March 02, 2004

From Guanajuato to San Miguel de Allende

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of Guanajuato and San Miguel.

San Miguel Church
SanMiguelChurch.jpg
San Miguel Street Scenes
SanMiguelStreet2.jpg
SanMiguelStreet.jpg
Children Play in a Doorway
children.jpg

Saturday, 28 March:
I got a late start. I was out in the street and it was market day. There is always a wide variety of goods that come out on market day from a display of hundreds of beautiful peppers to black market CD's to toys for the kids and lots of foods ready to eat. After picking up the laundry, I returned to write a bit and pack. After checking out from the Las Embajadoras, I spent sometime in a nearby internet shop. One thing that has been good about most of the Mexican internet places is that they are mostly using XP, which makes using my flash memory card is a breeze. Ready to depart for my new hotel, I once again braved the tunnels beneath the city. I made my way across the city to Hotel Jardines de Cantador. It is a lovely place, built in to the rock face of the hill behind it. There are a few places in the hotel where the rock is exposed through the walls. The room is much large and cheaper. The owner had lived in California for many years, who had returned with his American born children. His teen-aged girl sounded like she was a native Californian. He claimed to cut me a very good deal, and it was still 130 peso a night less. The room has a balcony the overlooks the rather large park Contador. The have a nice town museum called Alhondiga de Granaditas. I wish the placards had been in English, because there was quite a bit of history for this area. I think that I would like to more about the history of Mexico. After the museum I stopped for a beer before returning to my rooms to rest and clean up for the evening.
The best part of the evening was returning to the strange little bar with the almost hippie or artistic vibes that I visited before. This night proved to be the nicest. I met several interesting people. Miriam is a young Mexican-American woman who can belt out a tune with incredible power. I met several of her friends, some Mexican, one Canadian - Cassandra, some Americans. I also met two very interesting Mexican artists. First, there was Loberto Popoca Martinez. He has seen much of the world in his forty years. He had some very keen observations of life - especially life in the state from his two year in the north. Then there was Lidio. She seemed also to be in her forties. She was selling her things and moving to Barcelona later this year. I gave them all my web site address and asked them to drop me a line. I hope to here from them. I headed back to my hotel, murmuring to myself how much I like Guanajuato.

Sunday, February 29, 2004:
I was on my way before noon. I stopped a little ways out of the city for lunch, great tacos of roast beef. The 50 mile drive was interesting. It is definitely the dry season here. Not only are the grasses bone dry but the leaves in the trees are brownish-green to brown. There were a lot of these trees as well as beautiful open range land, cacti, and sage brush. The vistas from the road were wonderful, unfortunately they don't know what a shoulder is Mexico - so there is rarely a place to pull over.
San Miguel is very picturesque. Its cathedral has the most beautiful exterior. There is a hill on the east side of the city, that as you ascend the homes get very big and beautiful very fast. Too many of the streets are hewen of rough cobblestone and I mean rough. The buildings are beautiful and old. One notices immediately the large number of older Americans living or visiting here. Because of that there are more upper end restaurants with more varied cuisines, for example, Cuban and a New Orleans Oyster Bar. But I did not go for the 150 peso diner. I usually eat at restaurants that cost between 40 and 60 pesos for the meal, beers run from 14 to 20 pesos. The exchange rate continues to be just a bit less eleven pesos to the dollar. After dinner I moved to one of the better bars in town, Mama Mias. I watched much of the Academy Awards in the bar. There weren't many great movies this year, it is no wonder that Lord of the Rings swept.
The hotel I am at is in the center of the city. It is very cheap and very nice. It even has a parking lot. The buildings that make up the hotel appear to be at least 100 years. The entry is a huge wooden door. There are orange trees the perfume the air with a deliciously sweet scent. My room is in a building with about six rooms made of thick adobe walls and ceilings made of brick; I believe they call it a baveda ceiling. The room is large and has a fireplace. The only drawback to the place is the parrots squawking fiercely in the late afternoon.

Monday, March 01, 2004: I walked about the city. It is smaller than Guanajuato, despite what Jerald told me. It is cleaner, the hills are manageable. The views from high above of the city and the lake created by the damn are spectacular. There is a wonderful commercial life in the city. Certainly the large number of Americans and other foreigners bring a lot of money to the city. This is both good and bad. Having more and better services makes this a gem of a place to live. The other great thing about this place is its long history with American Artists. This has led to many galleries and an art school. The bad thing is the cost of real estate. It is clear that many of the Americans living here must come from California, because the cost of real estate is high and given the baby-bombers soon to move here will put the cost of a casa out of sight. If it were not for that I would say that this a good place to live.
I spent a little more than one hour and one-half walking to the south edge of the town. This is not the wealthier area of half-million dollar houses to the east of the town center. I walked on old and new streets, busy and quite streets, on streets paved of macadam and cobblestones and gravel. This are is extremely dry. Everywhere there is a veneer of dust that is thicker on the quite back streets of the town. I stopped to talk to people; they are friendly and open. By the time I return to my room, I am exhausted, a good exhaustion. I hope I continue all this walking. It is good for me. All the men wear hats here. I like to wear mine, but with my head of hair it can get very hot. I guess it is time for a hair cut.

I like this town. I hope the invasion of North Americans slows. I am afraid we will spoil this beautiful little town. I will be moving on tomorrow. I am not sure where I will go to next, possibly Veracruz, but more likely is Puebla.

Lookout at San Miguel
IMG_1891: Lookout over San Miguel

Posted by bill at March 2, 2004 12:37 AM
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