December 23, 2008

Santa Rosalia shops for Christmas

Here it is the 23rd of December, almost Christmas. Santa Rosalia is decorated to the hilt with lots of Christmas lights everywhere downtown including the main plaza and side- streets. Mechanical moving reindeer beckon from second stories as do lots of big outdoor inflatable Santa-type balloons including one of Santa flying an airplane. The store merchandise spills over onto tables edging the streets, as well as a guy selling fresh fish and shellfish out of the back of his pickup, a small stand with fresh strawberries (from where?) for sale, and tons of pedestrians crossing the streets as their whims dictate. There is even a sign advertising cockfighting on Christmas day--somehow that seems un-Christian. Traffic creeps along downtown’s 4 major east-west streets, and cross-hatched 14 or so north-south streets (that are only 4 or 5 blocks long). The east-west streets are one-way streets of alternating opposite directions. And the north-south streets follow the same pattern, except that there are two Calle 8’s a block apart both going the same one-way direction.

Just about every other store is women’s clothing or accessories with a few baby’s and men’s shops thrown in, about four major grocery stores (not very big), snow cone and frappe sellers, taco stands and a few stationary/sports combined stores (a rather puzzling combination). I drove downtown with Esperando today as we needed to go to the bank and the liquor store and parking is all but non-existent anywhere this close to Christmas. I drove around the block which actually ends up being about 10 blocks because of intervening one-way streets, then found a lucky parking place to pull into thinking to give him a bit of time to get in and out of the instant teller. What I hadn’t counted on was the continuous stream of traffic that wouldn’t let me back out onto the street for about 10 minutes. By the time I maneuvered back to where I could turn back up the street he was on, the policewoman directing traffic held me up another 5 minutes. So the poor man had been standing waiting for me much longer than I had intended.

Next stop was the liquor store, normally in a not too busy location. I found a parking spot in front of a nursery school which had let out for the day, just around the block. I spent 10 minutes wrestling the truck into a parallel park, called Esperando and said call me when you are ready. I am ready now he said. So I unparked and drove around the block to pick him up. Theoretically we are all stocked up and set for the holidays.

As tradition for us dictates, tomorrow night we will have guacamole and chips, posole, New Mexico style enchiladas, and tamales. I made a lucky find of beautiful dried red Anaheim type chiles, so we will enrich the good canned enchilada sauce they have here with that too. Christmas morning will start with a spinach and cheese strata. We are having a turkey and the all trimmings on Christmas. We will be sharing Christmas with Flaming Mike and his wife we are enroute to San Diego the next day. I hope we don’t all freeze to death opening gifts in the house, since we do not have heating. Who would be believe that I could be wrapped up in my warmest clothes because it is 62F inside and a balmy 74F outside in the sun. Praise God for the electric blanket that keeps me warm at night!

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