Traveling these days is difficult; Ajijic, Mexico is easy. The sun rises at 7:30. The weather is perfect—sunny and 70°. It hasn’t rained in three months. The hibiscus is still blooming. Your windows are open 24/7. Your southern-facing apartment is bright and cozy.
8:15 You hear an approaching cowbell. It must be the garbage truck. You hand over your trash bag. Buenos días! EASY.
10:30 You head out for coffee—one block up, one block over, through the plaza to Art Coffee. Daniel or Josué or su madre makes you the perfect latte chico, 28 pesos roughly $1.30. EASY. You say Good morning to Franchesca, Ingrid, Pierce. You survey Bambi’s latest oils for a possible purchase. You meet a lovely couple from Toronto—they live in Riberas and bike over on the new path, 10 minutes. So EASY.
12:00 You run into Christophe and Flash. The three of you hike up the mountain (Flash stops to pee on every blade of grass, rock, stick) to the Gluten-Free Bakery to see Ross and Jose. You pick up two grande poblano empanadas, 50 pesos/$2.50 each. Ross wants to know your birthday so he can assess your compatibility with everyone he knows. Hannah is there with a cooler full of frozen meat; she’s a butcher. Susie Q is finishing her latte. You council a woman with a serious cake dilemma. You get invited to a party. EASY.
2:30 You stop at Riberas Copy to get some quarter-inch pressboard squares to gesso and paint for an acrylic project, 6 pesos/30¢ each. EASY. Cheap and EASY.
5:00 Betty texts with an invitation to Sunday dinner at Scallions, sure. You need a couple more steps, so you head to the lake. There’s a young man on a scaffold installing a brick facade. You take a photo. Tomorrow you will print a copy and give it to him. He will say, Wow! Thank you so much … in perfect English. EASY.
5:30 On the Malecón, you see familiar faces. You see the Texas couple with the German shepherd and the polar-bear dog. You see the same dozen skate rats on boards and bikes ages 3 to 16. You see the little man who’s always dressed in black. You see the tall, handsome guy with the impressive, grey ponytail. You sit on the bench dedicated to John’s friend Averial Miller and listen to the breeze through the palms. You text Gemaluz for a mani/pedi appointment. You watch the sunset. Damn, this is EASY.
NOTE: My visa expires in April. I have hesitated to purchase my return flight to Chicago, even though it would be easy.
READING: The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion and Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit