Life so far has been different. Everything here is an up-hill challenge (with added altitude). Your average streets are few and far between; traffic flows secretly in a labyrinth of underground tunnels and the surface is riddled with crooked stepped alleyways leading up and down, but mainly up and up and up and up. I’ve decided to measure how well I’m settling in and becoming local by how much my throat and lungs hurt every time I climb the streets to Alice’s house. Today on my way home I thought that they definitely hurt 20% less than last week so in five weeks time I should’ve returned to normal levels of unfitness. But just as the thought rolled into my mind it quickly slipped out again as I saw a man carrying a cello on his back up the steep hill towards my house. He heard me struggling for breath behind him and he turned his crinkled face, bowing his white cowboy hat and whistled “Guerita, buenas noches”. I took a deep breath…”Buenas noches”. My cheeks were like pools of water with someone dipping purple watercolour brushes in them. Blood swirled around them and collected there like two throbbing sanguine face pouches. I felt uncomfortably foreign.

Apart from living in what could be a realisation of an Escher painting, I’ve decided that Guanajuato isn’t too bad. Between not knowing where the buses stop and rejecting a sales pitch for organic make-up, cake and Netflix from the woman upstairs, there have been a few times now where I’ve felt the city trying to persuade me. As we know, cities are people, and not just according to me but according to everyone…Medieval Arabs believed that cities were female; the ultimate metaphor for rape and conquest. Mexico City was never a human to me though, it was always a beast, a creature, a misunderstood animal. There would be a mighty crack from the earth and a groan from the ooze of traffic and I would know it had woken up and to therefore stay inside the apartment for three days in my pijamas. I haven’t worked out who Guanajuato is yet but he’s giving me signs. There I already said it. He’s male, right now in a completely binary sense, but I’m still getting to know him. At the moment he’s a teenage boy flexing his muscles in P.E, at least he was when me and Martha were sat in a bar the other night and a flamenco group began to play. He knew I couldn’t resist a dark, mysterious Spanish melody. “Look at me look at what I can do” he was saying, but I couldn’t respond with blushes and giggles that a teenage me might’ve given. “I’m a grown woman now”, I said with arms folded, “you’ll have to try harder”. And with that he quickly began to change, evolve if you will, into someone else.

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4 thoughts on “Guanajuato was a teenage boy: the beginning.

  1. Is a city male or female? Of course good “auld” english wouldn’t know… Though you guys call ships a “she”. I think a city is female, at least in french, spanish, portuguese, italian. German? Not sure…
    🙂
    PS. You have great photographs. Good eye.

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