Sidewalk shoppers

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SITTING AT A sidewalk table abutting the plaza with a nice café Americano negro and nothing but time on my hands allows me to notice things.

Just up from where I sit are lines of  sidewalk stands where people we call hippies (they don’t care for the term) sell wares like earrings, handmade drums, things you tie around your wrist to look artsy, stuff you move to make the sound of rain, Indian incense, that sort of gear. It attracts tourists, especially on weekends.

I took this shot last Saturday. The two women cannot be from around here. They just don’t look like mountaintop people. They look like big-city gals, maybe from the nearby state capital or Guadalajara or even Mexico City.

I’ve spent 40 years, more than half my life, living in tourist towns. New Orleans, San Juan and now here amid the cobblestone streets and bougainvillea. People from more prosaic spots visit and think, “I could live here,” but then they go home and die in Dubuque.

21 thoughts on “Sidewalk shoppers

  1. I always enjoy your b & w photos. You must have a long telephoto lens. Do you use a tripod? The other day I tried to take a b & w, and my latest camera has no such setting. I’m sure my older cameras had it plus sepia. Maybe I didn’t look far enough. It could be buried on some settings menu.

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    1. Phxxer: Thanks, but no, I do not have a long telephoto lens. I have two cameras. One is a Canon SX520 that comes with a 42X zoom built in. The other is a wonderful little Fujifilm Finepix that has, for its size, an astounding 20X zoom. And no, I do not use a tripod. As for the B&W, the Canon can make any photo B&W, but I have almost never done it with the camera. I have a free app on my PC called Fotor that I use for that. Got it in the Windows Store.

      Your feedback should not be moderated here in the future, by the way. WordPress did it this time, not me.

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    2. It’s best to just make the shots B&W in a post-processing program like PhotoShop. You can then tweak the process to make the best of the photo you have rather than just apply some generic thing to make it B&W. And then you still have a color photo too if you change your mind.

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  2. Funny. We don’t have any hippies or Hare Krishnas in San Miguel, thank God. We do have tons of Chilangos most of whom wear little flower tiaras or felt fedoras, a la Dianne Keaton. They are even more annoying than the foreigners.

    It’s easy to complain about them, but you know what? Until someone discovers oil or uranium ore on the way to Dolores, we’re stuck with the tourist clown cart as the chief economic driver.

    (You may want to switch to decaf to calm your nerves.)

    al

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    1. Señor Lanier: You have no hippies in San Miguel? That’s a hoot. You have tons of them, old Gringo flower children. Our hippies, however, are Mexican. As for switching to decaf, nah. I need my caffeine!

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  3. Felipe: I too have spent a lot of time living in tourist areas. The worst was St. Andrews, NB, Canada. From mid-June until mid-October was a nightmare. People standing in the middle of the road to take photos, parking their cars across the entrance to the driveway, etc. We had some respite when the Hells Angels bought a motel just outside town and started coming there every weekend, but then they were run out of town. To this day, even in winter, it is hard to find a room to stay in to go back and visit.

    Where we live now is not as bad, but already they are drifting in. In summer the population easily triples (something to do with lobster and golf). It’s not as bad as St. Andrews though, and I’m not in the middle of a big tourist draw, so they are welcome to come and spend money.

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    1. Kris: People go to Canada to visit? Who knew? Just kidding. Our tourism is of a different sort, it seems. We get quite a few people on weekends, and tons on special occasions like Los Muertos and Semana Santa. Normally, it’s kinda quiet around here, which is how I like it.

      You’re to be congratulated for knowing the Hells Angels do not put an apostrophe in their name. They should, grammatically speaking, but they don’t.

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      1. Felipe: I initially did put in the apostrophe, then envisioned the colors, and remembered there wasn’t one. They certainly did raise hell on weekend nights. They would close off the main sreet and have drag races.

        Because our island is off the beaten path, tourists tend to come here for from a week to several months. It also attracts a lot of cottage owners from central Canada and the US. The joke was; I went to PEI, and wasn’t sure whether I was in Quebec or New York.

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  4. I’ve lived most of my life in tourist towns, first San Francisco, then Boston, with of course a stint in CDMX. I only mind the tourists when they get in the way. For example, I used to work in Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. It’s a set of four very tall buildings (>40 stories) connected by walkways where the first couple of floors are a sort of open-air mall, with the floors connected by escalators. To get to my office, I’d have to take an escalator to the second floor, then get on an elevator for the rest of the journey to the 26th floor. My big gripe with the tourists was that they’d get to the top of the escalator and then just stop, seemingly dumbfounded. Of course it being an escalator, the mechanism would push me into them, and I’d always wish that they could at least take a couple of steps forward and to the side before stopping to gawk. But few did. Otherwise they can be quite entertaining as they remark amazedly on something I see every day.

    In the summer, Boston is choked with tourists, but not so much in the winter. And in CDMX the vast majority of the tourists are Mexicans, though there’s a sprinkling of foreigners.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where the city has a billboard promoting dirt-bike riding. Redneck tourism at its best.

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    1. Kim: I’m not sure I would call Mexico City a tourist town. Lots of tourists go there, of course, but they’re outnumbered 1,000-to-1 by people who live there. You scarcely notice them except in certain areas. Mexico City is, I think, a place I will never set foot in again. I pray so.

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  5. “People from more prosaic spots visit and think, “I could live here,” but then they go home and die in Dubuque.”

    That’s a great line.

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  6. Hmmm! I have an old Smith Corona like that. Still works great, but it is hard finding ribbons anymore.

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    1. Señor Gill: You’re referring, of course, to The Moon’s new theme. More on that tomorrow. That’s not mine in the header, but I have a Royal from, I think, the 1920s that belonged to my grandfather, then my father and now me. It sits in the Hacienda living room as a decoration. It’s in retirement, like me, recalling the past.

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  7. If I could talk my Significant Other into it, I’d gladly come be a tourist in your mountain town. Maybe someday we will get there.

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  8. Felipe,

    I like your new theme! Also, wanted to compliment you on the photo. I have no artistic talent, but I recognize it when I see it. I’ve also noticed you have an eye for the ladies;-)

    Regards,
    Troy

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