The genesis of my Mexico writing life began at a local cafe down the road from our studio at the “Janitzio”. I had started a small journal when we stayed in those 2 rooms on Lazaro Cardenas, writing mostly on a battered kitchen table, but I had not taken the journal to a cafe. When we discovered “Cafe San Angel”, it changed the way we lived our days – we would rise and have our simple breakfast of granola, fruit and yogurt on our balcony with coffee for Terry and tea for me. If it was a writing day (as opposed to a shopping day), we would grab our notebooks and pens and head down to the cafe. How liberating to sit by the side of Olas Altas street (Calle) and be able to watch all the comings and goings of our Mexican neighbourhood. What I remember most was the scent of freshly squeezed orange juice from the corner juice stand, the scent of pancakes cooking and the beautiful warm air. It was a pleasure to have a second cup of tea on the table, to write and think about all the days to follow. Writing there with Terry (he is a musician and was penning lyrics) led to other writing spots, we actually found ourselves being invited to write at an outdoor studio on a small island by the Rio Cuale with two artists and I found myself joining a writing club at a small bookstore called “Libreria Vallarta” (now closed). This writing life has become another gift from taking that first leap to live in and explore Mexico.
Journal Excerpt: December 13/2000
We bought a beautiful oil painting of sunflowers from the Veracruz artist, Manuel Zardain (it hangs in our West End apartment with a mate that we purchased as well), he works at an outdoor studio on the island by the Rio Cuale. He works very hard and we are enjoying his company. We’ve also met Rodrigo Lepe at the studio. He is another good artist, he paints in a similar primitive style like his famous brother Manuel (Manuel passed away several years ago). Terry & I have been invited to sit with them while they paint, we are welcome to do our writing. We’ve been to the river a few times to take pictures and write.
Another favourite writing spot is “Cafe San Angel”, this cafe is located on Olas Altas where we live. It is a cafe that has a large terrace with lots of outdoor seating. We really like it there. We go during the day or at night depending on what’s happening.
Re-reading the above excerpt brings back a lot of good memories, so much so, we were drawn back to this neighbourhood many times as an e-mail excerpt from Huguette’s book shows.
E-Mail Excerpt: January 6, 2005
on tuesday we had breakfast at cafe san angel and enjoyed working on journal writing and Terry, his songs. we then visited some elderly neighbours at our old place, the janitzio (at this time we were staying at the paloma del mar hotel as the janitzio was booked) and then headed out to mismaloya – we wanted to re-visit the jungle during the day. we went on a small hike and enjoyed looking at butterflies, iguanas and the clownfish in the sea. it is so beautiful there, a magical cove, very much a tropical paradise.
It has taken starting this blog and Huguette’s gift of my notes to bring me back to my Mexico journal writing self. It feels great to be back!