Brown

7 10 2013

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine,

but because people refuse to see it.

James Michener

If I lived in this dreary town I’d invest in paint.

Me.

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Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico

Capital of Mexico’s second-largest state: Sonora

Eight hours south of Phoenix

June.

112 °F ~ 44°C

Summer, I’m told, has not yet arrived.

Brown.

Desert. Dust. Adobe. Dirt. Bricks. Rocks. Cobblestones. Concrete. Boulders. Heat waves. Grit. Grime. Muck. Chaff. Weeds (dead). Dreary. Desolate. Bleak. Barren. Gloomy. Wasteland. Hot. Hot. Hot. Dry. Dry. Dry.

Brown.

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I’ve been a bit reticent to walk Hermosillo’s dimly lit streets at night. This is a “city,” not a village like my home of Puerto Morelos or even Morrison, Colorado.

But Hermosillo, like cities everywhere, is constructed of “neighborhoods.”

At dusk, I reluctantly ventured out my El Centro apartment as the day cooled to approximately 110 and a dusty breeze swirled an errant plastic bag from the curb. My camera captured adobe breaking through cement and crumbling bricks. Tired, hundreds-of-years-old buildings. Ancient arches. Graffiti. Dead weeds. Cactus. Brilliant bursts of bougainvillea. Neighbors filtering into the streets. Sitting on curbs. Leaning against trucks. Chatting. Relishing the “cool” of the evening, the descending dark, the ascending nearly-full moon.

There’s something going around the corner?? A pig. On a leash. Named Chuletta.  Chuletta, translated: Pork Chop. I do love Mexico.

Chuletta - Pork Chop

Chuletta – Pork Chop

This, however, is not a tourist town – and in the night, I’m not totally comfortable as the Lone Gringa. At the upcoming corner sits a gaggle of men about my age, beers in hand — one perched on the tailgate of his pick-up-truck, picking guitar. Should I turn back? Question answered as they clown for my camera. Conversation ensues. Well — with my barely-Spanish, it kind of ensues. But I accept their offer of a cervesa –  international symbol of camaraderie — and enjoy the one song my musician is obviously pleased to know in English – Hotel California.

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This is the oldest neighborhood in Hermosillo, they proudly proclaim. Most of these guys work at the University of Sonora – an engineer, a doctor, a couple lawyers, citizens of the World. We dance. My partner, however, was born with that Latin Salsa gene of which I am sorely lacking. Laughter, however, is universal.

They ask if I like Mexico. “Mexico have good people,” the musician proclaims. “And you are good people,” he adds, touching my heart.

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Brown.

Eyes. Faces. Hands. Hair. Smiles. Laughter. Kindness. Joy. Understanding.  Delight. Friendly. Helpful. Honest. Warm. Welcoming. Bronze. Beautiful.

Brown.

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Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all.

Carlos Castaneda

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5 responses

8 10 2013
Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua

Oh my gosh, Mary!!! Your description of this neighborhood is vivid, colorful, and poetic. You are a very talented writer. I will never look at brown again in the same way. Hotel California….Pork Chop the pig….jejeje. We spent a couple months camping near a Mexican border town many, many years ago. I read all of the Carlos Castaneda books sitting near the Rio Grande…changed my entire perspective of Mexico.

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8 10 2013
almalunaspanish

Beautiful descriptions! And gorgeous pictures. The buildings! They are a visual of how so much of Mexico is one thing layered over another, each layer adding to the character as a whole — even more so than polished modernism. Lovely job!

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9 10 2013
Mary Cebuhar

As you know, my friend, I also LOVE Mexico, its people, the food, the charm…Everything. I’m lucky enough to have been in 29 of the 31 states. Hard to pick a favorite, as they are all so different. You do a marvelous job of writing and photography. Keep up the good work. Enjoy every delicious day!

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4 12 2013
Steve Garcia

I laughed out loud at the composition of the men and their tailgate party – engineer, lawyers, doctor.

I’m reminded of Peru, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, and the local train. Long story short, because I bombed out sick on the trail, I had to ride a horse down to the railroad station (horse riding is NOT allowed!). Once there, one train wouldn’t take me, because as of 1999 no tourists were allowed on the local trains. Too much larceny. Bad for tourism.

The second train took me, and I sat across from an older man and a 35-ish man. In the car were a gaggle of 9-10-year-old girls, and with every tunnel the squealing reached a new crescendo. That got us laughing, and I found out that the terrible gangsters across from me were a retired lawyer and his doctor son, one from Lima, and one from Cuzco. Total criminal types. NOT.

Sound familiar?

We had a nice talk there, too. And we were all citizens of the world.

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4 12 2013
Steve Garcia

…and the climate of Hermosillo is the exact opposite of Guanajato. GTO has had ONE day in recorded history over 99°F. (And if it ever snows here, people here are gonna have a cow.)

114°? I sweat at 74°…LOL Hell, the record where I come from is 113°.

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