Patricia Sardeson speaks . . . .
It occurred to me as we went walking in downtown Tlaxcala that much of what we see is like it was when I was a child and went downtown in our small Wisconsin city so many years ago. It was the thing to do on a Saturday morning, to go downtown, get a coke and French fries, see friends, and possibly a movie as well.
As were were walking we noticed the vast amounts of large shoe stores. Many were next door to each other creating much competition for each other. There were so many styles, sizes, colors and infinite varieties of shoes it was just mind boggling to think of which one to choose. We haven’t seen this on main street USA in many years. I remember the “Red Goose” and “Poll Parrot” shoe stores of my youth. As a young women, I would look in the window and think how cute they were and want the latest styles. Many times, they didn’t have them in my size. Here they have every size from infant to Large in the window. It is kind of fun to look ,see, and laugh at how impossible it must be to walk in some of those. The colors are also fun. Shoes for men in bright Blue, Pink, Red and whatever you have the nerve to wear. Women’s shoes that are so high that you are literally walking on your toes. I personally can’t see how the women walk on these cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks in them, but they do and don’t seem to trip as frequently as I do in my “sensible” shoes.
There are also the specialty shops. Dress shops for her. Men’s shops for him, and they are still displaying ties. Ties of every design and colors matching shirts, pants and suits. There are shops for just hats, jeans, infant clothing shops. There shops for just ribbon, lace, buttons. Shops for just paper and paper design crafts and posters. Shops for just gift wrapping. Shops for just handbags and costume jewelry. Shops just for perfumes and colognes. Leather only shops with everything from wallets to belts to jackets and pants of Leather. There are shops for decorative tile and glassware. Flower shops, music shops, fabric shops, and an endless amount of shops for trades like plumbing, electric, keys, beauty and barber shops. There are shops for just chicken either to take home and cook or roasted and ready to eat. There are only hallway wide restaurant and carry out shops. There large full meal/menu restaurants with tablecloths and dining chairs and service ready the minute you step in for a meal. That in itself is another wonderful adventure called comida corrida. I just say here it is great food and come hungry because it is a lot of food as well.
We marvel at how many times people here tell us they see us walking here or there. They frequently ask us with surprise why we aren’t driving. After all we are Americans. We of course would miss all this type of sightseeing if we were driving. We wouldn’t see the delightful little children who just stare at us because we are different and then give us one of those great big, wide eyed smiles that says it all. Because we walk so much, we see the workmen who are building many of the new projects and they yell “Buenas Dias” to us as we pass and we greet them with a wave and go on our way. When someone else sees us and again says “Benvenidos” to us. If we are confused as to our way, within minutes, someone is asking to help us find what we are looking for. In the past , before our Spanish got better, they might even walk us to exactly where we are wanting to go. I don’t think I can remember the last time anything like this happened to us in the USA. As I write this Steve has gone “downtown” on his own mission with absolutely no concern about his safety. We discussed where we will walk later on today. Wherever we go, it is probably certain we will end up “downtown” sitting for a little while in the Zocolo, watching the children chase the pigeons and having some wonderful, relaxed, quiet time, just enjoying the slowness of life here and remembering back at how it used to be in the USA.
Patricia Sardeson, AKA, MsSardo@Yahoo.com, reporting from Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, as the sidekick of the Genuine-Tourist, Stephen Sardeson.