Friday was an introductory day for Under the Volcano, as people drifted in from all over. I arrived at Las Golondrinas about 2pm, having left Taxco at about 11am--although I took a bus to Cuernavaca I decided it would be simpler to take a taxi to Tepoztlan from there rather than messing with changing bus stations and then having to find another taxi anyway to get to the puebla of Ixcatapec where the B and B is situated. It is a beautiful house run by Marisol, an artist who has created this lovely oasis in a dusty village. I settled in and others arrived, then we all gathered at the Posada del Tepozteco, a nice hotel in the main village, for drinks and dinner. There I met Chuck Wachtel, with whom I'll be working, and Breyten Breytenbach, as well as all the other participants (some of whom I knew from 2 years ago). After dinner we headed up to the Barrio de los Reyes for the preliminary festival of the kings--Saturday the 6th is a festival day here--and hung out with the locals.
This morning, after a great breakfast prepared by Marisol and her staff, we headed to Magda Bogin's house for an orientation lunch--sopes and quesadillas made with lots of fresh local ingredients--and initial meetings of our groups. We talked in our group mostly about narrative distance and how composition and structure complement each other. The workshop proper begins tomorrow. This evening we're heading off the home of some local expats for a reception/dinner and then there may be a trip to the main festival of the 3 Kings, but given how far out in the country our hotel is, I'm not sure I'll make that one.