A journal note I made from December 08, 2004 at our Olas Altas studio is a quote from a very nice (and handsome) restaurant server working at “Restaurant La Tia” on Lazaro Cardenas. We had discovered the original “La Tia” (a tiny hole in the wall place) on a quiet corner in our neighbourhood and enjoyed their tasty homemade plates as well as their local pricing. When a second restaurant opened up beachside with outdoor seating, we found ourselves there one evening, talking with this interesting young man about all things Mexican. One of his comments caught my attention and imagination, he said that, “Mexicans are people of the night” – as soon as he said those words, I thought of Huguette who loves the moon and of the Olas Altas area that is very alive at night.
I am always surprised when I find myself out at night here in the West End, it’s like a different world and for some people, a different shift – I swear that I see faces of people that I never see in the daylight. I always make a “note to myself” to spend more time out in the night; coming home from my yoga class is sometimes so beautiful – on clear nights I can see the stars, the air is crisp with woodsmoke at it’s edges and it makes me want to keep on walking…
We found that when we lived in or travelled to Mexico that we encountered a “witching hour”, it usually made itself known at 8pm (Mexican time), we would both feel restless and we figured out that we were missing some of our West End distractions. We were living without T.V., access to our music, bookshelves and no phone, so what could we do, well as you might have guessed, we became night people!
During this time of year in Mexico from November 30th til December 12th is a wonderful nighttime celebration called “the processions”. Terry and I discovered these processions during our first long stay, we went on a walk to downtown and came across several groups of people setting up tables in the zocolo, food was being prepared as well and it got us thinking, we could experience some culture and help our budget by doing some nighttime grazing. The processions are made up of the faithful from businesses, schools and restaurants, the Mexican people come together to walk down Juarez St. to the church to honour their patron saint, the Virgin of Guadelupe. There are so many stands that they cover blocks, manned by local families and some restaurant owners, too. Over the years we have tasted and brought back to the studio many wonderful Mexican bites, thoroughly enjoying our night time lives, taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of Mexico.
Journal Entry: December 08th, 2004
After lunch we headed out for an afternoon malecon walk – we ended up exploring, trying to find out where the procession food stands were being set up. In previous years, they were set up in the zocolo – our friend Al said that this year they would be set up near Lan’s department store on Juarez. He was right, we walked there and got a chance to see a procession starting up – this procession was made up of Mexican children of all ages, the pre-school ones were very sweet. There were lots of traditional costumes, they were very colourful and I felt far from home…
Just yesterday, I had a rush of Mexico come over me, I could picture myself in our studio, the kitchen counter covered in the day’s market bounty and the call of the night drawing us down to the many food stands, anticipating bringing home delicious slices of cake to have with tea on our balcony. As December unfolds here in the West End, I hope the memories of the night people once again come alive in me.