It is Monday, February 7th. Me and my mariachi band ride the 1 train. The band squeezed between the doors at 72nd Street, the accordion player standing just beside me and the guitarists down at the other end of the car. This is the same 'sign' I have had for four and a half years now, my personal harbinger that I will be reporting for merchandising duty soon in Punta Mita, where every evening, a similar such ensemble convenes in more formal fashion in the hotel bar for an energy filled round of song and sound.
A little mood music? A reminder of some sort to reconnect to this distant locale? I don't know but it never ceases to amuse me and it happens without fail, and always the day before I am traveling. In this case, I am leaving in just a few hours for Chicago, then on to Colorado, and will take four different flights on Valentine's Day to reach my final destination.
It is Sunday, February 13th. From my current perch in Vail, I want to post on my blog today in the spirit of an 'ex-voto,' which for those not in the know, is a wonderful type of painting, usually on tin, popular in Latin American folk art and dating back to the 18th Century in origin. Ex-votos differ from purely devotional 'retablos' in that they tell stories of 'dangerous or threatening events that actually occurred, and which the person survived, thanks to the intercession of a sacred person- God, Mary, or a Saint." (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retablo.)
Here it goes and Godspeed to me on my travels tomorrow:
Please Saint Valentine, in hopes that my flights are all on time and that the plane in Mexico lands in Vallarta and not in Guadalajara like the last time, when for some reason unknown and unforeseen even by the pilot, the ground crew in Vallarta decided to work on the tarmac to do a repair and none of the incoming planes could arrive for several hours.... and that the merchandise arrives safely and on time, or just arrives at all, please Saint Valentine, and then do I thank you humbly for the privilege of working with all the team in Punta Mita to make the Boutiques beautiful for our visiting guests. And, Saint Valentine, when I return home to New York City, I thank you in advance for arranging that the red foil heart on my front door is still there and not missing like the small red and pink tin one that disappeared on Christmas Day.
Here are some hearts collected along the route from Vallarta to Punta Mita and a few from Sayulita, including a simple graffiti scribble for Valentine's Day: Love on top of Love!