Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My guy, Luis!

I'm back "home" to Loreto from my shopping trip in Guadalajara. The furniture for our little casa has now been designed and ordered and partially paid for, and I feel quite proud of my performance as a psuedo-designer and buyer. Of course without the help of Luis, the driver who toted me to the best deals in town, I would have succumbed to panic and returned empty-handed. The first day there, before Luis was scheduled, I wandered around Tlaquepaque with my friend, Cathy,(she stayed two days) through the hundreds of retail shops while a growing sense of "what have I gotten myself into?" threatened to choke my enthusiasm. After two days under Luis' care I was feeling pretty confident and running the risk of self-congratulatory delusion. "Piece of cake," I told myself after finishing my two-hour design session with Domingo Hecht, the furniture factory owner, before it occured to me that now I had to arrange to get all this stuff home. "Luis!??"

Luis escorted me to a local shipping company where I sat across the desk of the manager who spoke only Spanish. Somehow, I managed with Luis, to strike a pretty good deal. More success! Although some people praise me for tackling the adventure alone, I know it would have flopped without someone like Luis. He watched over me, followed me through shops and factories with the alertness of a trusty shepherd-dog. Occasionally, he'd whisper to me, "that's too much, I know where we can do better." He was worth every peso. I grew pretty fond of him to where my handshake greetings evolved into a kiss on the cheek which I think embarrassed him. I was just always so grateful and thrilled to see him because it meant somebody was there to take care of me.

So the mission went well and my week impersonating a rich American is now over. Back to Loreto and the absense of consumer goods. I may have withdrawl symptoms. Where is my chauffer? My morning coffee with Stan's mouthwatering flaky pastries? (Stan, who owns Casa de las Flores was once a chef who worked with the famous Alice Waters in San Francisco) I spent the first couple of days back sleeping off and on all afternoon. I guess I was wiped out. I'd worked hard and walked much in Guadalajara. Sleeping too much is a sign of depression, Robert teased. Well, Guadalajara to Loreto is quite a contrast, but for me, I was just glad to be "home" sleeping in my own comfy bed.

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