They love their noise in Mexico. It's 5 o'clock in the morning and I've just been awoken by a barrage of fireworks and ringing church bells from the top of the hill. And I mean a barrage, they've been going for at least 15 minutes. God only knows the occasion: maybe they've chosen a new pope, maybe some rich bastards (and there's some very rich bastards here) have just got married, maybe someone raided a fireworks factory and broke into a church, who knows?
Yeah, they love their noise. In Zacatecas a truck would come past around 7am every morning with a loudspeaker yelling, "GAS. GAS. GAS." You could hear it from blocks away and it went right past our window: "GAS (time to wake up). GAS (I said it's time to wake up). GAS (have you got the message yet?). And you know, the funny thing is that hardly anyone seems to wake up in Mexico until at least 9am, and the streets are deserted until 10 or 11 - except for the morning school rush, I guess.
And church bells. What is it with the church bells? They'll ring on the hour, the half hour, the quarter hour and any damn time in between if they please, and there's a lot of churches in Mexico! If you ain't Catholic, I guess that's supposed to be some kind of reminder to become one. The midnight bells don't wake me too much anymore - they come from a distant church - but 5am fireworks, they wake me.
And it's great. Evidently someone other than me knew this would be a good time to get up and write. I should go up the hill and thank them, because those fireworks must be costing them a fortune. But I won't, I'll stay here and write instead; I've seen fireworks before and my vantage point here isn't fantastic and I know that the moment I get up the hill to where they're launching them they'll stop anyway, so I'll stay here. And like the last throes of a passionate embrace, they do seem to be dying off now. The spark has gone, so to speak.
So here I sit in my room in San Miguel de Allende, fireworks (possibly) dying off in the background, at 5.30 in the morning. I've been here four weeks now and am settling in nicely, meeting plenty of amazing people and having lots of invaluable experiences: early morning fireworks; free bodywork and countless free meals; gifts of paintings and friendship and trust; great conversation; walks through cobbled streets and canyons and parks; my first paid clients with The Work; dancing; serendipity. It's all happening here in San Miguel.
It is said there is a giant slab of quartz crystal lying under this town. I don't know much about crystals, all I can see is that something is drawing an array of fascinating people to this town. All I saw when I first arrived was a goldmine of Americans, Europeans and assorted foreigners who I was sure would love to do The Work with me. Four weeks in, and it may not be a financial goldmine just yet, but the wealth of spirit here has more than made up for it. I'm so glad I came: sitting in the meditation centre each morning; 'philosophy' discussions on topics like Awareness and Endings and Friendship each Tuesday with some wise old souls; generosity at every bend; coffee shops, roadside stands, restaurants and bars. Last night a neighbour I'd never met invited me in for dinner; a few days ago someone I'd only just met gave me two framed paintings from her shop; someone I barely know is offering me a house to live in - with office space included - for the same low rent I'm paying for a single room now.
Something is happening here, but I don't know what it is. But I like it. Five am fireworks included.
So the question is, when are you coming to visit?
PS: If you're in Australia, make an effort to see What the Bleep do we Know!? You may love it, you may hate it, and you're sure to get something from it regardless. Screening details are at http://www.whatthebleep.com.au/bookings.asp.