I went went to a performance by the Guanajuato symphony orchestra. The concert was held in a theatre in the middle of town. I would estimate that 80 percent of the audience were ex pats and I noted many a grey or white head. The rest of us had discovered Miss Clairol or its equivalent long ago. As I took my seat in the balcony I discovered that on one side of me was a couple from Calgary and on the other two ladies from Temiscaming Ontario. The configuration of the theatre was very odd. The double balconies were set in a horseshoe shape and the guard rails up there were at about thigh level Since many members of the audience were a bit unsteady..put it down to age or a couple of pre concert cocktails…my heart was in my mouth on a couple of occasions. Tall men seemed particularly vulnerable to a precipitous dive onto the main floor, it seemed to me. However, we all got settled in the rather dumpy chairs and I discovered that the sight lines were unusual, to say the least. I looked straight ahead at the people seated in the other side of the horseshoe. It was only by stretching over the barrier that I was able to see half the orchestra, set up on a stage. This was no hardship for a concert, but I really wonder how they manage with plays.
The orchestra played the Hebredies Overture by Mendelssohn, the Serenade after Plato’s symposium by Leonard Bernstein and the Schumann Symphony no 2. I had never heard of the Bernstein piece before and it was a revelation. Although written in 1954 it is still very ” “modern” in tonality and rhythm compared to the other more familiar pieces. It is in five movements and I really wish he’d stopped at the fourth. I’m not trying to be smart. I really felt moved to tears during the fourth movement and the fifth just was a bit too much for me. There is a very important part to be played by a solo violinist all through this piece and the musician, Ron Francois was fabulous. I will have to look this guy up as he was a real presence and awonderful interpreter of the music. OK so that’s enough about my sortie.
Except. . . . .that involved coming home in the dark, the dread dark of a Mexican town. Everyone says you must come home in a taxi when it is dark. I discovered that for me the main reason was that I could not see the many stumbling blocks, holes, unexpected steps and other sundry obstacles that make up the ” sidewalks” of San Miguel. The streets were well lit and full of groups or couples walking along, going into various shops or restaurants. I was quite comfortable walking along the main streets but when I approach my house I must walk some rather dark, narrow streets and my Gringa nervousness made me scan the streets for a free taxi. I was well over half way home when I spotted one and was very glad to combine exercise with caution. in my fluster I almost gave the driver the equivalent of twenty dollars for a two minute ride but when I saw his discouraged face- no one has change in this town- I quickly recognized my error and gave him about five dollars- to his surprise and joy! There is absolutely no light at my door and the complicated locks take a few minutes to negotiate. What silly things to panic about. In a few minutes I was inside and set to work to cook a nice pot of lentils that will last me for a couple of days. I like to have something ready to eat when I come in and as I chopped and stirred, I hummed the Fingal’s cave section of the Mendelssohn. A cosy end to a good day.