Getting There

A journey often starts before a person steps out their front door. And this trip was no exception. Of course, there are the months of planning. Of internet searches about where to go and where to stay when you get there. And what the possible activities are once you get to your destination. After some negotiations between Rudy and me and talks with friends and family we decided to spend the first of our two travel months in San Miguel de Allende. We learned it was a beautiful colonial city with loads of visual art, dance and music. The climate was moderate (with cool nights and sunny warm days) and perhaps an important factor was that neither Rudy or I had been there so it was a place we could both experience for the first time. The second month we would spend in Sayulita. My brother Wes lives there with his partner Bridget as well as one of their daughters, Tessa and her children Luca and Chia. Tessa’s sisters and their families would be there as well during some of the winter months. Also Augusta and James and their sweet son, Callum (my grandson) would be staying in Sayulita for January and February.

But, before I get further, I need to start with the night before our departure. Amidst the frantic washing of floors, emptying of dresser drawers and making of lists in preparation for the young refugee man who was arriving to stay at my place, I periodically tried to check in for our first leg of the journey to Edmonton (on our way to Puerta Vallarta). To make a long story shorter and an even more frustrating evening abbreviated, Rudy and I found that our flight to Edmonton was cancelled and I had never received notification of this. Phone calls, waiting in queues, internet searches for alternate flights and finally a realization that we would pay just as much to get to Edmonton the next day for our connecting flight than to book a direct flight to Puerto Vallarta. So, we bit the bullet and bought a direct flight for the morning.

We ferried ourselves in on Saturday morning to Ana and Carlo’s and Ana drove us to the airport. The flight was uneventful other than we both had middle seats so it wasn’t the most comfortable. Because of our evening arrival we decided not to try to head on to San Miguel de Allende (SMA) but rather take the bus to Sayulita. There we would stay in the loft at James and Augusta’s place and decide how to proceed from there. It would also give me a chance to offload the baby food (half of my suitcase) and some random presents for Callum (after all I had not seen him for a week and I needed to bring him a little something). (Am I right, Gramas of the world?)

James picked us up at the bus station and we headed to James and Augusta’s place which, by the way is just across the street from Wes and Bridget and Tessa and Luca and Chia.

Although we were grateful to Gus and James to put us up, we basically slept just above them in a loft. Each and every baby sound (not to mention the snores and grunts of the adults) could be heard by all. After regrouping in the morning and checking flights to San Miguel we decided to stay until Tuesday and Wes (after broad hints from James and me) graciously “invited” us to sleep at his place for the next two nights. (Plans and adjustments are easy to make as it just requires a shout from one balcony to another.)

We spent Sunday and Monday listening to live music at a beach café, cuddling and playing with Callum, visiting with Wes and Bridget, (Rudy had a little jam session with them), and hanging out at the beach. (We also ran into Mark and Bonnie and the whole Loewen clan and spent some time with them.) It was a nice way to start the vacation but by Tuesday when we boarded the bus to Puerta Vallarta airport we were ready to get to our own place and set up house. We will be seeing all the Sayulita people in a month so we would get to enjoy them all later.

Getting Acquainted

San Miguel de Allende

My fingers are frozen, poised above the keyboard. It is difficult to get started on a writing adventure. I have a tendency to list activities or try to wax eloquent and poetic. All this fails when I have spent no time practicing the art of it. But, as always, a person must just begin.

This is the start of our adventure. I know that we have already been away from home since the 7th but this is the beginning of the two of us exploring a new place, setting up house and getting into a routine.

After a hot stuffy journey by La Compostela bus from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta Airport we weighed and reweighed, and transferred to backpack and pocket, various and sundry items to make sure we were not over the allotted weight of 22 pounds per person. (And yes, they did weigh our suitcases as we boarded the plane.) The flight was just over an hour in length and when we arrived, a random email I had sent to a shuttle company just before departure happened to produce results and there was a man with a sign with my name on it at the arrival gate. Yikes, what good luck as we had spent days trying to arrange the hour and 20 minute ride from Queretaro Airport to San Miguel. Our driver delivered us to our doorstep and we made our way through the jumbled courtyard and passageways to our door, dragged our luggage up the narrow flight of stairs and here we were.

The place is delightful, tiny and yet spacious. It has a lovely kitchen and dining room, a sitting area and two small bathrooms and two bedrooms. This all for $50 a night. It is in El Centro and the buildings and streets are colonial much like Xela or Antigua or any other colonial city in Central or South America.

