May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What's Better Than Friends Joining Us In Mexico: San Miguel de Allende? NOTHING!

Maureen and Jen
...and Jen

March 5—We called the house manager who didn’t know we wanted to meet him at noon yet, and made our way to the beautiful home Maureen rented for the week.  
"Casa de los Amigos"


Room with a view

Roof View

El bano
Sensational!  It has 3 floors and a roof garden area with Mexican colors and plants everywhere.  It has internet and TV and stereo AND purified water; somebody really caters well!  We went out to find some paper, pencils and flowers to greet the gringas to the new home, but when we returned Maureen and Jen were already at the door!  We sat and caught up then went out to find a meal.  IT IS SOOOOO GREAT TO SEE THEM!!!  After more wonderful conversation and planning the next day, we made guacamole and retired for the night in our big comfy beds.

How Many Ice Creams Can You Make?  Avocado?  Rose Petal?  Beer?


Miguel Hidalgo Started Mexican Independence


March 6—Dolores Hidalgo day!  We walked to the bus station and took a 45-minute ride to a nearby town that is famous for it’s unusual ice cream.  We went to one stand and started tasting: avocado, seafood, rose petal, tequila, beer, grapefruit, and many of the standards.  Also, we visited the museum of the independence of Mexico.  It was here where Manuel Hidalgo cried, “VIVA MEXICO,” and started the revolution to make Mexico independent from Spain.  On the way back, we visited a store that was owned by Wal-Mart.  It was huge, and a perfect place to buy another memory sticks for the computer.  We bought groceries and then tortillas on the way home (a little boy was working the grinding machine, they were selling 1K for 14 pesos like hotcakes!  We made a nice chicken stir-fry to put in the tortillas.  The chicken looked like breasts at the store, but were really paper-thin cut slices rolled up.  Surprise.  I started a new book from the collection here: Blind, by Brazilian writer Jose Saramago.

Emma Willard People including Jack and Emma herself!


"A Miracle!"

March 7—A computer catch up day.  I had a glitch in my camera that put a glitch in my heart, but I got it working again.  I walked with Maureen and Jen to the center and got info on the hot springs and markets, and a coffee for Les who stayed up until 4AM working on the fantasy baseball draft, coming up soon. (By the way, there was a miracle in the to-go coffee lid.  Les asked me if I “did” this, while showing me a perfect smiley face under the lid.  No.  It just appeared; likely from another dimension!)  It takes forever to load videos for a movie.  I know it’s all worth the wait.  In the evening, we ate steak and empanadas Argentinian-style before going to a dance concert.  As it turns out, we got there just as the lights went down, but afterwards discovered that we arrived just in time for the 2nd half!  UGH.  Anyway, these Japanese Butoh dancers were fantastic.  The delicate and subtle movements were question inspiring.  They exhibited a perfect demonstration of Laban’s efforts: quick light and bound.  Facial detail was a treat as well as the pattern the white powder left on the back wall as if a ghost of the dancer.  

Lunch at the Market
March 8—We went out to explore the market and have a strawberry shake in the morning.   



We ended up on top of a hill at a chapel where a woman was cleaning.  We looked around and asked her questions including why there were so many stickers on the doors around the neighborhood that said,  “We’re Catholics.  Welcome.”  She said she didn’t have one on her door because she didn’t have any interest in converting people to Catholicism. 



Then I went to a martial art studio to meet Martin Keogh and his friends to warm up and do authentic movement.  I SO enjoyed our contact warm up.  It’s been a long while, and he was incredibly easy to read and to connect with—gracious, kind, inviting.  The authentic movement had a nice score.  One person was witness for 15 minutes before it shifted without a break.  It gave us long sessions to develop what was going on inside of us.  

Afterwards, Martin turned me on to this little corner store with the local “Santo Nino Doctorcito” in it.  As it turns out, there is this little doll, dressed as a doctor that people come to for a little miracle to heal them.  People dance for him, or promise to once they are better, and bring him toys, candy, pop and flowers in thanks.  The woman in the store says he always heals her, so she doesn’t need to go to a physician for anything.  Once a year they celebrate his birthday, so March 30 is the day they bring him out into the nearby plaza, have a barbeque, dance, wear colorful masks and bring gifts to celebrate this child doctor saint.
When I got home, everyone was there.  We relaxed with a meal of tequila-lime chicken made by Jen that was DELISH. The finale included playing cards on the kitchen table, interrupted by a short display of nice fireworks we could see from the roof terrace.

Can you find Les?






