her stuff inside it just so. When she doesn’t know where she’ll sleep at night or if she doesn’t feel like she has control over when she’ll get there, John and I become subject to the wrath of adolescence and fire and brimstone falls from the sky. Since arriving here in Guanajuato and staking out her space, Lydian has turned sweet again. About an hour after our arrival she told me that the idea about just strolling around for a while each day was a good one.
On our first day out and about, we had a lot of fun together. We agreed to only speak Spanish on the street when we’re surrounded by others
because we blend in better and people stare less. Our only goal within the goal of wandering around for an hour was to find someplace notable to take John to each evening after he finished his work. On this day, we found a church and a park with a nifty, spirally tree.
We saw a number of young people making out on the park benches and a little kiosk with books inside behind glass promoting reading out loud to children. Amusing hand-drawn pictures adorned the little area. Later, when we returned to the park with John, there were teenagers and some younger kids attentively gathered around a collegiate reader at the kiosk the way you would see only 2-7 year olds listening to a book read aloud in the United States.
We also saw a large banner with pictures of women giving themselves a breast self-exam, which made me stop and think in part because Lydian’s friend, Camile talked with Lydi about “Pink Day” at school. In a way, I was put off by the banner of breasts, but on the other hand, at least the banner was informative. What the hell does “Pink Day” do for anyone except market people so that they feel all warm and fuzzy buying pink crap that supposedly fuels breast cancer research?
This train of thought then led me to consider the possibility that Mexico could easily become more powerful than the United States if people in the U.S. don’t start taking their personal health into their own hands. Mexico, for example, recently told Monsato to take its GMO-corn and shove it and then promptly put a whopping 5% tax on junk food. I can’t wait to see the results from this. The United States would never put a tax on junk food. Junk food is what keeps the pharmaceutical industries at the top of the food chain after all and as long as the American public continues to believe that healthy food isn’t all that important and a pill can cure all, we’ll continue to become weaker and weaker as a country.
We stopped at the grocery store on the way home where we bought two backpacks full of fresh produce for about $10 and then we headed home. Guanajuato is at a higher altitude than at home (about 6,000 feet) and we really feel it on the final 15 hills and 100 steps to our house (carrying backpacks).
I think Thoreau walked around in fairly unpopulated areas during a time when the United States was not entirely settled yet, but this is much more interesting. Mexico and Latin American countries really knows how to do festivals and Guanajuato is a city that can provide years of entertainment if you enjoy wandering around and getting lost.