Rudy checked out the crockery situation and was delighted to report that there was sufficient plateage and cupage. (Check your dictionary for a definition of those words if you are unfamiliar with them.) He was even more excited to find a full complement of silverware (at least the local version of cheap tinware) and a full drawer of larger utensils (some still in their plastic packaging). He has declared that all this is very civilized and the Airbnb has exceeded his expectations.

We crawled into bed under heavy blankets and mostly enjoyed our lumpy bed.

Today, things got even better. We have a large spacious rooftop patio where I am now sitting and writing. The sun is warm, but not too warm and tonight it will cool down again.

We went on a jaunt down to El Centro, the park, church, and market this morning and bought some groceries. We also had a weird breakfast at the market tables. I chose Menudo which is an odd kind of pork rind soup with spices and lime and Rudy had pancakes. He ordered coffee and I ordered tea but we only got one mug full of something which we determined was a combination coffee/tea mixture with added canela and carmelo.

And now it is mid-afternoon and we have just finished a delicious sandwich. Rudy has settled into a website project for Chris Koop (Chris has assured him he can pay in pesos) and I am ready for another adventure down the streets.


Negotiations – San Miguel de Allende

At home I wake up, start my day with a cup of tea in the orange chair in the kitchen and make my list for the day.. Any negotiations I have for a day at home are negotiated between me and my list. I list everything. Unloading the dishwasher. Writing projects I would like to start or continue. Quotes or random thoughts I would like to develop during the day. Walks to take with friends. And of course, crafting projects. And the undesireable jobs too. I need to phone re internet bill. Also pick up chemicals for the hot tub. Most often these difficult jobs are not stroked off from the day before and I recopy them onto the current day’s list of activities.

Here in San Miguel, there is another person (Rudy) that I need to negotiate the list with. And, let me tell you, it takes a lot longer. For instance, this morning we needed to discuss each others’s peculiarities  before we could progress onto the list for the day. Because, of course, those foibles directly affect what and, maybe even more importantly, how the days tasks shall be accomplished. But maybe, tasks, is too strong a word to use for how we are spending our time.  After all we are on holidays.

Today we have started some of what will possibly become daily routines.

Naomi: morning cup(s) of tea, crafting small monsters, daily blogging, phone call to Ana as she drives to work, walks in the neighbourhood

Rudy: small web project for Koop, morning cup(s) of coffee, reading the news, setting up blog site for me, New York Times crossword puzzles

Together: breakfast on the roof patio

Yesterday, I left off reporting in the early afternoon. But the day was not nearly over. We headed out down to the main plaza and church (different park and church that we had discovered in the morning). The gardens in the plaza park are lush. Strange how a little greenery has such an effect on a person. (Should I assume everyone feels this way?) It is like there is a little more oxygen (scientifically true) and I breathe deeper and my eyes open wider. The parks have plantings of hundreds of poinsettas in with the general brushes and trees and I am assuming that this is left over from the Christmas decorating. The park/square is immaculate. This seems different from the typical Mexican and Central and South American squares where everything seems a little more worn and tired and the garbage more plentiful. A Mariachi band plays. A trumpet, violins, a large Mexican guitar (does it have a specific name?), as well as a regular guitar. The trumpet playing is big and bold and fills the space. The other instruments as well. Even the singer. They are used to filling up the outdoor spaces with sound. I sat out on the wrought iron bench, taking in the people and the music, while Rudy scouted out a place to buy real coffee. His experience with coffee so far in San Miguel has been less than pleasureable.

Afterwards we wondered down El Centro looking for the little restaurant we had spotted on our earlier jaunt during the day. And surprisingly we found it. We immediately determined that we would go out in the evening all the time. Not only is there live music to be found. (A jazz ensemble was playing at a bar that we passed.) But the apartment gets cool in the evening and the cool temperature and darkness makes me want to curl up in bed and go to sleep and, really, 8:30 is too early. It is much warmer on the street and a wonderful way to reinvigorate myself later in the day.

