Friday, November 7, 2008

The Washboard Streets

As you can see from the photo, Mexican streets are different from ours. Those over in Guanajuato were amazing--black, hand-laid flat stone that almost looked like tile....tightly joined together, and going up some pretty steep inclines. Pity the poor road workers who have to create and repair the streets, one stone at a time on their hands and knees.

In San Miguel de Allende, however, it was a different story. The photo here is actually of a San Miguel street. Many of these are made from big round rocks....the kind you find at the bottom of a river. Some not so smooth. Just set into concrete. So you have kind of a washboard effect. Or more like those plastic sandals with are the little bumpy things on the footbed. Imagine walikg across these streets....with oncoming traffic and no stop signs! Your foot lands on the top of a stone, then slides into the depression between it and the next stone. I saw little kids, blind folks, ladies in high heels, and motorcyclists navigating the funhouse streets. With no falls. At least any that I saw.

More on Mexican streets. They're named funny. At least to American sensibilities. For example these streets in San Miguel--

The Clock (or Watch) Street (El Reloj)
The Organs Street (Los Organos)....explain that one to your Mom!
Aparition Street (Aparicio)
Old Tithe Street (Diezmo Viejo)
And in Guanajuato:
Chen's WORM Street (Gusano de Chen)
Casualty Street (Casualidad)...maybe a lot of accidents?
Mules Street (Las Mulas)...a place to make an ass of yourself
Solitude Street (Soledad)
Flea Market Street (La Baratilla)
Dry Battery (Pila Seca)...OK, it also translates "Dry Pile," also lovely
And also every saint you can name has a street. I'm waiting for Saint Rodrigo Street!
And a goodly number of streets have the name of an important date in history. For example, almost every town has a 16th of September Street. Like they say in Buenos Aires, you need a calendar to get around town!