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This was an experiment/art project I performed about a week ago. I sat in the touristic center of Guanajuato—Jardin de la Union—armed with drawing supplies, a tupperware full of homemade cookies (snickerdoodles!), and the above sign. To my surprise, a diverse group of strangers happily participated and I ran out of paper in about an hour.
It was an awesome experience. Here are the resulting drawings and their artists:
(This girl came back later to do another one.)
—KT Lindemann, 2013
The Festival Internacional Cervantino has begun!!
AND I HAVE TONSILLITIS!!
The Cervantino is the the world’s largest vaguely Miguel de Cervantes themed international arts festival. It (kind of) started in the 60s when some thespians from the University began putting on annual performances of Miguel de Cervantes plays. In 1972, Guanajuato held the first official international festival, each year choosing invited countries of honor (and a Mexican state of honor, too). Since then it’s grown into a really really really big deal.
This year, it’s estimated to attract 140,000 tourists over three weeks. That’s more people than live here.
So the already impossibly narrow streets of Guanajuato Capital are packed during most hours of the day. But the festival does bring a lot of awesome artists, and plenty of very cool events and attractions. It makes for some really excellent gallery hopping.
Most of the events require a ticket, but you can catch a concert/ballet/etc if you’re devoted enough to show up hours early for the free events at the Ahlondiga or Los Pastitos and get a good spot. Sometimes you can catch a song or two if you run into a band doing their soundcheck on one of the outdoor venues, and the street performers are as flamboyant and shameless as ever.
The inaugural concert at the Ahlondiga included a few artists from Honorable Invited Country Poland.
It. Was. Awesome.
First, there was the very talented Classical Pianist and Singer Who Only Sings Vowels, followed by Edgy Contemporary Pianist who put stuff in his piano to affect the sound. The latter was really very cool to watch.
And then there was POLISH METALLLLLLL!!!
And then SOME DANCERS DANCING TO POLISH METAL!!
(I think the dance was a metaphor for Poland’s independence)
It was there at MexicanPolandFest that my host mom noticed that I wasn’t feeling too hot, so we headed over to the nearest 24-hour pharmacy to get me checked out.
They sent me home with a cocktail of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory pills and vitamin c tablets. I took those, drank lots of tea, and tried to sleep it off. It wasn’t really doing much.
It sucks being sick during the Cervantino for a couple of reasons. First thing that sucks: I’ve missed some events. But the festival is three weeks long, so there will be plenty.
Second thing that sucks: One of the side-effects of nursing tonsillitis is looking like a fucking tourist.
My giant-ass tonsils make it kind of hard to breathe. They make is super hard to breathe when I’m walking up hills. And there are a whoooole lot of hills here. On a normal day, most inclines are a breeze. On a tonsillitis day, I get winded going up half a flight of stairs. So when I’m on the three-part uphill trek to my house, I go at a snail’s pace and look like this:
Like a Gringa fresh of the plane from somewhere very flat, who is new to the idea of roads that can’t be accessed by motor vehicles (and roads that are just, y’know, stairs.)
Also, I have no idea why this happens, but my American accent is much, much thicker when I’m sick. So when I’m at the helado stand, stumbling over “un vaso chico de limón por favor,” the guy behind me in line is quick to ask, “¿de donde eres?”
To which I respond, “I AM AN EXCHANGE STUDENT… From Minnesota. In the United States. Hello!”
I think foreign tourists are typically frightened of street snacks, though, so maybe I can maintain my exchange student cred as long as I have lime sorbet or a bag of agua de jamaica in my hand. Yum.
By the time this tonsillitis thing had been going on for a little over a week, I was pretty frustrated. Luckily, my host mom’s aunt and cousins from Tampico are staying with us for some of the Cervantino. It’s lucky because one of her cousins is a doctor, the other one is a nurse, and her aunt makes really awesome spicy crab soup (freshly fished in Tampico!).
Doctor Cousin took a look at my throat using the handle of a spoon and the flashlight on her iPhone. Then she inspected the medicine I got from the pharmacy.
“Ayyy! These antibiotics aren’t strong enough. You’re going to need an injection.”
So I’m all NBD-I-ain’t-afraid-of-no-needles when my host dad says,
“injections in the butt!”
I was visibly distressed at that, so my host mom offered a comforting, “Don’t worry! I have a trick I used on my kids! I slapped them on the ass before the needle went in to distract them!”
OH GOD. OH GOD.
It was then that Doctor Cousin said I would need THREE OF THEM. Uf-da.
I got my first shot today. The stress caused by googling “Do antibiotic shots in the ass hurt?” was way worse than the actual shot. It felt like getting a regular shot in the arm… and then falling on a rock. Walking off the pain takes, like, a minute. I hope it fucking works.
Because I’m itching to go walk around and get some CULTURE!! YAY, ART OF THE WORLD!!
Happy Cervantino, everybody!
People’s White Dude’s List!
12% of the voters were women? Christ. The ratio of women in the actual list is even more awful.
Also: Where the hell is Sleater-Kinney??
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