But back to today. Rudy is married to his crossword puzzle and determined to finish it. I set off on a walking adventure and go left instead of the usual right at the end of Huertas (our street). I wander down the typical cobblestone streets with narrow sidewalks. The house fronts are getting a little nicer and suddenly I am at the entrance to a big park (Benito Juarez Park). It is not as lush as the park at El Centro. It is a little more what I am used to. Lots of trees and bushes and plants but many of them are in need of water. There are fountains (half-filled with leaf-clogged water), basketball courts, playgrounds with mostly old metal equipment and even a fitness path with rusty activity stops. Couples sit on the grass on blankets nibbling snacks and eating. As I get to the other side of the park there are the stands selling candy and trinkets.

After a thorough search of the park I head out and end up finding a gallery. (San Miguel is full of art and music and dance). This gallery is featuring Peter Leventhal. The pictures are mostly big and there are wood carvings too. I learn that the artist moved to SMA (San Miguel de Allende) when he was 60 years old. He was one of the founders of La Fabrica Aurora (which I will visit tomorrow). What I find most interesting is the difference between two periods of his work. For the last 10 years of his life he suffered from Parkinsons and because of a tremor in his right hand he painted only with his left hand. The pictures from this last period of his life are wilder and looser and more impressionistic and give off the feeling that they are studies, rather than finished pieces. I love all of it but the later pieces especially.

After this I do some scouting for restaurant possibilities for tonight. I find two. One is almost “sports bar”-like with TVs showing soccer games and I have a feeling that Rudy will love to catch a little sports as we have no TV at our apartment.

And I am right. After happy hour at our place we head out to La Choperia for Thursday night 2-for-1 hamburger special. The hamburgers are sooooo good. Rudy declares them the best he has tasted. We order the Spicy Guacamole ones and they come with a hot pepper skewered into the top of the bun. They have melted cheese, tomato slices, lovely leaf lettuce, loads of guacamole and the buns are fabulous. Not only was the food great but Rudy learns that there are American football games on Saturday and Sunday so he is happy about that. We walk home and the air is getting cooler and the wind is up.

Seems like we negotiated a great day together.

Art and Pizza

Today one of our main activities was a walk to Guadalupe Colonia to visit the Fabrica Aurora.

However, on the way, we were waylaid at various shops and the artisan market. Rudy was hot on the trail for a warm pair of slippers to wear in the evenings on the cold tile floors. Amazingly there were options for Rudy’s generous foot size.  And even more astoundingly, Rudy was up for a little shopping experience. But, as I might have predicted, he tired of the hunt before he found what he wanted and determined that he was satisfied with his system of wool socks in sandals and we carried on to the art and design centre.

Fabrica Aurora is an old cotton factory that closed in 1991 but had been in operation since the late 1800s. In its heyday, this factory was the biggest employer in San Miguel employing over 300 people. It imported cotton from the cotton growing regions of Mexico and produced high quality muslin. The factory was named after the daughter (Aurora) of a friend of the owner. In the close to a hundred years it was in operation, it sponsored soccer and baseball teams, held weekly Sunday music concerts for the picnicing employees, and held masses and religious processions.  It now houses artists’ studios and galleries.

The building is massive and the dozens of galleries and studios were tucked into rooms and courtyards beside old factory machinery. The whole layout was stunning.

As always when viewing art, I found some of it very appealing and some I was not drawn to at all.

We didn’t nearly see it all but the sun was hot and we headed home, grabbing a beer on the way.

In the evening our ritual walk to keep warm and to find sustenance brought us to El Castillo Pizzeria.

After all, Friday night means pizza night for Rudy and I was happy enough to comply. There were renovations happening on the second floor of the pizzeria so we sat on the main floor with a front row seat to the pizza making. An added bonus to the kitchen show was the heat coming off the wood fired oven. We were so toasty and the pizza was fabulous. The restaurant is a quaint little place and on the wall is a paper maché mural (3-D) of El Centro.  All the employees so friendly and we will return.  We ate our fill and even had some to bring home.

Work and Celebration

The morning dawns cool and crisp. The evening and night were cold but I was cocooned in my thick heavy blankets and only had to make my way across the cold tile floor once in the night when the neighbour’s dog either had a dream about a dangerous robber entering the passageway between the houses or just thought it was time to wake me up to go to the bathroom. I have tried out all the beds and feel a little like Goldilocks that has found the perfect one. Some too lumpy and some too hard but this one is just right.

