Every Sunday morning Clazada Cristobal Colón, one of the main avenues of the town center (el centro), is closed to motor traffic for about eight blocks and opened to pedestrians, skaters, and babies in strollers. Starting at 9 a.m., there are art exhibits, music events, car shows, and an antiques market. There are kids’ basketball games and opportunities to participate in arts and crafts events. The restaurants are open for breakfast. There’s a market just for women to sell crafts, food items and other products.
I knew about this event for months before I finally went, in February. I went on this particular day because our school was hosting an event for World Read-Aloud Day, and teachers were invited to participate. It turns out that “any age, any genre” meant any reading level or genre of children’s books, and since I had brought Cold Mountain and Charlotte’s Web, I read the chapter in which Wilbur meets Charlotte to my student language partner, and then she and I just walked around.
We strolled through the side street with all the junk dealers.
We saw a photo exhibit of the work of a local artist in the center of the avenue. (The following week, I became Facebook friends with him and then a month or so later, met him at a school event where his work was on exhibit.) In the women’s market, we looked at knit and crochet items, bakery goods, and health products, and bought a glasses of aqua fresca with cucumber and mint. There was a massage therapist in the middle of the avenue with her folding table offering pain relief to passersby.
The sun was getting hot, and the participants began to pack up. We went to have some lunch. The restaurants were mostly empty by that time, since most people had apparently eaten before walking around. It didn’t take long to get our food. She had a hamburger, I had a salad; a typical American-style lunch.
This event takes place every Sunday. There are many other events in El Centro to be found now that I know where to look. I feel comfortable going alone and I am also meeting local people to go with.
I feel like I’m settling in.