April 30, 2020

Life continues, life discontinues... Part II

So here we are : phase 3. It feels like the countdown to the launch of something unknown.
Everyday, things got a bit more surreal. And I wonder what is going to be different today ?
The French bakery closed on Relox street, the mannequin in the shop window wears a mask matching her outfit.

And further down that street a panaderia, bakery is open and it takes a couple of minutes to read all the instructions prior enter. Pedro tells me that since last night customers needs to wear a mask before entering. Three bottles of antibacterial gel are available at the entrance. Three bottles. It is not an invitation, to wash your hand but a command.

The Panaderia, bakery

I guess, at this point I need to get myself a mask. Pedro takes me to a couple of places to find a mask. You would think pharmacies are the right places to get those but not particularly. We enter in three different pharmacies before I can find the uncomfortable disposable version of the « cubrebocas » at 10 pesos. My ears are too small to hold the paper mask on my face. I continue my quest for a « cubreboca ».

Pedro in front of the panaderia

The entrances of the gardens have been now sealed with barriers and security tape. Double layers of yellow security tape on benches too. The streets around the central park are pretty empty, not the same story in the streets by Ignacio Ramirez market. Busy people with colorful masks or no masks are running their errands.

By Plaza Civica

I am very intrigued with this small square opening in a wooden door. There is an improvised sign above that says « Abierto », open. That’s a papeleria, stationer’s shop. You make your purchase through the small opening in the door or ask to get in. One person at the time. Of course I asked to get inside. A man with a mask open the door and I make my secret transaction : two notebooks for my online workshops.

The papeleria

My quest for a « cubreboca » ends in a shop selling fabric where the man who seems to be the owner is cutting pieces of fabric in order to make the « cubrebocas ». Different colors with elastic behind the head. He makes 30 of them per hour. Undecided, I take several to start my 2020 spring collection of « cubrebocas ».

Masks in the making

My Spring collection of masks

The ice-cream place is nearby and I indulge myself with a macadamia and pistachio ice-cream in a chocolate waffle cone. The girls wear plexiglass masks. I remember seing those in Mongolia a couple of years ago, in a fancy pastry shop before it became trendy here. Masks are becoming a fashion accessory.  

San Miguel de Allende, center

And I meet Tony from Guatemala. He is on his way to the US for a better life. With his broken English and my broken Spanish we manage to have a conversation. He is looking for a restaurant to eat. I wish restaurants would be still open. I write in the air with my finger, the number of death in the US. Several times so, he really gets the number of zero I try to show him. He is in disbelief. Apparently in Guatemala when people sneeze nothing happens. I’m in disbelief.
Life continues

And this surreal day doesn’t end here. As I was going to enter the supermarket, two security guards walked out by me. One had a riffle. I grab a shopping cart after I wrapped the handle with my cotton shopping bag and proceed to the entrance. Another security guard, in charge of filtering the entrance asked me to put my mask on and to hold my hands open so he can pour some antibacterial gel on. Only one family member is allowed to enter. If we were in a movie, I would look behind me and someone with a tensed smile would tell me « Good luck ! ».

Life discontinues
At 9 pm there are not many customers. They all wear a mask and follow the directional signs on the floor, like they would in an Ikea store. I’m not very focused on my grocery list as I worry to break any of those new rules. So what ? Probably nothing. I finally found the Amaretto for my other family member. Rolling towards the checkout I notice there are new stickers on the floor. Keep your distance. And as I thought I was done with all this, the cashier informs me that she can’t sell alcool after 9 pm. This one is not a new rule. The bottle of Amaretto will remain at the store tonight. I leave the store by what used to be the second entrance door and feel released. Released from what ? I don’t know.

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