This morning seemed like a day for household chores and I grabbed our dirty laundry and headed up to the rooftop patio and laundry room. Fresh air, sunlight and a strange washer that has some automatic features make the chore so much fun. I have always enjoyed hanging laundry outside and here is no exception.

Then after the morning cup of tea, a few stitches on my monster project, a sweep of the floor, and breakfast, I headed off to forage for food. The market by the church in El Centro is good for fruits and veggies and the tienda on corner has other things. After that I proceeded to the Panaderia for the delicious seed bread. No more sugar buns for us. This Panderia caters to North Americans and I am happy to oblige by shopping there.

The afternoon found me exploring around the Benito Juarez Park. I discovered something called La Ruta Agua. It is where the original stream that came from the settlement is and where the first church of the city was built. There are gardens, and walkways and beautiful buildings at this cultural site.


I passed a decorated entrance to a courtyard. The sash of flowers over the archway was stunning.


Continuing on I passed a decorated car


and then on into the courtyard in front of the church I realized there was some ceremony happening. I thought it must be a wedding what with the beautiful music and solemn words from the priest emanating from the church. However, when it was all over it turned out to be a Quince Anos celebration.


Wow, what a lot of to do for a fifteenth birthday celebration. And yet, marking significant milestones with ceremony and celebration is something that maybe we should do more of. Mennonites typically didn’t go for big parties, I guess. Perhaps too frivolous but I think we miss out on something because of it.

Well, at least I got my laundry done this morning.

Small Pleasures and, of course, Sunday Football

These are the good things in life. No matter whether I am at home or on a trip, the small routines are some of those things.

This morning Rudy sits at the table with his Sunday crossword puzzle. I have my little monster crafting project in front of me and I stitch on an ear.  The little heater is shooting warmth at our feet. Neil Young sings Its Gonna Take a Lotta Love. I look up on the internet whether Neil Young or Nicolette Larson wrote it and this leads into a conversation about various musicians and who wrote what and of course some great digressions. (Rudy is a fount of information when it comes to songs, artists, and backstories.) All these little rituals and routines are what bind people together, whether a partner, a child, or a friend.

Ten o’clock usually finds us on the upstairs patio in the sun having breakfast and a second cup of tea and coffee.

After that I head out on a little adventure. I turn left out our front door and head up the steep narrow road.

It takes me to El Mirador which gives me an even better view of the city. I continue on the ridge and head back down and end up on the Ruta de Agua past the oldest church in the city and on to Benito Juarez Park. There is a jam session happening by the bandstand. Some expats and some Mexicans are playing what seems to me as tradtional Mexican music and it is enjoyable although somewhat repetitive. I sit on the bench and read my book, The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr (the Giller Prize winner for 2022). After a number of texts back and forth with Rudy I head home for lunch.

Midafternoon Rudy heads down to the sports bar at El Centro to catch a football game and I stay back to try to get up to date on this blog. Ug, it takes a lot of time but I feel it may go smoother once I get the hang of it all. After 5 o’clock I am beginning to get hungry so head on down to El Choperia to find Rudy. He is ENJOYING himself. It is a game between the Giants and the Vikings (who are these teams anyway?) and, whata ya know, his team wins. I also win with a delicious Margarita and half a Cheese Monster Burger. We take the long walk home.

Doors and Windows

At home, I pay little attention to doors on houses and even less to the windows. But here I find I am always looking. What’s behind that old door? I gasp in surprize when I catch a glimpse of an inner courtyard behind an unassuming door. I appreciate the bright blooms in window boxes. I am drawn to the beautiful garlands around the entryways to many of the businesses.

When we first arrived in San Miguel de Allende and were dropped at 14 Huertas I was less than impressed by the exterior door. Upon opening it we found what appeared to be a construction zone.  However, having traveled in Mexico and Central America I am familiar with the scene. Things may or may not be completed. Further work may be done in one year or five. Sort of like my baseboards at home that will be fully finished and nailed on when the house is ready to be sold. Once into the passageway there were several beautiful entrance doors (and also piles of gravel and bricks) but once we climbed the cramped narrow staircase to our house we were suitably impressed. And now, it is home.

On my daily walks, since day one, I have taken pictures of doors and windows. It’s an activity that I never tire of.


Today is an auspicious day. It’s our anniversary. When Rudy opened his crossword puzzle book this morning it affirmed the importance of today. It was  as if the universe was sending out signals. The title for the morning crossword was Married Couples. But, before you readers get too excited, let me clarify. Today is the one-week anniversary of our stay in San Miguel. And yes, we are still very happy with the place.

