Speaking loudly in a tent outdoors to over 50 people is not easy but I managed to do a pretty good job if I say so myself this morning at the workshop. I enjoyed it tremendously. Always get a burst of energy when I teach to a responsive group. And when I find what I do useful to others. After the workshop I sat in the sun and closed my eyes for a long while in the gardens of the hotel. It was lovely.
This year the conference hub is behind the hotel, in the gardens, with lots of tables and chairs scattered among the trees and cacti, near the pond with jumping waters, and even a whole bunch of blankets and pillows on the grass for people to relax and nap or just enjoy the warm sun. David and I had lunch and then came back to our "casita" for a nap.
In the afternoon David discovered a cafe nearby and we headed there for coffee and cake, invited Mike and Sharon to join us. They were going in search of a mall to buy shorts and a slip. Go figure...
This evening's lecture was by Luis Urrea, a good writer from Chicago who teaches at the University of Illinois. I've known Luis since the 80s and see him ocassionally. His lecture was packed and received a standing ovation. He's a very good storyteller and entertaining speaker. Told stories of his childhood and his parents, aunts, godparents, and others who appear in his books. David found it a bit tedious after a while and I kind of agreed with him. But I'm used to that type of writing. Chicanos are good storytellers.
We had dinner at Hecho en Mexico, a well-known restaurant with a piano player and a patio open to the stars above. It was crowded but we waited. Food is good there. And many people were celebrating Valentine's Day. We walked back to our casita a little while ago and found a vase with white roses left by our hosts. They are so nice.
Walking in San Miguel is risky. Sprained ankles are a daily hazard. No, I'm kidding, but I find walking on the cobblestones difficult and irritating. It takes me forever to get places. To top it off, the sidewalks are narrow and you must dodge people, light poles, dogs. And cars. Lots of cars.
Everyone says "San Miguel is magical." So much so, that it has almost become a joke. It must be for the thousands of gringos who live here. I must confess I find them somewhat annoying. Most of them cannot speak a lick of Spanish. And that bugs me. After five or ten years in a place you would think they learn the language. Or am I asking too much?