Sights (familiar and not so familiar)

The morning started with some uncertainty. What would we see today?  Rudy’s stomach was unsettled from last evening’s supper so it seemed his sightseeing might be restricted to the inside of the bathroom. This left me with some hesitation. Should I stay or should I go (out)? Rudy seemed to prefer to be left with his troubles, so I set off. Part of me wanted to experience something new and part of me was tired of the low-level anxiety I feel when not exactly sure of my surroundings. So, I decided to do a bit of both. My first stop was a Gordita stand where I confidently ordered a variety of ingredients (who knows what they were) to be stuffed in the gordita taco pocket. I poured on salsas with abandon and walked to the nearest plaza to sit by a statue and eat. It was pretty good and I had confidently tried something new. However, now I had run out of steam. So I headed to the market and turned in at the local “department store”. It is the most like north American shopping with prices marked on everything and no hovering shop keepers. I had been in this store the other day to scout out t shirts for Rudy. Today I thought I would check out women’s wear. I am positively sick of my one outfit that I wear day and night. Would there at least be some tshirt or tunic to buy to wear over my tights? Well, the answer is no. The clothes were worse than Walmart, The Dollar Store, and Ardenes combined. I either would have to buy a pink crop top with Princesa printed on the front in gold and silver or a dowdy polyester sack meant for a woman much my senior. I wandered past the hair gel (for men) aisle and marveled at the shear volume of products.
(It was a comforting blast from past trips to Guatemala, Peru and Ecuador.)   I did purchase tic tacs and some lotion and it felt vaguely familiar and reassuring. And so I continued my morning jaunt, looking for the familiar amidst the foreign.

I checked out the iconic Callejon de Besos (kissing street) where the street is so narrow that you can kiss from the balcony or window on one side of the street to the other side.



By this time Rudy was ready to join me so we picked him up an empanada and walked to the Union Garden Square to sit out under a patio umbrella for a drink. The waiter brought snacks….cucumber and jicama with chili and lime. Oooo, that hit the spot for me. I have loved jicama since we lived in Guatemala. Rudy, on the other hand, was ready to give it a hard pass.

From here we headed to the Funicular to take a trip up to the top of the city for the view.  If I haven’t said so already the houses are piled up, one upon the other, all the way up the steep sides of the mountain. Most streets do not accommodate cars. They are mostly steps and alleyways that twist and wind up and down. There are few streets meeting a right-angles.

The view from the top was stunning. But perhaps the more startling sight was who we met at the top.  And so I took a picture of my former spouse with my present one.  (The once familiar juxtaposed next to the now familiar.)

Really the sights for the day could have ended there. I felt I had seen it all. But that being said, the walk down through the narrow staircase walkways was wonderful and confusing. (Had my encounter at the top, or mountaintop experience as some would name it, addled my thinking?) We never really knew where we were going and where we would end up but we kept going down, finding new and interesting sights along the way.

Back at the bottom of the mountain we chanced upon the Cervantes Museum. Each fall Guanajuato hosts an international art festival solely focused on the novel Don Quixote. Artist create work (sculptures and  paintings) interpreting various Don Quixote themes. The museum was amazing with loads of different styles and interpretations.

As always, uncertainty may cause me some anxiety at the beginning of the day, but I am never disappointed about what unfolds. Sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes familiar, and often hilarious, I am always caught by surprise.


Just a Few Notes and Pictures

Some days I just need to report and this is one of of those days. In the mornings I go for a walk and, often randomly, end up somewhere. It’s not like I have a plan or anything.  Today was one of those days. The sun was hot where it shone on the cobblestone walks or stone buildings and when I got too hot I just wandered to the other side of the street in the shade. I always wear layers because a couple of steps to the left or right can change from boiling hot to cool sweater weather.

This walk, criss-crossing from one side of the street to another, depending on the temperature, had me ending up at the Alhondiga de Granaditas (granary building) which is now a museum. A forward thinking government leader of the city decided a dry building for grain storage was needed and so this colossal building was erected. It was only used for a number of months before the revolutionary Mexican forces besieged the city and the governor converted the granary into a fortress. The long and short it was that the revolutionary Mexicans(trying to break with Spain) broke into the fortress and won a battle. (However this was just the beginning and it was many years before Mexico gained independence.)

Anyway, the building is now a museum to pre Spanish artifacts, revolutionary history and social history found in old  photography.

So there you have it. One activity from today.




A New Vibe

Guanajato has loads to offer and we have decided to stay a few more days than we had originally planned. The city centre is teeming with life and it has a gritty feel to it. It is more of a “real city”.  Most things are not sanitized here at all. I loved San Miguel but this city is a whole different game. The biggest difference between here and San Miguel is the shear amount of young people. In San Miguel, in the historical centre, the old expats were a predominant force.  San Miguel’s population demographic, especially in the city centre,  is the direct opposite to here. Here the young people rule.

