Salamanca Sundown

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Something made it feel different at night.  Maybe it was the friendly flickering lamps that did it, rather than the harsh sun of the day.  It’s true there were much fewer people around at night and at this time nobody seemed to bother you.  There were no more beggars or venders surrounding the walls because they had exhausted themselves earlier on, trying their best to hustle some unfortunate tourists with cameras hanging from their necks and the occasional sack slung around their back.  At night it wasn’t like this, it was peaceful.  All of the restaurants and bars on the inside of the plaza shared this incredible ambiance during the later hours.  Early in the day, location is critical because of the shadow cast at any given hour of daylight.  The shade meant comfort and the sun meant sweating as you try to enjoy a late lunch.  Sundown always brought a cool breeze along with it, such that even in mid-summer you may need a sweater when you go out for the night.

Each night I would meet my friends from other apartments under the great clock in the center of the plaza right at the hour of ten.  This is quite early for the locals, but we were only enjoying Salamanca for three weeks and didn’t want to waste any of it.  This time of day was one of my favorites because the air was crisp and the crowd was gone.  Sometimes Henry, Carson, and I would sit there for hours and watch the happenings in the plaza.  We might talk about a typical night at home and how we wish we didn’t have to go back.  There was never a lot of activity at this time of night.  There would be plenty of couples having a late dinner together, several friends having drinks, and always the three of us trying our best to fit into this lifestyle that we began to love so much.

After a couple of cañas and three quarters of a montecristo Carson and Henry would get the urge to find some local girls.  They always wanted to hit the local clubs and bars so they might have a chance at some of them.  I knew they didn’t have a chance if they found them or not, since they would have to ask me how to speak to her.  The American girls would join us on occasion, but neither Carson nor Henry liked that.  I enjoyed it when they came along they could speak Spanish well too and when we felt like it, we could leave Carson and Henry out of the conversation.  That always pissed them off, I assume it made them feel even more foreign than they were but I didn’t care.  The boys would get drunk and the girls tired.  “Estamos cansados” Payton would say.  “What’s the matter with her?”  “I’ll be right back,” I said.  “Hah, yea right,” said Carson.  Most times I came back, sometimes I didn’t.