My morning adventure had me climbing the steps of La Ruta Agua by the old church hill. The steps are steep and go on forever but I am going to try to keep this up. It’s like a fitness trail at home and with my new fitbit I can see, in real time, how fast my heart is beating. ( I probably would be able to figure it out with the gasps of breath I take and, the almost overwhelming urge to sit down and take a rest.) I follow random streets and suddenly I find myself at the toy museum. I had passed it the day before but it was closed. I decide to go in.

The museum is housed in an old colonial house and that is part of the charm. Displays are set up in the old kitchen, the fire place, and in each of the rooms on three floors, as well as the outdoor patio. It is done very professionally which, I am finding, is par for the course here in San Miguel. The city is an arts centre and although there is a smattering of amateur artists on the streets, the actual galleries and museums are what I would expect at home.

There are artifacts from each region in Mexico and there are even English explanations of, not only the toys but also the regions and information about construction and the artisans.  Also, there is commentary about the importance of play in the social development of humans.

I arrive home for lunch with Rudy and then he sets off on his own adventures. First is a haircut.

And then it is on to two stores to check out guitars. He wants to buy one to practice (and perhaps play sweet serenades to me [insert smiley face]  but also possibly to join in on some of the jams with Wes and Bridget and their friends down in Sayulita when we get there in February.

And so, maybe, like all good partnerships, we reunite in the evening, each having had a full day of our own adventures. Rudy cooks spaghetti and meat sauce. This, we consume with a glass of wine. After which we watch a movie.

What a great way to spend our one week anniversary in San Miguel.


Today Rudy said to me, “It is not a race.” But those of you who know me realize that often I view the day as such. This morning I started running before my feet hit the floor.

I had a morning talk on the phone and while eating breakfast I finished sewing together the little monster I had started.

I worked on my blog, uploading pictures and getting the post finished for the previous day.

That done I set out on my walk up the millions (exaggeration intended) of steps on La Ruta Agua.

I was determined only to do the climb and then come home but, of course, I got carried away and ended up walking through a new barrio that I had not explored. It was a more regular Mexican neighbourhood with a smaller church and all of the regular things you might find away from the gringo areas.




As I continued there were bigger houses interspersed with the small ones and, eventually, I was back in the area inhabited mostly by foreigners.

Not only did the houses indicate this, the walkers on the streets but also some of the street names. I turned down La Canata (Canada) de Aguacates and headed home in time for lunch and a shower and a lie down with the new book I am reading (Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver)

I was a little tired but Rudy suggested I accompany him to the guitar shop he found quite a way away to purchase a guitar. By this time, it was hot, my one bad foot was hurting me, and I dragged behind Rudy


At the end of the day, Rudy said that perhaps we should eat at home instead of going out, to which I readily agreed. My feet were sore from the miles of walking and I had run out of steam.

Like Rudy said, “It is not a race.” It might not have been. But if it was, I would have won.”

Laying Low

If yesterday was a race, today was the opposite. It was a book day and although I did take some time to eat  (only when Rudy set a plate in front of me), I basically read. I moved from my bed, to the kitchen table, and then to the upstairs patio with the book, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. I haven’t always been sold on her books. Sometimes it seems the message overpowers the story. I found her book, The Poisonwood Bible, hard to take at times when she became too preachy. But this book, which takes its inspiration and structural narrative from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, has me hooked.  Demon’s voice has been compared to Huck Finn and there are certainly some similarities between the unique way the characters have of expressing themselves. But all that aside, the story is riveting. It is hilarious on one hand, but totally disturbing on the other. Kingsolver has a lot to say about child poverty, social services, drug addiction and pharmaceutical companies.  I did not look up all day.

Late afternoon I surfaced for a shower and then Rudy and I headed out for dinner. Wow, I had forgotten that we were in Mexico. The air was warm and people were out walking in the streets. Rudy had scouted out a traditional Mexican restaurant. He had enchiladas verde and I had mole. For dessert we devoured churros with chocolate.

We wandered home in the lighted streets. There was a big band concert in the main square and after that we headed, in a roundabout way, to our place, stopping in at an art gallery, and sitting in a square on a bench.

The day’s pace was perfect. And now back to my book and then off to bed.