I guess it is the university and colleges in the city centre. And  also, perhaps,  the fact that this city is much bigger and there is just a lot more regular Mexican life happening here.

This morning we were served breakfast at our hotel. Fresh fruit – pineapple, papaya, watermelon, cantelope, honeydew melon, and bananas were abundant. And yogurt and toast too. After breakfast I went out to wander around and ended up near the Mercado Hildalgo.

There were big trucks pulling in and unloading vegetables and fruits. Vendors were opening up their stalls of plastic trinkets, purses, electronics, etc. The breakfast stalls were doing a brisk business. On the streets surrounding the market vendors were cutting fruit, making tortillas and salsa, and setting up breakfast taco stands. Even the churro woman was filling up oil into her vats for churro production. I stopped at a store to buy some necessities….a toothbrush and q-tips.

After this I wandered further and came upon the Casa Diego Rivera Museum. It is the house he was born in and lived for the first six years of his life. The main floor was set up to replicate how it would look during his childhood.

The next three floors were pictures (sketches, oils, watercolours) from various time periods.  (I was not allowed to take any pictures of the art.) There was also work of other Mexican artists during his time period.

By this time Rudy was chomping at the bit for lunch so we met and had a traditional meal. I had tamales and Rudy had a torta el pastor.  There wasn’t much touristy about this eating establishment.



After lunch we followed our noses which led us to   the Museum under the Templo San Diego (350 years old) where excavations in the 1990s uncovered part of the original church 7 metres below the city’s current elevation. It also had mummies that had been exhumed during a period starting in the mid 1800s until the 1950s when the government levied a tax on the decendants of those buried in the cemeteries and if the families did not pay, the bodies were dug up. Because of the dry soil many of the bodies were perfectly mummified. Entrepreneurial cemetery personal started charging money to see these mummies and this is how this dark tourist attraction started. I won’t cast any stones, as I went to see these mummies myself, but was somewhat disturbed by the lack of respect shown the dead.

In the evening Rudy and I went out to wander the streets again and I took him down to the market area. We ate at street vendors and also sat for a long time at a little restaurant. What a great way to spend a couple of hours: talking and people watching. The vibe here is sometimes unsettling but moving out of a comfort zone always provides food for thought.



Heading Down the Trail

Moving Day.  Time to get up and get all the things packed and to the door. But, before that happened I got a call from Ana around 7:30 am. She had gone out to the car to start it and throw in her purse and school bag. Then she went back to the house to get Rio to put him in the car to take to the Sobral grandparents. As Carlo and her were stuffing Rio into his snowsuit they watched a vehicle drive up beside the Kia and someone hop out,  jump into the driver’s seat and drive away. And why were they phoning me  in that frantic moment about their stolen car? Because it is MY car! And they needed to know what the license plate was and other particulars in order to make a police report. Why did they have my car? For those who don’t know the backstory, here it is. Ana was in a car accident a month ago. She was driven into and forced onto a boulevard where her car knocked over a whole traffic light standard which landed on the hood squishing the front of their car. This happened at the end of December so she was using mine while I am away. Anyway, there were phone calls to the police (by them) and phone calls to MPI (by me) and then a quick rush out the door for us to get a taxi to transport us to the bus station on our trip to Guanajato. The bus ride was lovely. The bus was plush and comfortable. Once we got to Guanajato we caught an old city bus to the historic centre where our hotel is. During the whole trip from San Miguel to Guanajato I was texting back and forth to Carlo about the car. I had a tracking tag on my keys and was hoping that it would be of some help. But no, despite the fact that Ana drove during her lunch hour to where the tracking device was indicating, it came to nothing. My tracking device is probably in a snow bank in that exact location.

Anyway, here we are In Guanajato. The hotel is right across from the main basilica. Guanajato is the capital city of this state and although the city centre is old and magnificent (I saw a church that was built in 1632) it is different from San Miguel. He seems rougher and busier and the streets are way more steep and windy. There is a massive university downtown and it definitely feels like a university town. Loads of film festivals and other academic activities are advertised. The restaurants are cheaper. There are more street food stands and eating establishments set out in front of houses serving all sorts of meals at long tables.  The vibe is very different. We went out for lunch at a street café and then walked around.

After Rudy went back to the hotel I continued exploring and got totally lost. There are tunnels that go down to streets below and ratty old streets with buildings falling apart. It is more colourful here in the downtown and there are many more narrow streets and alleyways and stairs that are only for pedestrians.

