Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On the street - Chiapas

When Rodrigo, a friend I made in San Cristobal, saw the series of photos I took of the top image he said with a hint of exasperation, "You Americans always take a picture of that." He also said at one point, "We Mexicans love our colors," and ain't that the truth.

Every street has at least a small pocket bursting with color. And it fits, because it's not just that one house or two on that one street or two. It's everywhere. Unimpressed with another photo I took, Rodrigo said, "Oh. A blue house." But he just doesn't get it. The house wasn't just blue, it was a striking bright blue that could serve as a landmark for commercial jets to know exactly where they were. Crayola, Jelly Belly, M & M's - they could never replicate the color. Maybe Kool Aid, though.

There are homes here and there in my neighborhood that do something interesting with their exterior paint choices, but it is certainly not a cultural norm, much less an expectation. In fact, those are the houses that neighbors whisper about, roll their eyes about, worry about, "They're driving down our property value!" But maybe I'm wrong. I do live in the bay area. We've got some freaky deakies 'round here who do all kinds of stuff that scare people from the suburbs and Midwest. But I suppose the question is, is can they do their freaky business with style?

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