November 9—We walked to the place where the bus was supposed to pick us up for the little town of  Atotonilco.  There’s a hot spring next to it called “Escondido Place,” where we enjoyed the many pools of warm to very warm water.  Each set of three had a “chorro” (spout of water) that massaged muscles and rattled bones.  It was nice to float, or swim, or just be in the thermal water. In town we were hot in the air and welcomed the wind; but when we were wet, it was mighty cool with the breeze.  We brought peanut butter and tortillas to eat, then back in the water until a guy came along and said it’s closing time.   

We walked down the long driveway past goats and a man herding them, and then only waited a minute for the bus back to San Miguel.  

The mailbox caught Les's hat

For dinner, we ate at a place where most of the people were white. Someone said that 1/3 of the residents were gringos.  There was a jazz combo playing, and we had a nice meal before going to the center to see about the Cuban party the city was having.   


There was a large band playing, and a good time was had by everyone, including the dogs, kids with lights on their heads, teenage lovers and couples out to dance. 

November 10—Another trip to the market produced tortillas, pineapple, guacamole makings and cheese.  

 Nature was the major theme of the day.  My friend Martin told us of a nature reserve and botanical park where the white-throated swifts gather by the thousands just around sunset and dive into the cracks of the rocks to roost.  We took a taxi that took about 20 minutes to go way up the hill (we were going to walk!) to the park’s entrance.  It was beautiful, with a large reservoir, tons of cacti—including endangered barrel cacti that folks use for candy.  

 Jen and Maureen are into “Geo-caching,” and there were two sites there.  We looked and looked for the first one, but to no avail, and gave up on the second one because we didn’t want to miss the bird show.   

We followed Martin’s instructions and soon the swifts were swooping and chattering and filling the sky.  Three loud crows accompanied them, appearing like the roost police, standing at the opening and cawing as if to tell them “lights out in 15 minutes!”   The rock appeared to have suction like a vacuum cleaner, birds were being sucked into the crevasses several at a time.


We continued toward the town and ended up at a sensational viewpoint.  We could see the whole valley of San Miguel, with rain in front of the sunset.  It was a beautiful sight, and we wanted to linger longer except for the growing lightning.  We made it back just at the same time as the taxi who said he would be there, and passed the fancy million-dollar homes the Americans built for retirement but couldn’t climb the stairs because they were so old, the driver said.  We passed the Rosemount Hotel that listed their rooms for $900 a night, and the Benito Juarez Park nearby as it started to rain harder.  
As I carved the pineapple, Maureen called down that there was good lightning on the roof.  We watched for a good while, until the wind drove the drops where we couldn’t escape them.  A beautiful day full of sensational nature was finished by yummy guacamole! 

Martin shows off the cappuccino with the dog

John gets the Mona Lisa

Sky gets the coveted scorpion
November 11—After calling Miguel to tell him we had run out of gas, I joined the local dancers at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio for a boogie based on the 5 Rhythms developed by Gabriel Roth.  No one formally started anything, introduced the score or anything so I joined in on what was happening.  There were only a few folks at first, and Martin and I had a scrumptious warm up dance while “Hare Krishna” slowly revved up to frenzy in 10-15 minutes.  By that time, more folks had come and by the end, there were more than 50 people (?) dancing the way they like to music that was meant to bring them into many physical and mental states.  There was a leader who had brought the music who was beloved and had returned after dancing elsewhere.  Afterwards, Martin, John and Sky and I went for coffee and a bite.  The best coffee in town, they said; so I couldn’t resist.  I asked for a picture of a dog on my cappuccino. 

When Maureen and Jen came back from shopping, we decided to eat at Tan Tan Pie, where there was fantastic art all over the place.  I loved the wire mesh forms that cast shadows on the upper walls, and the playful paintings in the small place.  We walked around looking for the place where a guy told me a Cuban group was playing.  We found them eventually.  They sounded great. 

Pina Coladas to end the time at casa amigos

 Jen wasn’t feeling great so she relaxed while the three of us had pina coladas and played UNO.
March 12—We slowly packed, and ate what we could of the groceries.  Maureen folded the picto-journal of what we did while in “La Casa de los Amigos” that was on the refrigerator into the guest book, and soon we were walking to the bus station to go to Guanajuato.   
We took a LONG taxi ride to the center of town that seemed more like a neighboring town, dropped off our stuff, got some iced cream, looked around a little and said a forlorn goodbye to our buddies. 

Our room in the casa looks over a garden (left)

Were the trees there first, or the road?

Kids practice their moves in the town center "jardin"
Also Mariachis play for $10 a song

Beautiful doors everywhere

These fancy skeletons are called, "Katrinas."  Listen to Les's, "A Skeleton Walks Into A Bar..." joke on the video

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