We went out later in the evening to a little hole in the wall to get Chinese food. We got an enormous amount food for a small bit of cash. We took it back to our hotel and ate it there, picnic style. We fell asleep to the sounds of the basilica’s bells across the street. I am beginning to appreciate the different sounds that each bell makes, from the low loud sounds of the large bells to the higher clang of the smaller ones. These bells ring day and night at every quarter of the hour and it is becoming a familiar and pleasant sound.


Today is our last full day in San Miguel before we head out on the bus towards Sayulita. So, it means the last of some things. This morning I grabbed the dirty laundry for the last wash. I have enjoyed the convenience of our patio laundry machine and the wash line. The sun shines down warmly on me this morning even though my hands are cold in the wash water and when hanging the damp laundry up to dry. I water the patio plants for the last time too. I plan to take a walk down to our favourite tienda, Super Toto, for one last paleta (ice cream on a stick) and we will buy ground beef at the Carniceria for spaghetti tonight.  This is all bittersweet. I am ready to head on to a new location but the familiar streets and daily routines provide me with a sense of belonging. We all need to belong and feel at home and, when traveling, it isn’t any different.

I remember our family road trip to Guatemala. The kids were ages 2, 3, 5, and 9. Each child had packed in a small number of books and toys for entertainment and each a favourite blanket for comfort. We were crammed into a VW Westfalia van (all 6 of us) and when darkness fell the children often began to be homesick. But, as Paul and I made up the beds each night, we would reiterate about how this was our home and these were our beds and how good it was to have this oasis as our constant.

I find a need for a constant when I travel now too.  It is always uncomfortable when a “new life” needs to be found in another town or city. Of course, this is true wherever we are. When things shift we need to find some rocks to stand on. And so, I feel a sense of discomfort, but also anticipation. There will be new anchors down the road. For now, we eat our final spaghetti meal on the terrace. The air is warm and the sun goes down and the lights of the city begin to twinkle.

Variety is the Spice of Life

This morning was something different.  And, they say, variety is the spice of life. Rudy went down to the bakery to purchase bread for breakfast and came back with a chocolate croissant and an apple danish. He claimed that the bread was not yet out of the oven so our regular peanut butter on bread would not happen. Which was all good with me as I like to change things up from the regular routine. It goes almost without saying that Rudy is a man of routine and so could probably eat peanut butter bread for breakfast for the rest of his life. (Anyone who knows Rudy will be know how much he loves his regular lunch…. a ham and cheese sandwich with 5 chips and 8 grapes).

So when it got to be close to lunchtime, it was MY job to go for bread. Rudy insisted that a walk was good for me and sent me out the door. (Am I too annoying and talkative when he is trying to do his morning crossword?) Anyway, I headed out and by the time I hit the bakery I was in full stride and decided not to stop on the going out but, rather pick up bread on the return trip. I walked myself into Colonia Guadalupe, a suburb in the north part of town. I hadn’t been in this particular area yet and  I was surprised to find rows of brilliantly coloured houses. It dawned on me that perhaps El Centro has rules and regulations about building colours because all the buildings there share a similar shade of ochre. Kind of like the rules of suburbia back home, I guess, where there are only a few types of “bricks” or “stones” allowed on the front facade, each house allowed only 1.5 pillars (I know you have all seen these lopsided entrances and wondered) and the exterior colour palette  restricted to 3.5 shades of tan or brown. (Not to mention a 3-car garage dominating the front yard.)  I have always, not so secretly, laughed at these suburban development rules, but realize that the same can be said about historical areas when cities want to keep things authentic. So yah, I guess “authentic suburbia” is a thing too. Can’t allow a magenta or neon pink house on Wildblossom Cresent, just off Sunrise Bay, next to Montego Cove because the authenticity of the neighbourhood would be compromised.

Well Guadalupe had no such rules and I enjoyed all the colours of the houses. I was reminded of the delight that my daughter Ana had as a 3 and 4-year-old in Guatemala seeing all the pink houses there. Entire houses painted in her favourite colour. She didn’t even think such a thing was possible. There certainly were no houses in Steinbach that were painted a bright pink.

Well I loved it and every corner I rounded I found a variety of house colours and even painted murals and mosaiced walls.

Late afternoon found Rudy and me excitedly heading down to Teatro Santa Ana for a spicy flamenco show. Earlier in the week we had seen a poster for it  and Rudy thought it might be a good idea. He had seen a flamenco performance in Argentina years ago and had been blown away. The raw energy, the sheer speed of the footwork, and the sweat flying off the musicians and dancers had been almost unbelievable. (Although, he forewarned me that this  might just be some amateur cringy show.)

