You forget, when you don’t come from a religious country, how pervasive it can be in one that is. In the market today I saw doll clothes that were for niño Jesús: baby Jesus. You can dress a dolly up in vestments, just like a priest! They come complete with hat, slippers and sometimes an appliqué of Jesus’ face on the gown. Then in the combi (a van taxi), a holographic Jesus protected us from the ceiling above the driver; Jesus went from the open armed, long-haired gentle guy we all know well, to him on the cross, just by a shift in how your head is held, which is constant on the roads here, speed bumps or topes every hundred meters, not to mention the cobblestones. The roadside shrines to el Virgin de Guadeloupe are very common, and full, complicated nativity scenes are still set up a month after the big day (not to mention Christmas tablecloths at the food stalls and blow-up snowmen and Santa piñatas). Then, when you say goodbye, there’s the Adios. Go with God. When I lived in Todos Santos (All Saints), they even said Adios for hello.
Another pervasive feature here is the tienda, or corner story. Abarrotes “Gaby” or “Lopez” etc. exist every half-block, at least, and it seems that they mostly sell the same things: packaged cookies, candy, chips, pop, milk and water, along with cleaning supplies, candles, toilet paper, a few canned goods and packaged tortillas. In other words, enough to tide you over until you get to the market. I’m not complaining; there’s a fantastic product here called “Ciel,” by Coca Cola, which is sparkling water (agua con gaz), that has a siphon built into it, so it doesn’t go flat once you open it. Brilliant! (though not returnable, they are recycling in Mexico now, which is a new thing since ’97). Anyway, for hot afternoons, there is nothing better than a limonada: fresh lime juice, simple syrup and fizzy water. Sometimes I go pick an orange and squeeze that in, too.
My new religion? Picking my own fruit.
Only problem? Must include regular pilgrimages.
Wait, is that a problem?