BootsnAll Travel Network

Last day in Guanajuato

I have the sickness of heart that all travelers get when the trip is almost over, and yet each moment is sweeter than the others. I spent the morning on my own, visiting churches, feeling the ways that faith manifests in this place.

In the JesuitsĀ“ grand edifice built in 1747, a young woman in blue jeans proceeded on her knees, tears in her eyes, from the side altar to the Virgen de Guadalupe (many photographs of children laid on the altar) toward the main altar to the Virgen de Guanajuato. Gum-chewing tourists snapped pictures of her, their flashes going off like sharp darts of light. She went on, involved in her sorrow, making her private penitence. Two well-groomed elder women dressed the side altars with fresh lillies and new candles. A child with a midwestern accent stomped her feet on the stones and complained loudly, “I’m sick of churches! I want to go back to the hotel and watch TV!”

In another spectacular church a small choir sang, perhaps a rehearsal. I sat and enjoyed them, regarded the deeply carved wooden doors, the velvet gowns on the statues, the posters announcing events for Semana Santa. I meandered the streets, watched a father with a Mayan face play peek-a-boo with a toddler who could have been a clone of him; inhaled the smells of bread baking, sweet pastries, urine, gasoline fumes. Tried to memorize the color, but it continues to dazzle and surprise me. I watched vendors try (and mostly fail) to sell rugs, molas, beads, silver jewelry, rosaries, roses, ice cream bars, and yarn dolls. Then I sat for a couple of easy hours in a sidewalk cafe, sipping iced infusion of blackberries and wild fruits, writing postcards to prisoners who spend their lives dressed in white, sending them 5X7 doses of intense color.

I whisper under the eaves of orange, rose, aqua, blue, mauve, and striped houses the curse of Faust: linger a moment longer, thou art so sweet.

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