We hadn’t been able to buy tickets online, so we decided to take a chance that the box office at the theatre would be open before the show and that tickets would still be available. And so it was. We bought our tickets, and with an hour and a half before showtime, we figured we might as well go to a nearby bar for a drink before the show. Across the street from the theatre was a rooftop bar. We ordered a couple of margaritas (Rudy picked a chilli pepper flavour, Naomi chose the passion fruit one). It seemed an auspicious way to start such an evening.

Well, our flamenco show wasn’t quite as hot as Rudy’s margarita. The first indication was the theatre. It was old and small and somewhat tired-looking. And it appeared the patrons were of a similar vintage. We were a bunch of senior citizen tourists with our hearing aids, support hose, too much perfume, and not enough cell phone knowledge and etiquette (the old lady next to Rudy couldn’t figure out how to put her constantly beeping phone on silent for the duration of the show). The four performers (a guitarist, a flutist, a singer, and the dancer) were old pros (literally) and had clearly practiced their craft for many years. This was a senior’s event on all fronts.

Not to say that the show wasn’t impressive. It was just a little hard to get into it. The singer was amazing but initially hard to read. I wasn’t sure whether she was singing in tune or keeping the rhythm or what. But as time went on I realized it was a bit like hearing traditional Inuit throat-singing—not that it was anything like throat-singing, but rather, I just didn’t understand the “rules” of the music. As the show went on I started to understand and appreciate it. The dancer was “very experienced”; actually, her foot-clicking and stamping was incredible and I admired her expertise. But the performance lacked the excitement and sexual energy that one might expect at a flamenco show. Despite the professional execution of the moves, it just didn’t cut the mustard.

After the show, all the old farts slowly made their way out of the theatre and gathered on the sidewalk to ooh and aah about the concert. Speaking of farts, Rudy had seen signs advertising Pedos de Monja at several of the small candy shops we’d passed on our way to the theatre. I explained to him that Pedos de Monja are traditional and popular candies made here in Latin America and they’re very delicious. I also informed him that the name translates as “nun’s farts”. So on our way home Rudy stopped at a shop to buy a bag.

Over a late supper at a little restaurant on our way home, we discussed the evening. Spicy? No! But definitely the variety of experiences served up to me during the day had been more than satisfactory even if some of them lacked the level of “hot pepper” spice that I have enjoyed in San Miguel so far.

Back at the apartment, we ended our night with a delicious un-spicy dessert of sweet chocolate and cherry flavoured “nun’s farts”. Our day concluded with  the Mexican Saturday night sounds as the neighbourhood celebrated it’s own Flamenco concert: loud party music at the neighbours, the staccato of fireworks from somewhere downtown, and an appreciative audience of barking dogs.




Another Day

Today we had thought we might take a bus to Hidalgo to check out a new town but Rudy felt under the weather and I was content to stay at home and wash the floor, read my book, talk on the phone, and do some crafts.

By late afternoon we decided we should get out so we headed to a place near to the Teatro Santa Ana called the Inside Café.

We sat at stools on the terrace overlooking the street and the theatre and drank and ate. I had a peanut satay with roti and Rudy had  Pho.




We hadn’t had any Asian food yet in San Miguel and sitting up on a terrace, watching the people walk by on the street, was a peaceful evening’s activity.

High Rollers

This afternoon Rudy and I decided that it was time to experience the high life here in San Miguel. How did we determine what was chichi? (pronounced shee-shee and not to be confused with the Mexican Slang expression, chichi . Look that up for a chuckle.) Well Rudy thought that the rooftop terraces were probably where it was at. So off we headed to a place called Quince. And, yes it was fancy. We each ordered a drink and our budget was blown. We were up high and right next to the central cathedral and the view was glorious. All the beautiful people were there and we fit right in! (hardly anyone stared at my tights and sensible walking shoes)

By the time we had finished nursing our drinks we were hungry. Rudy checked for nearby restaurants and found one. Once down from the rooftop we checked the location only to find we had to take 10 steps down the street and climb to the top of building. Good joke on us. We were on the next terrace over and could basically reach over and tap the shoulder of our waiter at Quince. Food was pretty good and pretty expensive. The joke at the end of the evening was that none of the apple pay credit cards on Rudy’s phone worked and neither did my Mastercard so we had to scrape all our pesos together and pay cash. It is good to be put in our place. We are definitely not high rollers.


It has been a slow day. Did some loads of laundry and hung them in the warm sunlight. Also went for a walk and sat on a park bench and started reading Huck Finn. Paid way too much for a few vegetables at a produce tienda. And got my socks scared off by the neighbour’s dog.

So I really don’t have much exciting to show for my day. But I have been to collecting pictures ofdoor hardware I have been noticing over the last couple of weeks so here is something to feast your eyes on.

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).

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.


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.

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.

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?”

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.