Sights, Sounds, and Smells

One day bleeds into the next and I wonder whether I have anything new to say. I walk many of the same streets each day, peer into the same doorways, listen to the same cacophony of sounds, and smell the ever-present scent of lavender floor cleaner mixed with aroma of fresh bread and cakes from the panaderia and of course the occasional whiff of sour garbage. But still, the whole experience seems fresh and new each day. Perhaps, like my walks in Steinbach with Leona and Donna, there is always a new take on the familiar. At home, we stop at the same little library, exclaim over the same rock garden with succulents, pause at the bridge by the Aquatic Centre to watch the water flow, the buildup of green duckweed or the skiff of snow blown into the reeds on the frozen edge of the pond, depending on the seasons. But always there is a slight variation to what my senses take in.

Today was no exception. After a substandard supper in a lovely courtyard with a fountain and gardens, we headed out onto the street and were greeted by loud yelling and fiery torches. We quickly joined the crowd streaming towards El Centro and managed to make our way to the front of the procession. A crowd of Mexicans dressed in traditional campesino costumes (white muslin baggy pants [or skirts] and shirts with red neck scarves and straw hats or bandanas) jostled along the cobbled street. Shouts of Libertad and Vive Allende rose from the marchers. At the front of the procession rode “Ignacio Allende” on a massive white war horse in his military costume. The smell of kerosene from the touches was thick and it felt like being in the middle of an uprising.

Later I googled what the whole thing was about and learned that it was the birthday (254th) celebration of Ignacio Allende, a Spanish military person, who joined the Mexican peasants to overthrow the Spanish colonial government in order to gain independence.

After experiencing that historical celebration we made our way towards our favourite bench, but not before we stopped in at a gallery opening. Wow, what a magnificent setting. The gallery was beautiful but even more amazing was the ruined courtyard behind the gallery. It was a massive open air building with no roof. The 30 foot walls had been whitewashed but the uneven sides, crumbling bricks and stone, and the half fountains and stairs leading to nowhere were a study in texture. The art was modern and the pieces huge. The people were decked out in all the latest artsy outfits (no Armani suits, but rather rugged, torn costumes, leopard print, shimmery gold jackets, and all the latest leather footwear). EVERYONE was beautiful. If there had been no art at all hanging on the walls, it still would have been worth my while to see and experience the building and and the people.

On our way home we sit quietly on ‘our bench’ and Rudy asks, “When will be stop being amazed by it all?”

The Party Continues

The party continues for Allende and Rudy.  For me, I spend a low-key day. I do get out for a walk and check out the main square.

The bands are all still there. The bandstand is decorated as a shrine to Allende. There are wreaths on street corners. And the crowds are thick.

A marimba band plays. I wander around aimlessly and even go into some stores. Things are priced for the wealthy but I pretend I am one of those as I go through clothing racks, arts and crafts, and beautiful textiles. But really, I am not up for much.

Rudy has spent the day working on two NYT crosswords, tuning his guitar, working on his computer, and reading Huck Finn. But, in the evening, he decides he has enough umph to go down to the sports bar to watch football. (and party?) I decline. I am so glad just to spend a quiet evening all by myself catching up on reading, blog posts, and a new monster project.  I can hear the crowds and the music from our apartment. I am relieved not to have to eat out. I make myself a tea and nibble on a few chips. I have my own small party and Rudy’s evening doesn’t turn out to be much of a party as his team loses and he comes home early. But the crowds in the street don’t seem to mind. The fireworks and the celebrations continue.


It’s Sunday and the habit of clearing out the dust from the week and finding inspiration is something I am used to. Oft times this means some discussion with my Prairie Wind group but here in San Miguel I have been getting my inspiration from the visual display the city has to offer. And since it is Sunday it is only fitting that I share some pictures of the beautiful churches.

I go on a walk in the morning. I do my usual climb up the Ruta de Agua steps and then head down and down, and through Benito Juarez Park. It seems like Sunday is a day when artists set up their work along the walkways. It is mostly tourist type stuff but there is one interesting artist who has done fabric art faces with all sorts of cloth, fibers and even jewelry. It is weird and quirky and I love it. I exit on the far side of the park and walk into an area where the sidewalks get wider. Rounding a corner, a man plays a violin in the doorway of restaurant.

