Happy Summer Solstice!
My morning started slowly, with several installments of intending to be up and moving in a timely fashion, and then having something slow me down. I was going to shower and face the world, but the floor had just been washed. I was going to gallop bravely into el centro to withdraw cash and to buy the Christmas present for V., but the New Zealand couple came back and reported that not only were the standard Thursday protests going on, but today there had been water cannons and visible clouds of tear gas at the formation of the march, near where we were (instead of only near the end of the march, as is more usual). So I tarried at home, not wanting to hurtle into the tear gas if I could help it.
Eventually, I got antsy, and set off into the town. Luckily, all signs of the protests had disappeared. Instead of tear gas, there was a fierce wind, filled with specks of leaf dust and dirt that tried their best to befriend my contact lenses. I walked through the town with my eyes squinted delicately.
There’s an insipid pop song that inquires, “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind…?” Today, I would have had to answer with a resounding yes. At times, I felt as though I walked with the force of the south wind behind me; at other times, I grabbed onto posts to steady myself after particularly ferocious gusts.
When I reached Plaza Anibal Pinto, I was startled by a snapping noise above my head. I looked up to see several giant woody palm fronds breaking off from the palm trees in the square, blowing about twenty feet, and catapulting themselves down into the street. I considered lingering nearby to try and get video of the plummeting palm fronds, but thought that might not be so wise.
I walked a little further, grabbed cash, and turned around to head back towards home. There were a few unwary birds in the air; it was odd to see them flying in a completely different direction than the one at which they were aimed and furiously flapping. I was almost certain that one particular seagull would collide with a building, but luckily he regained his direction in time to veer away.
I stopped at the supermercado for a few groceries and at the mercado to choose V.’s gift (I think/hope she will like it!). Then, I swam through the wind once more, to grab a colectivo home. Much of V.’s family arrived today for Christmas, so I spent the rest of the day alternating between computer-time and chatting with them as they passed by.