Further on is an artisan market, more like the kind you might find at home with wares you won’t find in a regular Mexican craft market. Some things are very tempting but I haven’t brought my wallet so I don’t even have to dither about whether I would like something.

And suddenly I am on a street with courtyards opening to fancy restaurants and art galleries. Will I ever get tired of peering in these inner courtyards? In the one I find a huge mural of the history of Mexico as well as other strange and lovely art.





In the afternoon Rudy goes down to watch football at the sports bar and I join him after a while. The singer and guitarist that Rudy talked about from last week are there. The woman really knows how to belt out tunes. Her voice is lovely and strong and she is really into it. The guitarist is great too and he even sings some songs.  Afterwards she comes to talk to us because she recognizes Rudy from  last week (he complimented her on her music) and she mentions singing on Tuesdays at the Rosewood Hotel. “Have we heard of it?” No we haven’t but we check out it’s location on google maps and head there to have a look. And boy is it worth our while. It is a very ritzy place and we wander around through the courtyards, and salons, and outdoor theatre, and even art gallery. It is all quite astounding.

On the way home, Rudy notices a quote scrawled on the  wall of a shabby courtyard. It says,

Art washes away the dust from the soul.

Yup, I can second that sentiment.

A Tights Day

It was one of those days. A tights day! What do I mean by that? I only have one or two outfits and a variation with tights is what happens 99% of the time. Sometimes if it is warmer, I may pair it with a tank top. My cotton scarf can be added around my neck to keep off the sun’s rays and then can provide warmth in the late afternoon. A zip up sports jacket accompanies this outfit in the cooler evening and also mornings with a cup of tea to keep warm. And , of course, there is the down vest.

But today my tights doubled as loungewear (or pajamas if you want to get less sophisticated). I lay around the house reading, doing some crafts, completing an occasional suduko, and doing some puzwhiz (which is a stupid puzzle game on my phone involving pouring different colours of liquids into test tubes). The whole situation left me quite unsatisfied. My book left me emotionally drained (it was intense), the fine needlework frustrated me and the suduko and puzwhiz left my brain soggy.

Really there wasn’t much of a way to redeem the day.  However Rudy tried. We went out for supper and had a delicious tamarind margarita. We stopped at the bakery and Rudy got a chocolate éclair and I purchased a chocolate croissant. On our way home we stopped at our favourite tienda and Rudy bought a chocolate covered ice cream bar. (Did I mention that I had snuck down to the store earlier in the afternoon to buy one for myself to ward the malaise of a wasted day.

So yah, it was a pajama (tights) day and it ended off as it should……with a big dose of chocolate.

Different Sides of the Coin

I was not going to make the same mistake as yesterday.  And Rudy was here to make sure that didn’t happen. Rudy made some activity suggestions, we flipped a coin, and set off for a walk.

We made our way down Nunez out towards La Fabrica Aurora, taking  a different route. It felt great to be out and about and immediately I felt a bit lighter.  It seems like all we have to do is move over on the street grid one block and we have a whole new world to discover. Although still close to the historical centre, we came upon a huge hotel complex in Colonia Guadelupe. My guess is that this hotel conglomerate bought up the land on the condition that some of the historical ruins of Colonia Guadalupe would remain intact and maybe even slightly restored. The art sculpture at the entrance to the building was huge and dramatic.

The ruins of the church and the sculpture in the courtyard (next to the hotel), although more subdued, was equally pleasing . (I am afraid I can’t say the same for the high concrete walls encasing the hotel complex. But two out of three ain’t bad.)

We cut through a walkway beside the almost dried out river and entered the grounds of La Fabrica from the opposite direction of our previous visit. This gave us numerous new galleries to explore. I followed my feet and eyes as did Rudy and we wandered in different directions. Finally we found each other and brunched under a patio umbrella in one of the courtyards of La Fabrica. I had wandered open-mouthed through the galleries while Rudy had stopped to chat with a working artist. In the course of the conversation Rudy asked him if he had trouble keeping up, or was he selling his art as fast as he could create it. He looked up from the piece he was working on, gave Rudy a wry smile, and said that he was managing to pay the rent by selling small postcards and mugs featuring images of his art. But what with covid and the impact on tourism for the last couple of years, he hadn’t sold a painting in over a year! That was sobering. We had had a feast for our eyes for the duration of our visit and it cost nothing. But on the other side of the coin, the artist was struggling (as most artists do).